Monday, September 25, 2006
“Wrongful Death” Author Criticizes Orthodox View of AIDS
interview by MARK GABRISH CONLAN
Copyright © 2006 by Mark Gabrish Conlan for Zenger’s Newsmagazine • All rights reserved
The cover of Stephen Davis’s novel Wrongful Death: The AIDS Trial is appropriately bright and arresting: in front of a red background, a blindfolded figure of Justice (from a sculpture by artist Dennis Taylor) holds a set of balance scales with a cascade of AZT capsules falling from one side. The copy on the back cover is equally intense: “How bureaucratic lies and incompetence, gross medical malpractice, and unbridled greed by a drug company cost 300,000 American lives in just 10 years — five times the number killed in the entire Viet Nam war!”
But behind the lurid cover lies a gripping John Grisham-style courtroom drama that vividly and entertainingly presents the case Davis has to make — that HIV cannot possibly be the cause of AIDS; that AZT, the first drug ever approved for AIDS treatment (in 1987), was a brutally toxic chemotherapy that killed most of the people who took it; that the discovery and claimed “isolation” of HIV were fraudulent; and that the modern-day treatments seem “better” than AZT only because they’re marginally less toxic. What’s more, though ostensibly a work of fiction, it ends with 71 pages of references so readers can check out for themselves what he’s saying in the book.
A former Arizona state senator and physician’s assistant, Davis has had a widely varied background which he discusses below. Since he published the book earlier this year, he has been active in the alternative AIDS movement, attempting to bring its disparate groups together for a unified publicity campaign to make more Americans aware that there is another way to look at AIDS besides the simple-minded “HIV = AIDS = death” equation we’ve been propagandized to believe since HIV was first politically proclaimed to be the cause of AIDS at a press conference in April 1984.
Davis is also working on a new novel exposing the inaccuracies of standard HIV antibody tests, pointing out that there are at least 64 possible causes of false-positive results documented in the scientific literature — among them such common infections as hepatitis, herpes, malaria and flu, as well as pregnancy, especially in women who have been pregnant before. He’s hoping to organize public opinion against the recent recommendation of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to have people tested for HIV antibodies as part of their routine medical examinations — which he fears will mean millions of falsely identified “HIV positives” being subjected to pressure to take unneeded anti-HIV medications that will only speed them to their graves.
To buy Wrongful Death: The AIDS Trial, click on the link at www.healsd.org, the Web site of a local alternative AIDS organization co-founded and chaired by this author, or visit Davis’s own Web site at www.theaidstrial.com
Zenger’s: Why don’t you start by giving me some of your background? The blurb on you in the book is quite fascinating: “Former Arizona state senator, commercial pilot, captain of a whale and dolphin research ship and founding member and musical director for Up with People.”
Stephen Davis: Yes, Mark, I’ve had quite a varied and interesting life. I’ve had an opportunity to do a lot of things, and I got into the AIDS/HIV question from a result of my experience in government and in medicine, as a physician’s assistant. That was what allowed me to, first of all, understand some of the studies that have been done by actually reading the studies themselves, rather than taking the media’s word for what they said. It also provided me with a fairly high level of skepticism about what was being told to the American public.
Zenger’s: What about your experience in government conditioned you to look with favor on alternative explanations of what’s going on in AIDS?
Davis: Well, when I got elected in 1974 I was 28 years old. I was very naïve about government, and, like everyone else who talked to me, I thought that if you wanted to make any changes, you would do it from the inside. So while I was lying on my bunk in Viet Nam one day, I decided that I would try to run for office and see if I could change the situation, and hopefully make sure something like Viet Nam would never happen again.
When I got into government as a state senator, and was very intimately involved in the whole process, I discovered that government was not the solution; that, indeed, it itself was the problem. I didn’t actually even like being a senator. I did run for re-election. I’m really not sure I could tell you why, but I was literally very happy when I lost. I just didn’t feel like that was where we were going to make a difference.
Having seen the way government operated, and the forces at work within government dictating what could and could not be done, I just really believed, when Robert Gallo stood up on April 23, 1984 on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services and announced that he had found the probable cause of AIDS, it just didn’t fly. It was just another piece of propaganda. I consider it to be very much like the Warren Commission. I don’t think a lot of people anymore believe that John F. Kennedy was shot by a lone gunman with a magic bullet. I didn’t believe that HIV causes AIDS. It was as simple as that.
