Elements of the AIDS Hoax
"Today we add another miracle to the long honor roll of American medicine and science. Today's discovery represents the triumph of science over a dreaded disease.
Those who have disparaged this scientific search - those who have said we weren't doing enough - have not understood how sound, solid, significant medical research proceeds."
Ms. Heckler promised an AIDS vaccine by 1986.
Also present at the press conference was Dr. Gallo, who had previously mistakenly claimed that a retrovirus he had discovered was the cause of a form of leukemia.. The same article in The Sunday Times reports:
"As he strode into the press conference, Gallo was a picture of confidence, fastidiously dressed. "He approached the podium like the only kid in the school assembly to have won a national merit scholarship," a journalist, David Black, wrote later. "His manner seemed to me condescending, as though he were the Keeper of Secrets obliged to deal with a world of lesser mortals."
The scientific world seemed hypnotised by his certainty, and Gallo's conviction that HIV alone explained the arrival of AIDS - "who needs co-factors when you've been hit by a truck?" he is quoted as saying - became the established view.
Eight years on, Gallo's superstar status and scientific credibility have been undermined. The scientific community has now accepted that the virus was first isolated in 1983 by a group led by Dr Luc Montagnier at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, and had been sent to Gallo's laboratory for further testing.
A National Institutes of Health inquiry panel has accused Gallo of "intellectual appropriation" of the virus. It says that an article announcing the discovery published in Science magazine in 1984, of which Gallo was joint author, contained "misrepresentations or falsifications" of methodology and data.
Gallo, who also faces federal inquiries alleging perjury and fraud in his patent application, denies any intention to mislead and blames the errors in the article on the rush to publish.
For American television viewers, however, his decline from fame was encapsulated earlier this month as he was chased by a camera crew demanding: "Did you steal the virus, Dr Gallo? Did you steal the virus?""
Dr. Harvey Bialy is a molecular biologist and scientific editor of the journal Bio Technology. He is also editor of the newsletter Rethinking AIDS. He says:
"I can't find a single virologist who will give me references which show that HIV is the probable cause of AIDS. On an issue as important as this there should be a set of scientific documents somewhere, research papers written by people who are acessible, demonstrating this. But they are not available. If you ask a virologist for that information, you don't get an answer, you get fury." (The Sunday Times, April 26, 1992).
In my opinion, the Heckler-Gallo announcement is a variation on the theme of the Hitlerian big lie technique: tell a big enough lie often enough, and people will believe it. People believed - and continue to believe - the big lie because of the general mind-destruction wreaked by "compulsory state education."
"The mystery of that damn virus has been generated by the $2 billion a year they spend on it. You take any other virus, and you spend $2 billion, and you can make up some great mysteries about it, too!"
I have a profound little book, GMP: The Greatest Management Principle in the World by Michael LeBoeuf, Ph.D. Its message: "THE THINGS THAT GET REWARDED GET DONE." The more the AIDS researchers don't solve the problem, the more money they get. They get rewarded for not solving the problem. What is rewarded gets done. So they continue to not-solve the problem. That is in their best long-term interests. The longer they not-solve the problem, the more money they get. If they can make the "problem or crisis" worse, so much the better.
Duesberg's Demolition of the "HIV-AIDS"
In the paper AIDS Acquired by Drug Consumption and Other Noncontagious Risk Factors by Peter H. Duesberg, the commonly held hypothesis that HIV causes "AIDS" is, in my opinion, convincingly and completely demolished. The following points are excerpted from Dr. Duesberg's paper:
Germ Theory vs. Toxin Theory of Disease
Having personally nearly died from malaria as a 3-year old, the germ theory of disease is no stranger to me. Malaria is generally considered to be caused by any one of three parasites: "plasmodium malariae," "plasmodium vivax," and "plasmodium falciparum." These parasites are carried by mosquitos. In parts of Africa and Asia, if you are bitten by a mosquito you may get malaria. Bubonic plague is caused by the bacterium "pasteurella pestis," carried by rats. The germ or bug theory of disease has been very useful in understanding and curing many diseases.
The hypothesis that the HIV virus causes "AIDS" is a manifestation of the germ theory. Probably, many of the members of the "HIV-AIDS establishment" swallow this hypothesis, not because they're in it just for the money and don't care a hoot about the victims killed by AZT, but because they are stuck in the germ theory and can't think themselves out of it.
There is also a toxin or pathogen theory of disease. According to this theory, certain diseases are caused by the gradual build-up of poisons (toxins or pathogens) in the body, particularly within cells. The gradual build-up of toxins in the body may stem from long-term intake of alcohol, nicotine, recreational drugs, medical drugs, and junk-food. The build-up of toxins gradually pollutes the body (often weakening the immune system) to the extent that the body becomes susceptible to all kinds of infections, as well as afflictions like cancer and heart disease.
Another theory might be called the mind theory of disease, according to which diseases are caused by your mental and emotional states. The mind- and toxin theories are covered in Report #09: How to Achieve Superhealth.
A possibility that warrants serious investigation is that a person who practices optimum thinking, diet, exercise, relaxation, resting, and sleeping, greatly reduces the risk of infection. It is quite conceivable to me that if I had practiced an optimum diet during the first three years of my life, malaria would have been little more than a minor inconvenience, rather than a life-threatening disease.
Duesberg's Drug-AIDS Hypothesis
The paper Aids Caused by Drug Consumption and Other Noncontagious Risk Factors by Peter H. Duesberg (Associate Editor: D. Shugar) states, "Here the hypothesis is investigated that all American and European AIDS diseases, above the normal background of hemophilia and transfusion-related diseases, are the result of the log-term consumption of recreational and anti-HIV drugs."
(a) About 33% of American and European AIDS patients use drugs like heroin and cocaine.
(b) About 60% of American AIDS patients are male homosexuals over the age of 20. They tend to be heavy users of toxic sexual stimulants such as "nitrite- and ethylchloride inhalants, cocaine, amphetamines, methalquolone, lysergic acid, phenylcyclidine... " Several surveys have indicated that practically all male homosexuals use such drugs.
(c) An unknown percentage of AIDS patients are generated by the use of AZT.
Add the 33%, the 60%, and the unknown AZT percentage and we are close to 100%. The correlation between drugs and the "AIDS defined diseases" is much higher than the correlation between HIV and the "AIDS defined diseases."
[I would venture that in addition to drugs, any toxic substances in the diet - particularly from processed food - including from pesticides and fertilizers - could contribute to immunodeficiency. This issue is covered in Report #09: How to Achieve Superhealth.]
Consequences of the Virus-AIDS Hypothesis
In terms of health benefits, the result of the virus-AIDS hypothesis is zero.
A huge "AIDS-industry" has been created. There are more than 40,000 AIDS researchers. They receive billions in taxpayer money every year. Biotechnology companies make fortunes from selling "AIDS-test kits." The manufacturer of AZT has a gross income of $350 million per year from AZT sales.
Rather than tell victims to change their behavior, the pretended "authorities" tell them to use clean needles and even hand out "free" needles to them. No moral judgment is being passed here about drug users or homosexuals - one way or the other. The point is that the pretended "authorities" continue spreading their AIDS lies, with the result that the real causes remain generally unknown, and prevention and successful treatment don't occur.
More than 50 countries restrict entry to people who have tested HIV-antibody-positive. In Cuba 600 antibody-positive people are quarantined. Antibody-positive people are being discriminated against in other ways.
A positive "AIDS test" has a devastating and debilitating psychological effect on most people. They see it as a "death sentence." It may lead them to effectively commit suicide by taking AZT.
