AIDS & South Africa : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

A Contrary Conference in Pretoria

by Celia Farber LINK

In 14 years of AIDS journalism, Ive never seen the AIDS leadership writhing in the kind of agony they now find themselves in daily. The prospect of having to debate, defend or quantify their paradigm is melting them down. Since last fall, when the government of South Africa announced that it would suspend AZT use while investigating its toxicity, the country that once symbolized oppression has emerged as a crucible of enlightenment.

Over the past several months, the Western AIDS orthodoxy has been rendered increasingly deranged by South African President Thabo Mbekis call for a reopening of the HIV-AIDS causation question. Before long they began earnestly calling for the criminal prosecution of AIDS dissidents. (This rabid wish was voiced by way of the mainstream AIDS media.) Fantastic, I say. Just make sure its televised because Americans will recognize the face of at least one man being hauled off in handcuffs for supporting open debate on AIDS, and it wont be his first visit to the slammer: Nelson Mandela.

Just last week, Mandela came out in support of Mbekis "controversial" AIDS initiative, which has "AIDS activists" and "AIDS experts" around the world in fits of apoplexy. And this week, with Mbeki visiting Clinton, the stories all revolve around the disturbed emotional states of "AIDS activists" who dont quite know how to express their horror. Project Informs Martin Delaney told the Times this weekend that "the fear here is that hell dig in worse if he gets pressured."

The trigger for all this strife was a simple, historic event: After months of deliberations and internal strife, Mbeki and the government of South Africa convened a two-day panel in Pretoria, May 6-7, at which 33 scientists deliberated about the evidence for and against HIV as the single and sufficient cause of AIDS worldwide. They also discussed the drugs used to combat it, and asked themselves whether the drugs have saved lives or ended lives. The AIDS orthodoxy was widely quoted as fuming about Mbeki wasting time on dead scientific questions while they themselves were busy saving lives. But the panel did take place, and I was there.

If youve absorbed the situation thus far from the mainstream press, youve been left with the impression that the story is all about President Mbeki betraying his country, if not losing his mind altogetherMbeki "trawling" the Internet late at night and "stumbling" across a few "obscure" American scientists who say HIV doesnt cause AIDS. Whats consistently absent from reports on this subject is a statement not of conjecture but of fact: Mbeki did not fall under the spell of two American scientists who question HIVs role in AIDS (by which is meant Drs. David Rasnick and Peter Duesberg). The scientific opposition to the mainstream view of HIV and AIDS is in fact longstanding, formidable and far more extensive than two scientists. This opposition was first galvanized around retrovirology pioneer Peter Duesberg, who in 1987 wrote his first deconstruction of the hypothesis. Duesberg mapped the genetic structure of retroviruses, and was widely regarded as one of the leading retrovirologists in the world at the time of his first critique. In subsequent years, hundreds of scientists from around the world have joined the ranks of the dissenters, under the auspices of the Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV-AIDS Hypothesis, an opposition group that boasts up to 600 signatories, many of whom hold PhDs and two of whom hold Nobel Prizes.

These are the so-called AIDS dissidents, now also labeled "AIDS denialists." On June 6, 1991, the initial signatories drafted a letter that stands as the working definition of an "AIDS dissident." The letter, which no major science journal would publish for years until Science finally relented in 1996, read as follows:

It is widely believed by the general public that a retrovirus called HIV causes the group of diseases called AIDS. Many biochemical scientists now question this hypothesis. We propose that a thorough reappraisal of the existing evidence for and against this hypothesis be conducted by a suitable independent group. We further propose that critical epidemiological studies be devised and undertaken.

Epidemiological studies? Whoever heard of anything so whacked? We all know HIV causes AIDS. Anybody who doubts it obviously doesnt care about the dead and dying.

Seriously, this simple statement is all that lies at the heart of the maligned and despised AIDS dissident movement. That wish for a "thorough reappraisal" was behind the Pretoria conference in early May. Yet judging from media reports, youd think that Mbeki had called for AIDS quarantines and tattoos for all HIV-positives.

In fact, Mbekis heresy consisted of opening up one large room at the Sheraton hotel in Pretoria, and placing along a rectangular table 33 scientists with opposing views on what causes AIDS. About a dozen of them argued that no proof of causation has been established between HIV and AIDS. The others took the opposing, majority view.

There was predictable response from some quarters. "Its irresponsibility that borders on criminality," a South African "medical graduate" and "respected intellectual" was quoted saying in the Sunday Herald of Glasgow. "Mbekis position defies logic," said Dr. Ashraf Grimwood, the chairman of the South African National AIDS Convention, in the same article. "The suggestion that AIDS is not caused by HIV is totally at odds with what is happening on the ground. South Africans are burying wives, husbands, children, relations and friends every day. People are terrified. No-one has seen anything like it before. This country needs to get its priorities right, or it will hardly be a country at all." (Notice the leap of illogic from the first to the second sentence of that statement.)

