(fwd) *** HIV DOES NOT CAUSE AIDS ***
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Subject: HIV does NOT cause AIDS!
The following is a reprint from the September 1993 issue of
PROFESSOR PETER DUESBERG believes HIV doesn't cause AIDS.
Is he the heretic the medical establishment claims, or a
20th-century Galileo? Bob Guccione, Jr. tries to find out.
In March 1987, Dr. Peter Duesberg, professor of molecular
biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and one
of the world's leading experts on retroviruses, a field he
helped pioneer, wrote in Cancer Research that he didn't believe
HIV, a retrovirus, caused AIDS. He argued that HIV was too
inactive, infected too few cells, and was too difficult to
even find in AIDS patients to be responsible. And since the
virus is notoriously difficult to isolate, antibody detection
became the indicator of infection-something Duesberg protested
is highly inconsistent. Antibodies dominant over a virtually
unfindable virus has always meant the immune system has
triumphed over the invader, not capitulated to it. Finally,
there were AIDS cases without any HIV, virus or antibody,
further weakening the hypothesis. The Centers for Disease
Control (CDC) swept those under the carpet by changing the
definition of what an AIDS patient is to necessarily include
HIV infections. But hundreds of HIV-free, certified AIDS cases
surfaced again at the 1992 International Conference on AIDS,
and now total over 4,000. This time the CDC changed the name
of the disease. Duesberg contends it's AIDS nonetheless and
changing the name only further distracts from the likelihood
that HIV doesn't cause it.
Duesberg was and continues to be assailed for his views.
Science progresses by debate but, AIDS, suffused with overtones
of life-style criticism and moralizing, became as much a social
issue as a medical one. Truth became subjective and relative
and as hard to pinpoint as an exit in a house of mirrors.
At first, the medical establishment tried to dismiss Duesberg,
then, when that failed, became obsessed with him. Each
advancement and understanding of detecting the virus was
trumpeted as crushing Duesberg but never succeeded in doing
so. "They move the goalpost," he said repeatedly, "but they
don't change anything." A number of the world's top scientists
began agreeing with him, including Kary Mullis, the inventor
of PCR, the most elaborate HIV detection machine: He believes
HIV doesn't cause AIDS.
Duesberg's credentials are impeccable. He is a member
of the National Academy of Sciences and a recipient of an
Outstanding Investigative Grant from the National Institutes
of Health in 1985. He was a candidate for the Nobel Prize
for his work in discovering oncogenes, thought to be a cause
of cancer, in viruses. But he derailed his chances of winning
when he cautioned that his findings did not prove that there
were cancer genes in cells, as was popularly theorized at
the time (and still an unproven theory). An insane move for
a scientist's career but an exemplary act of ethics.
I interviewed Duesberg over the course of a month,
beginning in his cramped office in his Berkeley laboratory
and continuing through hours of long distance telephone
cross-examinations. As the government health agencies still
fail to produce a single effective treatment,
a vaccine, or even proof of how HIV is supposed to bring on
AIDS, Professor Duesberg's skepticism about HIV and his
hypothesis about what he believes are the real causes of AIDS
become ever more important to hear.
SPIN: Why do you think HIV doesn't cause AIDS?
Dr. Peter Duesberg: Every virus I've ever seen gets its job
done by killing a cell at a time, and when it has killed
enough, you get sick. HIV is said to be responsible for the
loss of T-cells, which are the immune system. Now, in every
AIDS patient studied so far, there is never more than, on
average, one in 1,000 cells infected by HIV.
How many cells in 1,000 would another virus infect-for instance
a flu virus?
If it would cause flu, then 30 percent of your lung cells
are ruined by the virus, the lining is gone, or is infected.
If you have hepatitis almost every single cell in your liver
A lot of very bright scientists are working in AIDS and they
don't all have dubious agendas and they must have asked
themselves the same questions. If HIV doesn't kill a lot of
cells, why is it widely believed to be the cause of AIDS?
By assigning it all these unprecedented, paradoxical properties
that no other virus ever had. They say it can kill cells
indirectly, or can induce something called autoimmunity, which
essentially is, the virus sends out a trigger and the body
is now convinced to commit suicide. Or they say there are
cofactors, if you really press them hard on it. But what they
are has yet to be determined.
How feasible is the argument that HIV triggers autoimmunity?
It is very implausible indeed. There are a million Americans
with HIV who are totally healthy. There are six million
Africans according to the World Health Organization who have
HIV; 129,000 had AIDS by the end of last year, that means
five million eight hundred and so many thousand had no AIDS.
Half a million Europeans have HIV and 60,000 have AIDS. So
there are millions and millions of people on this planet who
have [HIV but] no AIDS-why don't seven-and-a-half million
get autoimmune disease if HIV is the cause of an autoimmune
Well, the establishment says that everybody with HIV will
develop AIDS and it's just a matter of time.
In the last ten years this has happened in America to about
20 percent of all people with HIV, 250,000[including deaths
to date] out of a million. But the people who are dying from
AIDS are hardly ever your all-American friends of 20 to 40
years of age: Virtually all heterosexual Americans and
Europeans who had AIDS are intravenous drug users. And the
homosexuals who get AIDS had hundreds if not thousands of
sexual contacts. That is not achieved with your conventional
testosterone. It is achieved with chemicals. Those are the
risk groups, they inhale poppers, they use amphetamines, they
take Quaaludes, they take amyl nitrite, they take cocaine
What is it about intravenous drug use as opposed to ordinary
drug use, like snorting cocaine, that would mean theses people
would go on to develop AIDS?
It's a matter of degree. With drugs, the dose is the poison.
