Next week medical scientists
from all over the world gather in San Francisco for the Sixth International
AIDS conference. It's just over two years since Dispatches first
argued that the conventional wisdom on AIDS was misguided and that the
virus HIV was not the cause of the disease at all. The programme won Britain's
top award for television journalism. Tonight, Dispatches returns
to the AIDS trail and goes even further, arguing that AIDS as we know it
may well not even be infectious. But a word of caution, tonight's programme
does not argue that all thoughts of safe sex can now be discounted. Indeed,
for high risk groups, safe sex may well be the Government's only accurate
piece of advice. But until we accept that all the orthodox AIDS thinking
could be wrong, we shall continue to be victims of THE AIDS CATCH.
It was here at Berkeley
campus, University of California, that the genetic structure of a newly
identified group of viruses was first discovered by Professor Peter Duesberg
and his colleagues. They came to be called retroviruses and can live harmlessly
in their host cell. When the retrovirus HIV was announced as the cause
of AIDS, Peter Duesberg's 25 years of experience in the field convinced
him that HIV couldn't destroy the immune system in the way that was being
claimed. In other words HIV could not cause AIDS.
DR. PETER DUESBERG: "I
don't think we have found the cause of AIDS. If we had found it' we would
have stopped AIDS, we would be treating people with AIDS successfully curing
them and we would have predicted or we could make more accurate predictions
how AIDS is spreading or behaving or who is going to be infected by it.
None of this has been accomplished, that's the hallmark of a poorly grounded
hypothesis, the virus AIDS hypothesis."
Six years have passed
since the first claims were made about HIV and the HIV issue remains even
more in doubt. In fact everything we currently accept about AIDS can be
turned on its head. An increasing number of leading scientists are now
questioning HIV as the cause of AIDS.
DR. WALTER GILBERT; "One
of the difficulties with describing the virus to be the cause of AIDS is
that one has not demonstrated clearly, that the virus will cause AIDS in
an experimental animal and that gap in our findings at the moment produces
DR. HARRY RUBIN: "I
don't think the cause of AIDS has been found. I think in a disease as complex
as AIDS that there are likely to be multiple causes. In fact, even to call
it a single disease when there are so many multiple manifestations seems
to me to be an oversimplification."
DR. GORDON STEWART: "I
think assuming that HIV is the sole cause, the exclusive cause, it's the
This programme traces
evidence that contradicts HIV as the cause of AIDS. We question whether
AIDS is an infectious disease at all, and tell the stories of long term
survivors of HIV and AIDS who are in perfect health like Tom, HIV positive
for 8 years; and Anna also HIV positive 8 years. Sam who has Kaposi sarcoma,
an AIDS disease but no trace of HIV.
We talk to Michael Callen,
HIV positive 8 years with AIDS symptoms in the past but fit and well now.
And Ron Webeck who had HIV and an AIDS linked brain disease but there's
no trace of either now.
First of all we must distinguish
between AIDS and HIV. AIDS is a syndrome we shall argue is not infectious
and HIV, a retrovirus which is infectious, though extremely difficult to
transmit, has nothing to do with AIDS and is simply an indication of high
DR. PETER DUESBERG: "HIV
does very little in a human host. It infects it with great difficulty,
this is because it's very hard to pick up from somebody, and once it infects,
it spreads mildly, or poorly into a few T cells, and B cells, lymphocites
and occasionally then during that original spread before the immune system
responds to it, may cause a glandular fever. That has been reported in
a few studies, very rare apparently. And from then on it's neutralized
by the immune system within a couple of weeks or months after the infection
and it does nothing anymore for the rest of your life."
Of the millions of T cells
that form part of our immune system, HIV is only capable of infecting one
in 500 T cells where it lies dormant. And HIV actively infects at most
one in 10,000 T cells. Every two days the body regenerates T cells at a
rate of 5% 500 times faster than HIV can actively infect them. So
HIV can't be seen to do any harm in the body and can live happily in its
If HIV is so ineffectual,
why then is it the accepted view that it's the cause of AIDS? We put this
to Harvard molecular biologist Professor Walter Gilbert.
