Thursday, August 23, 2012
Op-Ed: AIDS, Africa and Duesberg
Oakland - University of California researcher Peter Duesberg has been denounced as a denialist, a crank and worse because of his belief that HIV does not cause AIDS. But what if he is right?
In recent months a number of videos about AIDS have been uploaded to YouTube which support a paradigm that is totally at odds with the official line, namely that AIDS is transmitted sexually, and that the cause of AIDS is the HIV virus. In short, no HIV, no AIDS.The alternative hypothesis has been around for a long time, and its most high powered proponent is Peter H. Duesberg, Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology in the University of California, Berkeley.Three years ago, a full length documentary by Brent Leung that explores Duesberg's position in considerable depth was released. House of Numbers: Anatomy of an Epidemic was uploaded to YouTube about 18 months ago. This award winning film also has its own website.The first thing to note is that Duesberg is not and never has been a lone voice. As another distinguished German scientist, Hans Eysenck, said many years ago, we know so little about any disease.When AIDS first appeared, amongst sexually active homosexual men in the United States, no one should have been surprised. Because of this, and because of the obvious implications, attempts were made on both sides of the Atlantic to democratise AIDS; we were all at risk, we were told, and enormous sums of money were spent, some would say wasted, on high profile and frankly alarmist advertising campaigns that benefited the condom industry and spread the propaganda of the homosexual lobby without doing anything to combat the spread of the disease.To this day, the Terrence Higgins Trust spews out this propaganda, much of which is nothing less than obscene. Within years, AIDS had spread, or appeared to have spread, from American homosexuals to the rest of the world, including the Far East but nowhere more so than Africa. This raises two questions: was AIDS spread by the same mechanism in Africa as in the West, ie homosexual practices including substance abuse, or even was it really spreading at all? One didn't have to look very far to see ulterior motives. In their 1989 book AIDS, AFRICA AND RACISM, New and revised edition, Richard and Rosalind Chirimuuta quote Peter Tatchell from 7 Days, October 1986:"Contrary to the mythology that Aids is a gay plague, the overwhelming majority of people with Aids are heterosexual, including as many women as men...Most of these Aids cases are in central Africa...In Africa it is estimated that 6% of the total population is now infected but in some countries it is much higher - 25% of the Malawi population, 23% of the Ugandan population..."These statistics have almost certainly been pulled out of a hat along with those Tatchell cites from the Kinsey report, and it is obvious where he is coming from, it is not us who is to blame, but the whole world.According to Peter Duesberg and a growing number of dissenting scholars, what is called AIDS in Africa is no such thing, certainly not in the vast majority of cases. AIDS type conditions can result from malnutrition and other things. When people have poor diet, where there is little or no access to clean water, when sanitation is poor, etc, illnesses arise which can be diagnosed as AIDS. Added to this is the fact that there is no universally recognised criterion for the condition. A common cold or a broken leg is the same in New York as in Kinshasa; the same cannot be said of AIDS.Duesberg's claims go much further than this, and in some quarters they have been ridiculed, but does it make sense to treat African women and kids the same way as American homosexuals? Clearly not. Here he is in his own words, albeit with some reserve:AB: I've read your paper, and I've also read Debunking the new Duesberg HIV/AIDS Denialist in the Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology, which seems to be based largely on ad hominem. Yours is based largely on statistics, which can of course be used to prove virtually anything,PD: Well, the HIV-AIDS establishment has for the last three decades panicked the world with millions, up to 40 million HIV-deaths. The mainstream press, professional and lay-press, has willingly replicated the HIV-AIDS propaganda without ever showing verifiable population statistics.If I/we (=authors of IJAE) now provide verifiable statistics with references to check them, your response is that with "statistics (one) can of course prove virtually anything".If that is so -1) Why don't you ask the London Times, The Independent, The Lancet, Nature and the many other noticeable British journals to provide verifiable statistics for their relentless HIV-deaths propaganda?2) Have you checked my statistics and found them flawed? If so, what was wrong?AB: You cite Fumento's book, which I read back in the early 90s, and it is difficult to take issue with its thesis that if you play in a sewer you will catch vile diseases. Your position is clearly less extreme, but are you saying that if homosexuals cut out drug abuse they are no more substantially at risk than the rest of us?PD: The American Centers for Disease Control assumes global authority for defining and redefining AIDS for the global HIV-AIDS "community".AB: With regard to Africa and other places, without raising any conspiracy theories about Big Pharma, what do you see as the way forward?PD: None. Disorganized and poor as they are, the Africans have no chance to stand up against the huge, affluent and powerful global HIV-AIDS establishment. Take Mbeki as an example.AB: Obviously there is big money in providing AIDS drugs, which may be killing people, but couldn't the same companies be persuaded to supply vitamins and mineral supplements instead? Surely this would keep them happy AND save lives?PD: Only if the governments of the free world would fund vitamins as anti-HIV drugs at the same level as now anti-HIV drugs, and if they would ban current anti-HIV drugs at the same time. I don't think they would be "happy" to sell vitamins made by patents that have all expired decades ago.AB: If you were given a cheque for a billion dollars and told to spend it on AIDS, where would the money go?PD: To research to define AIDS, and then to find provable causes of AIDS.AB: Another point that doesn't seem to have been considered, could it be that human biology has something to do with it, a bit like Africans being susceptible to sickle cell anaemia? As the AIDS/HIV hypothesis appears to fulfil both Koch and Bradford Hill, it is at least possible that you are wrong. Would you be prepared to concede this?PD: Show me the evidence, please.***********************************************************************************Professor Duesberg's colleague Christian Fiala summarised the current position. The following is quoted verbatim:The current debate is an ideological/religious discourse. Living in a strongly catholic country the discourse reminds me of a discussion I had with a priest about virginity of Mary. As specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology I can provide whatever evidence there is to prove that Mary was not a virgin. The priest will do everything to discredit me and to find some kind of bogus explanation for his believe. The current debate on HIV/Aids is quite similar, it is a discourse between those who believe, those who defend their believe system and on the other side those who question and know what they know. It is like a discourse between the former politburo of the former Soviet Union and the real dissidents, Solschenizyn and Sacharow.Such situations are not new in science/medicine. On the contrary they come up with some regularity. And the story will end like the believe in blood letting: it will disappear as soon as the generation who promoted it and made their living with it have died. There is an interesting similarity between the believe in blood letting and HIV/Aids: a president has been victim in both believe systems. With one difference, George Washington died because he believed in blood letting, while Tabo Mbeki had to go because he refused to believe in HIV/Aids. But Aids will have cost and destroyed much more lives than the believe in blood letting.
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