You take one aspirin, you lose your headache, you take 200,
you drop dead. You smoke one pack of cigarettes, you're fine,
but if you smoke two packs of cigarettes for 10 or 20 years,
you may get emphysema. It is the same with drugs. If you snort
a line of cocaine on a weekend, you probably won't notice
the difference. But if you inject it intravenously two or
three times a day, that's when the toxicity shows up. We're
designed to take some shit. But we're not designed to inject
cocaine three times a day. People have been having a little
cocaine in their tea in South America, yes, but not injecting
it three times a day, and nobody was inhaling nitrites-nitrites
are toxic as hell. Nobody was taking amphetamines at those
doses; they were not available. That's what's new.
But back to this argument about HIV. Viruses can only
work one way. They can only be toxic if they affect a cell.
They cannot work at a distance. There's no exception. Viruses
are what you call an intracellular parasite. They don't have
an autonomous life. They are just a little piece of information
that is stuck into a cell and acts like a parasite. But outside
of the cell it's like a disc outside a computer.
So is there any precedent of a virus creating an autoimmune
There are a few hypotheses, but no. When a doctor doesn't
know how to explain a disease, he has two classical crutches:
it's a slow virus or it's an autoimmune disease. I've heard
that for the last 20 years. When they didn't know what diabetes
was, it was a slow virus or an autoimmune disease. Alzheimer's:
slow virus or an autoimmune disease. And with AIDS, slow virus,
causing an autoimmune disease. You have both!
An autoimmune disease is a misdirected immune response.
It cannot tell a harmful virus from a harmless one, it
overreacts. If the virus were the trigger, that should follow
as soon as the virus gets in you. Not, as they say about AIDS,
you get infected now, ten years later you get diarrhea. It's
Is it possible that AIDS could be an autoimmune created
disease, but HIV isn't the trigger?
Some of the AIDS diseases could possibly be autoimmune
diseases. Certainly not all. 38 percent of American AIDS cases
have nothing to do with immune deficiency. 38 percent. 10
percent are Kaposi sarcomas, 19 percent are this so-called
That's seen in Africa a lot, the slim disease?
Yeah, there it's somewhat different, it's usually coupled
with infections. But the American or European wasting disease
is actually specifically defined as a nonparasitic disease.
Anyway, 6 percent is dementia, 3 percent is lymphoma
cancer. If you add those up, that's 38 percent of all American
AIDS cases. Out of 250,000, that's about 100,000-their diseases
cannot be explained by any form of immunodeficiency whatsoever.
Why is it considered AIDS, then?
That's one of the questions I would love to know the answer
to. I have asked several experts; they always get mad. AIDS
is always presented as if it's all immune deficiency. It is
not at all. Cancer has nothing to do with immune deficiency.
So what is the common denominator between all of the 25 AIDS
None! They name it AIDS, that's all. None of these 38 percent
have anything whatsoever to do with immunodeficiency, but
they're called AIDS.
There's not one AIDS disease that's new. What is new
is only the incidence of these diseases in 20-to 45-year-old
men, mostly, and a few women, has gone up.
I've always thought the 25 diseases that form the AIDS syndrome
had the common denominator that they were the results of the
Immune system's inability to stave them off.
That's how they try to sell it without looking at the evidence.
But cancer is not a consequence of immune deficiency. Dementia
has nothing to do with the immune system. Your brain is
independent of the immune system. Of course, if there's no
immune system, and your brain gets infected, you can get
meningitis. But it doesn't affect your IQ. Sure, in the end,
if everything fails you can get all sorts of diseases.
Even if you accommodate the virus with all sorts of absurd
and paradoxical hypotheses-indirect mechanisms, and cofactors,
autoimmunity, a ten-year latency period-even that doesn't
get you around the solid number of 4,621 HIV-free AIDS cases
[worldwide, a third of these in the U.S.]. How do you explain
those? You couldn't have a better alibi than being there!
And that is suppressed. Here we have a real cover-up. Last
year the numbers of these cases was going up like crazy, and
Anthony Fauci [director of National Institutes of Health [NIH],
and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] called
a meeting. And you know what they did? They gave it a new
name. They call it "Idiopathic CD-4 lymphocytopenia."
Or ICL. When you're HIV-free now, it's no longer called AIDS.
There's 4,000 cases that don't have HIV, but the 250,000-plus
cases that remain do have HIV.
That's what you think. How do you know that?
Because they've been tested.
By their physicians
So who tells us that they have been tested?
A guy goes to his doctor, clearly very ill, he has AIDS. He's
tested or was tested earlier on and is found to be
Even now, there is no record, anywhere, that says in how many
American AIDS cases HIV was actually found.
But in every AIDS case, the CDC would know whether or not
the patients were HIV-positive, because the physicians reported
You're led to believe this by the CDC, but the evidence that
HIV is there, they never disclose. Nowhere in the HIV/AIDS
Surveillance Report, as they call the national statistics
kept by the CDC, do you ever find HIV data. No survey on HIV
at all. All they talk about is AIDS. And then you read a little
more of the fine print, how AIDS is defined. They accept what
you call "presumptive diagnosis"- AIDS cases without HIV tests.
You know what that means? The guy wears a leather jacket,
has an earring, and is coughing. And he's from San Francisco.
That's an AIDS case. I don't even have to check it, his
I recently wrote a letter to Harold Jaffe [acting director
of the Division of HIV/AIDS at the CDC]. He acknowledged
43,606 presumptive diagnoses up to 1988. I checked the
literature and came up with 62,272 until 1992.
Let me get this straight, you're saying between 43,000 and
62,000 of the cases of AIDS up until 1992 were not tested,
which means we have no idea whether or not they were
They may or may not have been HIV-positive.
Yeah. Even in the latest AIDS definition, in January 1993,
they allowed presumptive diagnosis. In other words, a good
number of them even now will be reported without and HIV test.
The public perception is that all cases of AIDS have HIV,
that a case is not defined as AIDS without the presence of
HIV, which would mean, by definition, that somebody tested
Most people assume, like you do, that everyone [with AIDS]
is positive. That's not the end yet. We have what is called
false-positive antibody tests. They call them HIV tests, but
you know what you're testing. The antibody can be there and
the virus could be long gone.
