If anybody deserves to die of AIDS, it is the propagandists who insist that HIV is not the cause of the cause of AIDS.
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And, I might add, the journalists who help spread the lie.
One byline that has popped up regularly over the years is renowned American activist and journalist Celia Farber who sympathetically covered AIDS denialism in her column Words From the Front in Spin magazine from 1987 to 1995. She has also long written about UC Berkeley virologist Dr. Peter Duesberg who believes the majority of AIDS cases in the West can be attributed to drug toxicity.
When Farber drudged up the same old same old in a 2006 feature story for Harper’s magazine, headlined “Out of Control: AIDS and the Corruption of Medical Science,” author and ACT-UP founder Larry Kramer wrote to the editor, “Putting aside the question of how Celia Farber’s lengthy article got into an estimable magazine like Harper’s, the fact that it did requires a convincing response… Even I can recognize holes in Farber’s arguments, and I can see how nimbly she skates over certain issues.”
So, on the eve of this weekend’s 2011 CA MARCHE AIDS Walk in Montreal, allow me to remind you of the summer 2009 issue of the Montreal-based Maisonneuve magazine, whose cover story by journalist Bruce Livesy was headlined inside, “The X Factor: AIDS researchers have struggled to find a cure for the disease for thirty years. But what if they have it all wrong?”
The feature focused on a Toronto bookstore owner (!) and AIDS “expert” John Scythes who contended people with AIDS are really dying of latent syphilis. The story made HIV-denialist Dr. Peter Duesberg out to be some kind of tragic hero and blamed big pharma for insisting HIV is the cause of AIDS.
Hendricks was pretty pissed too. In his letter to Maisonneuve, which Hendricks also sent me, he wrote, “As a gay senior, a gay rights activist and a veteran of the sexual revolution and the ensuing HIV/AIDS epidemic in Montreal, I was flabbergasted as I read your cover story, The X Factor. Somehow I had thought that our community had gotten over the dogmas of HIV-denial and moved on. But it seems I was wrong…
“While I understand where Mr. Scythes is coming from (I’ve known a number of people like him over the years), I was unable to grasp what the journalist, Bruce Livesey, was doing when he wrote this article,” Hendricks continued. “A feature on some old guy who has invested years in the search for the Holy Grail – that I can understand. But did Mr. Livesey do any fact checking? If he had read up a bit, how could he explain to himself the remarkable effectiveness of the class of HIV treatment drugs called entry or receptor inhibitors which target specific sites in the HIV reproductive cycle and, in combination with other medication, actually arrest the advance of the infection and the progress towards developing AIDS? If syphilis were the unknown cause of AIDS, this would not happen.
“By publishing these fantasies, you are doing harm to our community. Seeing this stuff in a reputable magazine plays into a kind of denial in some segments of the homosexual community that wish to believe in magical thinking. By giving space to the Mr. Scythes of the world, you are encouraging people who are already in denial about HIV and AIDS to keep on dreaming.”
Which is why I’ve brought up this issue again on the eve of the Farha Foundation’s 19th annual CA MARCHE AIDS Walk. This year’s goal is to raise $400,000 to help improve the lives of the 20,000 men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS throughout Quebec. Since 1992, the Farha Foundation has distributed over $8.3 million to some 76 organizations throughout Quebec that provide care and services (housing, medication, food, palliative care, homecare, etc.), as well as AIDS prevention and education programs.
Do NOT tell these people that HIV is not the root of AIDS.
Furthermore, by denying HIV causes AIDS, we are only encouraging yet another generation to have unsafe sex.
Which is why we must all speak up against HIV-deniers. Because, once again, Silence = Death.