People are sick and dying in alarming numbers on the continent of Africa, but what is it that leads us to trace this phenomenon to sexual promiscuity and this particular retrovirus, when other complications abound? Why has AIDS not spread outside the original risk groups in any industrialized nation, yet where poverty is widespread, the virus (and AIDS) spreads like wildfire? The orthodox theory is that this is due to sexual promiscuity among Africans and a penchant for dry sex, rough sex and even sexual rituals involving monkey blood.

"It isnt the facts that are in dispute," says African historian Charles Geshekter of California State University at Chico, who took part in advising Mbeki prior to the panel formation. "Its the theoretical construct behind the facts. Yes, there is a measurable decline in African health and increases in African mortality. What is in dispute is whether the symptoms of such illnesses are caused by extraordinary patterns of sexual behavior or whether the signs reflect the deterioration of life on the continent over the past 20 years. The breakdown and decline of public health and medical treatment across Africa is due largely if not entirely to domestic civil war, impossible levels of indebtedness and sharp declines in the prices paid for commodities produced by Africans. This is standard World Bank and IMF micro- and macro-analysis. Wheres the mystery?"

The statistics ubiquitously cited to demonstrate a plague of AIDS sweeping Africa are untrustworthy in the extreme, as virtually no statistics are kept on either rates of infection, numbers of deaths or causes of death on the whole continent. In addition, the shoddy test used there can cross-react with microbes endemic to the region, such as malaria. The "Bangui definition" of AIDS was published in Science in 1986; the diagnosis is AIDS if a patient has a persistent cough and two of three other conditions: "prolonged fevers (a month or more), weight loss of 10 percent or greater and prolonged diarrhea." In other words, people were diagnosed with AIDS without being given HIV tests.

"According to the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD), which is a WHO-sponsored project," says Geshekter, "Africa maintains the lowest percentage of vital statistics for cause of death of any continent in the world." The GBD estimates that statistics can be considered accurate on the continent for a microscopic 1.1 percent of all deaths.

One of the South African dissidents on Mbekis Pretoria panel, Dr. Sam Mhlongo, arrived at his own skepticism while working at a hospital in London in the mid-1980s. There he came across a group of patients from Uganda who, he was told, were all HIV-positive (on the ELISA test). After retesting them using more rigorous tests, he found that every one of them was in fact HIV-negative. "Thats when I knew something was very, very wrong," he told me.

The countries where AIDS supposedly rages in Africa are also afflicted by dire poverty and malnutrition. But the "massive effort" to combat AIDS that Mbeki is supposedly undermining with his skepticism amounts to widespread condom education and distribution, and the dumping of failed, toxic drugs onto a population that does not, in many cases, have access to food or clean water. AIDS advocates seem curiously unmoved by the practice of driving around to desperately poor villages in Africa and preaching condom use to people who dont have water. They also dont seem bothered by the fact that poor Africans are used in shoddy drug trials, pressured to sign consent forms they dont understand, manipulated by AIDS terror and told they will "probably die of HIV anyway." In one Nevarapine trial in South Africa, five pregnant women were recently killed by the drug, a protease inhibitor; others suffered debilitating side effects.

Thabo Mbeki was a central figure in the worldwide anti-apartheid movement, as was his father, Govan Mbeki. He led the ANC delegation that finally negotiated the release of Mandela and other political prisoners, and managed to negotiate a peaceful end to apartheid. "The Mbeki family is like the royal family here in South Africa," a South African journalist told me.

Mbeki is renowned for his intellect, decency and sense of honor. He is a rapacious reader. He was sent abroad by the ANC as a young man to spare him from prison and ensure that he got a good education. At the University of Sussex, where Mbeki obtained his degree in economics, the theme of his education, according to biographical notes, was "the notion that the students had to know enough to be able to question whether what they knew was, in fact, knowledge."

Mbeki was literate from a very early age, and it fell upon him to read the letters written to the illiterate wives of the husbands who had gone off to work in the coal, gold and diamond mines. When the miners began dying from coughing up blood, lore had it that they died because they had been kicked in the chest by the killer-birds of witches (impundulu). In fact, they died of phthisis, brought on by mine dust.

Is it surprising, then, that now as president of South Africa, he looks at AIDS and questions its causes? Twenty years of crisis. An estimated 50 billion research dollars expended by the U.S. government. But a head of state cant invite 33 scientists into a room to discuss the actual data underlying the AIDS edifice without triggering international outrage.

This is the Thabo Mbeki described in The Washington Post as "thin-skinned" because when "a reporter asked if he could afford such a cautious, studied approach to treating AIDS when activists estimate that 1,500 to 1,700 South Africans are becoming infected with HIV daily, Mbeki retorted skeptically: How is that figure derived? Do you know? I dont know."

A better question might be why "AIDS activists" are put in charge of estimating HIV infections on a continent that keeps no such figures. Mbekis "I dont know" is by itself a revolutionary statement. When discussing AIDS, rule number one is: Dont ever admit you dont know something. Rule number two: Statistics, especially in Africa, are always beyond dispute, spiraling toward the skies, getting worse and worse and worse.

