DISSENTING ON AIDS
THE CASE AGAINST THE HIV-CAUSES-AIDS HYPOTHESIS
By Kary B. Mullis, Phillip E. Johnson & Charles A. Thomas Jr.
The San Diego Union-Tribune 15 May 1994
Every day we hear and read about "HIV, the virus that causes AIDS."
Perhaps no other medical issue in history has received such sustained attention
by the media, the entertainment industry, popular literature and the federal
government. Therefore it is understandable that most people, as well as
most physicians and medical scientists, have come to believe that the entire
world is in the grips of a pandemic that is relentlessly spreading throughout
every segment of society.
For more than 10 years, this apocalyptic prospect has been drummed into
everyone-ever since that memorable day in April 1984 when Margaret Heckler,
then secretary of health and human services, announced that "the probable
cause of AIDS has been found." At that point, Robert Gallo, a research
scientist at the National Institutes of Health, took the microphone and
declared that AIDS was an infectious disease, that HIV was the culprit,
and that medical scientists at the National Institutes of Health had come
to the rescue and would soon have a vaccine for HIV and have the problem
under control. They didn't.
The decision to blame AIDS on HIV was a political one- certainly not
a scientific one-for at that time no scientific papers had been published,
and the normal critical procedures of the scientific community had not
been allowed to operate. Gallo's papers that followed did not establish
a causal relationship and subsequent official inquiries demonstrated them
to be flawed for other reasons as well.
Nonetheless, the prospect was seen to be so threatening that the federal
government began pumping millions, then billions of dollars into AIDS research-which
meant research on HIV, because "HIV was the virus that causes AIDS."
So here we are ten years later. According to the U.S. Public Health
Service, more than $22 billion in tax money has been expended since 1982
and this spending continues at the rate of $6 billion per year on treatment
and research. Virtually all this spending is based upon the idea that AIDS
is an infectious disease and that HIV is the cause.
Therefore, seven major points will come as some surprise to the general
1. Although more than 75,000 scientific papers have been published on
AIDS, no paper has seriously considered all relevant evidence and attempted
to prove that HIV causes AIDS. Some papers respond to specific objections
but begin by assuming that HIV causes AIDS, which is the very question
at issue. If such a paper were possible to write, it would have been written,
and been the most widely cited scientific publication of this century.
Since such papers do not exist, it is impossible to refute or substantiate
the arguments they might contain. Papers on HIV and AIDS exist, of course,
but they assume HIV causes AIDS, which is the very question at issue.
2. The number of AIDS cases enumerated by the Centers for Disease Control
(CDC) has shown an annual increase, but since the beginning, the percentage
increase has been decreasing for 11 years in a row. (Epidemics are supposed
to show an increase before decreasing.) The numbers are inflated from time
to time by changing the definitions as the CDC did in 1987 and then again
in 1993. For example, according to the Los Angeles County Department of
Health Services (which follows the CDC definitions), there were 1,566 reported
cases of AIDS during the first six months of 1992 and using the same definition
only 1,397 (11 percent fewer) for the first six months of 1993. However,
if the expanded 1993 definition is used, the numbers are increased to 4,102,
a 162 percent increase, which of course fosters the fear of a continuing
epidemic and maximizes funding.
Perhaps the cruelest deception fostered by the AIDS industry is the
false idea that AIDS is spreading throughout the entire population and
that "everyone is at risk." Nothing could be farther from the
truth. The CDC's own records show that AIDS cases are 90 percent male and
largely restricted to homosexuals and I.V. drug consumers.
Actuary Robert W. Maver has examined the latest CDC data base and finds
that the number of teen-age (13-19) cases of AIDS not involving homosexual
or I.V. drug behavior is only 5. Five kids in the entire United States.
The comparable number for 20- to 24-year-olds is 55. These minuscule numbers
could be even smaller because teen-agers (and young adults) have been known
to lie about their behavior. Even so, the chance of ending up as an AIDS
case if you avoid homosexual and drug behavior is less than the chance
of being struck by lightning. Nonetheless, on the basis of these vanishingly
small numbers, school children throughout the United States are subjected
to safe-sex education.
The definition of AIDS needs some explanation. First of all, AIDS itself
is not a disease: It is a collection of other diseases that have been recognized
by medical science for many years. People have been dying of these diseases
for centuries. What is new is the definition of AIDS itself: AIDS has been
defined by the CDC as the presence of one or more of the 25 to 30 different
"AIDS diseases" provided that the individual has some evidence
of being infected by HIV. Ordinarily, this is a positive HIV antibody test,
the presence of which generally indicates that the body has successfully
fought off the HIV infection.
You don't need to be a medical scientist to see at once that HIV is
associated with every AIDS case: if you have tuberculosis and no evidence
of HIV, you are a tuberculosis case; if you have the same disease and show
a HIV positive antibody test, then you are an AIDS case. By definition,
this would mean that every official AIDS case would have an antibody to
Ironically, the CDC does not even apply its own definition in recording
AIDS cases. Frequently, no HIV testing has been done, a "presumptive
diagnosis" is made and it is included in the tabulations as an AIDS
case. The CDC admits to 40,000 such cases, but molecular biologist Peter
Duesberg argues that the number must be much higher.