DR. WALTER GILBERT: "The
general public accepts what the media tells them and the media has blown
up the virus as the cause of AIDS and the scientific community, parts of
it have blown up the virus as the cause of AIDS, because it is more
convenient to have a neat explanation than to be in that situation which
we often are in science at which the problem, the questions still face
us and our knowledge proceeds gradually to overcome those difficulties."
JAD ADAMS: "I think
people want to believe in HIV. People have profound feelings about HIV
and what I I call them HIV fundamentalists."
Author of AIDS THE
HIV MYTH one of the first books to challenge HIV as the cause of AIDS,
Jad Adams has long been suspicious of the HIV hypothesis and in particular
of the way the virus was brought to public attention.
JAD ADAMS: "HIV was
announced to be the cause of AIDS at a press conference in America, in
April of 1984.
Health Secretary Margaret
Heckler made the announcement to a packed news conference.
MARGARET HECKLER: "The
probable cause of AIDS has been found."
She then introduced the
scientist who led the team, Dr. Robert Gallo.
JAD ADAMS: "It was rather
interesting that that press conference was held before publication in the
scientific papers in scientific press which is almost always the precursor
of a discussion about whether you've genuinely got the cause, whether you've
genuinely got a discovery."
In Paris at the Pasteur
Institute where HIV was first identified even Professor Luc Montagnier
who pioneered early HIV work has moved away from the notion that HIV on
its own can cause AIDS. Had he always believed it was sufficient to cause
DR. LUC MONTAGNIER: "At
first yes, we thought we had the best the best candidate, this virus
for this virus to be the cause of AIDS. But after a while, even from
the beginning actually, we we thought maybe, for the activation of
that virus in cells, we had to - we need - some cofactors. So I would
agree that HIV by itself, or some strains of HIV are not sufficient to
If the role of HIV is
now being questioned by leading scientists, how does that affect the way
we look at AIDS? What in fact IS AIDS?
In 1987 the Centre for
Disease Control in Atlanta USA, revised and broadened its definition of
AIDS, listing 25 diseases. So many different diseases points away from
one single viral cause argues Peter Duesberg.
DR. PETER DUESBERG: "AIDS
is a collection or syndrome of 25 old diseases, conventional diseases.
Not one of them is new. They've all been known for centuries, or at least
for decades. With the provision that you have to find antibody to HIV or
you or virus or some other traces of that virus, when they are found
then those who believe in the virus as the cause of AIDS, say, those 25
diseases, any one of them or combination of them, are caused by the virus.
For example, if you have tuberculosis and you find HIV, they say HIV has
done it. Eighty years ago, a hundred years ago Robert Koch used
to say tuberculosis bacillus has done it."
AIDS doesn't seem to behave
like an infectious disease because it remains within the high risk groups.
In the USA, 92% and in the UK 95% of those who get AIDS are men who are
either intravenous drug users active homosexuals or both. No infectious
agent could be that selective. So is AIDS infectious at all? Before discussing
this we should take a careful look at what we've most often been told about
HIV and AIDS and clear up some existing misconceptions.
Most of us have heard
that if you got HIV you would certainly get AIDS and would certainly die;
it was simply a matter of when.
DEPT. OF HEALTH AD: "It
is a deadly disease and there is no known cure. The virus can be passed
during sexual intercourse with an infected person. Anyone can get it, man
And the latency period
between infection and full blown AIDS has been stretched from one year
to five years to ten years and now some suggest even longer depending on
risk behaviour. The goalposts are constantly being moved and more and more
contradictions to the viral AIDS hypothesis are emerging. For example only
a small proportion of HIV positive people ever develop full blown AIDS.
In the USA in any one year only 1.5% of the estimated HIV positives get
AIDS. This means that 98.5% don't get AIDS.
TOM: "I believe I have
been HIV positive since at least 1982 because I was with my lover at that
time who died of AIDS in 1984. I have no symptoms whatsoever."
TOM: "I routinely exercise
and go to work every day and do everything anyone else would do. What very
often you hear on the media is enough to scare the life out of you. Of
course they say if you're just positive you have AIDS that that one's
hard to get over, the discrimination and hysteria.
Anna discovered she was
HIV positive three years ago but she is sure she has had HIV since the
early 80s in San Francisco where she took drugs from the age of 14 to 21.