The night before I boarded a plane for Johannesburg, my phone rang. It was my friend Noah Bogen, a documentary filmmaker who had for years been telling me he wanted to do something on the HIV debate. "Im coming with you, Celia," he said. "Ive decided Im ready to die for something important. Ive had enough of my pointless mundane existence."

"Were not going to die, Noah," I said. "Were going to the Sheraton hotel in Pretoria."

Two dissident scientists and three orthodox scientists are on the plane with us. Fourteen hours later, we touch down in Johannesburg and unfurl our aching bodies. We are greeted by the coordinator of the panel, and ushered into a diplomatic lounge, where they take our passports, offer us drinks and welcome us. Eventually we are divided into cars and speed off toward Pretoria, half an hour away. On arriving at the hotel, we learn that there will be no press access to the actual proceedings, because the mainstream side objected fiercely to this.

A few hours later, jetlagged, I wander down to the cocktail reception, where hardcore dissidents like Duesberg and Harvey Bialy are conversing happily with officials from the Centers for Disease Control and the NIH. In walks Luc Montagnier, from whose laboratory the entire ball of wax emanated in 1983, when he isolated the virus (or, some dissidents would say, "what passes for the virus").

I look around the room and smile at the very sight of all the orthodox scientists eating salmon snippets from the same tray as people who dont think HIV causes AIDS. A single air strike against this hotel at this moment and youd wipe out the HIV debate forever after. I greet Duesberg, whom Ive known, interviewed and admired since 1987. For years Ive been telling him that this day would come. He looks around the room. "I have to admit," he says, "this is unbelievable."

The next morning at 8 a.m., a red carpet runs through the Sheraton, and we take our seats to await President Mbeki, who will address and welcome the panel. When he enters the room, it feels great, standing up to salute somebody you actually want to salute.

He addresses us, his voice melodic and gentle, quoting Irish poetry, asking rhetorically if he might be a fool. "Indeed, when eminent scientists said, You have spoken out of turn, it was difficult to think I was not a fool," he said. "You cannot respond to a catastrophe merely by saying, I will respond in a way that is routine. We must never freeze scientific discourse at a particular point."

He detailed the trajectory of his own skepticism, and said that the data on HIV and AIDS in Africa had confounded him.

(Days later, Rachel Swarns of The New York Times would report that Mbeki said in this address that he "knew that the human immunodeficiency virus causes AIDS." He said no such thing. I called Swarns twice for comment. At print time, she has not responded.)

Around the world, even in South Africa, the media has pilloried Mbeki, depicting him as "unable to sleep" and searching the Internet for conspiracy theories about AIDS. Mbeki has accused his critics of waging a "campaign of intellectual intimidation and terrorism" against him, which he likens to "the racist apartheid tyranny we opposed."

The real story has nothing to do with the Internet. It started with a South African journalist and consultant named Anita Allen, who, having read Nobel laureate/HIV dissident Kary Mullis book Dancing Naked in the Mind Field, began her own crash course in the dissident critique, and started calling South African scientists and health officials to alert them. After many weeks of polite rejections and assurances that the scientific community of South Africa was quite sure HIV caused AIDS but thanks anyway, Allen finally appealed to the President himself in the form of a letter and a 100-page dossier. Three months later, an astounding thing happened.

"It was close to midnight," Allen recalls, "and the fax machine went off. I thought, Who on Earth is faxing me at this hour?" What came through the fax was a handwritten letter from Mbeki, saying he had read her letter expressing concern about the HIV-AIDS question and that he wanted to meet with her in the morning to discuss it.

Allen met with Mbeki for an hour. She brought with her a dossier of scientific articles for him to read.

"He said to me, What exactly do you want me to do? And I suggested he convene a panel. He said, Im going to be slaughtered, you know."

"What other leader in the world would talk to an ordinary citizen like that?" Allen wonders.

She was invited to submit a proposal on whom to invite to the panel and how to structure it. The man placed in charge of dispatching the invitations, Dr. Ian Roberts, was, according to Allen, hostile to the debate and simply didnt send them out. This explains why, in the days leading up to the conference, I was on the phone with dissidents Rasnick, Bialy and others, trying to find out if this was really happening or not, and they didnt know. Many of the panelists only had their flights confirmed in the immediate days before departure.

"Whats going on in there?" I continually asked whatever panelist I could snag when they came out of the conference room for their coffee breaks.

"They have nothing, just fairy tales about friends dying, architects dying, all these funerals," says Christian Fiala, a dissident doctor from Austria. "There is an interesting argument in there, that so many millions are dying and we have to act now, and all these people trying to reopen a discussion about the causes of AIDS is stopping this important action. But what they dont keep in mind is that before you start to go in a certain direction, you have to know which direction youre going in, and why. What if its the wrong direction?"