And so, people continue to die - particularly those on AZT. No cure is in sight. The media are supplied with a stream of sensational stories. More and more money is demanded. As Kurt Vonnegut said, "And so it goes."
Interview with Dr. Duesberg
The following interview with Dr. Peter H. Duesberg by Karen Reedstrom appeared in the February 1992 issue of FuII Context (A Publication of the Objectivist Club of Michigan), 2317 Starr Rd #D1, Royal Oak, MI 48073 (annual subscription: $20), and is reprinted with permission.
Q: Give us a brief history
of the AID syndrome, and how the retrovirus HIV was blamed for
Duesberg: The AID syndrome is a collection of twenty-five diseases. They're all previously known diseases, and their incidence was observed to be on an increase mostly in twenty to forty-five year old males in the 1980s, the majority of these men were homosexuals and a good part of them, like a third, were intravenous drug users, and then a small number of hemophiliacs and recipients of transfusions. It was debated until eighty-four as to whether this increase in these old diseases, that are now collectively referred to as AIDS diseases, was due to an infectious agent, that is to say was AIDS infectious and contagious, or was it due to some chemicals or some drugs. As you know, diseases can be caused in previously healthy people either by some infectious agents or else by chemicals, toxins, and drugs. You can distinguish between those two causes by asking who is getting those diseases in the population and what do these people have in common. And it was decided on those grounds, in eighty-four, that a virus was the cause (that it should be an infectious disease) and that this virus would be transmitted sexually or by blood transfusions or by sharing needles.
Q: Why did they think
it was a virus?
Duesberg: That is a good question. The evidence was ambiguous. Because AIDS patients injected drugs, were sexually very active, or received transfusions, an infectious agent was suspected. But there were also people in the Centers for Disease Control, in the early eighties, who argued that aphrodisiac drugs like amyl nitrites or poppers were causing AIDS. They specifically mentioned that the homosexual community used aphrodisiac drugs in large amounts to facilitate anal intercourse and also as a psychoactive drug. Those two possibilities were kicked around, and then it was decided in eighty-four, mainly by, I would say, a large group of very influential scientists, namely the retrovirologists to which I belong, that AIDS was caused by a virus. It's a group of virus researchers who had studied these viruses as possible causes of cancer in the last twenty years, and they have learned a whole lot in terms of virology and how these viruses infect cells and how they replicate. But they have not been able to demonstrate that these viruses really cause any human cancer. So here's a whole generation of scientists who have done a lot in the field, but have not been able to place any of their viruses as a human pathogen, as a clinically relevant infection.
Q: So they had a virus
looking for something to do?
Duesberg: Exactly, a lot of virologists, highly decorated, well-known people, who would have liked nothing better than to be clinically relevant at some time in their career. That's what all scientists dream about, medical and biological scientists, that they make a finding that is relevant to all of us. They have good intentions after all, and here they were not able to place that virus in a position that it would be relevant clinically to humans as a cancer agent. So they thought if that isn't the case why not try AIDS. Therefore the proposal that a virus was the cause of AIDS was immediately popular with a large group of scientists.
Q: What about the scientific
method, how was that applied?
Duesberg: Not all that much; really the only argument in favor of the virus hypothesis was correlation, that is the correlation between the virus and AIDS. Many AIDS patients carried that virus. More accurately, it wasn't the virus that was correlated, but it was the antibody against that virus. That is a significant distinction.
Q: Why is it that they
have this particular virus, that other people don't?
Duesberg: Other people do have that virus, but AIDS patients have it more often, than other people. That is essentially the only argument in favor of the virus-AIDS hypothesis.
Q: Why is that?
Duesberg: That's a great question. My answer would be that this is a marker for what you would call AIDS risk behavior or for clinical AIDS risks. Now let me explain to you what that means. Risk behavior is officially defined as people who are injecting intravenous drugs, or who have very many sexual contacts, or who are hemophiliacs, or are recipients of transfusions. Those are considered at risk for AIDS. Now if you are promiscuous, that is if you have sexual contacts with many people, you pick up all microbes that these people might have. These could be venereal diseases, but could as well be other diseases. If they have hepatitis you're likely to get hepatitis from them. You're likely to pick up cytomegalovirus or herpes virus, sometimes even tuberculosis. These are infections that are not primarily sexually transmitted, but they can be picked up, if you have many sexual contacts. Among them is HIV; it's another virus that they pick up. Microbes are picked up even more readily by those who inject unsterile street drugs with unsterile equipment, or receive transfusions, unless the blood is specifically screened. They inject unsterile drugs - street drugs - that they are buying from dealers somewhere, so they pick up all sorts of contaminants, including HIV. In addition they also share injection equipment, simply because they don't or can't pay for fresh equipment. And in addition intravenous drug users often use prostitution to pay for drugs.
Q: Does it have any symptoms?
Duesberg: HIV, by itself, causes no disease whatsoever in most infections. In a few cases there is evidence, but not very strong evidence, that the primary, initial infection may cause a flu-like symptom, a mononucleosis-like symptom.
Q: I remember the news
media saying that the HIV virus came to America from a flight
attendant, and that originally the virus came from monkeys in
Africa. Is that true?
Duesberg: That is an anecdote. There is no evidence at all to support that hypothesis. It is a cute story and it is the basis for a book by Randy Schilts in San Francisco. It's called And the Band Played On. He popularized the story that it came from Africa, and a flight attendant picked it up there, and spread it in the homosexual community within a couple of years before the tests were available. But there are very strong arguments against this story, and these arguments come from epidemiology. Epidemiology is the science of how a virus is distributed in a population. Now if a virus or a microbe or anything is newly introduced into a population of 250 million Americans, it will spread exponentially. It will initially infect a few, and then it will infect many, many more. Exactly like the anecdote you cited from the book of Randy Schilts. It would behave exactly that way. The reality is that it doesn't behave that way at all! Ever since the virus can be tested, with Gallo's famous AIDS test which measures antibody against the virus, one million Americans were infected by HIV in 1985 and one million Americans are infected in 1991.
Q: Couldn't this be a
result of safer sexual practices and changes in life style?
Duesberg: If you believe in Santa Claus we'll talk about that in a minute. The number of infected people in seven years has not changed at all. It's exactly the same number. One million people. That is an infallible indication, and I'm really emphasizing infallible, that this "epidemic" of HIV - I'm not referring to AIDS - is very old in this country. It has been here probably long before Gallo and everyone else has been here. If a virus or a microbe is newly introduced into a reservoir of two hundred and fifty million sexually active people it is going to spread very fast, until it saturates the susceptible pool, and then it slows down, and people will die or become resistant or whatever. It certainly is not going to stay at one million out of two hundred and fifty million, and not change not even one decimal point in seven years. That is a very strong argument that this is a very old virus infection in this country. Particularly since there is no vaccine or drug to stop the spread of HIV! The point against virus control by safe sex programs is that in 1985 nobody talked about safe sex. The safe sex program only came out two or three years ago, or four years maybe. In addition, safe sex doesn't seem to work very well, and there are fairly strong indications for that. The number of babies born in America has gone up, not down; and believe me, as far as I'm informed, safe sex is not going to generate any babies! Plus the number of conventional venereal diseases - gonorrhea, syphilis, for example - is on an increase, not on a decrease. That says that the majority of people do not practice safe sex, or not enough safe sex to make a difference. When the number of babies is going up, and conventional venereal diseases are going up, anything that is sexually transmissible should also be going up, and HIV does not go up. So something else must be the cause of AIDS.
Q: Before we get to that,
let's discuss the discovery of the AIDS virus. First we heard
a media presentation of a fellow named Gallo, and then there was
a Frenchman that said he discovered it. Could you tell us a little
of what happened there?
