Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rethinking AIDS 2009: A Weekend to Remember


Photo: Peter Duesberg, Ph.D. (right) being interviewed by a reporter at the Rethinking AIDS Conference. Taken by D. B. Murrieta

I didn’t go to the Rethinking AIDS 2009 Conference, held at the Waterfront Hotel in Oakland, California on a three-day weekend , Nov. 6-8, 2009, to be a journalist. It was for a very personal reason that I went. I wanted to meet the person who had the greatest influence on my life.

For me, the genesis of Rethinking AIDS began in 1998, when I came across a book called Inventing the AIDS Virus while browsing at the Seattle Public Library, Published in 1996 by a UC Berkeley professor Peter Duesberg, Ph.D., it flew in the face of mainstream science. Since then, I have been committed to letting other people know of what some call the “Greatest Medical Blunder of the 20th Century”: the idea that the various health phenomena lumped together under the name “AIDS” are caused by one microorganism, the so-called “Human Immunodeficiency Virus” (HIV).

During the 1980’s just about everyone I knew was running scared of HIV/AIDS. I look back now and feel relieved and convinced that I came down with the right position on this subject. My confidence came because of the strength and the consummate leadership of Peter Duesberg. Not that he mounted any campaign or organized groups of people. He didn’t. He just continued his research and teaching according to the principles and rules by of science that preceded him over the last three hundred years. Once the most prominent and honored virologist in the country, now silenced and scorned by the mainstream, he never wavered in his stand. He maintained that the science was wrong; there simply was no evidence that HIV=AIDS.

I remember as early back as 1987 while sitting on the living room floor, reading a Sunday rag paper in Hollywood that said a couple of doctors who weren’t even named (though Duesberg was likely one of them) had an alternative theory to the consensus view. AIDS, they argued, was caused by a life style of too many drugs and too many different sex partners. Kaposi’s sarcoma, the skin lesions characteristic of the earliest AIDS cases, could be caused by “poppers,” they said. They also claimed that many of the anti-AIDS medications, including the brutally toxic AZT, could actually cause the disease. Looking back, it seems obvious to me that the prescribed treatment of high-dose AZT was responsible for most all of the 300,000 “AIDS” deaths from 1987 to 1997. I never bought into the belief of either the contagious notion that HIV caused AIDS or that AZT was viable.

Before I read Inventing the AIDS Virus, I had read the late Dr. Robert Willner’s 1990 book Deadly Deception, which also argued against HIV as the cause of AIDS. But I didn’t find it as convincing, mainly because Dr. Willner was not a research scientist. He was an M.D. who had left the profession to pursue alternative modes of healing. Duesberg was a virologist who for decades had specialized in researching retroviruses, the sort of virus HIV is claimed to be.

Inventing the AIDS Virus contained an introduction by Kary Mullis, Ph.D. who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1993 for his invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), used every day in DNA testing and the so-called “viral loads.” Mullis started on his journey to rejecting the HIV-AIDS model when he was asked to write a paper explaining how PCR could be used to test for HIV. When he asked, as a matter of form, to see the paper that showed that HIV caused AIDS, he was told, “You don’t need a reference for that. Everybody knows that.” To his surprise, Mullis could not find a paper establishing HIV as the cause of AIDS, for no such paper had been written.

I always had been unsettled by the science and treatment of “HIV/AIDS.” Inventing the AIDS Virus solidified my skepticism and set me on a road, which continues to this day, to correct the mistake.

I soon realized that it was not going to be easy or quick to change others’ minds. People did not want to hear that they had been misled. Ever since HIV was proclaimed to be the cause of AIDS in April 1984 at a White House news conference, without benefit of debate or evidence, the case was closed by the medical establishment.

I therefore owe a huge debt of respect and admiration to Peter Duesberg for his unyielding and relentless pursuit of truth during these past 25 years. I had never met the man and since the cause was so essential in my life during the last decade. I wasn’t about to miss this conference. After all, Oakland was next door to Berkeley, where Duesberg lives and works, so I felt sure to see him when I attended.

I was not disappointed.

He and many of the well-known AIDS dissidents were on hand for the event. I knew most everyone from my intermittent e-mails throughout the last decade. Dr. Peter Duesberg was particularly affable and gracious. He remembered me from my few direct e-mails to him.

For more information on the Rethinking AIDS 2009 conference, I would direct you to an article by one of the key organizers, David Crowe, at