Book review.


Roberto Giraldo, 'AIDS and Stressors', Fundation Arte Y Ciencia, Medellin Colombia 1997. 205 pages, ISBN 958 9458 03 3.



The present book is fruit of the struggle for knowledge, wherein stand out the courage to go against the main stream, the perseverance in storing arguments and the clarity to seize the key link of the discussion. AIDS, the most terrible modem myth, even taken by some to the heights of a category as an untouchable subject, is cleared as addressed by Doctor Roberto A. Giraldo, who reaffirms the classic use of the scientific method, using however the fresh and enlivening lens of fidelity to oneself and towards humanity.

The history of civilization has its foundations on the unceasing swings between success and errors and of course ambiguities. Bright periods were preceded by long periods of darkness and when man has retreated to that which he believes as sole truth outside of which there is no salvation, he ends up submerged in an impoverished monologue, from which he is almost always tom out by nature itself in a painful and violent manner. Then the twinkling light of hope surges in the long night of the tunnel, shaking off lethargy and driving away sketches. During the last fifteen years, public opinion has only heard one version of AIDS and due to that formidable restraint, many reactions have been of rejection and intransigence, astonishment and perplexity, ridicule and contempt. There are known cases in which several physicians have burned the writings of Doctor Giraldo, emulating the most gloomy and infamous periods of the Inquisition and fascism. The dilemma has nothing to do with agreeing or disagreeing with the hypothesis of Doctor Giraldo, but rather letting him freely express other interpretations of the AIDS etiology. This does not mean that scientific matters should be settled democratically. Not at all, every hypothesis, to be accepted, should undergo the unavoidable verdict of the scientific proof.

The controversy that for several years has been ongoing worldwide with respect to the AIDS syndrome and its association with HIV, has entered into a new stage, thanks, among others, to the contributions of Doctor Giraldo, colombian physician, specialist in internal medicine, who has devoted the last 15 years investigating this subject. It has been a hard battle, as he has had to confront attacks, ridicule, persecution, isolation, denials, as he tells it in his letter to the infectologists of Antioquia, Colombia. We who have had the privilege of knowing him for a long time, know that he has never lost hope that one day the truth with respect to AIDS shall be known, today a phenomenon turned into big business through which it is being tried to hide that, which in the opinion of Doctor Giraldo, "is the most grave scientific error of the end of the century".

The controversy also places in interdiction the statement that science has reached its end. On the contrary, the history of science is rich in mistakes and with selfcorrection advancement throbs. In today"s world, so teeming with mediocrity and opposed to progess, clouded by the value of money and profits, the fundamental point has been forgotten: the well-being and happiness of humanity. Every error has its price, but the costs of a mistake in the AIDS conception and its relationship with HIV, are unimaginable. The foundations of the "perfect truth" are only beginning to be shaken. It is a good beginning, because this crisis will allow us to inquire, doubt, verify, study and broaden our outlook. In the end, truth will dominate over that other myth of money and power, and hope"s friendly face will show another of its smiles and will draw us closer to a new tranquility, far away from all meanness. This is what is glimpsed in the titanic work that Doctor Giraldo has placed on his shoulders and those, like him, not only dream to draw back the veil of truth, but have already begun to draw it back, fortunately.

Angel Galeano H.
Medellin, Colombia, August 25, 1997