ANNA: "I was for a while
an intravenous drug drug user, although it's now six over six
years since I injected any drugs at all. When I was first diagnosed I thought
I'm going to die, this is it, and I'd been listening to everything that
was being said on the television that that we were reading in the
papers, and the message was, and still is very much, HIV equals AIDS equals
death. Since I've known I was positive, since my diagnosis, I've had no
health problems at all, really."
AIDS DISEASES BUT NO HIV
Kaposi sarcoma or KS has
always been one of the key diseases associated with AIDS, producing purple
lesions on the skin and internally. Sam has KS but is amongst a growing
number of men who have Kaposi's sarcoma but no trace of HIV.
At New York University
Medical Centre, Sam's doctor, Dr Alvyn FriedmanKien was one of the
first physicians to associate Kaposi's sarcome with AIDS.
DR. ALVYN FRIEDMANKIEN:
"In the beginning of the epidemic one of the first things that we
noticed was this unusual tumour occuring in gay men. Since that time of
course we have seen an enormous number of Kaposis sarcomas cases in patients
who are HIV infected individuals. And more recently discovered that there
were several patients who are gay men with Kaposis sarcoma who are not
Sam had wanted to be tested
for HIV because he felt he was leading a high risk lifestyle, including
taking poppers, a dangerous substance called amyl nitrite that is inhaled.
SAM: "I have a background
of having had a lot of promiscuous sex with both men and women over a period
of many years. And with all of the people coming down with AIDS I thought
that I was in a risk group and that I had every reason to think that I
might have AIDS. I was I thought it was even probable that I did,
so I was very interested in having an HIV test and I wouldn't really have
been surprised if it was positive. Fortunately it was negative."
Dr Friedman Kien is convinced
that his HIV negative patients do not have AIDS but a benign form of Kaposi's
sarcoma caused by an organism other than HIV.
Dr. Robert RootBernstein
has been making a special study of KS and believes that Kaposi's sarcoma
of itself without HIV can produce an irreversible AIDS type condition.
DR. ROBERT ROOTBERNSTEIN:
"The existence of Kaposis sarcoma patients who are HIV negative suggest
to me that there are causes of AIDS other than HIV. In fact, I've just
completed a study of Kaposis sarcoma that goes back to the very first paper
ever published on the subject by Mort Kaposi in 1872, and it shows that
in fact there are hundreds of Kaposis sarcoma patients matching the CDC
definition of AIDS for over a century. These patients are not elderly men,
these are teenage boys, they are young men in their 20s and 30s, they are
often described as being previously healthy."
The USA's Centre for Disease
Control's definition of AIDS states that men under sixty with Kaposi's
sarcoma who have not been tested for HIV or whose tests are inconclusive
have AIDS. Would Dr Friedman Kien's patients with Kaposi's sarcoma and
no HIV be defined as having AIDS?
DR. ALVYN FRIEDMANKIEN:
"At this particular time the CDC, the Centre for Disease Control,
and other scientists and and epidemeologists around the country are
reconsidering the definition of AIDS to perhaps change the definition not
to include Kaposis sarcoma as a definitive diagnosis."
DR. PETER DUESBERG: "They
once more would have to redefine AIDS. They have to move the goal posts
again, which they they have a lot of practice in that. They have
done that almost every year, they have revised and altered the definition
of AIDS. They have every year they have extended the latent period,
they have added diseases until '87, now they start subtracting them again."
As the AIDS edifice begins
to crumble more anomalies emerge. UK Government predictions said there
would be 17,000 AIDS deaths by 1992. This has now been slashed to 5,000
that's by more that two thirds. And the number of predicted AIDS
cases has been halved.
HIV AND AIDS SYMPTOMS BUT
Stage performer Michael
Callen has had HIV and AIDS symptoms since 1983.
MICHAEL CALLEN: "I'm
sure that I became infected like most other gay men who have AIDS. I was
very, very active in the, in the sexual revolution of the late '70s and
REPORTER: "How was the
state of your health in general now?"
MICHAEL CALLEN: "It's
a paradox of AIDS. I'm healthier now than I've ever been, I mean, I have
Kaposis sarcoma, I have bacterial pneumonia at least once a year, I've
had herpes zoster, I have some immune complex problem and for a while they
thought I had lymphoma, but since I practice safe sex rigorously now, I
no longer get the flus and the colds and the drips and the rashes that
were part of being a gay man in the 70s and being sexually active. And
you just didn't really notice them.
