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Aids (actually, it's doctors, stupid)

MagazineMarch 2003 (Vol. 13 Issue 12)Aids (actually, it's doctors, stupid)

Since 1990, in the very first volume of What Doctors Don't Tell You, we've shared with our readers our growing suspicion that AIDS was more than simply an infection

Since 1990, in the very first volume of What Doctors Don't Tell You, we've shared with our readers our growing suspicion that AIDS was more than simply an infection.

As time went on, the description of how it worked became increasingly more torturous. According to the original theory proposed by Robert Gallo of the US National Cancer Institute and Luc Montagnier of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, this virus had the capacity, unique in the history of infectious disease, to talk the immune system into committing suicide.

Then, a few heretics like Dr Peter Duesberg, a leading specialist on retroviruses and professor of molecular biology at the University of California, turned this assumption inside out. Duesberg put forward an exhaustive scientific argument that AIDS was simply, as he put it, '25 previously known, and in part entirely unrelated diseases' that have been redefined as AIDS only because they happen to occur in a patient who tests positive for HIV in a highly unreliable blood test.

It was Duesberg who first proposed that AIDS was a lifestyle disease. Practices among the gay community, he argued - a high number of sexual partners, receptive anal intercourse, constant exposure to recreational drugs, especially nitrites - eventually overwhelmed the immune system. Impurities in the blood caused immune-system breakdown among haemophiliacs or blood transfusion recipients, as did opiates among drug users. Malnutrition caused AIDS among Africans.

AIDS was simply a new name for an old suit of clothes - or wardrobe, to be exact.

But there were still niggling problems with the theory. Why did gay men who didn't use poppers get AIDS? What about HIV-positive babies? Why did Arthur Ashe - Mr Clean of Tennis - die of a single blood transfusion?

These have been answered by the brilliant findings of Dr Mohammed Ali Al-Bayati. A toxicologist and pathologist, Dr Al-Bayati stumbled upon the fact that regular use of prescribed steroids causes severe immune suppression that for all the world looks like AIDS.

As Al-Bayati looked further, it became clear to him that the single factor linking nearly every high-risk group is regular use of steroids. In the case of Africans, it has long been known that prolonged malnutrition eventually causes immune-system meltdown. But to all intents and purposes, he argues, steroid treatment is AIDS.

What this means is that our medical technology has so spiraled out of control that it has the capability of plague-like mass extermination. AIDS is the ultimate iatrogenic illness. Perhaps those letters ought to stand for: Actually, It's Doctors, Stupid.

My medical hero and mentor Dr Robert Mendelsohn wrote, in Confessions of a Medical Heretic: 'I believe that more than 90 per cent of Modern Medicine could disappear from the face of the earth - doctors, hospitals, drugs and equipment - and the effect on our health would be immediate and beneficial.'

This is undoubtedly the case with AIDS. Drugs for one condition cause the disease itself and, if they don't kill you, then the lethal cocktail of drugs used to treat the disease caused by the first set of drugs will finish off the job.

The only way we will ever win our War on AIDS is to appreciate that some of the biggest weapons of mass destruction on the planet today sit right there in your doctor's little black bag.


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