Brief Report Upon The AIDS Dissident International Conference in India

By Roberto Giraldo

New York Feb. 2000

International Conference on Validity of HIV/AIDS Programme Including Methods of Testing. Public Health Institute, Government of Maharashtra, Vaccine Institute Campus. Nagpur, Central India, January 30 and 31, 2000.

The AIDS dissident movement and the people suffering the tragic consequences of the HIV/AIDS hypothesis, have a great hope in India!


For several years Dr. Shantilal Kothari, Nutritionist and President of Academy of Nutrition Improvement (ANI) in Nagpur, has been questioning the official Indian national AIDS program (NACO). He has sent lots of letters with scientific documents from the AIDS dissident researchers, to the health authorities of the State of Maharashtra, to the Ministry of Health of India in New Delhi, and to WHO and UNAIDS in Geneva. He has also written dissident articles in the main newspapers of India. A year ago he created a Club with people diagnosed as "HIV positive" which currently has over 200 members.

Last year Dr. Kothari performed a peaceful hunger strike, to try to force the Government of India to meet with us. On August 10th, 1999 the Ministry of Health, Government of India finally asked Dr. Kothari to organize an International Conference with experts and scientists from both sides of the HIV/AIDS debate.


The conference was organized by Dr. Shantilal Kothari President of the Academy of Nutrition Improvement, Nagpur and Dr. K.C. Jain (Conference Coordinator), in Co-operation with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Government of India and the Directorate of Health and Family Welfare of the Government of Maharashtra.

Rajendra Khatry, journalist of the Indian Express, was responsible for promoting the conference on the media.

A group of people who had AIDS or who are labeled "HIV-positive" were working as volunteers to the conference.

The walls of the hall where the conference took place, were artistically decorated with copies of articles from Peter Duesberg, David Rasnick, Gordon Stewart, John Lawritsen, Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos, Etienne de Harven, Neville Hodgkinson, Joan Shenton, Huw Christie, Christine Maggiore, Michael Baumgartner, Michael Ellner, Paul Philpott, and Roberto Giraldo.

During the lunch and coffee breaks all attendees of the Conference had the opportunity of testing the exquisite Indian vegetarian cuisine.

Financial support

Written documents, food, refreshments, national and international lecturers transportation, were financially supported by the generosity of Dr. Kothari and the Academy of Nutrition Improvement.

The Directorate of Health and Family Welfare of the Government of Maharashtra provided the conference hall free of charge, and a vehicle for the local transportation of delegates.


The conference was attended by 100 people from different states and cities of India and Nepal.

There were several health care officials from the Government of Maharashtra like the Principal the Public Health Institute, Government of Maharashtra (Dr. S.C. Gupta), the representative of the WHO to the Indian program of AIDS in New Delhi (Dr. Shanshikant), the Director of the Indian National Institute of Virology in Pune (Dr. D.A. Gadkari), the Director of Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society (Dr. V.S. Shangari), and a representative of the Indian Medical Association, Nagpur Branch (Dr. G.M. Bang).

Also there were several MDs and other health care professionals, leaders of NGOs dialing with AIDS in Bombay and other cities, homeopathic and ayurvedic practitioners.

During the lectures and discussions there was always a group of about 15 people who have been diagnosed with AIDS or who have been labeled as "HIV positive" and who are members of "The Nagpur HIV-positive People’s Club" created by the Academy of Nutrition Improvement. At the opening ceremony some of them welcomed the delegates.

International lecturers

Dr. Etienne de Harven, MD from France, who lectured on the issues of HIV purification and isolation;

Dr. Claus Kohnlein, MD from Germany, who lectured on the toxicity of the antiretroviral medications, and

Dr. Roberto Giraldo, MD from USA, who lectured on the inaccuracy of the tests for HIV and upon the toxic and nutritional causes of AIDS.