Zenger’s: So at the time that Gallo made his announcement, it was more just a gut-level feeling, based on general skepticism that government could actually get the answer to a momentous question like this right?
Davis: It was partly that. It was partly because Margaret Heckler, who was then secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, had no medical or scientific experience. She was put into that position by Ronald Reagan because of her business and management expertise. Reagan was a big one on making government “efficient,” and I’m not being critical of Margaret Heckler or her appointment, but she had no basis on which to judge any pronouncement by Gallo, or even to ask Gallo any intelligent questions, before she stood up and announced to the world that the United States had found the cause of AIDS.
Also, I was skeptical because this hadn’t been even submitted for peer review by Gallo, which is the normal medical/scientific process of making a discovery: you send it out to your peers so they can test your discovery to see if they can verify it. Then you publish it. This was medical diagnosis by press conference. That’s unprecedented in the history of medical and scientific research.
Then, from my medical experience, I did not believe that a retrovirus could cause the kind of damage that was evidence with AIDS. And, of course, in 1990, Dr. Luc Montagnier [co-discoverer of HIV with his laboratory assistant, Françoise Barre-Sinoussi] verified that himself when he said that HIV could not cause AIDS [without a co-factor] and that a retrovirus had never caused harm in a human being, much less killed the numbers of cells that were necessary in order to bring on AIDS. I was sure HIV couldn’t possibly cause AIDS, but I could not prove that because I had not studied it. It was not until 1996, when I read Peter Duesberg’s book Inventing the AIDS Virus, that I began to see that the scientific evidence also supported my gut feeling.
As I said earlier, we have been told many, many things by the government and by the media — and by the medical profession, to be honest with you — about studies they claim say this or that. And, honestly, when you go read the studies themselves they don’t say this or that. As a matter of fact, most of them say exactly the opposite of what we’re being told. I had the chance and the ability to read these studies for myself and make my own decision, rather than buying the propaganda that was being disseminated.
Zenger’s: When I heard about the press conference, my gut-level reaction was simply that AIDS seemed to be a collection of so many varied phenomena — it struck so many people so differently; some people lived for years with it, some people died almost immediately; some people got one set of diseases, some people got another set — that I greeted the news with a kind of shrug and said, “Well, that’s one possibility.” But I really didn’t think that a condition that had so many possible outcomes, so many different symptomatologies, could possibly have a single cause.
Davis: And that was almost easier to swallow back then than it is now, since the CDC has expanded the definition of AIDS to include diseases that have nothing to do with immune deficiency. One of the things that I talk about in my book is the fact that we really need to be talking about four entirely separate classes of “AIDS,” which each have their own causes. We keep lumping them together into one big soup, and not only does this not make sense, it amounts to medical malpractice to diagnose people with “HIV” and tell them that they’re going to get and die of this lethal disease called “AIDS,” when in fact, in Africa for example, you don’t have to have HIV to be diagnosed with AIDS.
But, of course, in the United States we keep hearing on radio and television about “AIDS in Africa,” and nobody in this country knows that AIDS in Africa doesn’t mean what it means here. You don’t have to have either HIV or immune deficiency to be diagnosed with “AIDS” in Africa. All you have to have is a persistent cough, a persistent fever, diarrhea and lose more than 10 percent of your body weight [within a 30-day period]. It’s literally insane and very illogical to be talking about AIDS as a specific disease and linking it to a specific virus or retrovirus called HIV.
Zenger’s: When [University of California at Berkeley microbiology professor] Peter Duesberg published his first paper against HIV as the cause of AIDS in 1987, his argument in a nutshell was, “For 10 years we have researched retroviruses as possible causes of cancer because they do not kill their host cells. They need their host cells in order to survive themselves. Now we are saying that a retrovirus causes a disease in which massive numbers of the host cell die.”
Davis: Yes, but unfortunately, by that time it was already too late, wasn’t it? It was just like the assassination of John F. Kennedy, or the start of the Viet Nam war. We now know that the incident normally called the Gulf of Tonkin didn’t happen, but President Johnson could get on national television and say, “We were attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin, and therefore we are going to war in Viet Nam.” Well, that attack never occurred, and yet it was just not until a couple of years ago, I think, maybe even shorter than that, that the actual paperwork, the actual memos and classified documents were released showing that that was all a fake story as well.
