Why Do Scientists Agree on HIV?

Dear Christine,

After reading through your book and web site I can help but wonder why scientists and researchers all seem to agree HIV causes AIDS. I find it hard to accept that all these experts are in on some kind of conspiracy. Why don't ethical scientists come forward and speak out on this issue? Are the damn drug companies that powerful?

What about other experts? What about actors and other people in the public eye? I find it frustrating and confusing that there is so much silence on the HIV issue.

Thanks for any insight,

Scott R

Hi Scott,

In my opinion, adherence to the HIV = AIDS paradigm is not part of a conspiracy but rather the unfortunate outcome of a desperate desire for medical answers that coincided with political concerns, research funding needs and drug company interests, and was influenced by widespread fear, an uncritical media and a new and powerful type of activism. Due to all of this and a few other particular circumstances, the hypothesis that HIV causes AIDS was fast-tracked into every aspect of life from medical journals to popular culture with almost none of the normal and very necessary scientific scrutiny or journalistic skepticism.

While I don't believe drug companies are to blame for the HIV dilemma, their interest in maintaining the HIV = AIDS hypothesis is clear and understandable. I think we tend to forget that pharmaceutical manufacturing is a business, not a benevolent enterprise, and as businesses, their mandate is to generate earnings for shareholders. Drug companies profit tremendously from the HIV tests and anti-HIV drugs used in the war against AIDS—even when they lower prices or "give away" their products. Except in very unusual circumstances, low cost or free means taxpayer subsidized or goods given in exchange for corporate tax benefits.

Like other large businesses, drug companies invest heavily in PR, and as we all know, corporate PR drives much of what we perceive as news. This is as true for HIV and AIDS as it is for more obviously commercial services and products. Just as PR inspires demand for certain products, legislation, or support for other corporate interests, HIV/AIDS PR inspires
concerns and fears that translate to testing, treatment, and research funding and more recently, in popular support for AIDS drug programs, especially in the largely untapped markets of the developing world.

Drug and diagnostic companies sponsor everything from AIDS bike rides to aggressive activist campaigns that call for more AIDS treatments and widespread HIV testing. These investments are not limited to AIDS - they underwrite similar programs and groups in many other areas of medicine besides AIDS. Drug companies are also the most potent political lobbying group in the US and provide major campaign contributions to Democrats and Republicans alike.

Most of the oft-cited 99% of doctors who allegedly agree HIV causes AIDS (no survey has ever been conducted to determine what percentage of medical professionals actually concur with the HIV hypothesis) don't have the time or incentive to consider that two decades of AIDS practices based on HIV as the cause may be wrong.

While we think of scientific researchers as independent seekers of answers, most all are beholden to the systems that fund their work. These systems, which in large part involve the pharmaceutical industry, do not encourage questioning or testing of the HIV hypothesis and, in many cases, actively prohibit such avenues of inquiry. Government funded labs and researchers are required to adhere to government AIDS policy which embraces HIV as the cause of AIDS and considers other possible explanations, in the words of former AIDS Czar Sandra Thurman, "irresponsible."

Experts with the time and incentive to engage in an unbiased evaluation of the data on AIDS may find their ability to openly express their conclusions about HIV hampered by the source of their livelihood - how many of us can afford to challenge the hand that feeds us? And as we see from numerous reports in the media, corporate whistleblowers often pay a high price for coming forward with information that serves the public interest by revealing unethical, unhealthy or illegal pursuits of corporate interests.

Activists and philanthropists who truly care about AIDS have a deep emotional investment in the stands they've taken on HIV. Can you imagine having to consider whether your acts of charity or concern or public positions may have harmed, killed or terrorized the very people you meant to help? Many actors are distinguished by their dedication to AIDS. How difficult would it be for them to question years of service to and association with the HIV = AIDS campaigns? How might a less politically correct stance on AIDS affect their career, public appeal and stature among HIV-adherent peers and their image in the media?

In my opinion, the HIV = AIDS paradigm is a big medical, fiscal, social, and emotional mess and it takes a rare form of courage for those involved on any level to examine the issue, to acknowledge what's gone wrong, and accept that we need new directions in order to come to real solutions.

Take care,



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