Duesberg: The virus, that is called now the AIDS virus, was initially discovered by Montagnier, a researcher of the Pasteur Institute in Paris. A year later Gallo claimed he had discovered it independently; that was advertised at a press conference in Washington, April '84. And then it became the official cause of AIDS.
Q: Didn't Montagnier originally
send Gallo the virus?
Duesberg: Yes, he did.
Q: But Gallo didn't give
him any credit?
Duesberg: Well, he gave him a lot of credit. He said he discovered the same virus independently; that is actually the ultimate compliment. He liked it so much that he copied it completely!
Q: Is Gallo under investigation
Duesberg: Yes, he is, for over two years.
Q: What is he under investigation
Duesberg: They are investigating first the charge that the virus is not his isolate, but is the isolate from Montagnier, and second they want to determine whether this was an accident or fraud.
Q: Let's go through Koch's
Postulates and see how AIDS stacks up. Now tell us a little bit
about Koch's Postulates, what they are, and then we can go through
Duesberg: Well, Koch's Postulates are the classical rules or laws to prove that an infectious agent is the cause of a disease. They're in Webster's Dictionary. They're very basic, classical rules for the causes of disease.
Q: Have they ever been
Duesberg: No. No. Never. They can't be disproven, like gravity can't be disproven, or Pythagoras or Euclid has never been disproven.
Q: Let's go through the
postulates. Number one says, that the germ must be found in the
infected tissues in all cases of the disease. How does HIV follow
Duesberg: Well, actually not if you analyze it carefully. In many AIDS cases it is there. But there are all AIDS diseases in all risk groups - that is to say Kaposi's sarcorna in homosexuals, and tuberculosis in drug addicts, and other infections in hemophiliacs - in the absence of HIV. They have come up with a rather clever way to step around this problem for the virus-hypothesis. They have defined AIDS as one of twenty-five known diseases provided they occur in the presence of HIV. We call tuberculosis AIDS only if HIV is found, if it's not found it's called by its old name - tuberculosis. Or if you find Kaposi's sarcoma in a homosexual, in the absence of HIV it's called Kaposi's sarcoma; in the presence of HIV it's called AIDS. You diagnose dementia in a junkie, in the absence of HIV he has just dementia. He's nuts, in other words. If he has also HIV, they call it AIDS. Therefore, by definition, the correlation is actually 100 percent. The disease, the syndrome, is defined by the hypothetical cause of it. But that kind of definition ignores strong evidence against the HIV, namely we have the same diseases in the same risk groups without HIV. In this regard it does violate the first postulate of Koch. We have not a natural coincidence between HIV and AIDS because you would call the same disease a different name if HIV is absent.
Q: As far as a person
has lesions of Kaposi's sarcoma are they infected by HIV too?
Duesberg: Not even in people who are HIV-positive do you ever find any HIV in Kaposi's sarcoma, nothing. There are people with Kaposi's sarcoma with HIV and without HIV, but even in those with HIV there is no HIV in the Kaposi's sarcoma.
Q: What about postulate
number two, the germ must be isolated from other germs and from
the host body. How does HIV compare to that rule?
Duesberg: There is again a similar qualification. If you can't isolate it, can't find antibodies, then they will say so; therefore it isn't AIDS. It's the same old disease. Another point here is relevant. It is so difficult - sometimes it is impossible - to isolate HIV, even from people who are antibody positive, because so little virus is there. It barely meets Koch's Second Postulate by the letter, but not in the spirit. The spirit of Koch's Second Postulate meant that there was plenty of virus or microbes around causing a disease, and therefore it wouldn't be a problem to isolate it.
Q: When you find that
a person has an antibody to a disease doesn't that mean the body
has already killed off that disease?
Duesberg: Absolutely. It has killed the microbe off, or it has restricted it to what is called latency or inactivity. That is what vaccination is all about.
Q: Don't the doctors know
this? Don't they understand this?
Duesberg: They do understand it, and they make additional assumptions to accommodate that, if you point it out. Usually they don't talk about it. If you point out, what you just mentioned, that there are antibodies and that there's no virus around, they say well this is a special virus and these are special antibodies, antibodies that do not neutralize the virus.
Q: Are there other viruses
that act like that?
Duesberg: I've never seen one. And I think they haven't mentioned one either. It's simply a new virus that we have to study that's full of surprises.
Q: Postulate number three
is that the germ must cause the sickness when injected into a
healthy host. They've done experiments with chimpanzees; how does
HIV stack up then?
Duesberg: They have all remained healthy consistently. There's not even one example where the disease has occurred.
Q: How about postulate
number four, the same germ must once again be isolated from the
newly diseased host.
Duesberg: Obviously this is moot if the previous one cannot be met. I mean if you would get the disease on injection then that would be a question, but if you don't then there's no need to re-isolate the virus.
Q: So it doesn't really
stack up with these classical postulates.
Duesberg: Not at all. I mean barely with the first and barely with the second. The first one because the definition is made to accommodate it within the first postulate; and the second one because people have tried over and over to extract it from one cell or another even if there's hardly any virus present. So you could say formally the first and the second, but HIV fails entirely on the third and the fourth. And one could also add that even the second one is only met by artificial and very expensive laboratory procedures.
Q: Tell us a little about
HIV. What kind of virus is it, and what does it do to a cell?
Duesberg: HIV is called a retrovirus, as we mentioned earlier. That is a type of virus that actually does relatively little to a cell in general. In general it does not kill a cell, it doesn't alter a cell's behavior very much. It's a rather benign parasite. It is in fact the most benign parasite that we have ever learned about.
Q: What exactly is a definition
of a retrovirus?
Duesberg: A retrovirus is just another virus that happens to have a particular type of replication mechanism. It has a genome that is made out of RNA but it converts that RNA genome into DNA. And DNA is the same material as the cellular chromosome. During the course of replication it changes its RNA to DNA. That's why it's called a retrovirus, because this process is normally going only in the direction from DNA to RNA. DNA is converted into RNA all the time in the normal cell in a human being or an animal or a plant or a bacterium, but in this virus it also goes the other way; it goes from RNA to DNA. Therefore it's called a retrovirus. Then this retroviral DNA becomes part of the cellular DNA.
Q: There's many different
kinds of retroviruses. HIV affects what kind of cell?
Duesberg: HIV affects many types of cells, but like most retroviruses you find it mostly or primarily in blood cells. But it can affect other cells as well. It can affect epithelial cells, and it can affect skin cells.
Q: Say you have these
host T-cells, and they are harboring a dormant HIV. And the T-cells
can be isolated from the body and artificially stimulated in the
laboratory with compounds to reactivate the latent virus in the
cell. How long can the virus be dormant in T-cells, and what causes
it to reactivate in the laboratory or in the body?
Duesberg: It can be dormant forever, as long as the T-cell is there it can be dormant in that T-cell.
Q: Why is it dormant?
What does that serve for the virus?
Duesberg: It is one way for a virus to survive. Either a virus is very active, killing a lot of cells and producing a lot of offspring, and then the immune system will catch it because it is very active and visible; or it keeps an extremely low profile; the immune system does not see it then. It hangs in there as long as the host is alive, and stays on and gets slowly transmitted from a mother to a baby.
Q: So it reactivates then
in another organism?
Duesberg: Yes, that's one strategy for a microbe to survive, to keep a very low profile without making much fuss, or another would be to be very active.