Indian lecturers

Dr. Manu Kothari MD, Professor Emeritus of Seth Medical College and Kem Hospital, Bombay (HIV/AIDS crying wolf-crying eureka baselessly);

Dr. Ritu Priya MD, University of Jawaharlal Nehru, New Delhi (The National AIDS Control Programme: Some socio-culture and organizational issues from an epidemiological perspective);

Dr. D.A. Gadkari, Director National Institute of Virology and National AIDS Research Institute, Pune (Molecular Epidemiology of HIV: HIV-1 Subtypes in Western India);

Dr. Amit Amin, Lata Medical Research Foundation, Nagpur (Is universal HIV screening in the antenatal setting justified?);

Dr. Pramod Chhabrani, Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore (Prevalence of candida infections in HIV positive patients);

Dr. Shehal Shrivastava, Lata Medical Research Foundation, Nagpur (Modification of P.A.N.A. programme by vitamin A supplementation);

Dr. Asha Shirivastava, N.S.C.B. Medical College, Jabalpur (Women and AIDS awareness, attitude and social issues);

Dr. N.T. Deshmukh, Nagpur (HIV positive/AIDS patients treated by natural and ayurvedic system);

Dr. Madhu Agarwal, Nagpur (HIV/AIDS patients treated by homeopathy).

Panel discussion

There was a three hour panel discussion with the participation of Dr. Etienne de Harven (France), Dr. Claus Kohnlein (Germany), Dr. Roberto Giraldo (USA), Dr. Shanshikant (Representative of the W.H.O. to the Indian AIDS Control Program), Dr. D.A. Gadkari (Director of the Indian National Institute of Virology), Dr. S.M. Yyawahare (Pathologist, Nagpur), Dr. Asha Shrivastava (Jabalpur), Dr. K.H. Deshpande (Senior Advocate) and Dr. Shantilal Kothari (Conference Organizer). The panel was moderated by Professor Emeritus Dr. Manu Kothari (Bombay).

All the main issues of the AIDS dissident movement were pointed out. There were hot moments during the discussion, however, thanks to the high spirit of professionalism of all panelists and the public the discussion came to a friendly end.

Proceedings of the conference

An elegant booklet containing the program of the Conference, welcome messages, abstracts of the lectures, and articles from the AIDS dissidence, was given to each attendee, media person, and to the Health Authorities and other authorities of the Government of India, and WHO in Geneva.

The booklet has welcome messages sent to the Conference by Shri K.R. Narayanan, President of India; K.C. Pant, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission of the Government of India; R.A. Mashelkar, Director General, CSIR & Secretary, Government of India, Department of Scientific & Industrial Research; G.M.C. Bulayogi, Member of the Indian Parliament - Speaker of Lok Sabha; and Shri Vasant Sathe, Politician from Nagpur, Former Member of the Indian Parliament and Former Ministry of Energy of India.

The booklet also contains copies of articles by Peter Duesberg and David Rasnick, Gordon Stewart, Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos et al, Etienne de Harven, Claus Kohnlein, Vladimir Koliadin, John Lauritsen, Rosalind Harrison, Simon Barker, Felix De Fries, Michael Baumgartner, Christine Johnson, and Roberto Giraldo.

Meeting with AIDS patients

On Saturday January 29 Dr. de Harven, Dr. Kohnlein, and Dr. Giraldo had the very unique experience of meeting with a group of 20 people labeled as "HIV positive" or who have or had been diagnosed of having AIDS. All are members of "The Nagpur HIV-positive People’s Club".

This meeting took place at the Academy for Nutrition Improvement, Nagpur. We had the opportunity of chatting with them and their families, listening to their testimonies, and read their medical records.

As expected, most of them were patients suffering from tuberculosis and because they react positive on "the tests for HIV" they are diagnosed as having AIDS. Only two of them could be seen as having clinical manifestations of a severe immunodeficiency different than is common to patients with tuberculosis.

It was very distressing to find out that once they are diagnosed with AIDS, the orthodoxy health practitioners stop the treatment for tuberculosis and prescribe them only with antiretroviral medications.

