Perhaps the only thing known with certainty in trying to understand the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS, is that there are more questions than answers. The questions only begin with trying to define AIDS itself.
AIDS is a syndrome of about thirty diseases, not a disease. It displays no unique combination of diseases in the patient. Clinically, it is identified by the diagnosis of specific diseases known to medical science for decades or centuries. The CDC has several times increased-but never decreased-the official list: of AIDS indicator diseases, most recently on January 1, 1993 (See Table 2).
The list now includes brain dementia, chronic diarrhea, cancers such as Kaposi’s sarcoma and several lymphomas, and such opportunistic infections as Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, cytomegalovirus infection, herpes, candidiasis (yeast infeclions), and tuberculosis. Even low T-cell counts in the blood can now be called "AIDS," with or without real clinical symptoms. Cervical cancer has recently been added to the list, the first AIDS disease that can affect only one gender (in this case, women). The purpose behind adding this disease was entirely political, admittedly to increase the number of female AIDS patients, creating an illusion that the syndrome is "spreading" into the heterosexual population. Originally the AIDS diseases were tied together because they were all increasing within certain risk groups, but today they are assumed to derive from the common basis of immune deficiency. The overlap between AIDS and certain risk groups still holds true but, as pointed out in Table I, a significant number of these diseases are not products of weakened immune systems. (Duesberg, Inventing the AIDS Virus, p. 209)
· There are also questions of what actually cases AIDS. The human immunodeficiency virus, HIV is attributed to be the primary cause of AIDS.
Thus, despite repeated statements by government officials that the cause of AIDS is known and that it is HIV, I can no longer find any major investigator in the field of AIDS who will defend the proposition that HIV is the only immunosuppressive agent involved in AIDS. Even Robert Gallo, one of the staunchest defenders of the HIV-only hypothesis, has written that although infection by HIV-1 has been implicated as the primary cause of AIDS and related disorders, cofactorial mechanisms may be involved in the pathogenesis of the disease. (Root-Bernstein, Rethinking AIDS: The Tragic Cost of Premature Consensus, p. 330)
The theory that HIV causes AIDS has remained the preeminent AIDS paradigm throughout the course of the epidemic, despite the fact that orthodox researchers readily admit to the existence of multiple lacunae or paradigmatic anomalies that this theory of specific etiology does not resolve. Examples in this regard include the following: there is still no effective treatment to cure of the disease; there is still no vaccine against HIV that can evoke protective immunity for populations at risk for the disease; and orthodox AIDS science and research communities have failed to construct an adequate theoretical model that can describe or model the pathogenesis of HIV infection (e.g., the exact mechanism or means by which the human immunodeficiency virus induces immune suppression in a host infected with the retrovirus. (Cochrane, When AIDS Began: San Francisco and the Making of an Epidemic, p.176-177)
· Yet this virus has never been isolated as an entity unto itself and photographed with the use of an electron microscope.
It was that AIDS scientists, including Montagnier and Gallo, had been unable to isolate HIV in an unequivocal way. (Hodgkinson, AIDS: The Failure Contemporary Science, p. 239)
Unlike other viruses, HIV has never been isolated as an independent, stable product. (Hodgkinson, AIDS: The Failure Contemporary Science, p. 361)
There are no photographs of HIV in isolated state simply because it has never been possible to isolate HIV according to accepted methods. Suffice it to say that a blood test that would identify HIV in the body requires a clear picture of HIV, which could only be obtained through isolation. (Null, AIDS: A Second Opinion, p. 44)
· The two tests, ELISA and Western blot, for identifying for the HIV virus do not test for the virus itself, but to the antibodies produced against the virus. In addition to not actually identifying the HIV virus itself, these tests result in many false positives and lack international standards for determining a positive test result.