Additionally, there are crossreactions, where the antibody
might react to, say, malaria or arthritis and that's mistaken
for engaging HIV?
Exactly. Or people vaccinated for the flu. Blood donors, ten
recentlyseven out of ten were positive for HIV.
Did they have the virus?
How do we know they didn't have the virus?
They were checked a half a year later, and the test was
negative. There was no virus.
Every year, 12 million blood donations are checked. The
donors are treated preferentially; they don't want them to
get the flu so they give them a flu vaccine free. Seven out
of ten of those guys then tested after the flu vaccine turn
out to be "positive" for HIV. They didn't have HIV, the flu
vaccine crossreacted with the HIV antibody.
How often is the test false?
The test can be wrong over 50 percent of the time. If you
just repeat it, half of them fall out immediately. But if
you look at a group on newly recruited soldiers, one in 100
tests positive, and when you check them again, one in 1,000
That's pretty incredible. That means only one out of every
ten that tested positive is actually positive.
You see, that's the point: The idea that everybody who has
AIDS is known to have HIV is far from the truth. There's a
significant percentage who are totally untested. And the tests
are often unconfirmed, and even if they are confirmed, they
are only antibody tests. There are a number of people who
even have a positive Western Blot-the more reliable antibody
test-but when you look for the virus it's still not there.
In San Francisco, there are three people, false positives,
who found out now they have no HIV, but were treated with
AZT, which is designed to inhibit the virus. And AZT, as we
all know is extremely toxic. And they have AIDS now. They
have pneumonia, they have pneumocystis-exactly like AIDS-and
they have no virus.
You presume it was because of AZT.
That's what they're suing for.
Explain why you have called AZT "AIDS by prescription.
It's AIDS by design. It was designed over 20 years ago as
a chemotherapy. And chemotherapy is a rational but desperate
treatment for cancer. The rationale is, Let's kill all the
growing cells for several weeks. The hope is the cancer is
going to be totally dead, and you are only half dead and
recover. Chemotherapy is a rough treatment. You lose your
hair, you lose weight, you get pneumonia, you get immune
deficiency, you literally get AIDS, you have nausea, all the
AIDS symptoms, because it's severe cellular intoxication.
You kill a lot of good cells, too. Often the treatment works,
the cancer is indeed dead and you survive and recover.
Now you give that drug to somebody indefinitely. Not
just for two or three weeks. Every six hours, your HIV-positive
person takes 250 mg of AZT. So they lose weight, they become
anemic, they lose their white cells, they have nausea, they
lose their muscles. Like Rudolf Nureyev, they cannot even
stand on their own legs. And then they die. Like Kimberly
Bergalis, Nureyev, Arthur Ashe, Ryan White, and many others.
That's what you call AIDS by prescription.
There's one issue even more fundamental we scientists
have never discussed: Is AIDS actually an infectious disease
or not? You see, you can "acquire" a disease in two ways.
Either by a microbe-and then it's an infectious disease; then
you can pass it on, sexually or otherwise-or you acquire it
from the environment, that is, by toxins, like you acquire
lung cancer from smoking or liver cirrhosis from drinking.
Those are two entirely different mechanisms of getting a
disease. So how do we tell them apart? The infectious diseases
have one thing in common: Without one single exception, all
infectious diseases are always equally distributed between
the sexes. Zero exceptions. From measles to mumps, syphilis,
gonorrhea hepatitis, tuberculosis, all infectious diseases
follow soon after contact. Microbes don't mess around. They
have a generation time of hours or at very most a day or two.
That's their built-in generation time. They grow at that rate.
There is no other way. They can't do it faster and they can't
do it slower.
You are 75kg of meat to them. Nothing more, nothing less.
And they convert it within days to themselves, that's what
they do. There's not one authentic exception, where you get
infected today and get a disease ten years later.
And it certainly doesn't happen ten years after antibodies
are made. Antibodies are an indication that the body has
noticed the guys and knocked them out.
Isn't the argument, though, that the immune system is losing
the battle? The antibodies may be there, but the T-cells are
being depleted, so the immune system is actually losing the
Only if the virus has ever overwhelmed the immune system,
but it hasn't. The immune system does beautifully. It knocks
the virus out to a level where nobody can find it. [Dr. Robert]
Gallo and [Dr. Luc] Montagnier had a hell of a time finding
it. Because it was gone. That's why we look for antibodies
in the AIDS test. It can't find the virus. That's the third
point-again, no exception to that rulewhere you have an
infectious disease, the microbe that is responsible for that
disease is abundant, very active in many cells.
What about this recent discovery that large quantities of
HIV are in the lymph nodes?
What they're doing is using a bigger scope, the polymerase
chain reaction, which amplifies a needle in a haystack to
a haystack itself. So now you can all of a sudden see it.
And they say, isn't it great what we can see with a new scope.
Well, the problem is, you don't help the emperor a lot if
you can see his clothes only with a microscope. All they're
doing is applying bigger and bigger scopes. They magnify the
needle, but they don't make more of it, they only see it
What you're saying is if a man is six feet tall, and you put
him on a cinema screen, it doesn't mean he's really 20 feet
That's right. Now, what's the prediction for a non-infectious
disease, a toxic disease? One of them is, it's not distributed
equally between the sexes or randomly in the population, it's
distributed according to exposure. The smokers are the ones
who get lung cancer, the nonsmokers hardly ever get it. The
alcoholics get the liver cirrhosis and not the milk drinkers.
And so it's exposure to the toxin. The health consequences
are not immediate. You don't get sick from one cigarette.
It takes years of build-up. You have to reach a certain
threshold of toxicity.
You believe this explains the so-called latency period.
That is the classical relationship between drug consumption
and the disease that follows. Unlike the infectious agents,
which work immediately or never.
The argument about AIDS is that there are lots of people who
do drugs and don't have AIDS.