Now, we lost 58,000 people, Americans, in Viet Nam. We’ve lost 500,000 to AIDS from the same kind of fabrication — fantasy, if you will — from the government. So I’m wondering when the American people are going to wake up and see that this happens over and over and over again, and that we’d better start questioning the things that are being told to us, both by the government and the media.
Zenger’s: Or another more recent one: the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We were told that Saddam Hussein’s government was an imminent threat to us; and also, while the President and the people in his administration never actually said that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with the attacks on 9/11, over and over again they used “Saddam Hussein” and “Iraq” in the same sentences as “al-Qaeda” and “9/11,” and people made the connection, which didn’t exist.
Davis: Absolutely. Did you hear Bush the other day flat-out say, “Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda at the time”? I think he probably spoke without thinking of what he was saying, but that was what he actually said. I saw it on CNN; he actually came right out and said that there was no connection between Saddam Hussein and Iraq, and al-Qaeda for 9/11. But once a story gets started, it’s hard to stop it, especially when money gets involved. And now, of course, AIDS has become a multi-billion dollar business throughout the world, and people’s livelihoods depend on HIV causing AIDS
When I was in the Arizona state senate there was a law that I was prohibited from voting on or participating in any legislation in which I had a direct financial interest. That is not only ethical but logical and proper, and I would expect the same kind of ethics and logic from the people involved in the AIDS industry. Those whose livelihoods depend on the HIV/AIDS hypothesis literally have no business saying a word about this; and, when they do, what they say cannot be trusted. That’s the bottom line.
Zenger’s: You said that you really got interested in the alternative point of view on AIDS after you read Peter Duesberg’s book Inventing the AIDS Virus in 1996. What was your reaction to that?
Davis: I sat down and read that cover to cover in three days. My specialty has always been to take difficult, complex concepts and rewrite or rephrase them in simple three-letter words so that I can understand them, and hopefully others will as well. So I immediately took Peter’s book, and a couple of other studies that I read at the time, and I wrote a 10,000-word paper called “AIDSGate” and published it on the Internet, Remember, this was 1997, so it was an outline of AIDS and HIV and AZT as we knew it up to that point.
In that paper, I specifically asked people who were HIV [positive] or families of those who were HIV positive, who had lost a loved one to “AIDS,” to file a class-action suit against Robert Gallo, against the FDA, against the Department of Health and Human Services, and [AZT manufacturer] Burroughs Wellcome, as it was called at that time —now GlaxoSmithKline — file a class-action suit for the wrongful deaths of their loved ones, based on the fact that all the studies show that HIV does not cause AIDS — AZT, on the other hand, does — and that these people died first of all from a misdiagnosis, and secondly, iatrogenic causes of being prescribed this lethal chemotherapy.
I couldn’t do anything about that myself. I’m not HIV positive. I frankly never knew anyone — and still don’t — who had AIDS or died from it, so in legal terms I had no standing. I had no ability to be involved in such a suit. But I certainly hoped others would file that kind of suit. I thought it would be helpful to have a court case in which the truth comes out. The answers to specific questions are provided in sworn testimony, like, where’s the proof that HIV causes AIDS, when in fact the proof is obviously that HIV fails every medical and scientific test to be called the cause of AIDS — or to cause any disease, for that matter. Where’s the proof that HIV has even been isolated? Where’s the proof that the HIV blood tests have been validated? They have never even been demonstrated to prove HIV antibody reactions, much less HIV reactions. So all these are questions that I had hoped would come out in a class-action lawsuit.
I thought that at that point I was finished with this issue. I had done my thing. I had explained this so that almost anybody could understand it. I had put out a solution for it, and I thought I was finished with that issue and I was moving on. Unfortunately, no class-action suit was ever filed. There were private suits filed, I was told, and settled by GlaxoSmithKline for a lot of money, but also with the stipulation that nothing ever be made public about the settlements. Therefore, the general public has never had the benefit of hearing this.
When no class-action lawsuit over AIDS, HIV and AZT happened, I had the idea about three years ago, 2003, to write a movie script as if that court case had actually happened. It turned out to be a two-part, four-hour made-for-TV movie called Wrongful Death: The AIDS Trial, Now, obviously, this was a fictitious court case, but I made sure that every word of testimony, every witness, every statement made in that movie was absolutely factual and based on medical and scientific research. That screenplay came in second in a screenwriting contest. But of course nobody was going to produce it. So last year a friend of mine talked me into rewriting that screenplay as a novel, and hence my book, Wrongful Death: The AIDS Trial. That’s how all that came about.
