by Henry Bauer
extracted from The Anomalist-11
Kary Mullis won a Nobel Prize for inventing the technique of
PCR (polymerase chain reaction) that is used by everyone in molecular
biology, genetic engineering, forensic science - by anyone who
In his autobiography, Mullis (2000) reports that for
15 years he asked in vain for references to peer-reviewed
publications demonstrating that AIDS is infectious and that HIV is
Finally he was able to ask someone who would certainly
know, the man who first discovered the virus later called HIV,
Montagnier suggested, “Why don’t you reference the
CDC [Centers for
Disease Control] report?”
“I read it,” I said, “That doesn’t really address the issue of
whether or not HIV is the probable cause of AIDS, does it?”
He agreed with me.
It was damned irritating. If Montagnier didn’t
know the answer, who the hell did?
Besides Mullis there are other competent and informed scientists who
do not believe that HIV has been shown to be the cause of AIDS; but
one would not know that from the coverage of AIDS in the media.
the possibility is of an importance that can hardly be exaggerated:
people found to be HIV-positive are “treated” with drugs that have
very unpleasant side-effects, indeed are toxic (as well as
exceedingly expensive); and
the United Nations has proposed a
multi-billion-dollar program that would provide such drugs to even
Here are some of the salient points that cast doubt on a causal
connection between HIV and AIDS. (I can do no more than just raise
these points here; at the end, I will suggest further reading that
gives chapter and verse to these and additional points.)
Predictions have persistently been wrong, when based on the belief
that AIDS is infectious and caused by HIV.
Fifteen years ago, our society came close to panic under the belief
that this sexually transmitted disease, invariably fatal within a
short time, would soon spread into the general population. That has
not happened (Fumento 1990). The same groups are at risk as before:
chiefly promiscuous gay men and heavy users of “recreational” drugs.
In the mid-1980s, the media were full of dire predictions that
Thailand’s population would be decimated by AIDS (Duesberg, 1996:
289). Instead, the incidence of HIV infection there is now estimated
at only 2.15% (Anon., 2000: 19).
Announcing the discovery of HIV, Robert Gallo promised that within a
year there would be a vaccine to protect against AIDS. Fifteen years
later, there is no vaccine. The estimated time from infection by HIV
to development of full-scale AIDS, and from then to death, has grown
In the early 1980s, only months were supposed to
intervene between infection and death; now the estimate, for
otherwise healthy individuals, is as much as two decades!
Unlike with all other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), being a
female prostitute is not a risk factor for contracting AIDS.
Attempts to explain away this incongruity have produced a variety of
bizarre suggestions over the years; recently, for instance, that
continual exposure to HIV might serve to immunize - but apparently
only female prostitutes, not male prostitutes or promiscuous gay
Teenage girls in Britain have the highest rate of pregnancy and STDs
in Western Europe; but the STDs they experience are gonorrhea,
chlamydia, and genital warts and not HIV (Lockwood, 2000); indeed
Britain has a very low incidence of HIV at 0.11% (Anon. 2000: 19).
A number of suggestions have been made - including by Luc Montagnier
- that AIDS results only if “co-factors” are present in addition to
HIV infection. But more than a decade of investigation has failed to
discover these postulated factors.
The tests “for HIV” are actually tests for antibodies to HIV. But in
the case of other diseases, the detection of antibodies in
apparently healthy people is taken as an indication that infection
has been successfully vanquished by the immune system.
Why not with
Moreover the tests are not even specific for HIV antibodies: dozens
of other conditions yield positive “HIV” tests.
False positives are
given by - among other things:
The statistics about HIV and AIDS from various sources differ
To give just one example:
in 1999, WHO (World Health
Organization) recorded a cumulative total of 800,000 AIDS cases in
Africa (as against 700,000 in the U.S.) whereas the Joint United
Nations Program on HIV-AIDS (UNAIDS) claimed 14 million deaths from
AIDS and 23 million people now infected with HIV in sub-Saharan
Africa (Jones 2000).
The media fail to include in their sensationalist coverage of
African AIDS the fact that in Africa, “AIDS” is diagnosed on the
basis of the Bangui definition:
diarrhea, fever, and weight loss - conditions anything but unique to AIDS.
Bangui definition (WHO
1986; Quinn et al. 1986: 961 & Table 5) was evolved because
facilities for clinical testing are lacking in so much of Africa.
Any statistics about “HIV infection” in Africa are based at most on
very small samples extrapolated a long way, at worst on the
presumption that everyone with diarrhea, fever, and weight loss is
an HIV-AIDS victim.