REPORTER: "Do you think
HIV is the cause of AIDS?"
MICHAEL CALLEN: "No
I have never believed that HIV or any other single event, single agent
could account for a disease of this complexity and diversity."
Ron Webeck has another
extraordinary story to tell. In 1985 he was a waiter in Cape Cod when he
began to lose vision, couldn't add up properly and started falling over.
He was diagnosed as having HIV and an AIDS related viral brain disease
called PML. He became gravely ill.
RON WEBECK: "Well, I
felt that I was going to die and I actually asked the doctors to send me
home because I wanted to die at home. Well several weeks had passed and
then I realized that it would be worse if I died without trying. So, and
also the fact that I had to try for other people who loved me. So I started
Ron has made an excellent
recovery and both viruses have completely disappeared.
RON WEBECK: "In February
of 1989 and June of 1989 I was tested at the National Institute of Health
at which time they found no trace of the AIDS vi or HIV virus - in
my spinal fluid or my blood, along with no trace of the JC virus that causes
the brain disease, both viruses were gone."
The threat of the heterosexual
spread of AIDS has succeeded in frightening the general public. In some
young people's mind's sex now equals death. The heterosexual threat is
also used to squeeze more funding for the lucrative HIV based research
projects that are under way. Professor Gordon Stewart one of the few voices
in the UK that has questioned the HIV hypothesis, has made a special study
of AIDS predictions.
DR. GORDON STEWART: "Well
the main prediction was that there would be a tremendous spread by heterosexual
transmission and that has not occured. Not in America, not here, as far
as I know not anywhere, Africa is something else. And then the follow on
from that was that there would be because of that a global pandemic and
that has not happened either."
HIV is not behaving like
a newly introduced sexually transmitted virus which be expected to spread
like wild fire.
In a recent US Armed Forces
Survey of over a million 1719 year old men and women HIV was found
very rarely indeed a steady 0.03 % over 5 years.
DR. ROBERT ROOTBERNSTEIN:
"I seriously doubt that AIDS will become a epidemic in the heterosexual
population. If I'm right that you have to have other cofactors before
HIV becomes lethal or in fact perhaps HIV isn't even necessary, essentially
a person who has no risk factors isn't going to get AIDS."
At the San Francisco AIDS
Foundation a campaign has been launched to raise $400 million dollars to
help fight the spread of AIDS over the next 3 years. But even the Foundation's
press officer admits the actual figures for heterosexual spread are not
RENE DURAZZO: "Here
in San Francisco we have yet to see a massive spread of the virus into
the heterosexual population. We're still looking at individuals who are
injection drug users, individuals who are partners of injection drug users,
namely women as still being the individuals who are primarily getting infected
in terms of the heterosexual population."
At San Francisco General
Hospital epidemiologist Dr Andrew Moss admits that there are few hard facts
on heterosexual AIDS.
DR. ANDREW MOSS: "We
don't know how fast it's spreading heterosexually and we won't know how
fast it's spreading and what's likely to happen without some more knowledge
about those areas."
How do you feel about
the general predictions concerning the spread of AIDS?
DR. ANDREW MOSS: "I
think most official predictions about the spread of AIDS have been consistently
wrong in this country, and in Britain and in the world, and I think that
there's two reasons for that. One is a lot of very bad science was done,
and the other is that political pressures to have high numbers. All administrative
numbers are political. And that usually inflates from the opposite direction,
and I think it's been hard for people to back away from their high numbers."
Inflated predictions involving
the transmission of HIV and AIDS through women have had to be revised Prostitutes
were quickly focused on but a UK survey involving 250 prostitute women
over 5 years at St. Mary's Hospital in London showed only three to be HIV
positive. Two were intravenous drug users and one the partner of an i/v
drug user. The three are said to be in good health.
AIDS figures are not reliable
and AIDS itself is not behaving in the way it is supposed to, in fact it
isn't behaving like an infectious disease at all.