It's the dose. There's a genetic constituency, some people
are more resistant than others. But very roughly, it's a
cumulative thing. It's a certain threshold you have to reach
and that varies personally. Now look at AIDS. It fits none
of the criteria of an infectious disease-not equally
distributed, not soon [manifested], no active microbe, nothing
is there. You can't find HIV even if people are dying-you
can, tiny bit, occasionally....
What about the 10 percent of AIDS patients that are women?
Those are drug users mostly.
Okay, the statistics say something like 75 percent of the
women have some kind of recreational drug history, or were
HIV-positive and went on AZT. That sill leaves about 25 percent
that don't have a drug history.
Well, see, if you talk 25 percent out of 10 percent, you're
talking 2.5 percent. And now here we come to the definition
of AIDS. AIDS is 25 old diseases under a new name in the
presence of HIV. These diseases do occur with or without HIV.
Is there a difference in the manifestation of, for instance,
tuberculosis, in a case where a woman has tuberculosis and
HIV, and a case where a woman just has tuberculosis?
None that I know of.
Woman A has tuberculosis, no HIV. Woman B has tuberculosis
and HIV; she is said to have AIDS. Now, are there any physical
No. In terms of diagnostic features, it's the same.
Absolutely the same? And they should, if they're both of
average health, either recover or die at the same pace?
It should be exactly the same. The only thing is that because
HIV is rare in this country, only one in 250 Americans, 0.4
percent, are HIV-positive, and because it's so difficult to
pick up, the odds are that he or she may have been one of
those people who have practiced risk behavior, or been
Okay, woman B is not a prostitute, is not promiscuous, is
not an intravenous drug user-
And HIV-positive and has tuberculosis? That would be exactly
the same as the woman without HIV and tuberculosis. Totally
What you're saying is woman A and woman B are identically
sick. So we can challenge the readership of the magazine that
if anyone out there has AIDS and is HIV-positive but hasn't
done any risk behavior, they should contact us and let us
look at their case history, and we would learn a lot if such
a person who doesn't come from one of the risk groups has
HIV and has developed AIDS. Have you scrutinized the case
history of any patient who has AIDS, is HIV-positive, and
doesn't come from a risk group?
They are extremely rare. Those are the cases like Kimberly
Bergalis. They give them AZT and then it's finished.
Did Kimberly Bergalis [the Florida woman who contracted HIV
from her dentist] get AZT before or after she had AIDS?
She had a yeast infection, that was her diagnostic disease,
which is not so rare in women. And antibodies for the virus.
After her HIV diagnosis, they gave her AZT. She was otherwise
healthy, except for the yeast infection?
Tell me a woman with a yeast infection needs blood transfusions
for anemia. Tell me a woman with a yeast infection who loses
30 pounds in a year. Tell me a woman with a yeast infection
who loses her hair and needs a wheelchair because of muscle
atrophy. How many women fit that description? I've never heard
And all she had at the time of prescription of AZT was a yeast
infection. Are you sure of that?
They said the yeast infection was first and then she later
also had some kind of a pneumonia and they don't say when
they started her on AZT. But I have yet to ever hear of a
21-year-old that needs blood transfusions for pneumonia or
a yeast infection.
AZT destroys the bone marrow, doesn't it?
Of course it does, it kills the red cells. Anemia is the fist
direct effect of AZT toxicity. If you have no red cells. Anemia
is the first direct effect of AZT toxicity. If you have no
red cells, you can't pick up oxygen. You're in trouble, my
Is a transfusion itself very immunosuppressive?
Well, one or two transfusions are not going to make a very
big difference. It's a problem for hemophiliacs who get it
regularly and keep getting foreign proteins over and over
and over. You get proteins from somebody else, that's
suppressive to your own immune system.
Let's look at Arthur Ashe from the public perception:
heterosexual, non-drug-user, former athlete, has a blood
transfusion following bypass surgery. He discovers he has
HIV from the transfusion. He develops AIDS and clearly dies
from it. How do you explain that?
Arthur Ashe had the virus since 1983, that's when he had
transfusions for surgery. And in '88, he was put on AZT and
later on ddI. Last December, he looked like he came from
Auschwitz. He was emaciated, he was unfocused, he couldn't
answer questions well. That's why he got pneumonia; a sportsman
at 49 doesn't die of pneumonia, but an AZT victim like Kimberly
So before he took AZT, he was healthy?
Except, of course, this congenital heart condition which was
pretty well taken care of. The plausible cause of death
considering his background would have been some heart problem.
But not a pneumonia. Like others who took AZT and died way
too early, he was a typical
example of an AZT victim. Another note about Arthur Ashe:
He had the virus in 1983, he died in 1993, ten years later,
his wife happens to be HIV-negative. In ten years, he couldn't
transmit HIV to his wife? It's a sexually transmitted disease,
He probably used a condom-
In '83, you didn't even know what HIV was. And he certainly
didn't use a condom when he fathered his daughter [now 5].
Maybe he used a condom in the last two years with AZT-probably
didn't need a condom 'cause one of the consequences of AZT
You told me that when they transport HIV for researchers to
study it, they transport it in T-cell cultures, but the T-cells
don't die. Explain that.
In 1984, in Science, Gallo said HIV kills T-cells and that
is the cause of AIDS. Also in 1984, in May, he signed under
oath to the U.S. Patent Office that this same virus can be
produced in permanently growing human T-cells. And these
T-cells are still growing in his laboratory, in dozens of
companies on this planet, enough to conduct at least 25 million
tests per year in this country alone, over 20 million in
Russia, millions all over the world. These T-cells have yet
But some must die?
Not because of the virus. Sometimes they die because people
don't treat them right. But if they keep them going, they
go and go and go. If the virus were toxic to human T-cells
by itself, in any way whatsoever, these cells would all be
dead. And it's not only T-cells, you can use B-cells, you
can use monocytes, and skin cells and nose cells. There is
no toxicity whatsoever detectable to that virus to human cells
Is there any difference between the virus that is mass-produced
and the virus that is found in the body?