Zenger’s: I noticed reading the book that you based it largely on Peter Duesberg’s writings and also on the reporting of John Crewdson, which I found rather ironic because, while Crewdson did a great job of exposing the shenanigans around who discovered HIV and how the blood test was developed, he’s as staunchly committed to HIV as the cause of AIDS as anybody. His book contains a lot of sneering references to alternative points of view, saying for example that Montagnier discredited himself and dealt himself out of the world of serious AIDS research when he made that speech in San Francisco in 1990 suggesting that HIV needed a co-factor. So did you have any qualms about melding these two perspectives: Peter Duesberg’s that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, and John Crewdson’s that it does, but we were lied to about how it was discovered and who invented the test?
Davis: Not all of us can get everything right all of the time, and Crewdson got some stuff right some of the time. I wasn’t about to throw that out simply because he got other stuff wrong. I even disagree somewhat with Peter [Duesberg] in some of his conclusions about the causes of AIDS. I’m one of those who staunchly adhere to the theory, which was held by the CDC for the first three years, from 1981 to 1984, that amyl nitrite and its derivatives, butyl nitrite and isobutyl nitrite, were the actual cause of AIDS.
Now, when we say that we are talking specifically about the “AIDS” that sprang up in the homosexual community in the early 1980’s, which was specifically an immunodeficiency disease syndrome, with KS [Kaposi’s sarcoma] of course being the hallmark disease. At that time, there was a lot of proof that KS was linked directly to poppers, and that poppers indeed destroyed the immune system and indeed turned many classes of antibiotics into carcinogens.
So Peter’s probably right in one sense, that there was a lot of antibiotic use as well in the homosexual community, and the combination of the antibiotics with the amyl nitrite wreaked havoc, but I don’t just go to a generalization of recreational drugs [as the sole cause of AIDS]. There’s another movement that says it has to do with simple stress in the immune system, “oxidative stress” is what it’s called. And that’s fine. I’m not saying there’s a single cause of AIDS. I think there are four different kinds of AIDS, each with their own causes.
But it’s not like I swallowed everything Peter said, or swallowed everything Crewdson said, or John Lauritsen [journalist and author of Poison by Prescription and The AIDS War], or anybody. I jfelt that they all had some very good contributions to make to the understanding of this disaster, this tragedy, and that the place we ought to be focusing our attention now is on what we continue to do today to people who are diagnosed as “HIV positive,” especially looking at the blood tests that make the diagnosis.
Zenger’s: You’ve mentioned a few times that you think what’s called “AIDS” is really four different syndromes. Could you briefly run down what you think each one is?
Davis: Yes. I call the first kind “classic AIDS.” That is the kind of AIDS that sprang up in the homosexual community, with the first cases being identified by Dr. Michael Gottlieb in L.A. in May 1981. I believe these cases are linked directly to the use of poppers in the homosexual community. There’s so much documentation about the widespread use of poppers, and their side effects, that I think the link is actually pretty clear.
The second kind of AIDS is what I call “iatrogenic AIDS,” “iatrogenic” meaning caused by a doctor, a hospital or a drug. We were very familiar with iatrogenic immune deficiency prior to the advent of AIDS, because that is exactly what cancer patients get: iatrogenic immune deficiency from their chemotherapy and radiation therapy and so forth. Most cancer patients, as I understand it, die of opportunistic diseases they get from their therapy, rather than dying of the cancer. So immune suppression caused by drugs was not a new thing at all.
But what we started doing in 1987 is giving this very lethal drug called AZT, proven to destroy the immune system, not only to people who were sick with AIDS, but who were HIV positive but had no symptoms. They were perfectly healthy human beings. What happened is, of course, those people developed AIDS from the immune suppression caused by AZT, and they died.
Zenger’s: My recollection is that AZT was originally marketed only for people with actual AIDS diagnoses, and it wasn’t until 1989 that Burroughs Wellcome won approval to sell it to so-called “asymptomatic” HIV positives as well.
Davis: That is correct. It started in 1987, and as a matter of fact the actual FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] approval in 1987 was based on the stipulation that they would only give it to very sick AIDS patients. However, in 1988 they started giving it [to asymptomatic HIV positives] without approval, and in 1989 they got that approval. You’re correct.
You have to remember that Burroughs Wellcome also held the patent on amyl nitrite [the active ingredient in poppers]. When amyl nitrite was being threatened in the first three years, 1981 to 1984, by the CDC’s belief that it caused AIDS, Burroughs Wellcome very much wanted to get the attention off of amyl nitrite, and therefore totally supported the idea that it was a virus instead.