DR. PETER DUESBERG: "I
believe that AIDS is not, or cannot even be an infectious disease. See,
an infectious disease believe it or not has a certain criteria to it. How
it happens, when it happens, for example, if you get infected by a bug
or by a virus within weeks or months after a contact or after that infection
you will have symptoms of a disease. In HIV and AIDS however, we are told
you get sick ten years later, ten years after infection. That is not how
viruses or bacteria even work. They work fast or never, they are very simple
mechanisms like a little clock that can do only one thing, go around the
dial once and that takes 24 to 48 hours with a virus. There's no way that
virus could possibly slow down or wait a week or wait ten years That is
"The second reason why
I think AIDS cannot be an infectious disease is there is no precedent,
there is no chance that a microbe, particularly a virus that small could
be that picky and selective as the cause of AIDS must be. AIDS is restricted,
ever since we know it, to only two major risk groups, not the general population.
Namely, the intravenous drug users and a small percentage of male homosexuals"
JOHN LAURITSEN: "In
my opinion AIDS is not consistent with an infectious disease and the reason
why is that the risk group proportions have hardly changed at all in the
last 8 years. In other words, the proportion of AIDS cases accounted for
by gay men or by intravenous drug users is virtually identical now to what
it was 8 years ago. This is a total contradiction with the notion of an
infectious venereal disease, the prevailing viewpoint. Infectious diseases
always spread and yet AIDS has not spread. It's remained rigidly compartmentalised."
For many scientists it's
difficult to move away from the idea that AIDS is infectious. Recognising
now that HIV can't do the whole job alone yet not wanting to let HIV go
altogether Professor Luc Montagnier is looking for other infectious agents
that might act as cofactors with HIV. He's recently proposed mycoplasmas
which are small bacteria.
DR. LUC MONTAGNIER: "Perhaps,
in order to have the disease we need more than one agent with a second
infection by mycoplasma or some kind of specific interaction between the
virus and mycoplasma in order to have this burst of destruction of cells
which we see we see in its patients. So there are many possibilities,
still, I think we are still in a very - at the very - beginning of understanding
At the US Armed Forces
Institute of Pathology, Dr ShyhChing Lo has also been working on a
separate mycoplasma as a possible cause or cofactor in AIDS.
How does Peter Duesberg
view these cofactor theories?
DR. PETER DUESBERG: "I
think there's no chance for cofactor, an infectious cofactor
period. Be it a mycoplasma or another virus or bacterium. A mycoplasma,
you would expect to be effective weeks or months after infection
like all other bacterial infections and a mycoplasma would spread heterosexually
and homosexually alike, it would spread randomly in the population and
Physician and microbiologist
Dr Joseph Sonnabend treats many AIDS patients in New York He has long made
his doubts about HIV known and believes AIDS stems from multiple factors
involving risk behaviour that includes infectious components.
DR. JOE SONNABEND: "I
would believe that the infectious components are a variety of common or
well known infections including virus infections such as cytomegalovirus
infection, sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis and a variety
of other common infections which are known to have immune suppressive components.
In the cities in which AIDS did occur there certainly were quite extensive
changes. And these were changes of a quantative nature rather than a qualitative
nature and this simply means that the opportunities for promiscuous or
anonymous sex increased enormously. As a result the prevalence of different
pathogens, different pathogenic organisms increased to that even single
exposures would be associated with the acquisition of some infection."
But Peter Duesberg maintains
the infectious element is a secondary phase.
DR. PETER DUESBERG: "AIDS
is primarily not an infectious disease, as it's thought of, it's primarily
a result of, I suspect of intoxication. Acquired immune deficiency as the
word actually says, in AIDS you acquire it by consuming drugs, malnutrition
that is linked to it often or typically linked to it. Once that has happened,
once you are immune deficient, then you are open to many infections that
are secondary or opportunistic as we say. That is not, therefore an infectious
disease, it is the result of that."
What specific factors
can bring about the irreversible breakdown of the immune system and are
versatile enough to cause other conditions included in the AIDS syndrome?
Conditions that have nothing whatsoever to do with immune suppression,
like lymphoma, a tumour which can be malignant, encephalitis, a brain inflammation
and Kaposi's sarcoma which is now thought not even to be linked with HIV?
In the seventies when
the gay liberation movement took off, young men flocked to New York and
San Francisco where they met up in bath houses and discos. Writer and chronicler
of the gay movement, John Lauritsen takes up the story.