Q: If it can be dormant
in the body, is it possible for it to show up years later? They
say that you can carry HIV ten years, then it shows up and you're
Duesberg: It is possible, yes; but in reality that is hardly ever happening. In most AIDS patients the virus does not "show up," but it continues to remain dormant. It doesn't do anything that it hasn't done before, that is, in other words, nothing. It doesn't do anything during AIDS, and it doesn't do anything before AIDS.
Q: There are microbes,
like chicken pox, that initially infect the host, and some of
the virus reaches the spinal cord and resides there for years.
When the host is under stress, it reappears as shingles. Can HIV
or some other agent do the same?
Duesberg: That is a mechanism of how a virus could spend a long time asymptomatic and then become symptomatic and cause a disease. That's a good theory of how AIDS could happen 10 years after infection by HIV, but it doesn't happen that way. That's the problem with HIV. HIV does not become active, at least not become consistently active, in AIDS patients. There are a few cases of moderate activity that have been described, but in the majority of AIDS patients, HIV is just as dormant as it is in people who have no disease at all. So it's not like the chicken pox or the herpes virus. These viruses may become active later on; sometimes they become what is called reactivated. That happens, but it doesn't happen with HIV.
Q: AIDS has also been
compared to feline leukemia. Is this accurate; how are they different
Duesberg: Feline leukemia isn't AIDS, and there are very serious questions whether feline leukemia has anything to do with the "feline leukemia virus." I mean as a cause.
Q: You said, in the Policy
Review article, that retroviruses do not kill cells and are
poor candidates to blame serious diseases on.
Duesberg: Yes, exactly right. They are not killing cells. They essentially never kill cells. In fact the opposite is often true, they make cells grow further than normal. The reason why they are suspected to cause diseases like feline leukemia is their replication strategy which , as we already discussed briefly, is to convert their RNA into DNA, and then to get that DNA integrated into the chromosome of the host cell, then it's a part of the cell. So that strategy only pays off if the cell survives; if the cell dies in the process of integration the virus would die with it. That strategy wouldn't pay off.
Q: Is it true that the
microbes known as mycoplasmas can cause immune suppression, weight
lost, diarrhea, and chronic debilitation in animals; in other
words, AIDS-like symptoms; and that mycoplasmal infection has
been found in diseased brains, livers, and spleens of AIDS patients,
as well as in HIV-negative patients displaying similar symptoms?
If so, could a mycoplasmal infection be the cause of AIDS, such
as Montagnier has been postulating?
Duesberg: I'm not familiar enough with mycoplasma pathogenesis to truly give you a good answer to that question. As far as I know, from the little bit that I've read, mycoplasma is very common in humans, very common; and hardly ever causes any diseases in most people. It's rather ubiquitous and it's mostly non-pathogenic. AIDS is restricted to very few people, to very specific groups of people; that wouldn't be compatible at all with a mycoplasma that is ubiquitous in the population. It has to be something that is restricted to the people who get AIDS, and that's not tho case with that virus.
Q: So if HIV isn't causing
AIDS, what is? What' your theory?
Duesberg: My theory is that AIDS is not infectious at all. AlDS is caused in this country primarily by recreational drugs and by AZT. There will always be a normal background of the 25 AlDS diseases in the population. But what's above that background, the ninety percent of that which is now called AIDS is solely the consequence of the long term consumption of recreational drugs, such as cocaine and heroine and poppers and quaaludes and angel dust and speed and ice and many of these psychoactive drugs, whatever they're called - and of AZT which is given to people who have HIV as an anti-HIV drug.
Q: Describe a little bit,
so as to put into context for our readers, the lifestyle of these
homosexuals, and a little of the history of how this syndrome
Duesberg: AlDS in homosexuals and also in drug users became known first with the sexual liberation and as the drug epidemic escalated after the Vietnam War. Those two had quite a bit to do with each other because the sexual liberation, particularly for gays, was aided or accompanied by the consumption of a lot of psychoactive drugs. That made it psychologically easier to practice what used to be an unacceptable form of sex, and made it also technically easier. So drugs were used a lot by SOME homosexuals. One should always qualify that. It's not every homosexual who was practicing so-called risk behavior, that is to say had many hundreds of sexual contacts per year using lots of chemicals. That was and is restricted to a small group, but those are the groups that are at risk, and those are the groups that developed AIDS.
Q: Can you tell us a little
about the amylnitrites, what they do and cause?
Duesberg: The amylnitrites and quite a few other drugs are preferred by homosexuals, rather than heterosexuals, because they actually facilitate anal intercourse.
Q: How do they that?
Duesberg: The nitrites, specifically, relax the smooth muscle, and they also give a psychological rush or a high, so you're psychologically uninhibited and also physiologically, because essentially the anus contracts when it is entered. If you take these drugs it's much easier. These drugs - nitrites - were traditionally prescribed for spasmic conditions like angina or heart attack. Now they are used also as aphrodisiacs by homosexuals. They are used even to this date much more by homosexuals than by heterosexuals. Heterosexuals don't use them because they don't need them for this purpose.
Q: So they're taking these
poppers. Is this what is causing these weird cancers?
Duesberg: That has been published. There is a very good correlation between the use of poppers and the incidence of Kaposi's sarcorna and also pneumonia in homosexuals. The more they have been used the more Kaposi's sarcoma and pneumonia has been observed. As they have used less of it (because it has been largely advertised that they may be bad for your health and may be responsible for some of these diseases) the incidence of Kaposi's sarcoma has declined among AIDS patients.
Q: Is that because of
less use of amylnitrites?
Duesberg: Yes, at least there is a very strong correlation. That is a good indication that this was the cause. In fact, the sale of nitrites has been banned by the Senate two-three years ago, as result of these studies which have shown these correlations between the use of nitrites and Kaposi's sarcorna and pneumonia in homosexuals.
Q: One of the major things
people talk about is the suppression of the immune system that
lets people get all these weird diseases. What is it about the
drug addict or some homosexuals that suppresses the immune system?
Duesberg: That is hardly studied by anybody, unfortunately. I could make some suggestions, because we see drugs only as a criminal problem in this country, although it is the most serious health problem developing here now. We hardly ever see it as a medical problem. We never hear that drugs are bad for our health. We're only supposed not to use them because this is somehow too much fun, I assume. We're told to use "clean needles" by the AIDS doctors, but we're never told not to use drugs. It's a very strange message that the AIDS caretakers are sending out. When you say use "clean needles" that implies that it's okay to take drugs; make sure your injection equipment is clean. The literature for a long time has pointed out that the long-term consumption of drugs, not a weekend or two, but five or ten years of drug consumption, causes exactly the same diseases that are called AIDS now. The immune deficiency, the dementia, the wasting syndrome, the night sweat, the fevers, the mouth infections, all of these diseases were observed in long term drug users. How could that be? I could speculate. These could be the direct effects of the drugs that need to be studied; but there are certainly a lot of indirect effects which could be easily understood. If you buy cocaine or heroin, for an addict it costs you a hundred dollars a day on the average. Unless you are immensely rich that will hurt your budget seriously. Soon you will not be able to spend your money on a balanced diet, on good food, you won't go to the stores any more, you won't go to the restaurants any more. You only have a little money left for junk food. Also, when you are high on drugs, they suppress many of your normal physiological reactions. Some people get addicted using them as diet pills. You don't want to sleep; you don't want to eat. You have a totally different lifestyle under drugs. Malnutrition and lack of sleep and tension, all of which are associated with drug consumption, are traditionally the classical reasons for immune deficiency. Immunity depends very much on giving the immune system time to regenerate and giving it food to regenerate. It needs for that proteins and vitamins, not just junk food and some coffee and some sugar.
Q: So it wears you body
Duesberg: That is correct, yes.
Q: What about the people
in Africa, they're saying that it's not just homosexuals, that
men and women are dying like flies. That's what we hear.