Plus they were not the ones that created AZT. That was created in a cancer lab in Michigan back in 1964. Burroughs Wellcome or someone found it on a back shelf, but Burroughs Wellcome put no money whatsoever into the development of AZT. They simply took AZT from someone else who developed it, ran it through some tests and came out saying that it killed HIV. Well, of course, it also killed every other, healthy cell in the body as well. In fact, they lied at the FDA approval committee and said that it only killed one healthy cell for every 1,000 infected cells, when in fact the ratio was 1,000 times that.
Zenger’s: What are the other two kinds of AIDS, as you see them?
Davis: The third kind of AIDS I call “AIDS by definition,” and that is because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed the definition of AIDS many, many times between 1981 and 1993. Each time they did that, they would add more diseases. The latest addition was cervical cancer, which obviously itself is not an immune-deficient disease, and has no relationship to HIV. But that was done solely because HIV was failing the first epidemiological law of viral and microbial diseases, which means that a virus cannot differentiate between men and women, and has to affect them fairly equally.
Well, up until 1993, 90 percent of the AIDS cases were men. And that didn’t sit very well. So they added cervical cancer to begin to include more women, and now I believe it’s only 83 percent men and 17 percent women. But there’s no other logical reason for cervical cancer to be included on a list of AIDS-defining diseases.
Zenger’s: As I recall, the reason given at the time was, “We find a lot of cervical cancer in women who test HIV positive; therefore we believe there is a connection, and therefore we consider it part of the syndrome.”
Davis: Oh, well, over the years they have come up with lots of different justifications and rationalizations for the things that they do. I don’t believe that for an instant. I don’t think there’s any science to support that, either. But it is simply one example of how the CDC has changed the definition of AIDS over the years. Now it includes 30 different diseases, many of which are not opportunistic and therefore not dependent upon an immune-deficient environment. So you have this whole class of people getting “AIDS” simply by definition. That’s what that class is. And the fourth group of AIDS is —
Zenger’s: [Ph.D. chemist and alternative AIDS researcher] David Rasnick pointed out that one of the things they did in 1993 is allow you to be diagnosed with AIDS if you were not sick at all. If you have an HIV positive test result and a T-cell count below 200, then you can be considered an “AIDS” patient.
Davis: Yes. That’s part of the AIDS by definition, absolutely.
Zenger’s: Rasnick also said that he looked very closely at the proportions of AIDS patients, according to the CDC’s records, based on what their AIDS-defining condition was. He said that as of 1997, two-thirds of all new AIDS diagnoses in the United States were in that category of people who were not sick, who simply had an HIV positive test and a T-cell count under 200. After 1997, the CDC stopped providing that information.
Davis: [Laughs.] That’s great. I love that. I had not heard that, Mark, but that’s so typical of what’s happened in this whole tragedy. It’s so typical. Just like, in 1991, when the CDC was embarrassed that there were thousands of AIDS cases with no evidence of HIV or the HIV antibodies, they created the new disease ICL, “idiopathic CD4 lymphocytopenia,” so that from that point on, anyone with AIDS symptoms who were HIV negative would be reclassified or rediagnosed with ICL instead. Therefore, since 1991, there has been a direct relationship — caused by definition — of HIV and AIDS. This is part of the game they play.
They actually played this earlier. This has some precedent. In the polio era, after the Salk vaccine came out, if anyone came to hospitals with polio symptoms, and they had had the vaccine, they were reclassified as “aseptic meningitis” instead of polio, so that no one got “polio” after the vaccine. They’ve played this game for a while, and it is a game. I consider it to be medical malpractice myself.
Zenger’s: And the fourth kind of AIDS?
Davis: AIDS in Africa, which we’ve already discussed. So it’s “classic AIDS,” linked to amyl nitrites; iatrogenic AIDS, linked to AZT; AIDS by definition, linked to the CDC; and AIDS in Africa. I’m not saying that there aren’t other factors involved. I’m not saying that there can’t be other immunosuppressive drugs that might be causing the classic AIDS. I’m not saying that there can’t be other HIV drugs, in addition to AZT, causing the iatrogenic AIDS. I’m just simply saying that these are the major factors that I have found to be involved.