Currently, all these individuals are being treated with natural, nutritional, homeopathic or ayurvedic approaches. The treatments are supervised by highly qualified professionals of these holistic medicines. Some of these professionals are professors at universities and schools of holistic medicines which are common in India.

Media coverage

There was excellent media coverage, the best we have ever had! Prior to the conference several newspapers of India and Nepal announced the Nagpur AIDS dissident meeting. The day before the conference started there was a three hour press conference with 15 journalists from local and national media of India and Nepal. Dr. de Harven, Dr. Kohnlein and Dr. Giraldo explained to the media people all our scientific views on AIDS.

"Coincidentally", at the same time of the dissident conference there was another meeting of the AIDS orthodoxy in Nagpur organized by the Indian Academy of Medical Sciences.

The main newspapers and magazines had headlines on front pages such as:

"Divergent views on cause of AIDS trigger controversy",

"Is HIV the cause of AIDS? Two events organized in the city on Sunday have contradictory views to offer",

"Dogmatic views of the west challenged at Academy of Nutrition Improvement Conference on AIDS",

"Developed nations purposely creating panic about AIDS",

"National AIDS Research Institute maintains position on HIV as cause of AIDS",

"Researchers demolish myths about AIDS",

"Hypothesis that HIV causes AIDS, a sham: Dr. de Harven",

"AIDS is neither infectious nor sexually transmitted, claims Dr. Giraldo",

"HIV theory is a big mistake, aver AIDS researchers",

"An AIDS control project under fire", "AIDS: virulent myth",

"It isn’t HIV that causes AIDS?"

WHO adopts defensive stance over anti-HIV campaigners’ contention".

A month after the Nagpur meeting ended, newspapers and magazines are still publishing articles with interviews of Dr. de Harven, Dr. Kohnlein, and Dr. Giraldo.


After the conference Dr. Kothari sent letters with the main conclusions of this meeting to Dr. Gro Harlam, Director of World Health Organization in Geneva, to Dr. N.T. Shanmugam, Ministry of Health and Family welfare, Government of India in New Delhi, and to Dr. Thomas C. Benjamin, Secretary of the Department of Medical Education and Drugs, Government of Maharashtra, Bombay. He sent them copies of the proceedings of the conference together with copies of articles from newspaper reporting on the meeting.

The government of India cannot now say that it has never been brought to its attention that the hypothesis that AIDS is infectious and caused by a virus has never been scientifically validated.

We clearly asked the Government officials of India to stop HIV testing and to stop immediately the use of antiretroviral medications to treat or to prevent AIDS in pregnant women, infants, children and anybody else.

Further information

Dr. Shantilal Kothari, President, Academy of Nutrition Improvement Soyamilk Complex, Sitabuldi, Wardha Road Nagpur-440 012 (M.S.), India Phone: +91 712 52 5184 (Home) and +91 712 52 2645 (Work)

February 1st and 2nd , 2000

During the preparations for the Nagpur Conference, and thanks to the media coverage, Dr. Kothari came in contact with this group in New Delhi.


In the 1970s JACK (Joint Action Council Kannur) was working on developmental issues in rural areas of India, with funds from international charitable donors. Soon they realized that those kind of resources were grossly inadequate for any meaningful development, and that international donor agencies and the NGOs that they support had other interests far from people's needs. They saw a dead-end in developmental activism and pulled out of it.

Since the 1980s when HIV/AIDS became the focus internationally, they were also working on this crisis and were initially swept away by concepts of "foreign disease", "testing" and "high-risk groups". Soon after, they realized that these actions, while not contributing to AIDS prevention, had a detrimental impact on Indian society and system. Since 1992 they began to question these programs, and by 1995 they got into open confrontation with the national and international agencies dealing with AIDS in India.

They have been writing several pamphlets, booklets and flyers for the public and the media, where they analyze and question the main strategies of NACO (National AIDS control Organization of India) and their links with UNAIDS, WHO, UNICEF, CDC, NIH, pharmaceutical companies, British Government, and World Bank loans.