Let me go back to HIV 101, if such a thing exists. The orthodox
standpoint is that when people are exposed to the virus, at
some point-it can be as long as ten years-they start to lose
T-cells, their immune system diminishes. The T-cells disappear
to a chronically low level. Now, you say it is something else
that is causing the diminishing of the T-cells and it is
coincidental to have HIV.
That's what I think. I support that in two ways. There are
a million Americans with HIV and their T-cells are normal,
they don't disappear, they are not depleted. Six million
Africans are said to have HIV normal T-cells, minus those
who get AIDS, that's a small fraction there.
HIV is one of the most harmless viruses you could possibly
have. Retroviruses in fact were the last ones to be discovered,
at least in humans, and that actually says something about
them. Viruses and microbes were historically discovered by
the diseases that they caused. It's not that people looked
to see what could we find through a microscope. They were
looking for something that could cause tuberculosis or
syphilis, and now AIDS. The last to be found were the
retroviruses, because they never do anything.
We found the polio virus by taking infected cells from a polio
patient; we took an AIDS patient's infected cells and found
HIV. Where is there a difference?
Well, when you look at the polio patient and you look in the
right place you find abundant virus. You look in the nerves
when they are paralyzed you look in the guts when they have
diarrhea and fever, you find plenty of virus. Now you look
in the AIDS patient and you are in trouble. Gallo was in
trouble. The only one who saw it, and barely, was Montagnier
in '83-he got some viruses out of there. You can squeeze them
out but it's an enormous job, because there is little or no
If I understand you correctly, if you isolate the polio virus,
and you apply it to healthy cells, it will infect those cells.
It will kill those cells in eight hours.
And if you apply HIV to healthy cells, what will happen to
The healthy cells will continue to live exactly as if they
The retrovirus basically seems to be a squatter virus, it
doesn't want to kill anybody in the house, it just wants to
That is the reason why we have chased retroviruses so dearly
in the last 20 years, because we thought they might be a cause
of cancer. Because they don't kill cells. That's why Gallo
is a retrovirologist, or David Baltimore [Nobel Prize-winning
researcher who discovered reverse transcriptase] or me. We
were chasing this class of viruses as possible carcinogens.
Cancer is caused by cells that grow out of control, not by
cells that are dying.
HIV never claims more than one in 1,000 cells every other
day. And every two days you replace 3 percent of your cells.
That is at least 30 out of 1,000.
What is depleting the immune systems of people with AIDS?
Well, it clearly can't be HIV, it's got to be something else.
There is too little HIV even in people dying from AIDS to
explain the loss of these many cells. The AIDS establishment
actually gives me credit for that question, but they are always
"just solving it about now." And for $4 billion [the annual
AIDS budget] they slowly solve that problem, but they haven't
solved it yet.
So it's got to be something else. I have an alternative
hypothesis, that in all those Americans and Europeans with
AIDS who don't have congenital clinical problems like
hemophiliacs, acquired clinical problems like people who are
ill and needed transfusions, it's drugs in some way or another.
Virtually all heterosexuals with AIDS are long-term cocaine
and heroin users. And orally consumed drugs, which includes
to some degree cocaine, but mainly the ones that are used
by the gays as aphrodisiacs, or to facilitate anal intercourse,
like the nitrite inhalants, ethyl-chloride inhalants,
Quaaludes, PCP, LSD, Ecstasy, and all of the combinations
of things that they're using.
What about antibiotics?
That's not a specific cause, I mean it doesn't help if you
take too many of them.
The worst of all is AZT. 200,000 people take AZT now in this
country every six hours just for having the virus, for being
antibody positive. You don't need any further explanation;
that kills the bone marrow right there.
Does cocaine or heroin kill your immune system?
Well, the long-term effects haven't been studied well. The
shortterm effects is what everybody studies. There are,
however, numerous studies that show that as of early in the
century, a long-term junkie had pneumonia, weight loss,
dementia, diarrhea, mouth infections, fevers, endocarditis,
those are the typical junkie diseases. If you are drug addicted
you don't even want to eat, you're flying and you don't sleep.
Insomnia and malnutrition are the primary causes of immune
deficiency in the world.
Drug addicts have always been described with the same
diseases that are called AIDS now. Even way back from the
Opium Wars in China, the classical picture of the opium addict
is this emaciated guy sucking on his opium pipe. He doesn't
eat, doesn't sleep, he's high, he's losing weight, and he
ends up with pneumonia or tuberculosis.
How do you explain the Kaposi's sarcoma cases, where do they
That is a key argument for my hypothesis that AIDS is caused
by drugs. The nitrites are the key drug used by promiscuous
homosexuals. Amyl nitrites, butyl nitrites, and other nitrite
derivatives are highly carcinogenic substances. So they enhance
the cancer risk and guess where the kaposi's are? In the face,
the lung, the hand. That's exactly where they put the stuff.
They put it in the hand, inhale it, and then you get Kaposi's
What about teenagers with AIDS?
780 in the United States in the last ten years, so divided
by year that's 78 per year in a country with 30 million
teenagers. A third are hemophiliacs, another third are gay
prostitutes, and another third are IV-drug users who started
at 10 and 11. Those are your 780 American teenagers with AIDS.
That's not a lot. The only significant number in people under
20 are the infants. One-or twoyear-old, possibly three-year-old
babies born with AIDS in Europe and in America. A full 80
percent of them were born to mothers who were injecting drugs
during pregnancy. These kids are intrauterine junkies. They
have been on drugs since before they were born.
What about the other 20 percent?
Another 5 or 10 percent are congenital conditions like
hemophilia. Some are simply infant mortality under a new name,
"ghetto kids." Infant mortality is higher in this country
than in all comparable industrialized nations. We have the
suburbs, where you get every health care you want, and then
we have places like Harlem, Richmond, Oakland, deep
impoverished conditions, that you don't find in Europe where
you have socialized medicine. Starvation, malnutrition, all
these kinds of things. Teenage mothers who run away from the
kids, or are working on the streets while the kids are alone
at home. Those are the American AIDS babies.