Zenger’s: In 1996, of course, we had the big splash at the Vancouver AIDS conference, the introduction of the protease inhibitors, the three-drug cocktails, and everybody in the establishment was saying, “This is a great triumph. These are life-saving drugs. We have finally turned the corner on this. Thanks to these wonderful new drugs, AIDS is going to be a chronic, manageable disease and people will be able to live long and fairly healthy lives. They just have to take the drugs for the rest of their lives.” And the AIDS death rates did indeed go down. What do you think happened?
Davis: Well, we got people off of AZT monotherapy, full-strength AZT. That’s why those drugs, the new drugs, were life-saving, because they stopped 1,500 milligrams of AZT on a daily basis. They were life-saving, but only because they didn’t do the kind of damage that AZT was doing. They could not create AIDS in at least the intensity or the numbers that AZT had done, killing 300,000 Americans from 1987 to 1997. That is what cut down all the cases, starting in 1996 — I think the drop from 1995 to 1996 was 50 percent and the drop from 1996 to 1997 another 50 percent, as we began to get AZT off the market.
Now, my question is whether the remaining 600 milligrams of AZT in, for example, Trizivir and Combivir, are still lethal. It would be very difficult to determine, because how would you in fact separate the effects of one of the drugs in that cocktail in that study? But AZT, of course, is still being given in very special circumstances and in these two cocktails, and frankly, we just don’t know whether in fact it is still killing people or not.
All we know is we still have 15,000 deaths from AIDS each year. We also know that there is still use of poppers in the homosexual community, because poppers have never been blamed or linked directly to AIDS since 1984, and so we may still be seeing some effect of that. And, of course, as David Rasnick says, of the 15,000 deaths per year, we still have people who were totally asymptomatic but were HIV positive with a depressed T-cell count who were then started, they were put on these new HAART drugs — Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy — which indeed themselves have lethal side effects, such as liver damage, severe liver damage.
Zenger’s: At the 2004 AIDS conference in Barcelona it was admitted that at that time the number one cause of AIDS deaths was liver fatalities that could be traced to the anti-HIV drugs. Of course, the reason that doesn’t bother the AIDS mainstream is they make the assumption that without treatment, anybody with HIV will inevitably progress to AIDS and a premature death.
Davis: Yes, that’s one of their good rationalizations. Again, it has no basis in fact, because there’s no study to prove that. As a matter of fact, the studies that I’ve read say the opposite: that people do better off placebos than they do on the HAART drugs.
On August 5, 2006, the Lancet published the longest and largest study of this kind on HAART. It included 22,000 patients over 10 years. What it did — and this is a little tricky — what it did is it compared the first year of HAART therapy by calendar year. In other words, they started in 1996 and they took people who went on HAART for their first year in 1996 and compared them to the people who went on HAART for the first year starting in 1997, and on up.
The results were quite clear. While there was a definite decrease in viral load — in other words, there was a betterment in viral load testing — there was also a decrease in CD4 cell count in the later years. And there was no improvement in longevity. In other words, the HAART drugs that are being given today actually are worse than the drugs being given in 1996. They produce worse effects, other than a better viral load test. People are getting AIDS faster. The onset to the first AIDS event is shorter. Their immune systems are worse off and, as I said, there is no increase in longevity. That study has just been released, and it is, in my mind, very powerful.
Zenger’s: In fact, one of the quirkier things I have noticed about this issue politically is that there are a few voices on the Right, particularly the Libertarian Right, who have been willing to question AIDS and HIV, but on the Left it has become kind of an article of faith, and a test of your level of concern about African people, people of color, Queer people, etc., that you go down the line with HIV and you join all these campaigns to raise money to buy AIDS drugs for the Third World, where you have “these millions of people who are living with HIV who are going to die unless we get them these lifesaving medications,” blah blah blah. Any thoughts you might have on how the politics of this plays out: why so many people go along with it, and in particular why so many Leftists, who ordinarily pride themselves on questioning big government and big business, go along with HIV?
Davis: Well, a couple of personal opinions. One, of course, “show me the money.” We know for a fact that Magic Johnson is on the GlaxoSmithKline payroll, and therefore will not say a word about his AZT experience, or even what he’s actually doing today, and allows his picture to be used in connection with Combivir ads — although the ads are very careful not to attribute what they say to Magic Johnson. They just put his picture there.