Duesberg: Epidemiologically and clinically AIDS is a totally different story in Africa. The African AIDS diseases are shared equally by men and women, in the same numbers. The African AIDS diseases are ninety percent different from the AIDS diseases here. In Africa ninety percent of AIDS is so-called slim disease (an old African disease), fever, diarrhea, and tuberculosis. Those are the AIDS diseases in Africa. And they have been African diseases all along. They are directly the result of protein malnutrition, parasitic infections, and poor sanitary conditions. Those are the problems in Africa, and those are the people who get AIDS. That's why men and women get it there and children and adults, and it has nothing to do with recreational drugs or AZT there. It's an old African problem. The only thing that is different in Africa from here is that HIV is rather widespread in Africa, and it's very rare in this country.
Q: Why is that?
Duesberg: Because the virus happens to be more common there than here. Retroviruses seem to be that way. We know that from studying retroviruses in animals. Some strains of animal have lots and lots of retroviruses, and in other strains you have very few. Ten to twenty percent of the central African nations carry the HIV virus; but in this country it is less than one percent.
Q: How is it transmitted
Duesberg: Exactly like here from mother to children.
Q: So if a person dies
of a slim disease and they are not HIV-positive, they're said
to have died of slim disease; and if they die HIV positive they're
said to have died of AIDS?
Q: So is this a case of
having a theory and making the facts fit the theory?
Duesberg: That is exactly what is happening.
Q: Doesn't sound too scientific
Duesberg: Yes, it's a lot of wishful thinking in this case more than ever. We are paying for it dearly; we are paying the high price for AIDS research, and we get no benefits whatsoever, in terms of public health. Nobody is going to be saved; the spread of AIDS is not going to be predicted, it's totally wrongly predicted; we don't have a vaccine to stop it, we don't know how to deal with it. We don't practice science, but wishful thinking.
Q: There's an argument
about AIDS in Africa as a virus-caused disease, that there are
two pockets of traditional male-to-male sex practitioners. One
among Swahili Arabs and the other among some West Africans who
have been influenced by an immigrant culture. While there is no
AIDS among the rural people, AIDS has developed among a third
group of homosexuals, the young men who roam international hotels
in Africa's big cities. These people are not malnourished. Could
some agent have been transmitted to them?
Duesberg: This is always a good question, but I would like to know what that agent would be which is only transmitted to young homosexual men in Africa, but not to anybody else in Africa.
Q: Could it be that they're
taking drugs in the cities?
Duesberg: I would say that is quite possible, if they are gay prostitutes or sex workers or whatever it's called. In international hotels in Africa I'm sure they use drugs just as much as in the international hotels in Los Angeles or New York.
Q: What about the case
of Ryan White and the woman in Florida who contracted AIDS from
her dentist? What did they die from if it wasn't long-term drug
Duesberg: Ryan White died of hemophilia and AZT. The man died from unstoppable internal bleeding; he was a severe hemophiliac, and the hemophilia couldn't be stopped any more. Unfortunately, he was also on the AZT. I think for a half a year.
Q: So that was the coup
Duesberg: That is certainly helping anybody to die, the AZT is inevitably toxic. It's an inhibitor of DNA synthesis, which is the central molecule of life. It will kill all growing cells that take up AZT. So he had hemophilia and AZT. The poor man had no chance of surviving. Kimberly Bergalis had HIV, and like probably many other women in the world, also had a yeast infection. Now remember how AIDS is defined, a known disease found in the presence of HIV. This combination was found in Kimberly Bergalis. Now her diagnosis was not a yeast infection, but AIDS. The most serious consequence for her was that now she was treated with AZT. And she died about a year later.
Q: Tell us a little bit
about AZT. This is a drug that they say prolongs the life of AIDS
patients. What is AZT and how does it work?
Duesberg: AZT is an analog of one of the four building blocks of DNA. DNA is a long molecule. It's like a train built of many, many cars, that particular car AZT looks like another car, but it has no second link on it. It has a link on the front, but not in the back. When AZT comes into a growing DNA molecule instead of a regular car the DNA molecule is terminated, and the cell dies. If the DNA cannot be completed, the cell will die. Everything that incorporates it will die. Microbes will die; humans will die, anything will die. So you continue to kill off blood cells and immune cells, cells that are already in short supply for AIDS patients - the cells in the bone marrow and in the intestines. These will constantly be killed off. This is why AZT-treated people suffer from anemia and nausea and eventually die. Nobody can tolerate that for very long.
Q: How is it supposed
to help you?
Duesberg: The theory is that this will also kill the virus. It is like hunting bunnies with neutron bombs. When you throw a neutron bomb into a forest, all bunnies are going to be dead, but the forest won't look the same as you did before you threw that neutron bomb on it. That's what you're doing, killing many more human cells than HIV. And there is no proof at all that the virus is even causing AIDS.
Q: So it's the old joke,
unfortunately, of in order to kill the virus you have to kill
the patient first.
Duesberg: That is more true in this case than for anything else I've ever heard; because, you see, there is no proof that the virus is causing AIDS. Even in people who are infected by the virus and are dying from AIDS only one in five hundred cells is ever infected by that virus, one in five hundred. AZT, which is the drug that is getting into the cell and stops the DNA synthesis, can't tell apart an infected from an uninfected cell. It's not that smart; it's just a little chemical. So in order to kill just one virus-infected cell five hundred good cells have to be killed first. The toxicity index of that drug even in killing HIV-infected cells is incredibly high. It's like you have a terrorist in Michigan, and he is in a block with five hundred people. You put poison in the drinking water. You will kill the terrorist, but five hundred innocent people will die with him.
Q: So you're saying Magic
Johnson, who is now taking AZT, is going to die for nothing?
Duesberg: He would die from AZT if he continued to take it. I understand from a friend here who knows him fairly well that he got numerous letters in response to Tony Brown's program - see Duesberg, talk to Duesberg, stop taking AZT it's going to kill you. And he has now stopped taking AZT for that reason.
Q: Has he talked to you?
Duesberg: He didn't talk to me, but he talked to other people. I think he's very strictly guarded; he's very inaccessible, guarded by his doctors and agents. Apparently he's truly concerned about taking AZT, and he's not taking it any more. That's what I understand.
Q: He's been a spokesman
for AIDS safe sexual practices. Wouldn't he be a good person to
get a hold of and tell to get this information out?
Duesberg: He would be a very good person, because he is so prominent now, but I have done what I could for these people who have approached me. I gave them all the material I had available, and they have tried, I assume. I think he is very well guarded. But he has stopped taking AZT. I can't vouch for it, because I have no first-hand information.
Q: Your theory is not
something we've heard on the television or anything. Are there
other scientists that are agreeing with you on this?
Duesberg: There are scientists agreeing with me. There is a group of over forty scientists, essentially led by Charlie Thomas, a former Harvard professor now in San Diego, who has formed this group, and their purpose is to get out a petition to have an open investigation of this hypothesis that HIV is the cause of AIDS.
Q: In one of the articles
you sent me, you said that there were no control studies on the
hypothesis that HIV causes AIDS. Are you or anyone else planning
Duesberg: One of the stated goals of this group is that they would like to do a control study initially with hemophiliacs, and find out whether hemophiliacs with and without HIV have a different incidence of AIDS.
Q: You also sent another
article where you say that, "The science of virology is dead."