"It took a head of state to accomplish what scientists couldnt accomplish in 15 years," Rasnick told me. "The event itself was historic, but I would not say that anything was resolved. Everybody just laid out their positions, and nobody really budged from those positions... It was two days of Youre wrong and Im right."

In a separate meeting, it was decided that Duesberg and Bialy, under the auspices of the CDC and the South African government, will design epidemiological studies that will put the HIV hypothesis to a test (16 years after its birth).

After the first day of the panel, there was a joke going around that Helene Gayle, the very beautiful African-American director of the National Center of HIV/AIDS prevention at the CDC, had invited Duesberg to the CDC for a yearlong sabbatical. Duesberg and Gayle were joking and being flirty, and before long nobody knew if the joke was real or not. By the end of the conference, a version of it had taken root, and it was announced that a subcommittee of fourGayle, Duesberg, Bialy and Prof. Malegapuru Makgoba, head of South Africas Medical Research Councilwould work together to design and carry out the HIV experiments. This was confirmed by the Health Minister at the closing press conference, and reporters were meekly asking who would pay for the experiments.

"Peter Duesberg was more surprised than anybody on the planet to hear that hes now collaborating with the CDC," said Rasnick. "This is beyond anybodys wildest imagination."

Rasnick also reported that when he said that AZT has "killed a lot of people," no one on the panel disagreed.

"That was quite openly stated and nobody disagreed with it," Rasnick said. "I would put the figure at at least tens of thousands killed, at the doses they were giving people in the early years."

Dr. Klaus Koehnlein, a German AIDS practitioner and dissident on the panel, concurred. "I remember vividly the early years, and seeing those AZT patients, and they just had no bone marrow left and that was it. They think AZT wasnt so good and the new drugs are better, but they have no idea that we killed a whole generation of AIDS patients with AZT. Especially in the early high doses of 1200 and 1500 milligrams. That was just murder."

Dr. Sam Mhlongo, head of the Dept. of Family Medicine and Primary Health Care at the Medical University of South Africa, was the only South African on the panel who holds the dissident position. He speaks to Mbeki on a regular basis. I ask him whether he thinks Mbeki might back down under international pressure.

"There is no way this president will give in to attacks on him, because he is convinced, like he was in the struggle against apartheid, that there needs to be a debate. This is all related to apartheid, because the theories and practices of apartheid were not to be questioned. It was taken for granted.

"I grew up under apartheid," he continued. "There were funerals every week because of the violence and the poverty of apartheid. There are many funerals still today, and I say that there is no evidence whatsoever that these people have died of AIDS."

I ask him what I would see if I went to a local hospital (which Ive done in other African countries, but not in South Africa). "If you didnt see poverty and malnutrition as the number-one cause of death in South Africa," he replied, "I am prepared to close my bank account and give you all my money."

I asked him how that was possiblehow could there be all these media reports about the millions dying of AIDS in Africa? It cant be a wholesale fabrication, can it? Dont they say that AIDS affects the middle and upper classes, not just the poor?

"Look, there are no death certificates whatsoever," he said. "We have no references for anything. All you have is the media. Television, radio and newspapers agreeing on this. That stuff about the upper classes is really rubbish. I am so-called bourgeois, and I dont see any of this among the middle class. Its the poverty-stricken, unemployed, black South Africans who are dying, because of diseases related to poverty."

Political earthquakes sometimes begin as flukes, or oversightslike the "opening" of the Berlin Wall, which the East German government did not intend at all.

The panel is being followed up by a six-week Internet discussion with all the panelists, and then another meeting in Pretoria in early July, where conclusions will be drawn and recommendations will be drafted for the South African governments AIDS policies.

A strange thing happened on the last day. Apparently, Clinton called and spoke to Mbeki just as the panel was convening, and asked if he could dispatch four (African-American) AIDS specialists from the White House to sit in on the panel. Mbeki agreed, and the four suddenly appeared on the last day, but evidently didnt say much.

"It seemed like they were there to observe," said Rasnick.

"Thats the United States AIDS forces coming in," quipped Duesberg.

When I collared people from the CDC in the halls and asked them for comment, they would say diplomatically that this conference was "important" and that many of the dissident arguments could be helpful in the "fight against AIDS."

It felt a little like the period around the time of the Velvet Revolution, when former authoritarian socialists suddenly started talking about the importance of "socialism with a human face."

-- Debra (, July 22, 2000


How nicely this dovetails with Eve's post on Kuhn's work. I must say, though, that AIDS activists are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Remember Ronald Reagan's initial reaction to the epidemic? Nobody was listening at first, and sometimes the truth has to be "embellished" in order to wake people up. Like in SUmer's post about her son, there are folks who still shun AIDS patients because they see the virus as a moral problem-I really do not see how anybody can call themselves a christian or any other person of God and lack compassion for the kind of suffering these patients go through-I know; I watched someone die who was very close to me-and it was not pretty.