Is it really true that the death rate among hemophiliacs with
HIV is identical to those without HIV?
As far as we can tell from the few studies available, it's
the same. In fact, the irony is, it is probably even lower.
And I tell you how I arrived at that. There are 20,000 American
hemophiliacs, 75 percent of them are HIV-positive. 75
percent-or 15,000-have HIV, for nearly ten years now, because
as of 1984-85 they started AIDS testing, so they eliminated
blood with HIV. Now, in the last 10 to 15 years, the median
age of hemophiliacs has doubled. They are now twice as old
as they were 10 to 15 years ago. The fact is, during that
same 10 to 15 years, the Factor-VIII treatment has been
developed and perfected and everybody gets it. That's the
clotting factor that's missing in hemophiliacs, extracted
out of blood donations and because they extract it, you extract
viruses, too; that contaminated FactorVIII. But they are
irrelevant, mostly harmless things, because a blood donor
is typically not a terribly sick person-you wouldn't collect
blood from somebody who's dying from a disease. So these are
usually your ubiquitous little microbes that don't harm you.
As a result, they picked up HIV. So the treatment that also
brought them HIV has doubled their life.
HIV didn't hurt them?
No. In fact, it disproved the virus hypothesis in the largest
human experiment ever done. 15,000 people infected with HIV.
And now they live twice as long as hemophiliacs ever lived
before in history. Better, longer.
It's really an overwhelming point. It's not a minor
experiment. We have a huge population: 15,000 people with
HIV. Sure, it's true, some of them get what they call AIDS
now. But they get less of it than they did before, and they
get it because of transfusions. Because even now, they
constantly get these transfusions. They need FactorVIII. It's
not chemically clean, and that is immunosuppressive.
Why is HIV present in the majority of AIDS patients?
It is preferentially in AIDS patients, I acknowledge that.
But they have many other microbes, too. because your typical
AIDS patient has picked up HIV from "risk behavior": either
intravenous drug use or promiscuity. Or you are the recipient
of transfusions. Now what do those three things have in common?
Intravenous drug users, highly promiscuous people, and the
recipients of transfusions? They collect all the microbes
that are available, like stamp collectors. If you get a
transfusion, you don't have to shop around a lot, you get
everything in a shot. The hemophiliacs get it by constantly
getting transfusions. The intravenous drug users, they (a)
use prostitution to pay for the drugs, and (b) they share
needles. They go to shooting galleries, they take the same
needle until it breaks off in somebody's arm, then they take
a new one.
So these guys have cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus,
Human T-cell Leukemia Virus, hepatitis virus, papiloma virus,
syphilis, gonorrhea, all these microbes. Mycoplasma,
pneumocystis, all these of theses things you find abundant
in AIDS risk groups and AIDS patients. HIV is just one of
many, many microbes you find in these people.
Let's just say 50 percent of AIDS patients have HIV, and I
think it's more, but let's keep it simple for argument's sake.
If one million people have HIV, In a country of 250 million,
It's 0.4 percent of the total population, but 50 percent of
the AIDS population. So It's 0.4 percent versus 50 percent.
I agree. It's high.
Why do you think there's that inequity?
An average high-risk homosexual has 500 to 1,000 sexual
contacts. By the time you have 1,000 sexual contacts, you
would have picked up HIV from somebody. And they have sexual
contacts with people who are equally active. So the odds of
picking it up are much increased. So, you're looking at those
who worked hardest for a rare microbe, and that's where you
find it concentrated.
Cytomegalovirus is much more common in the general
population, but it's in 100 percent of the AIDS population.
In the early days they considered that a cause for a while.
Now nobody looks for it anymore. Hepatitis virus, another
suspect for AIDS initially, is rare in the general population
in this country. It's very, very common in AIDS patients and
What about cofactors?
They always talk about cofactors, but there are a lot of
healthy people who have all of those combined. Prostitutes
for sure. You find healthy prostitutes lots of them. Their
business is promiscuity. They all have cytomegalovirus, many
of them have HIV, and they're fine. As long as they don't
do drugs, they're fine.
Don't two-thirds of babies born with HIV seroconvert, go from
HIV positive to HIV-negative?
It's about half and half, depending on what studies you look
at. But that's good enough for the virus to survive. When
the U.S. army tests the applicants, 16-, 17-, 18-year-old
kids, one in 1,000 is positive. Well, how come? 'Cause they
already had 1,000 sexual contacts with somebody who is
HIV-positive? [More likely] that guy picked it up from his
mother, or father, and was positive all along and didn't even
know it, until the U.S. army tested him.
What you just said was interesting: The virus can be latent,
it can just do nothing, it can be silent and invisible. Isn't
that what people say when they say it has a latency of ten
Let's say you get infected today and then ten years later
you get sick, during that time it's latent, that's true. But
what they don't say is, once you get sick, the virus remains
in most cases even then latent, and that's not what is meant
by latency. Let's say you get infected today by syphilis,
and a week later you get chancres. During that time when you
don't have any symptoms, the bugs are relatively latent because
there are still too few of them. They're clinically latent.
But with HIV, even when you're dying, that virus is still
Let me get this straight: Babies with AIDS come from mothers
with AIDS or are born to mothers with terrible drug addictions.
Babies with HIV from their parent, half of the time lose the
HIV and do not develop AIDS. They have the virus but not the
AIDS condition, whereas if they're born to parents who have
toxic damage, then they themselves are toxic-damaged.
You're saying the least efficient form of transmission is
Hopeless. From the virus point of view, that virus would never
Why are so many women contracting HIV and developing AIDS?
It seems the majority are not in the known risk groups, and
the presumption is they were infected sexually.
"So many" is totally off the mark. It is very, very few. Only
10 percent of all AIDS patients are women, in America and
But aren't they the group increasing the fastest?