Both purport to show whether or not a person has been infected by HIV on the basis of detecting the presence in their blood of antibodies to various components of the virus. (Hodgkinson, AIDS: The Failure of Contemporary Science, p. 233)
When I interviewed Professor Charles Geshekter, he explained that the most HIV tests (ELISA and Western blot) are known to frequently produce false positive results, because the tests cannot distinguish between HIV antibodies and microbes that are symptomatic of malaria, leprosy, or tuberculosis. (Anita Allen points out, further, Pregnancy is one condition which leads to false positive.) (Null, AIDS: A Second Opinion, p. 53)
The Bio/Technology paper specifics the vastly different criteria used by different institutions to interpret the WB test, and point out that an antibody test can only be meaningful when it is standardized, that is when a given test result had the same meaning in all patients, in all laboratories, in all countries’. (Farber, The HIV test p. 344-345 in AIDS: Virus- or Drug Induced? by Peter Duesberg)
· Questions and concerns also abound with the drugs used in combating HIV/AIDS.
The principal limitations are (1) they will not cure HIV disease; (2) positive medical effects are short term, they are not sustained; (3) each drug has its own set of toxic side effects; and (4) their ability to delay the onset of AIDS was brought into question by the European Concorde studies. (Stine, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, p. 141)
The toxic effects of the triple cocktail are so strong that 20-30 percent of HIV+ individuals cannot take the anti-retroviral therapy. (Singhal, and Rogers. Combating AIDS: Communication Strategies in Action, 49)
About 80 percent of a large sample PWAs in Canada and the United States in 1999 were carrying mutated versions of the virus that were resistant to at least one of the drugs in the triple cocktail (Sussman 2002). (Singhal, and Rogers. Combating AIDS: Communication Strategies in Action, 127)
However, taking the anti-retrovirals involves a grueling, long-term regimen of treatments. Very unpleasant side-effects come with the triple cocktail (Singhal, and Rogers. Combating AIDS: Communication Strategies in Action, 127)
· In addition to the questions surrounding AIDS, the disease itself, there are questions about the discovery of the HIV virus and questionable actions of some individuals involved in the AIDS epidemic. There have been disputes between nations, U.S. government investigations and lawsuits over U.S. patents.
The scientific community had now accepted that HIV was first isolated in 1983 by the group led by Montagnier, and had been sent to Gallo’s laboratory for further testing. A National Institutes of Health inquiry panel had accused Gallo of intellectual misappropriation’ of the virus. It said a 1984 article in Science contained misrepresentations or falsifications of methodology and data, errors which Gallo had blamed on a rush to publish. (Hodgkinson, AIDS: The Failure Contemporary Science, p. 183)
We know a lot about what Dr. Gallo’s lab did toward discovering the HIV virus, since it has been the subject of a number of government investigations, most particularly a two-year inquiry by the Inspector General’s Office of the department of Health and Human Services, a three-year investigation by the Federal Office of Research Integrity, and one conducted by Rep. John Dingell as head of the House subcommittee that oversees the NIH. All these groups, and others we will mention, found rather discouraging facts about both the history of Dr. Gallo’s discovery of HIV virus cells and the subsequent patent application process for a blood test to determine if a person had the virus. (Null, AIDS: A Second Opinion, p. 29)
· Those most effected by AIDS, homosexuals and AIDS advocacy groups may also be seen as using questionable actions. One example is the de-gaying the AIDS early on in the epidemic.