I do not have a problem with some hyperbole, regarding the epidemic in Africa-I DO have a problem with a mind set which refuses to look at alternatives, and which refuses to call for better methods of keeping statistics. These folks are caught in a contradiction: the desire to bring the plight to the world's ears and find better methods of treatment, and looking the other way when there is evidence of alternative treatments and/or causation.

Excellant article, Debra.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), July 22, 2000.

Thanks, Debra. It's been known by many that HIV does not necessarily lead to AIDS, but the two terms have been associated for so long that no one wants to pay attention to the data.

Here's an interview with an actuarial who researched the records of the CDC. He found not one instance of someone with HIV ONLY going on to acquire AIDS.


-- Anita (, July 22, 2000.

Interesting link, Anita. How did your interview go?

-- (, July 22, 2000.

My brother-in-law contracted HIV in 1986.He began AZT immediately. He also began to contract pneumonia, cancer, and all the other diseases blamed on AIDS, and died in 1990. I've read Duesbergs book, "Why we will never when the war on AIDS". He describes gay, fast-lane lifestyles in the 70's which involved lots of rec. street drugs, Amyl Nitrate, (which eats white blood cells for breakfast, lunch, and dinner,) antibiotics, used as a prophylactic to ward off diseases that one might contract thru multiple partners, and then have syphillis, gonnoreah, etc. infected semen injected into ones colon, can do a lot of damage to the immune system. Then the stress of being handed a death sentence by a doctor will take it down even further. And finally, being given a drug that was shelved earlier because it was killing cancer patients(AZT).

-- KoFE (your@town.USA), July 22, 2000.

A depressing and discouraging situation. Just as we can't find a case of AIDS preceded by HIV alone (and no other contributing causes), so we can't find a case of AIDS that was NOT preceded by HIV. From the (admittedly poor) statistics alone, we can hypothesize that HIV is a necessary but not sufficient precursor. The implication is that we have some very complex biochemistry going on here (which is also indicated by AIDS research results). We simply don't yet understand what's going on well enough to do anything truly sensible.

The prospects for a Western, allopathic "silver bullet" cure get dimmer all the time. Now combine this with extreme urgency (some African nations face population *declines* due to AIDS), the inevitable political requirement for simplifying complexity into binary alternatives, mix in politically charged aspects of public health, social conventions, and poverty. Finally, supercharge the whole issue due to sexual associations and practices. The result is an ill wind indeed. Any way you look at it, you lose.

-- Flint (, July 22, 2000.

Still 'reeling' from Debs GREAT post, I am gonna take it 'in' and follow through with Anita's.

I am STUNNED... I am SAD. I have READ TILL MY DAMN EYES HURT. I am Angry. I am crying. I dont understand.

From what I have read, HIV can in few cases NOT turn into full blown AIDS....again few cases....

Now do you all see what I mean about so much information? Media spin?

Who is right? Who is wrong? Why do 'numbers' count so much? (duh but you know what i mean:-)

The new drugs out as outlined greatly in A&U magazine, have MANY side effects. I was told that my son should not go on drugs immediately as should he get REAL sick, he will then be immune to the drugs.

Who is right? I DONT CARE so much about statistics, although they are great to toss around.... But medication, facts. Those dear ones are easy to come by, but who is telling the DAMN truth?

Till you see for your own eyes as some have, it is ugly. The disease is ugly. It KILLS, like it or not, it kills.

It has STIGMA attached. I had one lady ask me "can you get that from the toilet seat? How bout misquito's? "

See? Not enough ACCURATE info to elaborate. I know it dont come from squitos or toilet seats, she doesnt believe me. oh well.

Anita, I am going to take 5, I'm crying, I'm upset, I'm angry, I'm grateful for the articles.

DONT GIVE UP ON ME GUYS/GALS, I need YOU and your INFO, forgive my rants, and my raves, I am seeking thats all. And yes at times, i do feel sorry for myself and my son.

BUT, I APPRECIATE ALL YOUR EFFORTS.....and dont tell me to calm down...just 'accept' what I shall now refer to as 'my moments' knowing I am straight, havent drank since I dont know when, these displayed now are sumer's real emotions.

I love you folks :-)

xoxoxo, sumer (keep helping thanks deb and nita, from my heart)

-- consumer (, July 22, 2000.

Consumer, I hope my above post didn't convey dispair. I was trying to express my opinion that I think HIV may be a minor player in the progression from wellness to illness. All of these factors, and others could be the real culprits.

-- KoFE (your@town.USA), July 22, 2000.


Please help me here. I've followed this thread closely and my little brain still does not understand the relationship between HIV and Aids. Could you explain this statement by Maver in your link?

"RETHINKING: Some of our subscribers who will be listening to this tape are HIV positive, and really don't have any other kind of health problem, nothing-really that's it for them, and they're scared. Given that that's entirely true, what chance do they have of developing anything remotely resembling AIDS, just from having that virus and nothing else?

"MAVER: From the research that I have done, it looks to me like it's virtually impossible. They would be the first case ever on the books of having HIV only."