JOHN LAURITSEN: "They
went to discotheques or leather clubs and other places where they would
take drugs and not just a few drugs, not innocuous drugs, but they might
take six different drugs in the course of an evening. And we don't know
really the con the consequences of these drugs, but they would include
poppers which are nitrite inhalants, MDA which is a designer drug, even
Ecstasy and Special K which are other designer drugs, they would include
ethyl chloride a deadly substance which is inhaled, it would include also
cocaine and heroin and marijuana and alcohol, and if people took a half
a dozen of these things in the course of an evening, who knows what the
interaction effects are, who knows what the long term effects of any one
of them is separately."
DR. PETER DUESBERG: "My
hypothesis is that AIDS is caused by non infectious agents. And the non
infectious agent that I consider most likely as causes of AIDS are, in
part, the psychoactive drugs which are imported and consumed in ever larger
quantities ever since the Viet Nam War in this country and probably also
DR. GORDON STEWART: "I've
always thought and indeed since 1983, I've been saying that drugs play
a major part in the development of AIDS. Now they do so in various ways
because there are various kinds of drugs involved and they don't all apply
to the same risk groups. There are above all I think the nitrites, which
we know are very toxic indeed to the cellular components of the immune
system. I don't think there's any argument about that and they can cause
various other kinds of cellular damage too. I would think this factor is
so important that could, it could in itself produce a state of affairs
which is not unlike AIDS as we now know it."
Apart from the obvious
dangers of intravenous drug use, amyl and butyl nitrites, inhaled while
dancing and during sex, used to come in one dose phials called "poppers"
but were soon available over the counter in screw top bottles allowing
unlimited inhaled doses.
DR. ROOT BERNSTEIN: "Amyl
and butyl nitrites in the kinds of doses that they are used, particularly
by gay men, have been shown in various studies to be immunosuppressive."
REPORTER: "Do poppers
combine with any other drugs that might be being taken?"
DR. ROOT BERNSTEIN: "Yes.
Poppers combine with antibiotics such as penicillin and tetracycline both
in the test tube and in living human beings and animals to create carcinogens.
These may be the cause of Kaposi's sarcoma."
So if intravenous drugs,
poppers and over medication with antibiotics play such an important role
in AIDS, why have they received so little attention? Why has HIV caught
all the attention?
JOHN LAURITSEN: "The
profit motivator is very, very powerful here. There are hundreds and hundreds
of billions of dollars at stake in the HIV hypothesis, or for that matter,
in the case of poppers. At one time the gross profits from poppers were
fifty million dolars a year. So therefore most people can, at least a lot
of human beings can be bought off."
Meanwhile the powerful
HIV juggernaut thunders on making more and more claims. Claims for example
that HIV causes AIDS in needlestick accidents. There is not one single
confirmed case of AIDS from a needlestick injury anywhere in the world.
There are also claims
that HIV causes AIDS and death in the babies of HIV positive mothers
the majority of whom are intravenous drug users; through blood transfusions
which are themselves immune suppressant and in people with haemophilia
a condition also associated with immune suppression.
HIV is also blamed for the AIDS type Slims disease in Africa. But the manifestations
of AIDS in Africa, high fevers, malaria, dysentry and bacterial infections
are very different from AIDS as it's described in the West and are consistent
with pathogenic assault and malnutrition that are already endemic in some
Third World countries. Vested interests in HIV technology have prevented
any proper controlled trials to discover whether HIV really is causing
all these diseases.
So there is no proof that
any of these severely ill patients, grouped together under the HIV/AIDS
banner, are dying of HIV infection rather than one of the 25 'old' diseases
described as the AIDS syndrome. In the only small trial we could find in
haemophiliacs those who were HIV positive and those who were negative had
exactly the same incidence of disease. Yet prejudice, discrimination and
fear continue to escalate around HIV. Children and adults with haemophilia
presumed to have been infected with HIV, through injection of blood products
are particularly vulnerable to this type of discrimination.
University lecturer, Dick
James has haemophilia. He's been HIV positive for 8 years.
DICK JAMES: "I have
a full time job, I have friends, I do most kinds of things most people
do. I've a very busy life as a matter of fact."
REPORTER: "Do you think
HIV positive people are discriminated against?"