It has been 100 percent for quite a while now, and 10 percent
is not a whole lot. It's like 25,000 in ten years that's 2,500
per year, if you average it out.
But how do you counter the argument that women are victims
of the sexual transmission of HIV?
That is absurd. There is no evidence that women are getting
HIV more readily from men.
When people say there's no heterosexual epidemic, women say,
well, that's not true, women are getting it. Heterosexually.
The first answer to this is virtually all women who get
AIDS-AIDS, not HIV, you should distinguish very clearly-are
intravenous drug users. And any attempts to connect these
by tracing sexual contacts is virtually impossible with a
disease that is said to have a latency period of ten years.
If you get something today from somebody sexually and ten
years later you get sick, how are you going to make a
connection there? That is totally anecdotal and circumstantial
evidence. I Have yet to see a paper that ever says, this one
did it ten years ago to me and now I'm getting dementia. There
is nothing to that.
Why isn't there a heterosexual epidemic of AIDS?
Because AIDS is not an infectious disease and not sexually
transmissible. AIDS is a drug disease, so it will not
distribute according to sex, it will distribute according
to exposure to drugs. Men consume 80 percent of the hard drugs.
And the soft drugs, like the poppers, are consumed almost
exclusively by male homosexuals. So that's why it skews the
epidemic very much in the male direction.
Why did the growth of new cases of AIDS drop off after the
establishment of safe sex and the practice of condoms among
It hasn't. AIDS has continued to increase despite the safe
I thought it was decreasing.
The only thing that they claim is decreasing is HIV infection,
but AIDS continues to increase every year more than the
previous year. The failure of the safe-sex campaign argues
against sexual transmission of AIDS at this point. When you
point this out to them they say, oh, it would have been even
more if we hadn't done that.
There's said to be 7,000 people in the U.S. with AIDS, with
what they call "no identified risk." Do you know about this?
It's a very large number.
Divide that by ten years and you get the annual incidence,
700. Out of 250 million Americans. That is an incredibly small
number. That is so small that it is the natural incidence
of these diseases in HIV-positive people. There are one million
HIV-positive Americans, every year roughly one-and-a-half
percent of any population will die. One-and-a-half percent
of a million is 15,000. So out of those 15,000, 700 would
be diagnosed with AIDS because they would also have the
antibodies. And we are looking at 25 diseases here. That is
the normal incidence of these diseases in HIV-positive people
Just to clarify, the Cook County Public Health Department,
which chronicled the 7,000 so-called "no identifiable risk"
patients, says that the majority of those cases have become
reclassified into-their quote- "one of the known modes of
transmission," in others words at least a risk factor group.
Yeah, I think in Germany they have 30 "heterosexual cases."
If they can't find a risk group then it's called a heterosexual
case. This is the normal incidence of [those diseases in]
those people with or without HIV.
Newsweek reported a man who ten years ago got HIV from a
transfusion, and ten years later suffers no symptoms and no
loss of immune function. They tracked down the donor and found
none of the other people infected had any effects and that
the donor himself was just as healthy as the people who got
his blood. They explained this as "a harmless strain." Is
there such a thing? I know you think HIV is harmless, but
are there cases where a virus is both harmless and harmful?
You can have harmless variants of any virus. But this is very
easy to demonstrate with HIV. They tried, they sequenced it
they've looked at HIV, but there is no evidence whatsoever
that there is a harmless and a nonharmless variant. Nothing.
They are saying they found harmless strains and were thinking
about using it as a vaccine.
Well, they found people who didn't get sick. There are a
million harmless HIV viruses in Americans, all of whom are
not sick. When they get sick then all of a sudden the virus
is harmful. So this is totally arbitrary and hypothetical.
There is not one study that has ever been able to show a
harmless gene or a malignant gene in HIV. In other viruses
that has been done occasionally, they have pointed out when
you take this off, or when you leave this part, all of a sudden
it becomes harmless, it becomes attenuated as we call it.
In HIV strains, despite intensive efforts and a hundred
thousand papers on the stuff there is not one study that has
ever been able to point out a distinction between a so-called
harmless HIV and a fatal HIV. They are all the same.
How does the government get away with, unchallenged, the idea
that there is such a thing as a different strain? Why don't
other scientists say that is impossible, we've seen the genetic
blueprints of the so-called harmless virus and they are the
same as the so-called harmful one.
Yeah, they would say that and guess how popular they would
be, and how much money they would get the next time they apply
for HIV grants.
What about people who are not applying for HIV grants?
They wouldn't bother sequencing it, they wouldn't be equipped,
they wouldn't have the time to analyze it. And I would also
like to submit to you that about 50 million American smokers
smoke harmless cigarettes except for the 20,000 or 30,000
who develop lung cancerthey smoke fatal cigarettes.
Newsweek-this is Newsweek, one of the most respected journals
in the world-said: "few [viruses] evolve as fast as HIV.
Confronted by a drug or an immune reaction the virus readily
mutates out of its range." Does it?
This statement that the viruses can mutate themselves away
is absolutely silly. It ignores entirely that a virus is a
parasite, it is entirely dependent on the host. It is on a
leash of the host and that leash is very tight and very short.
If it takes one step further from that leash, it is dead.
What do you mean?
The virus is what you call an obligatory parasite, as dependent
on the host as an unborn baby on the mother. In theory the
virus could mutate like crazy. But what would it help the
virus if it cannot parasitize the host any longer? Then it's
dead. The virus is just a piece of information, everything
the virus does depends entirely on the cell. It needs the
cellular ribosomes, it needs the cellular amino acids and
triphosphates and proteins.
So you're saying if it mutates to a point where it is vastly
Vastly? Just a tiny bit. It is totally on a leash, it has
very little room to mutate. It has to be compatible with the
What about a flu virus, does that ever mutate?