Duesberg: Well, see infectious diseases make up less than one percent of the death in the western world now. They're no longer very important causes of disease. And viruses, particularly, are not claiming too many victims. They're not serious health threats any more. The last frontier in the virus field was the polio epidemic in the fifties, and we terminated that very well with a vaccine. The microbes and the bacteria are pretty well controlled by antibiotics. That is what I meant when I said, that viruses are dead. They're no longer a serious challenge to the public health, of this country. The real problems now are drug consumption and AIDS and cancer and aging; those are the problems we have to get a handle on.
Q: You made an interesting
statement in that same article, that according to the usual scientific
method a hypothesis remains a candidate until it is disproven,
and how unfortunately that can have serious consequences, in particular,
if it is a candidate for a way to confront disease. This seems
to have been what's happened with AIDS.
Duesberg: Exactly, they call this the candidate and treat with AZT; and if it's not the candidate they're killing with AZT. Even if it is the candidate they're killing with AZT, but at least they have a more legitimate reason for killing.
Q: What's the percentage
of people who are on AZT now, who will be killed off by AZT?
Duesberg: It must be a fairly high number. You could calculate from the sales figures. About eighty thousand Americans take AZT, every single day, only because they are antibody-positive.
Q: Wow. Are there people
who are HIV-positive that have lived a long time?
Duesberg: Oh, yeah. There are numerous people. There are a million Americans HIV positive ever since we had the test. That's now for eight years. So most of them are still alive; they have lived at least eight years. They are the so-called long-term survivors. You can only say for sure that it's for eight or ten years, but it may be for as many years as these people would have lived anyway. All of those are people who have not taken any drugs. In Africa, as I said, the virus is endemic for a long time in millions of healthy people. As I pointed out earlier, if a virus, as HIV, is as constant and fixed to a constant population as this one, it has to have been in the population for a very, very long time. People probably can live a total full life with that virus like with any other latent retrovirus.
Q: You say that you are
willing to be injected with HIV if you can get nation-wide coverage,
but the scientists say it can take ten years or more to develop
AIDS. Would this be a useful demonstration?
Duesberg: Its use would be quite limited. You're absolutely right; I don't know what they would say ten years from now.
Q: You could live to be
ninety, and be hit by a train; and they'd say: Duesberg hit by
train; died of AIDS!
Duesberg: Exactly right! They take anything that happens to anybody with antibodies to HIV: look that's AIDS!
Q: I have two questions
that a doctor wanted to ask you. The first is: there is evidence
now that B-cells and T-cells have built-in programmed death genes,
that they are killed off on a genetic basis normally in the body
when their functions have been fulfilled. Two kinds of lymphomas
or blood cancers, B-cell follicular lymphoma and mouse T-cell
acute lymphocytic leukemia, are examples of blood cancers where
the death genes are turned off because of translocatians. How
do you feel about the idea of the death of T-cells in AIDS being
somehow abnormal activity of a death gene? In other words, does
the abnormal lifestyle that you postulate causing AIDS result
in genetic damage that can abnormally turn on a death gene and
therefore kill off T-cells prematurely leading to AIDS?
Duesberg: Well, you wouldn't have to go to a death gene, and I don't think there is a good chance that we have a death gene to begin with. This is rather speculative science, that such a gene exists. But I mean you can kill a cell with AZT or amylnitrites. You don't need a death gene for that. You can kill a cell by not feeding it or by giving it poppers. You don't need a death gene for that. There is no evidence of such a gene, or specific activation of such a gene. Just like in junkies, a toxin can kill a cell directly; you don't need to go through a particular gene.
Q: His other question
is that there was a family in southern California, the husband
was a marine, the wife was oriental. She needed an emergency caesarian
section, and because of blood loss she was given a transfusion.
Eventually she died of AIDS; both her children, that were born
after the transfusion, died of AIDS; and the husband died of AIDS
he contracted from her. The husband sued the government, and settled
for three million just before he died. What are your thoughts
about that family's situation, and the transmission involved,
and how does it fit in with your theory of AIDS?
Duesberg: Well, I can't, of course, tell you what they died from. We would have to see what meant AIDS in these cases. They had HIV; so HIV was probably transmitted by these transfusions. So whatever they died from would have been called AIDS. Did they all die with the same diseases? Did they all die from dementia? Or did one of them die from diarrhea and the other one die from dementia and another from Kaposi's sarcoma and lymphoma? If they all, at least, had the same symptoms it would be consistent with a common cause. But if one of them had dementia and the other had diarrhea, it would be just another artifact of the HIV definition of AIDS. That's what we have to look at. These are after all only anecdotal cases. Cases that fit the theory but don't prove it! We have a large country to pick anecdotal cases from. You have to see that against a background of 250 million Americans. You will always find a story where, in the same family, a husband, a wife, and a baby all die in the same year with or without HIV. But then if you want to know if that is due to a common infectious agent, we would have to know first whether they had a common disease.
Q: Your theory sounds
really logical to me, to just a sensible person, to a person who
doesn't know much about virology. Why aren't we hearing about
this? Why don't we hear about this on the media? This is a big
Duesberg: I think it is a very big story, and it could save instantly, a huge number of lives. It could instantly discontinue a lot of suffering, and it could save the taxpayer a lot of money, and we don't hear about it. I think you would be better qualified to answer that question than I am. I can only point out to you what I suspect; I can point to the scientific and commercial investments of a large group of scientists, the retrovirologists, who want to score in terms of a clinical disease, and are not going to give that up unless they really have to. Unless they're really defeated.
Q: So there are big bucks
Duesberg: There are strong commercial interests on the part of many of these biotechnology companies who are doing AIDS tests and antibody tests and making AZT, and are making hundreds of millions of dollars on that. There are further interests on the part of the news media. The news media have all bought into the story; it was a windfall for them to sell a weekly story on anal intercourse and drug injection and viruses and how horrible it is and how many more people are going to die. It makes a cheap and easy story that everybody wants to read, rather than for a science writer having to go to a laboratory and have to understand about the death gene, that you mentioned, (which is probably nonsense to begin with) and how that works and why that works and to sell it to a public that just gets another boring science story. But, if you touch it up with gay bath-house anecdotes and anal intercourse and lots of sexual contacts, then it's juicy reading and everybody gets excited; so the newspapers also love it.
Q: What about the government,
they're the ones who approved AZT, and I heard that it was not
under the most rigorous scientific testing. The gay people were
protesting outside that place and they just pushed it right through.
Duesberg: That's unfortunately the case. An infectious cause, rather than drugs was found, because otherwise they would be blamed for their lifestyle. I think they would be much better off facing the truth, and saving many more lives. But they would then lose the support and the sympathy of the majority of the heterosexuals, who would say, if you kill yourself with drugs and screwing around in bath houses, that's none of my business, but you do it to yourself; it's your problem.
Q: What do you think would
happen if all this came out? Who would lose?
Duesberg: The medical establishment would lose seriously. It would lose face a lot. It would be a serious thing for them, because so many have advanced this theory and acted accordingly. They would have to say, I'm sorry we got it wrong; we have to step back, and somebody else has to find the right direction. It would be a serious embarrassment in the first place. A lot of people would have to be replaced, and there would be many other serious consequences. The scientists would have to step back. The law suits would come up, particularly about AZT poisoning. Different tests would be necessary. If they do that in a government, they elect a different president or have a different general and a different ideological campaign.
Q: You noticed there was
something wrong somewhere, because you have a background in retroviruses.
You spoke up. What have been the consequences to you, has it helped
your fame any?
Duesberg: Well, yes, fame to some degree, but the price is pretty high. I'm known, but so is Hitler.
Q: That's not a good comparison!
Duesberg: I'm just giving you a hint. Fame, yes, but not necessarily to my advantage right now.