Also, there is such an assumption in the liberal community that this shows compassion: “We care about these people.” Bill Clinton -— I don't know whether Bill Clinton is on the GlaxoSmithKline payroll or not, but he always likes to feel other people’s pain, and so here is a cause of compassion and caring. And that’s all that people see. They don’t understand that other people, like us, care just as much and are just as compassioniate, and believe that actually the best thing we could do for people would be to get them off these drugs and clarify the whole situation surrounding HIV.
But that’s not the way we’re perceived, as a matter of fact. I’m sure you’ve seen [Robin Scovill’s film] The Other Side of AIDS, where [Dr. Mark] Wainberg has some not-so-nice comments about the personality of Peter Duesberg. So we have been painted as people who want other people to die. This is actually very common in public health. Let me go specifically to the Incarnation Children’s Center in New York City. You’ve seen “Guinea-Pig Kids”?
Zenger’s: I know the Incarnation Children’s Center story quite well, because I interviewed Liam Scheff, who broke it. [The story dealt with an orphanage in New York City that housed children with HIV who were wards of the state, either because their parents were dead or had lost custody due to recreational drug use. The children were enrolled, without the consent of their parents or surviving family members, in HIV drug trials sponsored by the National Institutes of Health in association with pharmaceutical companies. In some cases, the kids were operated on and gastrointestinal tubes were inserted surgically so their doctors could force-feed them the HIV medications being studied.]
Davis: The video is very disturbing. I came away from watching that video wondering how in the world people could do that to children. When I mean “that,” I mean surgically insert stomach tubes and then force-feed them these dangerous, lethal medications. I didn’t know how those people sleep at night. I finally realized they have to have convinced themselves that they’re doing good in the name of public health. First of all, they could never have read any scientific studies themselves. And they have to believe that they’re doing the best for that child. To me, this is the tragedy, because people are accepting what they’re told by the authorities, by the government, by the media, by the public-health officials, and they really must feel that this is the best thing for that child.
I couldn’t ever go there. No matter what I believed, I could never think or justify surgically inserting a stomach tube in a one-year-old and feeding him medication. That’s beyond me. But I think it marks the sad state of affairs in medicine and science these days. And, according to a study by Gary Null, more people in the United States die from iatrogenic causes — that means by the doctors and the hospitals and the drugs — than by cancer or heart disease, anyway. In other words, iatrogenic causes is the leading cause of death in the United States. That’s how bad medicine has gotten. And I think we’re going to have to have a major revolution.
In fact, we are having a major revolution in terms of people’s faith in their doctors. When the truth breaks out about AIDS and HIV and these HIV blood tests and the HIV drugs, I think it’s going to bring the wall down, and we’re going to see major changes in our social structure.
Zenger’s: You’ve mentioned several places your forthcoming book, which is specifically about the HIV antibody tests. Could you tell me a little about that project? Is it going to be another novel or a nonfiction work, and what’s the gist, basically?
Davis: Yes it is, actually. It is going to be a novel and it’s going to use the same lead character, the health reporter from the Arizona Tribune, from my original book, Wrongful Death: The AIDS Trial. Her name is Sarah Meadows. Sarah embarks on this Erin Brockovich-style research concerning the HIV blood test and the fact that they have not been validated, there are so many false positives, that the proteins that are used in the test have never been specifically linked to HIV itself, that there are 10 different criteria used around the world to judge the results of the test, and on and on and on, and even every test manufacturer puts a disclaimer in their test kit that this test kit may not be used to diagnose the presence or absence of HIV.
This book will deal with her research about the people who are diagnosed as “HIV positive” as the result of these arbitrary and capricious and fraudulent HIV blood tests. It will include half a dozen or so actual true-life stories of HIV positives and what the diagnosis meant in their life, and what they’re doing about it, and what the HIV drugs are doing to people. It will specifically focus on the HIV positives who are not taking drugs and are doing well without them.
I want to end by referring you to a Web site called www.staynegative.org. If you look at the banner on this site there are people with diapers, people with distended bellies from lipodystrophy, people with sunken cheeks from facial wasting. This is a perfect example of how they’re spinning this story. Anyone going to this Web page is led to believe that these men are examples of what HIV can do.
But lipodystrophy is not a symptom of HIV, or even of AIDS. It’s a proven side effect of the HIV drugs that HIV positives are forced to take. The title of this Web site is “HIV — not fabulous.” The scientifically correct title would be, “HIV Drugs — not fabulous.” Frankly, it is false advertising to blame HIV, rather than the HIV drugs, for the condition of these men. This is criminal, and I hope to bring this to court one day.