-- Want to Know (, July 22, 2000.


I, too, have a 22 year old son. As one mother to another, I'm in this with you.

Gather ALL the information you can. Knowledge IS power. I know how confusing it is when you first start. Remember your looking to formulate your questions right now, not recieve the answers. Keep in mind this quote from the above article:

"...the students had to know enough to be able to question whether what they knew was, in fact, knowledge."

The Aids Dissidents have alot to offer. Follow these LINKS until you can't follow them anymore.

The best questions will emerge and they will lead to the answers. Keep in mind another quote from the above article:

"...before you start to go in a certain direction, you have to know which direction youre going in, and why."

Please give your son a big hug for me and tell him that I care. Tell him to eat well and to rest well.

(((((sumer))))) (That hug is for you)

Take care of yourself.

-- Debra (, July 22, 2000.

Consumer, I have used some of these therapies myself, and have had good results.

By coincidence, I received the latest copy today of a non-profit wholesale AIDS and immune related issues group, one member who has been HIV positive for over 20 yrs.

-- KoFE (Your@town.USA), July 22, 2000.


Flint summed it up best, I think. When folks developed AIDS, it was noticed that every single AIDS patient had the HIV virus. The conclusion was drawn that HIV developed into AIDS. Closer examination revealed that the only HIV positive folks who graduated into AIDS were folks who had other viruses as well. It seems that HIV in and of itself is fairly innocuous, while HIV COMBINED with another virus [I don't personally know which ones] results in AIDS.

It looks like HIV is like a lot of other maladies. Let's take Asthma [for example]. One can live a normal life with Asthma as long as the Asthma isn't triggered by something. Perhaps Asthma was a poor example. Let's take polyps on the colon, since colon cancer runs in my family. Folks can have polyps on their colon all their lives and those polyps won't result in colon cancer. However, I've yet to hear of a case of colon cancer without accompanying polyps on the colon. The polyps don't CREATE the colon cancer, but are a necessary precursor to colon cancer in that if you don't have the polyps, you won't have the cancer. If you aren't HIV positive, you won't develop AIDS. This doesn't mean that just because you ARE HIV positive, you necessarily will develop AIDS. Is that any clearer?

Not to change the topic, but in my research of the human genome studies, I ran across a proven cure for the "bubble boy" disease. THAT was an immune deficiency disorder as well.

The sad thing, to me, is that the misinformation distributed stating [for instance] that folks with HIV would automagically acquire AIDS led many folks to say "The hell with it. I'm already's just a question of WHEN." These folks with the defeatist attitude then went on to not care about keeping their resistance up through rest, diet, exercise, stress-management, etc. When they later acquired AIDS, it confirmed the original faulty study results.

-- Anita (, July 22, 2000.

Hi all. I just read the other link. I followed it onto the homepage.

What also concerns me is the guy is an Insurance Actuary. Although I do admire his research and I am POSITIVE he is out to SAVE money for the INSURANCE COMPANY (and I am an insurance agent who has done past claims adjusting), there is from what I have read so far too much leaning towards HIV eventually leading to AIDS. Yes, it is true many do live with HIV for quite along time, and Pharmacutical Companies appear to be targeting our young for IMMEDIATE treatment, thus making them immune to the drugs when it becomes a neccesary thus, preying on the 'uninformed'.

Case in Point: today JUST today, I received in my mailbox a large packet I had requested from the Aids Hotline. They told me they would be sending me information and I was very greatful. To my surprise, I received one very thick 270 pages to be exact entitled:

HIV/AIDS Treatment Directory their web address is

Amfar = American Foundation for AIDS Research, in looking just a wee bit at it, it apears that this is a book dedicated for 'trial cases' in flipping to page 2 it is in fact a HIV Experimental Vaccine Directory: Winter 2000 edition (sheesh WTF?)

Alas, on the page 2 it states new figures released by Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), the global AIDS epidemic continues to get worse.

Ready? It says "More than 33 million people worldwide are infected with HIV, and in 99 alone there was 2.6 million deaths from HIV/AIDS, the hightest annual toll yet.

I say I am gonna boogie on over to the website and check it out further. See I have read alot lately, my thinking with the (no laughs please, i'm getting ghetto now :-)insurance dude is: WILL HIS COMPANY insure my son then? NOT. Why not? I mean after all, his research indicated completely that HIV does not equal AIDS and to some degree may perhaps be correct, in very few cases.

So since he 'infers' there is no direct link then INSURE MY KID!!!!!!

See what I mean?

okay, calmer now, onto the website.

Thanks again and follow me? :-)

xoxoxo, sumer

-- consumer (, July 22, 2000.

Sorry Anita, we both posted at same time ^^^^, I see your point, I thank you for breaking it down so I can understand it more easily. For real.

You have nailed it....My son did take a defeated attitude when he attempted to gather support from certain folks. I will see him tommorrow, and will encourage him to read ALL of the threads, and posts EACH one of you have LOVINGLY provided.

