By Richard Johnson

New York Post 4 Nov. 2001

Celia Farber, among the few who challenged the many myths about AIDS in a series of columns for Spin magazine is crowing now that Rolling Stone has seen the light. The article "AIDS in Africa: In Search of the Truth" by famed South African writer Rian Malan charges that researchers regularly inflate statistics about the lethal disease.

Malan, the author of "My Traitor's Heart," spent a year looking for proof of the soaring death rates cited by AIDS organizations in South Africa. Frustrated by conflicting data, Malan even studied coffin sales in Johannesburg, trying to find evidence of the supposed pandemic. Instead, he ends up debunking exaggerated numbers put forth by groups like the Swiss-based UNAIDS (the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS).

"As he gripped each thread of questioning, expecting AIDS orthodoxy to resolve his growing anxiety with solid answers, he only ran into more questions," Farber told us. "He wound up‹commendably‹with an entirely different story than the one he pitched to Rolling Stone. Suffice to say, AIDS professionals will be aghast," Farber declares, "unless, of course they've decided to take their cash and ribbons and helicopter off to their chalets where they can hope to live out their days in anonymity."

Malan's findings debunk myths the scientific community has been spreading for 20 years. "The mind boggles at the bizarre notions that have held sway for decades," Farber said, "the Pulitzer Prizes that have been awarded for unadulterated hogwash."

Farber also notes, "In other media breakthroughs, the AIDS magazine POZ ran a cover story this month, that, for them, was very brave. It demonstrates, I think, the long-known fact that HIV antibodies have never traveled from women to men. It is simply a dead end. This ties nicely into Malan's quest for truth about AIDS in Africa. How is it, one might ask, that African people manage to spread this HIV so rampantly in ways that people in New York haven't managed in 20 years?"

A Rolling Stone spokeswoman said the Jann Wenner music mag - usually a repository of politically correct thought - was proud of the provocative AIDS piece. "Rian Malan is fantastic, and he spent a year in Africa researching this." she said. "It might raise questions, but I think there are unanswered questions and things that don't add up.˛