DICK JAMES: "Oh, quite
certainly, discrimination in terms of , I'll be charitable, benign neglect,
by government or governments relative in action concerning the epidemic.
And certainly more obvious things like the the increasingly famous
immigration laws in the United States that prevent people from coming to
our country. There are of course less restrictive laws on the books of
many countries and so there are some countries that I'd find it difficult
to travel to also."
This is just one example
of the gross discrimination shown towards HIV positive people. If HIV has
nothing to do with AIDS and AIDS is not infectious we are living through
one of the biggest scientific errors in history. One of Peter Duesberg's
greatest concerns is the fact that HIV positive people with and without
symptoms are being prescribed the highly toxic drug AZT which can cause
bone marrow depletion and symptoms identical to AIDS itself.
DR. PETER DUESBERG: "The
mechanism of action of AZT is embarrasingly clear and simple. It
is a terminator of DNA synthesis. DNA is the basis for all life on this
planet. It's the central molecule in every living cell."
Author of a recent book
describing the dangers of AZT, John Lauritsen has made a careful study
of the AZT drug trials. His findings were originally published in a series
of articles in the New York Native.
JOHN LAURITSEN: "Well,
I have examined all of the major studies which are us to claim benefits
for AZT. Without exception I would say these studies prove nothing. They
have been in one respect or another incompetent and/or dishonest, but I
would maintain that there is no scientifically credible evidence whatsoever
that AZT has benefits for anybody under any circumstance."
REPORTER: "What do you
think of the current trials looking into the long term effects of AZT?"
DR. PETER DUESBERG: "Well,
I think they will just show again that AZT is toxic. If you give less it
will take longer to kill somebody with it or kill its susceptible cells
with it and if you take more it goes faster."
So far no one has lived
longer than three years on AZT and it's very difficult to know whether
a patient is dying of AIDS or the toxic effects of the drug.
With so many lives at
stake and not a single one saved through the HIV hypothesis, there's been
astonishingly little debate about alternative causes of AIDS. Big money
invested in HIV technology has had its influence. Have financial interests
helped stifle the debate about AIDS?
DR. PETER DUESBERG: "Unfortunately,
yes. Their financial interests are very obvious. Most of my colleagues
I'm arguing with or debating with, or trying to debate with, most of them
don't want to dignify me with an answer, are millionaires stockholders
in companies, consultants, award winners. They win awards at the same rate
as Boris Becker and Ivan Lendl. Every 2 or 3 months they get an award for
the virus causing AIDS so they are orders of magnitude ahead of those who
don't believe in the virus hypothesis and live on regular university salaries."
It might be difficult
for scientists but why have medical journalists been so slow to contest
the received views about HIV and AIDS?
JAD ADAMS: "Medical
journalists in particular seem to think that the public are best served
by giving them unadulterated information which comes direct from the government.
It's something that, that no other journalist does; journalists working
on economics or on transport want to give both sides of the story and if
the government says something then the first thing they're going to do
is ask a question about it."
DR. HARRY RUBIN: "I
think it's important to to question accepted wisdom and especially
in a public health case like this. I think it's dangerous for the public
not to question the conventional wisdom. It is dangerous for some of the
people who speak out most loudly and most authoratatively."
DR. ROBERT ROOTBERNSTEIN:
"If HIV is not the cause of AIDS, the long term implications could
be disastrous. We may end up developing vaccines which will prevent HIV
infections but not prevent AIDS."
And if AIDS is not infectious
DR. PETER DUESBERG: "The
implications would be very serious, very, very serious in fact. Millions
of lives that could have been saved won't be saved if we work on an ungrounded
or poorly grounded hypothesis. AIDS prevention, which is now entirely based
on preventing contacts with infected people would take a totally different
DR. WALTER GILBERT: "The
community as a whole doesn't listen patiently to critics who adopt alternative
viewpoints. Although the great lesson of history is that knowledge develops
through the conflict of viewpoints. If you have simply a consensus you
it generally stltifies, it fails to see the problems of that consensus
and it depends on the existence of critics to break up that iceberg and
permit knowledge to develop. This is in fact one of the under pinnings
of democratic theory. It's one of the basic reasons that we believe
in notions of free speech and it's one of the great forces in terms
of intellectual development."
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