Q: What price have you
Duesberg: One, for example, is that they won't renew my research grant from the National Institutes of Health. That will be terminated. [One of the members of the committee that terminated Dr. Duesberg's grant is a long-time mistress of Dr. Gallo and the mother of one of his children!]
Q: How long do you have?
Duesberg: I have one year to go. If I find some support from somebody, I could continue but if I don't then I'll be dead. Not totally dead, but it will be very difficult for me to maintain my laboratory, or to have students, or to write papers.
Q: On campus, what has
the reaction been?
Duesberg: I have a few supporters, some enthusiastic and some good supporters, and I have a lot of enemies who say it's embarrassing to take this position for Berkeley and you're a non-conformist and controversial, and you give us a bad reputation, and you are confusing the students, and you are weird and negative.
Q: So you went from being
an award-winning scientist, discoverer, lauded by your colleagues
and now you're mud.
Duesberg: Yes, now I'm somewhat ostracized or black-balled.
Q: Don't these people
want to come out and debate you?
Duesberg: No. They don't, the opposite is true. They run away when offered a chance to debate, meet, or confront me.
Q: To wind up the interview,
what are your views or hopes for the future, as far as yourself,
as far as your work?
Duesberg: It's a crucial thing. If I can pull it through, it will be bright and brilliant; if I can't pull it through, if I don't get enough research support to survive, then it will be dim.
Q: This seems a classic
case, you're kind of like Galileo.
Duesberg: It is a classic case, and it is a case where a clear decision is ahead. It's either yes or no, but it could be a long time, maybe longer than I can last.
Q: If you could have looked
ahead and seen what would happen to you, would you still have
followed the same course?
Duesberg: I may probably do it again, yes. That's the way I am. I probably would have done a few things differently, but I thought my colleagues would be more honest about these things, more direct about it, rather than evasive.
Q: With government-sponsored
science, do you think that there is more of a chance of this kind
of thing occurring?
Duesberg: Yes, definitely. This is actually, unfortunately, a bad consequence of mega-science. The government actually sponsors its own projects, more than investigator-initiated science now. They determine that HIV is the cause of AIDS, and there's the money to prove it, or study it. You're not asked to help to solve AIDS; you're given a project and work on it. If you have another idea about it, you will be denied support, in fact be ostracized and ex-communicated, as I am.
Q: So truth is not as
important as getting sensational results, or getting more money
from the government?
Duesberg: Yes, you have to go with the pack. You have to conform in order to survive in your field now.
Q: And you're not part
of the pack.
Duesberg: It's not a good thing to do if the field is not moving in the right direction. That was a good thing to do with the Apollo project when we went to the moon. We knew it could be done. It would take so much money and so many contracts and so many things to do to get there. But if you don't know what the cause of AIDS is, to continue moving in one direction with three billion dollars is actually counter-productive because it excludes, it eliminates, all original, alternative ideas.
Q: So government-sponsored
science tends to make that happen, where truth is not as important.
Do you see this happening in other sciences too?
Duesberg: I can't judge about other sciences too well. I am feeling it might be somewhat that way in physics too, to some degree. But the truth is more easily determined in the other sciences than in the medical sciences. Medical sciences are kept, on purpose, somewhat atheoretical and confusing. They say it's too complex to give a simple answer.
Q: Why is that?
Duesberg: Well, you cannot test it. Koch's third postulate would say, okay, do the experiment and prove that HIV causes AIDS in humans. You cannot. They would say that is unethical, you can't do an experiment on humans. Even a controlled trial of AZT is now considered somewhat unethical in the hope that AZT might in fact help.
Q: Have you found as a
researcher, that you have to produce papers to get the grants
coming in? For example, a great scientist like Darwin who, when
he was 25, did all his basic research, and when he was an old
man, finally published. Do you think a person like Darwin today
could get funding over a long period of time for something that
controversial, where it would take a long time and the results
may never appear?
Duesberg: It's possible. I don't know Darwin well enough, but, it's not impossible to get an idea funded like Darwin's. I understand he was controversial in his lifetime, very controversial, but I think it is more likely that he would succeed because he doesn't interfere with any commercial and medical interests. It's just a competing hypothesis. But here with AIDS we are talking about a pharmacological industry; we're talking biotechnology; we're talking about a huge establishment of researchers which are totally dependent on the virus hypothesis for their survival and a medical establishment that has conducted millions of AIDS tests and has treated a hundred thousand with AZT. Remember the international conference in San Francisco, one and a half years ago, there were 15 or 20 thousand people who only study HIV. They wouldn't let me or anybody else in. So, that type of opposition didn't exist in Darwin's days. There were a couple of other professors who were arguing with him, and there were some religious arguments against his view, but it wasn't as formidable as it is now. There is a global conformism in science, enhanced by faxing and speedy publications, and telephones, and computers that create a global conformity that is very difficult to challenge.
Q: Have you considered,
instead of getting a grant from a government agency going into
a private research and development for various companies?
Duesberg: Yes, I'd love to, but I think they too would go along with the AIDS business because there is a huge commercial AIDS market. You see the academic sciences, essentially all of my peers, have become very commercialized too. Most successful academic scientists are actually commercial scientists. Most of my peers are consulting, owning companies, or have stocks in companies. They are selling their science. They have commercial profits from their science, but they present their research as if it is a non-commercial, pristine, academic enterprise.
Q: And why haven't you
Duesberg: Because what I have to say is not marketable. You don't make money by saying you should stay off drugs. You make much more money by making a drug for the drug. Then you have business.
Q: Well, any concluding
words to our audience?
Duesberg: Well, they should take my words into consideration, and make a decision whether a free science like the one I am still practicing should be continued in this country, or whether we should conform entirely with the National Institutes of Health and the government. That is my appeal to them.
Q: That's a good appeal.
Duesberg: If some support could be found for truly free science, guaranteed the academic freedom as it used to be, that would be a great step for the American people, for the health of the American people.
Q: And people don't have
to worry about becoming HIV-positive from sex. That's been a scare,
a real scare, to everybody actively dating.
Duesberg: Sex, I think, has not become any more dangerous than it was in the last three billion years of life. There are some dangers with dating, but they're not new ones.
More About AZT
Dr. Duesberg claims that the "AIDS-defined diseases" are primarily caused by drugs, including AZT. He calls AZT "AIDS by prescription." Currently (August, 1993) about 200,000 are taking AZT. If Duesberg is right, all these people will die from AZT if they continue to take it. Do we have a case here of "iatrogenic extermination" on a grand scale?
Russell Schoch, in an article in Newsweek (August 17, 1992), under the heading "Dad, I'm HIV Positive," writes about how his son, a hemophiliac, became HIV-positive:
"But Peter Duesberg... - one of the world's leading retrovirologists - says that HIV is a profoundly conventional retrovirus, incapable of killing its host; not more than one in 500 T cells is ever actively infected by HIV. "Infection" at that rate cannot hurt the body. Such damage is equivalent to a nick on the face while shaving. In response to these facts, AIDS researchers have put forth more than a dozen complicated mechanisms to explain how HIV does its damage. None has stuck.
And then there is the treatment. AZT is currently being given to tens of thousands of both symptomatic and asymptomatic people who carry antibodies to HIV. Magic Johnson and Arthus Ashe [since deceased] are taking AZT. Ryan White, who also suffered from hemophilia, was given AZT until he died. So was Kimberley Bergalis. The U.S. Government says AZT is effective in prolonging the lives of those infected with HIV, and it claims that double-blind clinical trials back up this contention.