They have focused their analysis on the political and economic issues of the official AIDS programs. Last year they published a booklet, "HIV/AIDS Industry: Agenda Behind the Epidemic", which provides an overview of all the issues they have been addressing. This is the first of a series of booklets that they are publishing on different aspects of HIV/AIDS related to the Indian context.

They have sent documents with their criticisms to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and to members of the Indian Parliament. The media have written objective articles on JACK activism against the main issues of the Indian National AIDS program.

In their documents they make an objective parallel between African AIDS programs and the Indian program.

We were very impressed with their library, which contained dozens of books, magazines, newspapers, and other documents that analyzed the economics of AIDS in western countries and in the underdeveloped world.

JACK has members and friends from the different sectors of the society in all Indian states.

Press Conference

On February 1st, JACK organized a press conference in New Delhi, capital of India, with 50 journalists from the main media. These journalists were aware of JACK activism against the official AIDS program.

For about three hours Dr. de Harven, Dr. Kohnlein, and Dr. Giraldo had the opportunity to explain in full detail the scientific dissident views on AIDS. After the press conference, several journalists conducted separate interviews with the three of us. Dr. Kothari explained at the press conference the main discussions and conclusions of the Nagpur Conference.

This was a very dynamic meeting with lots of questions from the journalists, who already started publishing nation-wide objective articles on our views. Currently they are bringing to the public the international scientific debate on AIDS combined with JACK's economic analysis and criticisms. We think this is a very powerful combination.

Dr. de Harven and Dr. Giraldo were also interviewed on nation-wide Indian TV.

Lecture at the National Academy of Medicine

On February 2nd, JACK organized a lecture by Dr. Giraldo at the National Academy of Medicine. A group of physicians, researchers, journalists and individuals working with NGOs dealing with AIDS attended the lecture. There was a friendly and dynamic discussion and the main scientific issues of the AIDS dissidence were pointed out. Attendees welcomed our views on AIDS.


On the evening of February 1st, JACK group organized a dinner in the house of Anju, a young lady dedicated full time to JACK AIDS activism. Here we had the opportunity to chat with professionals, researchers, and journalists, members and friends of JACK.

The AIDS dissident movement has lots of things to learn from this Indian group of AIDS activists. Mr. Purushothaman Mulloli, is the coordinator of JACK in New Delhi. For further information contact Anju or Purushotaman at C-38 Anand Niketan, New Delhi-21, India Phone +91 11 611 5488 and +91 11 611 4692 <>

Lecture at Jawaharlal Nerhu University in New Delhi

During the Nagpur Conference, one of the participants was Dr. Ritu Priya, MD, epidemiologist and professor at the Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health of the Jawaharlal Nerhu University in New Delhi. Since 1994 she has written articles that criticized the Indian AIDS program. She invited Dr. Giraldo to lecture on the scientific dissident views on AIDS.

The lecture took place on February 7, 2000. It was attended by a group of 40 university staff teachers, postgraduate students, molecular biologists, social and AIDS researchers, and epidemiologists. The discussion was also very dynamic and attendees welcomed our view on AIDS. The chairman of the Department of Community Health thanked Dr. Giraldo for wakening them up to the AIDS dissident views and challenges.

Video documentary

Mr. Jethu Mundul is a TV journalist who also makes movie documentaries. He is an AIDS activist residing in Bombay. He has been in contact with the AIDS dissidents for several years. He is very familiar with Reappraising AIDS, Continuum, Alive and Well, HEAL, and IFAS organizations. It is important to remember that Bombay is the main center for making Indian movies.

He filmed all the lectures, panels and discussions of the Nagpur Conference and is planning to edit a video documentary with his recordings.

For Further information contact: Jethu Mundul, CINEX17 Shepherd Road Bombay 400008, India Phone +91 22 309 3437 <>

Roberto Giraldo, MD (USA), is the new president of The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis. Edited by Dr. Etienne de Harven, MD (France); Dr. Claus Kohnlein, MD (Germany); Dr. Shantilal Kothari (India), and Mr. Purushothaman Mulloli (India).