His name behind the print is Donnie. He is located in the Archives remember when we all did the picture thing? He is on there.

I know this will help him. He MUST take care of himself. I have told him that. Upon finding out, he was a wreck. Got drunk and high and literally staggered into my home and fell to the floor.

I used 'tough love' that night, to get him to the couch. The next day we saw his counsellor thru the Aids Task Force. I told him I will not watch him committ slow suicide. I will be his example. I will not stay drunk to cope, I will be sober, I havent drank since.

I dont know exactly 'what' his future holds, I know it is in God's hands and in Donnie's hands. He MUST take care of his body. He must rest, and eat correctly. This is to avoid getting even sicker.

I will keep all of you updated as we 'journey' thru the next set of test results, which should be in on Monday. Pray for us.

I will try not to make this board an HIV board. I will keep posting to various other topics, and will lean on you guys/gals who will let me. I love ya's.


-- consumer (, July 22, 2000.

NEWS LINKS since the Conference in Pretoria.


-- Debra (, July 22, 2000.


Would you mind clarifying a few things for me? First of all, did you find out that your son was HIV positive shortly after HE did, or was there a period there wherein he hid this from you? Secondly, is he REALLY sick, as in afflicted with a disease associated with HIV or AIDS, or is he simply so frightened from hearing that HIV positive will lead to AIDS that his mind has made him sick? This information makes a great deal of difference in the research we do.

-- Anita (, July 22, 2000.


He found out 3 days after his birthday, that would be july 8, 2000.

He donated blood thru red cross, I have the paperwork, he Gave it to me the day he got it.

His mind is NOT sick, his body is.

We are awaiting the 2nd set of tests to determine how long he has had it. He Does NOT know, he WOULD NOT hide that from me.

thank you. Anita, I am researching myself, thanks for the help. It appears to me you have been 'testy' lately, dont stress, you've helped enough. Your help has been appreciated.

I dont wish this to be about 'me' so I wont pursue any further except when asked or by email.

Deb, thanks for the great links.

-- consumer (, July 22, 2000.

There used to (before ~1992 be some real doubt as to what the causative agent in AIDS was. The big question was why would people initially get sick for a few weeks, recover and be asymptomatic for years, and then rapidly progress and die.

Someone did wise up though, and injected people with either (don't remember which) flourescent or radiolabelled nucleotides and later looked at the resultant blood cells over time to find out where the nucleotides were being taken up. (This is important, as the only reason a cell needs lots of nucleotides at once is cell division). The end result was they figured out that HIV did NOT go dormant for years, but rather the body was fighting a pitched battle THE WHOLE TIME someone was infected. The amazing thing to me is that for YEARS the body could suppress this infection and have the person walk around completely asymptomatic. In the end for most people however, eventually the body loses to the virus. They then end up dying of other diseases, as they can no longer fight them off.

Personally, I have never heard of anyone credible (since the mid '90s) denying that HIV was the causative agent in AIDS.


-- Someone (, July 23, 2000.


IMO your post is incredibly irresponsible and hurtful. Your doing nothing but bone-pointing.

-- Debra (, July 23, 2000.


Could you repost that please? I'm at this point going to believe it was an error in posting on your part. And what is "bone pointing"?


-- Someone (, July 24, 2000.

Look before you push.

Your point, that is....

-- Frank!!!! (, July 24, 2000.

"Bone-pointing," is a behavior found among primitive tribes wherein the witch doctor, imbued with miraculous powers, points a bone at someone he wishes to die, and his victim simply falls down dead. When explorers first encountered this behavior, it was recorded that the witch doctors' victims did indeed die for some bizarre reason but that the outsiders were immune to this effect. It came down to a question of belief: the natives were programmed from youth to believe that the witch doctor's bone-pointing would kill them, so they died.

-- Debra (, July 24, 2000.

This is a very enlightened move by an enlightened govt:

Schoolgirls face ban on miniskirts 'to halt HIV' By Anton La Guardia in Johannesburg

THE Aids-ravaged kingdom of Swaziland is planning unorthodox measures to prevent the spread of the disease, including a ban on schoolgirls wearing miniskirts and the possible sterilisation of people infected with HIV.

Schoolgirls are being blamed for enticing teachers with their short skirts, and face expulsion if they breach the ban. A source at the ministry of education said yesterday: "The ban will go into effect next year and schoolgirls 10 years and older will be required to wear knee-length skirts."

The official said: "We are living in tough times because of HIV/Aids. We need to address the problem of dress code among students because it all starts from there."

In 1969, Swaziland tried to ban all miniskirts as an issue of public morality, but the edict became unenforceable. The latest attempt coincides with a parliamentary debate scheduled for this week that calls for the mandatory sterilisation of people infected with HIV/Aids.

Vulindlela Msibi, president of the Human Rights Association of Swaziland, said yesterday: "We are very disturbed by such utterances coming out of our august house. It is very embarrassing that MPs can think such things. People are coming up with funny suggestions. . . we would rather they banned such silly behaviour."