HIV and AIDS are nowadays linked by definition: the CDC classifies
people as AIDS victims only if they harbor HIV. However, when the
AIDS epidemic was first identified, diagnosis was based on
immune-system deficiencies and the occurrence of otherwise rare,
opportunistic infections, Kaposi’s sarcoma being one of the most
After the discovery of HIV, however, the CDC diagnostic
criteria were altered so that people with damaged immune systems are
no longer diagnosed as having AIDS if they are not also
HIV-positive; they are now said to suffer from “idiopathic
CD4-T-cell lymphopenia” (Root-Bernstein 1995), which means “immune
system lacking CD4 cells for some unknown reason” - which meant
“AIDS”, before the announced discovery of HIV.
The CDC has, in point of fact, altered its diagnostic criteria
several times. Had it not done so, the incidence of AIDS in the
United States would have started to decrease even before the early
Regarding Kaposi’s sarcoma, it is also worth noting that this
supposed opportunistic infection, virtually the trademark of AIDS
when the epidemic first surfaced, is now rare among AIDS cases and
is no longer listed by the CDC as an HIV disease (Duesberg 1996:
No one has explained how HIV damages the immune system.
When a virus, composed of DNA plus protein, invades a cell, it
captures the cell’s reproductive mechanisms which are normally
controlled by the cell’s own DNA (in the chromosomes of the cell’s
nucleus). The viral DNA then copies itself, producing more virus
particles. Eventually the cell breaks up and the new virus particles
are freed to invade more cells. The virus multiplies and cells die
A retrovirus like HIV is composed of
RNA (Ribonucleic acid), not
When it invades a
cell, it uses the enzyme “reverse transcriptase” to produce DNA that
is incorporated into the cell’s chromosomes. To produce more
retrovirus, that DNA must then produce RNA. But that is the normal
manner of operation when cells divide or when they make proteins.
How would that kill the cell?
That question has been incessantly
asked by Peter Duesberg, one of the earliest and foremost experts in
retrovirology; he believes, in fact, that retroviruses never can
Even further: HIV has never been found in more than a very small
percentage of the immune-system cells of HIV-infected people. What
then causes most of the immune-system cells to disappear?
An increasing number of HIV-positive people, knowledgeable about the
toxicity of the drug treatments, are declining treatment and living
healthy lives (Maggiore 2000). Thus HIV does not inevitably produce
AIDS even when not treated; and (point 6 above) immune-system
deficiencies just like in AIDS also occur in absence of HIV. Thus
HIV and AIDS are not even inevitably correlated, let alone causally
But if HIV is not the cause of AIDS, then what is?
While the so-called “dissidents” from the orthodox view are
unanimous that HIV has not been shown to cause AIDS, they differ
among themselves over what the cause is. Some like Root-Bernstein
(1993) believe that destruction of the immune system follows a
succession or variety of insults to it, with HIV being only one
among several culprits, possibly the last straw in some cases.
Duesberg (1996) believe that HIV is a harmless
“passenger” virus that happens to thrive after immune systems have
already been damaged; he believes that the chief destruction of the
immune system comes from heavy use of drugs. A small group of
physicians and scientists in Perth, Australia, claims that the very
existence of HIV has yet to be demonstrated.
There is strong evidence that Kaposi’s sarcoma is caused by drug
use, specifically the inhalation of “poppers”, organic nitrites that
dilate blood vessels and relax muscles. In 1984, the majority of gay
men reported using poppers, but by 1991 only a quarter did so; the
proportion of AIDS cases with Kaposi’s sarcoma fell almost in
unison, from 50% in 1981 to only 10% in 1991 (Duesberg 1996: 270ff.)
But if AIDS is not infectious, why did it first appear in close-knit
communities? And how can it then be transmitted through blood
Recall that infectiousness was not the first discovered
characteristic of AIDS. It was at first called GRID - Gay Related
Immune Deficiency; that was changed to Acquired Immune Deficiency
Syndrome essentially for reasons of political correctness, to avoid
stigmatizing gay people. But neither term implies an infectious
cause. Human communities share not only physical contact but also
There are several striking precedents for apparently
infectious - physically contagious - epidemics that were not owing
to bacterial or viral transmission. Well known examples include
vitamin deficiencies resulting from inadequate diets, for instance
scurvy on board ships. Less well known cases include the SMON
epidemic, largely played out in Japan, which resulted from heavy
prescription of a certain drug by certain physicians.
As to AIDS,
the media have never emphasized that this epidemic which supposedly
swept the communities of gay men has actually affected only a small
percentage of gay men: some hundreds of thousands at most (out of at
least several million) and chiefly in the large cities. In these
communities “fast-lane” gay life was lived: staggering numbers of
promiscuous encounters in conjunction with heavy and varied drug
These are not allegations made by homophobes, it should be
emphasized; quite the contrary. Larry Kramer, a leading gay
activist, had described the fast-lane scene most graphically in a
novel (Kramer 1978) just before the epidemic exploded.
leading gay activist, John Lauritsen (1993), claims never to have
met a gay sufferer from AIDS who denied heavy use of drugs.