It does mutate, all viruses mutate, but in a very limited
way. Actually, that was my claim to fame. In 1968 I found
out why that is: They have different chromosomes. This [flu
virus] is one of the rare viruses with multiple chromosomes,
in fact it was the first time this was shown in a virus. And
that gives it the additional ability to recombine.
Why can't HIV do the same thing? Why can't it recombine?
Because it doesn't have segmented chromosomes. And viruses
with a single genome [genetic information] cannot recombine,
they can only exchange in a very minor, very limited way.
And HIV has only a single genome. So they've looked and
discovered that HIV does not have the capacity to recombine.
It does have the capacity but it cannot change like flu because
all HIVs are closely related. They are all one genome so if
you recombine one genome with another, they are nearly
identical and you don't get any new, different recombinant.
There are chicken flus and swine flus and human flus and they
can all recombine. But the HIVs are all from humans, and they
are virtually all identical. You wouldn't create a new
so-called "host range," as we say, or a new pathogenic type.
The spontaneous mutations that the Newsweek article describes
wouldn't help it, because nearly all spontaneous mutations
would be fatal to the virus. And those that wouldn't be fatal
make no difference. We have yet to see a single case where
an HIV mutant has been isolated that can do something that
other HIVs can't.
The impression given is this virus is mutating like some kind
of monster and there is no vaccinating against it.
That is the fantasy of an undergraduate science fiction writer.
In a classroom, that's very possible, but in the laboratory
of life it's ridiculous. Here's an example of just how
restricted the range of HIV mutations really is: antibodies
against all strains of HIV detected in all people all over
the world were detected because they crossreacted with the
same HIV strain Montagnier isolated in 1983.
But you're not the only guy in the world who knows this about
the virus. The people who work on the virus regularly sequence
it and come up with the theories that it is mutating. If they
know this isn't possible, why don't they say it?
I think some of them don't even know it because they never
think about it. They are so used to one way of thinking that
they don't consider alternatives at all. They don't want to
consider them and if they consider them, they are out of the
think-collective. They are very unpopular immediately, just
Which costs them money.
Which costs them dearly. If you're in the think-collective
you stop thinking other than what the collective think. You
think pretty much on the wavelength they allow you. If you
say there is no way there could be a harm or a nonharm gene-if
there was such a gene we would have found it in nine years
and we would have seen the difference, if you say that then
you essentially force a discussion on why a million
HIV-positive people never get sick from it. Maybe then the
virus isn't the cause.
What about cases where homosexuals have come down with AIDS,
are HIV-positive, have no history of recreational drug use,
and they haven't gone on AZT?
Well, see, that is what I am looking for. That is my battle
with John Maddox [editor of Nature] and with people who are
actually fabricating data [Ascher, et al., in Nature, March
11, 1993]. They claim to have such a group that had not used
any drugs. When I analyzed the data, it turned out that there
was not a single person in their paper that was drug-free.
I submitted that critique to Maddox, but his response was
I could no longer respond. I was censored.
John Maddox wrote an editorial in the May 13 issue, saying
that your questions are "unanswerable rhetorical questions"
and "the stock-in trade of undergraduate debating societies."
What do you feel about that?
Maybe they are unanswerable to John Maddox. He's not the only
reader of his journal. There should be many scientists, maybe
they could answer them. The only way to find out is by
presenting these questions which he has refused for three
or four years now. I have been negotiating with him, as he
acknowledges in his article, to present these questions in
his journal, and he never accepted that proposal.
So you're saying your questions are legitimate questions that
go unanswered because they are censored?
In fact, in his article, he does say that some of those
questions are legitimate. Progress in science depends entirely
on communication, debate, interaction among scientists,
exchange of ideas. He is interrupting that by censorship.
Is there any area of the HIV-as-cause theory that you're
uncertain about, that you think might be plausible or that
you don't feel you can explain?
Not any more. Absolutely nothing anymore.
So you're more convinced than ever?
Yeah, I don't see even an area of doubt that can be left:
I used to see a few, but I don't see them anymore.
What was the last one you saw that you are no longer seeing?
I was sort of, more or less, impressed by what they presented
as this perfect correlation between HIV and AIDS, but I've
since realized that the correlation is by far less perfect
than they pretended; that is, actually, rather unimpressive.
How pressured did you feel to come up with an alternative
theory when people said, "Okay, if you don't think HIV causes
AIDS, what does?"
I didn't feel any more pressure than I thought I could provide
evidence for I mean, I was thinking about it, yes, I thought
what else can it be, and I think I would have left it at that
if I could not have seen another explanation. If I don't
believe in Santa Claus, then I don't have to come up with
another Santa Claus.
This didn't come out of the blue. If the CDC tells me
that onethird of all American AIDS patients, namely all
heterosexuals, are intravenous drug users, I'd say that's
a good start, isn't it? The first 80,000 are handed to me
by the CDC. I'm also told, by the NIH and the CDC, that the
virus has a latent period of ten years, which I translate
into a euphemism for ten years of drug use.
Okay, last question: Since the gay community is unilaterally
offended by your suggestion that AIDS is the result of a
self-destructive lifestyle, do you ever feel that you should
change the way you talk about AIDS and its causation, and
is there anything that would make you stop and give up this
fight, because you're almost alone in it?
Well, not as long as I remain a scientist. The charge of a
scientist is to find the truth, to find the scientific basis
of a problem. So you go for it irrespective of the political
and moral and ethical consequences. You look at what is the
plausible cause, and what is ultimately the truth.
A scientist is not a politically correct crowd pleaser,
he is supposed to find the cause of disease. Otherwise, we
get what we get now: We try to please the gays by approving
AZT, and now 200,000 of them are dying for it, and we keep
telling them that this is the best we can do for you guys,
because we mix politics with science. They are not compatible.
Science is amoral. Nature doesn't know morals. If our peers
and our government would act scientifically, it would reward
scientific truth, not political correctness. What we are doing
now is rewarding political correctness, and we are paying
the price for it. A very high price, four billion dollars
and 50,000 deaths a year.
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