The southern African kingdom is suffering from one of the most severe Aids epidemics in the world, with more than a quarter of adults estimated to be HIV-positive. Researchers in the United States predict that by 2010, life expectancy at birth in the kingdom will drop to less than 30 years.

-- richard (, July 24, 2000.

"Schoolgirls are being blamed for enticing teachers with their short skirts."

They MADE me do it! That 10-year old was simply too cute for me to resist. SHEESH...does it get any worse than this for personal responsibility avoidance?

-- Anita (, July 24, 2000.

Debra, thank you for sharing this riveting article.

You know, to the extent politics were involved in maintaining a questionable HIV-AIDS connection, this would be enormously tragic, as it would mean all these precious resources had been (and are being) tied up, preventing them from being utilized in pursuing other, more objective, but less "politically correct" answers to this devastating problem.

FS, nice tie to Kuhn's "shifting paradigms." But if my fears (expressed above) ever did prove true, I wouldn't even give the HIV- AIDS thing the status of a "paradigm" -- that is, unless we use the term "paradigm" loosely enough to include fantasies and myths.

-- eve (, July 24, 2000.

Totally unbelievable, that Swaziland thing. Anita already said it. I want to address forced sterilization. Can they be serious? Do they really think that Aids is only spread through semen? Never mind the incredible human rights violation that would be. Since the virus spreads through any bodily fluid, how can sterilization do any good? I cannot believe I am even writing about this.

For all its faults, thank God for THe United States of America.

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), July 24, 2000.

"Schoolgirls are being blamed for enticing teachers with their short skirts." They MADE me do it! That 10-year old was simply too cute for me to resist. SHEESH...does it get any worse than this for personal responsibility avoidance?

well at least we know its the teechers who are spreading aids, and of course why

well thats easy, quarantine the teechers and fit chastity belts on the 10 year olds or close the schools

-- richard (, July 24, 2000.

I meant to add that I think it rings very true that there is no substantive AIDS-Africa connection -- in THIS context, anyway. It reminds me of "the big lie" thing: to the extent that some "idea" keeps being repeated, loudly enough, and by major players -- people will tend to accept it as true.

So tragic.

-- eve (, July 24, 2000.

Debra and "Sorry?",

Believe what you want. Here read this book from a TRUE American hero.


Please, and MOST IMPORTANTLY give this book to everyone you care about and tell them to practice McWilliams philosophies.


-- Someone (, July 24, 2000.

It is obvious the "real" Frank did not make the above post. It's one thing to disagree with someone, another to steal a handle. Frank may be deserving of ridicule and scorn from time to time, (right Luna?) but no one should be jacked in this manner. No one. Grow up.

-- Bingo1 (, July 24, 2000.

Hmm. Who was it the posted a thread about Mcwilliams?

-- FutureShock (gray@matter.think), July 24, 2000.


Thanks for the support, but unfortunately, it wasn't deserved. It actually was me that posted the prior (post). I suppose if nothing else, I should give you an explanation.

On the McWilliams thread (some time ago) I was called a bigot and worse for saying that AIDS is a preventable disease if people would change their behaviors (to avoid sexual promiscuity and I.V. drug abuse). Personally, I don't see either of these behaviors as worth prematurely losing a chunk of society to.

Now on this thread, for stating that HIV is the cause of AIDS (which it is BTW) I'm called incredibly irresponsible and hurtful. and by a second poster who chose the handle Frank!!!! (

I guess I've had enough. Last thread people believe McWilliams was a hero, why would they object to practicing what he preached?

And with HIV? If HIV *isn't* the cause of AIDS it would be ***VERY*** easy to prove. Just show one patient progressing through the symptoms of AIDS without being HIV+ or having some other disease to account for their symptoms, and voila! AIDS is no longer caused by HIV. But it hasn't happened after all the man-hours and money spent on AIDS research.

These "HIV debunkers" really bother me Bingo. People used to drop like flies from AIDS, now if they actually *follow* their drug regimens, AIDS can *almost* be treated like any other chronic disease. BUT, people don't recover well once they've fallen down the hill. The trick is to treat people before they are at the end of the line.

The other thing that bothers me is that the patient population that AIDS tends to affect is otherwise young and previously healthy. They don't respond well in general to the fact that now they have to take care of themselves every day. If there's one thing they DON'T need it's some idiot saying "why are you taking all that toxic crap, they don't even know if HIV CAUSES AIDS to begin with?" Some of the patients who hear this speech will bolt to Mexico for alternative therapies, and end up much worse off on their return. Helping to kill someone off is not my idea of compassion.

But like I've said, I've had my fill. I just hope that the people who believe this stuff start by preaching it to their own families and friends before telling the people I know.

Obviously not being very Christian week,


-- Someone (, July 25, 2000.

Make that "this week".


-- Someone (, July 25, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