John Lauritsen

John Lauritsen is a year-round resident of Provincetown. In the summer of 1995 he moved here from New York City, where he had lived for 30 years.

Beginning in 1966, Lauritsen established a career as a market research executive and analyst. But he also has been a gay activist and scholar since the earliest days of the gay liberation movement.

In the summer of 1969 he joined the Gay Liberation Front, and edited Come Out!, the first publication of the post- Stonewall gay movement. He joined the Gay Activists Alliance in 1974, and served as Delegate-At-Large. And in the same year he joined the Gay Academic Union, of which he later became a National Director. During its existence he was a member of the Columbia University Seminar on Homosexualities.

With the advent of the gay health crisis in the early 80s, Lauritsen became an investigative journalist and a leading "AIDS critic" (one who rejects the official AIDS model, including the HIV-Causes-AIDS hypothesis). His main outlet was the New York Native, which from 1985 to 1996 published over 50 of his articles. These articles have been described by a science correspondent and medical correspondent of the Sunday Times (London) as "the most trenchantly informative, irreverent, funny and tragic writing of the AIDS years" (Neville Hodgkinson, AIDS: The Failure of Contemporary Science, London 1996).

In addition to the Native, John Lauritsen's articles have appeared in publications as diverse as Gay Books Bulletin, Gay Times (London), Civil Liberties Review, The Freethinker (London), Journal of Homosexuality, Christopher Street, Bio/Technology and The Lancet. His writings have been translated into German, Italian, French, Spanish, Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian.

He is currently on the Editorial Boards of Reappraising AIDS (La Jolla, California) and Continuum (London).

His first book, co-authored with David Thorstad was The Early Homosexual Rights Movement (1864-1935) (New York 1974; Second Revised Edition, Ojai, California 1995). This seminal work, continuously in print since 1974, uncovered the forgotten history of the gay movement of the 19th and the early 20th century. Other books include: (editor) John Addington Symonds, Male Love: A Problem in Greek Ethics and other writings (New York 1983); (with Hank Wilson) Death Rush: Poppers [Nitrite Inhalants] and AIDS (New York 1986); Poison By Prescription: The AZT Story (New York 1990); and The AIDS War: Propaganda, Profiteering and Genocide from the Medical-Industrial Complex (New York 1993).

His two latest books are A Freethinker's Primer of Male Love (Provincetown 1998) and (co-edited with Ian Young) The AIDS Cult: Essays on the gay health crisis (Provincetown 1997).

My message to current and coming generations of gay men is to love themselves, to be healthy and happy. This means detoxifying mind and body -- not only avoiding pharmaceutical and "recreational" poisons, but also rejecting and combating cultural and theological poisons. Self-acceptance comes from grasping the truth -- that male love is good -- that the condemnation of male love is due to a rotten, 2500 year-old taboo, perpetuated by the Jewish and Christian religions. The happiness of gay men, and of all humanity, lies in science and humanist philosophy, not superstition. *

Source: HEAL Magazine Dec. 1998.


"At the same time that Sonnabend was first struggling against the growing AIDS virus hunt, another rebel was emerging in New York City - John Lauritsen. Several years later, he would be described as 'one of the heroes of the epidemic' by another medical dissident against HIV. 'He is not only a top-notch investigative reporter. In his own way he is also a scientist.'

Lauritsen has worked in the survey research field since the mid-1960s, where he performed tasks as a market research executive and analyst. Professional survey research, he explains, maintains much higher professional standards than does its academic sister, epidemiology; questionnaires require careful designing, date must be rigorously checked after it is gathered, tables must show all data clearly and completely, and statistics are analyzed critically. He had also co-authored 'The Early Homosexual Rights Movement (1864-1935)' and edited an anthology of writings by John Addington Symonds. Lauritsen the scientist and Lauritsen the journalist were both products of an A.B. degree from Harvard's Department of Social Relations.

He first got involved in AIDS after he learned of Sonnabend's work. His attention was focused on the syndrome in 1983, when he decided to spend a week in the library of the New York Academy of Medicine, reviewing for himself the still small scientific literature on AIDS. The evidence quickly fell into place, strongly suggesting that AIDS was not an infectious disease. Lauritsen certainly had the savvy to interpret the data; his medical logic had been shaped by an uncle who taught public health, and by his athletic father, who involved his family in sports-related activities. He now suspected that some lifestyle environmental factor was killing people, not a microbe.

Shortly thereafter, he stumbled across an article describing Hank Wilson, a well-known homosexual rights activist in San Francisco. Wilson was waging a one-man crusade against the use of "poppers," the nitrate compounds inhaled almost entirely by "fast track" male homosexuals as bathhouse aphrodisiacs and muscle relaxants. The volatile drugs made anal intercourse easier by relaxing the anal spincter, but also had toxic effects on the blood and other parts of the body. Wilson had taken up this cause after friends who used poppers heavily began suffering swollen lymph nodes, which had led him to research the chemical nature of the nitrites. He founded the Committee to Monitor Poppers in 1981, warning homosexuals of the dangers and lobbying for legal bans on the substance.

Lauritsen began corresponding with him, and soon concluded that poppers and other recreational drugs being used in the bathhouses played some role in AIDS and other sickness. As a member of the New York Safer Sex Committee, Lauritsen began circulating warnings about poppers... He then turned to Wilson, and the two of them helped push Congress into outlawing poppers a few years later. By February 1985, Lauritsen was able to publish his first article on AIDS, exposing the CDC's statistical tricks in hiding the association between poppers and the syndrome... The piece appeared in the Philadelphia Gay News. As he soon discovered, the widespread hostility to his message meant that he could only publish in the homosexual press, and then only in a small subset of that.

Lauritsen found a journalistic niche freelancing for the New York Native, self-billed as the largest independent homosexual-interest weekly in the country.

His articles continued to reflect his own research. In March of 1987, for example, he wrote a devastating attack on a National Academy of Sciences report, pointing to their own admission that HIV is neutralized by antibodies as evidence against the virus hypothesis. But two months after his article was published, he read Peter Duesbergs' original Cancer Research article. To Lauritsen, it was a stunning confirmation of everything he had suspected... Lauritsen became the first journalist to interview Duesberg.

The approval of AZT as AIDS therapy pushed him to take on a new fight. He read the evidence, and concluded that such a toxic chemotherapy could do nothing but worsen an AIDS condition, since the drug destroyed the immune system. His investigation led him through a maze of sloppy scientific papers, federal bureaucracy in trying to release documents under the Freedom of Information Act, and uncooperative researchers. Fed up with closed doors and establishment arrogance, Lauritsen wrote several articles on AZT for the Native and compiled his information into another book, 'Poison by Prescription: The AZT Story', self-published in 1990. The book remains the most comprehensive critique of AZT available today.

He has self-published another book, 'The AIDS War: Propaganda, Profiteering, and Genocide from the Medical-Industrial Complex'... A mix of new material and previously published articles, its 480 pages cover topics ranging from AZT to the death of ballet superstar Rudolf Nureyev from AIDS. Most of his first interview with Duesberg is printed, along with exposures of the cozy relationships between AIDS organizations and the pharmaceutical industry... Most of the book is a personal story, documenting the fight against HIV as seen by someone on the front lines."

Extracted from 'Why We Will Never Win The War on AIDS', by Peter Duesberg and Bryan Ellison, also published as 'Inventing the AIDS Virus' by Peter H. Duesberg, Regnery USA 1996.