Concerning blood transfusions, very detailed technical arguments
have been published by Duesberg and others. For example, until very
recently hemophiliacs suffered damage to their immune systems from
the very blood products they received to provide clotting ability.
Further, that a virus could be transmitted through these products is
unlikely in the extreme since the method of preparation includes
heating that should kill any virus. Non-hemophiliacs who receive
transfusions are, by that very fact, suffering from some serious
illness and therefore likely to have already weakened immune
But has not the development of new drugs, which prolong life in
HIV-positive people, proved that HIV is the cause of AIDS?
No. In the first place, these treatments could not have decreased
infection rates because the incidence of AIDS (in the United States)
had begun to drop already in the early 1990s, before the hyped
“cocktails” and HAART (Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy) had
come into widespread use.
In the second place, the drugs that supposedly kill HIV and protect
against AIDS actually produce AIDS-like effects (Brink 1998;
A diagnosis of HIV infection followed by the
conventional treatment will produce AIDS if the “therapy” is
continued long enough. That is one reason why conventional treatment
now increasingly incorporates “holidays” from drugs - whereas
initially it had been claimed that any failure to take the drugs
faithfully every day would cause the virus to rebound
To repeat what I quoted from Mullis: there are no scientific
publications proving that HIV causes AIDS.
As I’ve now illustrated,
many facts seem inexplicable if HIV is thought to cause AIDS. But as
I also said at the outset, in a single article one cannot make a
convincing case on so complicated an issue; all I hope to have done
is arouse interest in the possibility that the conventional wisdom
about HIV-AIDS is wrong. Full arguments including technicalities are
given by Duesberg (1996) and Root-Bernstein (1993).
For the general
reader, I recommend two short, very readable books, by:
Christine Maggiore, a young woman who was diagnosed HIV-positive.
She was thereby stimulated to learn what that meant. She has since
avoided anti-HIV therapy, married, and had a healthy child.
Joan Shenton, a British journalist whose investigation of the AIDS
epidemic forced her to the conclusion that HIV is not its cause.
The best source of information is probably the Web-site of the
for Reappraisal of the HIV-AIDS Hypothesis,
There are at least 50 other Web-sites taking the dissident
viewpoint, and a couple of dozen defending the orthodox viewpoint.
Continuing coverage of media reports about AIDS, with occasional
brief annotations from a dissident viewpoint, is provided by the
news-group firstname.lastname@example.org (to subscribe to it,
send “subscribe rethinkaids” to email@example.com).
Anon. (reporting data from UNAIDS). (2000). Africa: a dying
continent. Scotland on Sunday, 9 July.
Brink, Anthony R. (1998). Debating AZT (AZT
- A Medicine from Hell),
Duesberg, P. (1996). Inventing the AIDS Virus. Washington (DC):
Fumento, M. (1990). The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS. New York: Basic
Jones, C. (2000). Fudged facts on AIDS science does a number on
Africa. NOW Magazine (Toronto), 9-15 March.
Kramer, L. (1978). Faggots. New York: Random House (reprinted 1984
by Warner Books, 1987 by Dutton, 2000 by Grove/Atlantic).
Lauritsen, J. (1990). Poison by Prescription: The AZT Story. New
Lauritsen, J. (1993). The AIDS War: Propaganda, Profiteering and
Genocide from the Medical-Industrial Complex. New York: Asklepios.
Lockwood, C. (2000). Tell us more about sex. Times (UK), 29 June, p.
Maggiore, C. (2000). What if Everything You Thought You Knew about
Aids Was Wrong? Studio City (CA): American Foundation for AIDS
Alternatives (revised 4th ed.).
Mullis, K. (2000). Dancing Naked in the Mind Field. New York:
Vintage Books (first published 1998).
Quinn, T. C., Mann, J. M., Curran, J. W. and Piot, P. (1986). AIDS
in Africa: an epidemiologic paradigm. Science, 234: 955-63.
Root-Bernstein, R. S. (1993). Rethinking AIDS: The Tragic Cost of
Premature Consensus. New York: Free Press.
Root-Bernstein, R. (1995a). The Duesberg phenomenon: what does it
mean? Science, 267: 159.
Shenton, J. (1998). Positively False: Exposing the Myths around HIV
and AIDS. London & New York: I. B. Tauris.
WHO (World Health Organization). (1986). Weekly Epidemiological
Records, 61: 69-76.