Duesberg is one of the world’s leading microbiologists, a pioneer in the discovery of the HIV family of viruses. He begins his study by historically analyzing diseases that were thought to be caused by a virus but were not, such as SMON, a disease that struck Japan in the 1950s and was caused by medicine given to patients as treatment. Or scurvy, which was fought as a viral disease until it was discovered to be caused by dietary deficiencies. He cites these examples in order to back up his theory that HIV is not the cause of AIDS.
This book goes beyond Michel Foucault’s wildest fantasies. Duesberg reevaluates the clinical histories of the first five people who died of AIDS-related complications, in 1980, only to find our that all of them were heavy users of inhalant nitrates (or “poppers”), once used heavily in the gay community. According to Duesberg, these are highly toxic and can cause Kaposi’s sarcoma within a short period of time. Duesberg also observes that there is a correlation between the people who actually die of AIDS and their history of drug use, indicating that drug abuse may be the primary reason for the immunological system’s breakdown. So, according to Duesberg, Foucault probably didn’t die because he was infected by the HIV retrovirus but because he had been attending some wild Parisian parties.
Another controversial point made by Duesberg is the “latency period” concept. It is an accepted fact that diseases caused by a virus like polio and smallpox have an immediate effect on the organism. He argues that a “latency period” of years of duration was invented when scientists were convinced that leukemia was a viral disease and the only way they could justify the connection between it and cancer was by expanding the length of the “latency period” until it reached 40 years. The author sees this is as a baroque attempt to save the theoretical framework in spite of the fact-based reality of the disease.
Duesberg questions the efficacy of AZT, ddl and ddC, which he shows to be very toxic. He claims that the cure causes the disease, calling it “AIDS by prescription.” He brings forward many cases, including that of Magic Johnson, who stopped the AZT treatment and is still alive, and that of Arthur Ashe who didn’t stop the treatment and who died shortly thereafter.
Hardback: 722 pages