The list of AIDS diseases keeps lengthening with new additions. For
example the CDC's most recent additions were CD4 cells lower than 200,
tuberculosis, recurrent pneumonia and invasive cervical cancer. The last
addition is said to embarrass some CDC officials because of its transparent
political origin, because 90 percent of the past AIDS cases were men.
3. More than 150 chimpanzees have been infected with HIV, and they show
mild flu-like symptoms just as humans do, but after a week or two their
immune systems rally and the virus concentration in the blood is reduced
to negligible levels and the animals recover. They now seem to be living
out the rest of their lives without the characteristic ravages of "AIDS."
In this regard, they respond just as many known HIV-positive people, many
of whom have been living for more than 11 years without ill-effects. In
the Scientific American, UC San Francisco Professor of Medicine Warner
C. Greene explains this anomaly as follows:
"It is even possible that some strains (of HIV) are benign."
It is time to ask whether any strain of HIV is harmful.
4. By sampling large numbers of people, the CDC has estimated that about
0.4 percent of the population of the United States is HIV+ -- that is has
antibodies to HIV, an indication of prior infection by the virus. This
percentage, which has not changed for 9 years, calculates out to 1 million
Americans. According to Lawrence Altman in the March 1 New York Times,
new CDC surveys indicate only 600,000 to 800,000. So much for the epidemic
of HIV infection.
5. In contrast with the unwillingness of the AIDS research community
to produce a definitive scientific paper summarizing the reasons for hypothesizing
that HIV causes AIDS, Peter Duesberg, the highly accomplished virologist
from UC Berkeley and member of the National Academy of Sciences, has carefully
documented and published the reasons why the "HIV causes AIDS hypothesis"
fails every scientific test. His arguments have never been answered. His
research funds have been terminated. Perhaps more disgraceful is the fact
that this monstrous situation has received very little attention by the
6. Perhaps Duesberg's most telling point is that he has found in the
published literature accounts of 4,621 cases (1,691 in the United States)
of individuals with AIDS diseases who show no evidence of having been infected
by HIV. This means that something else must be causing AIDS in these cases.
So why can't this "something else" be causing AIDS in most other
When evidence of this kind was presented at the International AIDS Conference
in Amsterdam in 1992, authorities at the CDC admitted that they had known
about a number of cases like this for some time, but apparently kept this
It now turns out that the number of such cases could be quite large
indeed. If left unchallenged, this observation alone would demolish the
To explain this anomaly the CDC invented a new disease called ICL, (Idiopathic
CD4+ Lymphocytopenia) a totally forgettable name that means "AIDS
It should be noted that physicians and health departments have an incentive
to diagnose patients with AIDS symptoms as AIDS cases whenever they can
because the federal government pays the medical expenses of AIDS patients
under the Ryan White Act, but not for people equally sick with the same
diseases who test negative for HIV antibodies.
7. The reason that the public is unaware of the significance and seriousness
of the HIV dissenters is because they have been prevented from publishing.
For instance, the editors of the leading scientific journals have refused
to print even the brief statement by the Group for the Scientific Reappraisal
of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis which now has over 400 members (including the
This four-sentence statement notes simply that "many biomedical
scientists now question (the HIV causes AIDS) hypothesis" and calls
for "a thorough reappraisal of existing evidence for and against this
Such a reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis should include the following:
Carefully controlled epidemiological studies of all major risk groups:
homosexuals, drug users, transfusion recipients and hemophiliacs. These
studies should use an unbiased definition of AIDS (not requiring HIV as
part of the definition) and be conducted by people who are truly committed
to testing the HIV hypothesis rather than defending it.
An audit of the CDC data base to remove HIV bias and thereby to allow
the fair testing of the critical epidemiological evidence for and against
the HIV hypothesis. It should be determined how many of the AIDS patients
were actually tested for HIV antibody and by what procedures. The antibody
test itself is not perfect and many false positives are known under certain
circumstances. The CDC's statistics have been assembled as if the purpose
were to protect the HIV theory rather than learn the truth.
Research focusing on the cause of a particular disease rather than the
politically defined collection of disparate diseases now called AIDS. For
example, Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) was originally one of the best AIDS-defining
conditions. However, leading KS experts now say that there are dozens of
cases of KS without HIV. It is quite possible that Peter Duesberg is right
that the use of amyl nitrite (poppers) by male homosexuals is the true
cause of KS. This proposal is easily testable and the work should proceed.
A critical re-examination of the epidemiology of AIDS and HIV in Africa
and elsewhere. Most AIDS in Africa is diagnosed using very manipulatable
definitions; antibody testing, if done at all is suspect because of cross-reacting
antibodies produced as a consequence of other endemic infections such as
Given the 10 years of total lack of progress on AIDS, the billions of
dollars that have been wasted, the human heart-ache that this issue has
caused so many Americans, it seems only sensible that we should re-examine
the question of what really causes AIDS. At issue here are not only the
lives of those diagnosed with AIDS who are being treated improperly, but
also of those who are tormented by the fear of AIDS-for themselves and
their children. We can't allow the scientific bureaucrats at the CDC and
NIH to prevent this reappraisal from happening. *
Mullis of San Diego is the 1993 Nobel Prize winner
in chemistry for his invention of the polymerase chain reaction technique
which is often used to search for fragments of HIV sequences. Johnson is
the Jefferson E. Peyser Professor of Law at the University of California,
Berkeley. Thomas, a molecular biologist, is the president of the Helicon
Foundation in San Diego and secretary of The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal
of the HIV/AIDS