But in three recent books, I found a different story. Business writer Bruce Nussbaum, in Good Intentions: How Big Business and the Medical Establishment Are Corrupting the Fight Against AIDS, details the cozy arrangements among government, business and science in the eventual marketing of AZT. John Lauritzen, an independent scholar, in Poison by Prescription: The AZT Story, chronicles how scientific principles were compromised by the unblinding of the clinical trials of AZT. Gay activist Michael Callen - who has been HIV-positive for a decade - claims in Surviving AIDS that the only long-range survivors are those who have not taken AZT. I will urge my son not to take this medicine."
In The Lancet (Vol. 339, March 28, 1992) Dr. Duesberg wrote:
"In another response to my Lancet letter and to Meditel's programme broadcast in the UK on Channel 4 on Feb 12, Dr Freestone (March 7, p 626) defends the Wellcome product AZT against our challenges. We had pointed out that AZT, as a chain terminator of DNA synthesis originally developed for chemotherapy, is inevitably toxic. Further we argued that it cannot be a rational antiviral drug because only 1 in 8000 leucocytes are infected in AIDS and AZT cannot distinguish beyween infected and uninfected cells. Freestone cites results of the Wellcome-sponsored study on which the US licence is based. He notes that the primary end-point was death (1 in 145 AZT, 19 in 137 placebo), an end-point "little subject to observer error or bias". However, 30 of the AZT recipients (but only 5 of the placebo recipients) were kept alive only by blood transfusions to compensate for severe bone marrow toxicity. Thus the number of AZT recipients who would have died from anaemia if untreated was 30, which is more than the AIDS deaths and anaemias in the placebo group (19 + 5). Moreover, in 34% of AZT recipients but in only 6% of controls, the lymphocyte count fell by over 50%. 66 AZT recipients (25 controls) had severe nausea. Muscle atrophy, due to termination of mitochondrial DNA by AZT, was seen in 11 and 3, respectively...
Independent studies of AZT in AIDS report much higher death rates than 1 in 145. A French study of 365 AIDS patients revealed no benefit 6 months after the start of AZT but identified new AIDS diseases and leucopenia in about 50% and death in 20% within 9 months. That study is the largest of its kind. An Australian AZT study in 308 AIDS patients reported 30% mortality within 1-1.5 years, and one or more AIDS diseases, including pneumonia and candidosis, in 172 (56%) within less than 1 year...
It seems that AZT causes potentially fatal diseases, such as anaemia, leucopenia, and muscle atrophy, in healthy HIV carriers and AIDS patients; that it causes these diseases in symptom-free carriers within a year, whereas HIV is said to cause AIDS diseases on average only 10 years after infection... "
In his paper AIDS Acquired by Drug Consumption and Other Noncontagious Risk Factors, Dr. Duesberg reports:
Implications of Dr. Duesberg's Work
In the June/July 1992 issue of MSDC Physician (MSD = The Medical Society of the District of Columbia), Editor-in-Chief Richard A. Ratner, MD wrote an article under the heading "Duesberg: An Enemy of the People?", from which I quote:
"... If Duesberg is correct, it will ignite a firestorm, not only in the politics of science but in the politics of everyday life. It will pick the scab off a barely healing laceration on the body politic, causing it to open even wider.
The dispute about the discovery of the HIV virus has already become one of the uglier chapters in the recent history of science. Doubts persist about whether Dr. Robert Gallo and his team in the U.S. discovered the virus independently of Dr. Luc Montagnier and his French team or whether they "discovered" the virus sent to them by Dr, Montagnier.
What happens if we ultimately conclude, courtesy of Duesberg et al, that the virus doesn't even cause the disease - that it is virtually an artifact... ?
Those now acclaimed for their hypothesis that HIV behaves atypically for a retorvirus would then be seen as hacks rather than heroes for having tried to squeeze AIDS into the Procrustean bed of an infectious disease.
What if evidence then turned up that in fact some members of the AIDS establishment had caused Duesberg to lose his grant? Cries of "suppression" and "coverup" would compound the mess, possibly leading to investigations and the ruin of reputations. The loss of confidence of Americans in their scientists and perhaps, by extension, their physicians, could rival their current disillusionment with politicians.
But all this would be a tempest in a teapot compared to the effects upon the community at large. The social consensus on AIDS that we have reached after some painful years... is based on a kind of no-fault view of the disease: that it is caused by a virus, is sexually transmissible, doesn't discriminate by gender or sexual preference, and could strike any of us who don't practice safe sex.
This contrasts with the Pat Buchanan school of thought that prevailed when AIDS was first recognized and seemed limited to homosexuals: it was an affliction visited upon degenerates and they deserved what they got...
People's attitudes began to change, it seems to me, only when they realized that all of us were at risk. Poignant tales appeared about complete innocents becoming ill: newborns, young henophiliacs, unknowing wives of bisexuals and drug addicts.
This change to a more empathetic view from a harsh, moralistic one was catalyzed by the discovery of the HIV virus. It allowed us to understand AIDS as a communicable disease of viral origin rather than as the mysterious illness-without-a-cause that stimulated fear and loathing among the masses. Even lacking a cure we were reassured to know what kind of animal AIDS was; and when AZT came along, allegedly useful in prolonging the lives of AIDS victims, we all cheered.
But what if the theory were all wrong? Imagine the jolt to the psyches of ordinary people as their leaders told them: oops, sorry about that. AIDS isn't caused by the virus after all but by people systematically poisoning themselves with recreational drugs in pursuit of sexual pleasure. What would happen to the reservoir of goodwill painstakingly built up for the victims of AIDS?
Suddenly the moralists would be ascendant again: AIDS... would once again be the fault of those who repeatedly insult and abuse their own bodies. Money would dry up for AIDS research and go back to researchers in other diseases.
AZT would be withdrawn from the market, and, if Duesberg is right, the number of cases of AIDS would drop, except among those continuing to abuse substances. Someone would sue the government for allowing the use of a "cure" worse than the disease - which would now be seen as hastening the disease and guaranteeing its fatal outcome. Sympathy would be reserved for those who became ill because of AZT, and costly "reparations" to these people and their families would be made.
Major changes would once again affect the practice of medicine. If HIV itself were no longer considered a pathogen, the latex industry would be hard hit as the utilization of both rubber gloves and condoms would plummet. The contretemps about AIDS "testing" would die out since the presence of HIV antibodies would be of no pathological significance...
Indeed, if Duesberg's work were anything less than a serious scientific challenge to the HIV-AIDS hypothesis it would have to be considered dangerous rabble-rousing because of the tremendous discord it is likely engender. As it is he has been villified; many consider him to be motivated by homophobia or other base motives.
It would be no surprise to learn that there are many who would like to brand Duesberg, like the courageous Dr. Stockman of Ibsen's great play, "An Enemy of the People." (For those who never read or don't remember this great work, the good Doctor refused to cover up the fact that the town's natural springs and its major source of tourist revenue was dangerously polluted.) For there are many people, whether in science or in latex, who are comfortable nonetheless - with things as they are and stand to lose reputations, money, credibility, and political power if he is right.
If Duesberg is wrong, let him be proved wrong. But if Current AIDS theory and policy is wrong, let's not do what we did with the Shah of Iran: suppressing dissent and propping him up until all was truly lost. To err is human, but to perpetuate error through self-delusion is to break faith with those who trust us with their lives."
In a letter to the editor, Charles A. Thomas, Jr., Ph.D., President of the Helicon Foundation, wrote:
"... You are quite right, there will be widespread implications and recriminations when the full magnitude of this scientific-political mess is exposed.
That "HIV causes AIDS" has never been properly established. No serious scientific publication can be found (by any of us) that sets forth the reasons HIV causes AIDS. Apparently no scientist has attempted to do so... " (MSDC Physician, September 1992).