De-gaying the epidemic, and playing upon the fears of heterosexuals that they were also were at high risk, became the main strategy of gay AIDS advocate, including AIDS Action Council. (Andriote, Victory Deferred: How AIDS Changed Gay Life in America, p. 229)
The de-gaying strategy was necessary, according to Vic Basile, director of HRCF from June 1983 until June 1989, who jokingly referred himself as something of a political whore in our interview. For him, playing down the overwhelming number of gay men affected by AIDS, and playing up for politicians the relatively few American women and children with AIDS at the time, was merely a political move to win sympathy and support from antigay politicians. (Andriote, Victory Deferred: How AIDS Changed Gay Life in America, p.229)
The de-gaying of AIDS was now complete in the minds of AIDS advocates as the nation’s leading AIDS advocacy group, created in 1984 to represent the AIDS organizations that had been founded and run by gay people, looked for an executive director who was simply a well-spoken fundraiser and coach. Now gay rights organizations felt they could return to the business of gay and lesbian liberation - despite an ongoing epidemic that continues to kill tens of thousands of gay men - because AIDS was being taken care of by the AIDS industry. Few stopped to think that any industry, even one created by gay people, is above all interested in its bottom line. In the case of AIDS organizations, that meant preserving their funding at all costs, even when they felt it required them dissociate themselves from the community that gave them life in the first place. (Andriote, Victory Deferred: How AIDS Changed Gay Life in America, p.241-242)
All these questions and questionable actions result in prolonging and increasing the AIDS epidemic. This was seen in a 1994 declaration of a second wave of the AIDS epidemic. Today there continue to be warnings and reports in both the homosexual media and the mainstream media of increasing rates of AIDS cases among those most effected by AIDS, male homosexuals.
It was a standing room only night at the New York City Gay and Lesbian Community Services on the night of November 16, 1994. Leaders from sixteen AIDS prevention agencies had called this emergency meeting to announce the second wave of AIDS. (Sadownick, Sex Between Men, p.225)
· Despite all these questions and questionable actions surrounding AIDS what is known for certainty are those who are AIDS cases. It has been over three decades since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in 1983, and today AIDS is still mainly confined in the same two groups of people that were initially effected, male homosexuals and intravenous drug users.
The Centers for Disease Control HIV/AIDS Surveillance Reports notes, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a specific group of diseases or conditions which are indicative of severe immunosuppression related to infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).The precision of this medical definition obscures the fact that has been essential to the public understanding of AIDS: most people with AIDS are gay men or injection drug users (IDUs)." (Donovan, Taking AIM: Target Populations and the Wars on AIDS and Drugs, p. 54)
AIDS in America has two primary sources at present: unprotected anal intercourse, which is associated with gay male behavior and which probably accounts for the bulk of the existing cases nationwide; and intravenous drug injection with virus-contaminated needles, which is currently the major source of new cases and is likely to be the source of most cases within a few years. (Perow and Guillen. The AIDS Disaster: The Failure of Organizations in New York and the Nation, p.55)
AIDS, however, has remained absolutely fixed in its original risk groups. Today, a full decade after it first appeared, the syndrome is diagnosed in homosexuals, intravenous drug users, and hemophiliacs some 95 percent of the time, just as ten years ago. Nine out every ten AIDS patients are male, also just as before. Even the very existence of a latent period strongly suggests that years of health abuse are required for such fatal conditions. Among AIDS patients in the United States and Europe, one extremely common health risk has been identified: the long-term use of hard drugs (the evidence will be presented in chapter 8 and 11). AIDS is not contagious nor is it even a single epidemic." (Duesburg, Inventing the AIDS Virus, p. 217)
It is, of course, always dangerous to generalize about any group of people, and people with AIDS are no exception. And yet certain generalizations about who is most likely to contract AIDS have proved to be useful from a medical perspective. We recognize that the vast majority of people with AIDS are gay men /or intravenous drug abusers. These generalizations provide clues about what may cause AIDS, what may dispose people to contract the syndrome, and how the disease may spread. (Root-Bernstein, Rethinking AIDS: The Tragic Cost of Premature Consensus, p. 224)
If exposure to HIV is sufficient to cause AIDS, than everyone should be at equal risk, and AIDS should develop at an equal rate among different risk groups once infection has been established. Clearly that is not the case. Researchers recognized by 1987 that the threat of AIDS to non-risk groups was very small. . . . On the other hand, the high risk groups are still the high-risk groups.; (Root-Bernstein, Rethinking AIDS: The Tragic Cost of Premature Consensus, p. 220)