Monday, December 1, 2008

Whatever Happened To The AIDS Epidemic?

Today is World AIDS Day.

So, why don't you have AIDS?

Peter Duesberg knows.

If you're old enough, you remember how we were all going to die of AIDS. All of us. AIDS was going to be the epidemic to end all epidemics, and mankind to boot. It was going to jump from its risk groups, male homosexuals and intravenous drug users, and devastate the non-drug using heterosexual population as well. It was going to equal in its lethality the bubonic plague. It was going to kill everybody everywhere.
Think I'm misremembering, like Hillary Clinton misremembered the sniper fire on her Bosnian vacation?
The following is the lead paragraph of John Langone's January 30th 1989 article for Time magazine.
"The barrage of scary rhetoric and hyperbole began not long after young homosexual men started dying by the thousands in the early 1980's. Dire warnings of an AIDS apocalypse came not only from headline writers but also, uncharacteristically, from scientists and health specialists. Declared one: "We have not seen anything of this magnitude that we can't control except nuclear bombs." In 1987 Otis Bowen, then Secretary of Health and Human Services, said AIDS would make black death --the bubonic plague that wiped out as much as a third of Europe's population in the Middle Ages-- "pale by comparison."
(Bring to mind the current Man-made Global Warming scam? But I don't want to go off on a tangent).

So, a funny thing happened on the way to the modern "Bring-Out-Your-Dead" scene.

We didn't start dying in indiscriminate droves.
Well, Graham Chapman died, but not as a result of AIDS.

And AIDS remained confined to its original risk groups.


Peter Duesberg has, and has had for a long time, a theory: HIV does not cause AIDS. Drug use causes AIDS.

One night, years ago in the late 20th century, I was clicking through the channels when I came upon a chat show on CNBC.
The interviewer whose name I don't recall, was talking to Peter Duesberg, and Peter Duesberg was saying that HIV does not cause AIDS.
I was fascinated.

So, who is this crackpot?
He is a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California at Berkeley.
Since working at Berkeley is no guarantee that you're not a crackpot, I'll proceed.
He isolated the first cancer gene in 1970 through his work on retroviruses, of which HIV is one.
He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1986.
Also, in 1986, he was awarded Outstanding Investigator Award by the National Institutes of Health.

He has written a book, Inventing The AIDS Virus, laying out and defending his case.
He maintains a website,, where you will find not only his arguments, but his answers to common questions about his theory, and links to almost all related articles and scientific papers.

I've read his book and kept up with the website.
And, although I'm only a layman, I tend to believe him.
He answers all doubters, and hasn't wavered from his position since first publishing it in 1987.

But what I really like about him can be summed up in the following paragraph from the June 2008 Discover magazine article on him:
"Weinberg, who first met Duesberg in the 1970's calls him a contrarian with a corrosive and acidic wit. He is like man who is shipwrecked on an island, struggles onto the beach, looks around and says, "Is there a government here? If so, I'm against it."

God love a contrarian.

Of course, Peter Duesberg may be wrong.

But would you be harmed in thinking outside the box, even for a moment?

No comments: