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Inventing the AIDS Virus Hardcover – February 27, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

At last! This is the book every AIDS-watcher has been awaiting, in which the most prominent and persistent critic of HIV as the cause of AIDS presents his case most exhaustively and popularly. Duesberg, himself a virologist, stoutly maintains that HIV cannot cause AIDS because it fails to meet the rules by which a virus is implicated as disease-causing. He says that the causes of AIDS in First World countries most probably are overuse of toxic drugs--by legal prescription (e.g., AZT) as well as illicit use (e.g., the nitrite inhalants known as poppers that are used to enhance sexual capability)--and multiple and repeated infections with venereal diseases; in the Third World, they are malnutrition and maladies (e.g., tuberculosis) rare in wealthy nations but still prevalent in poor ones as well as, again, substance abuse. Duesberg massively documents and cogently argues these positions but not before laying out the historic and political reasons why most members of his profession and related medical specialists seized on a viral causation for AIDS. Basically, virologists wanted another success like that with polio and, frustrated by complete failure to find viral causes for cancer, took up AIDS as the perfect challenge as well as, once HIV was discovered, a ticket for prolonging their first-class ride on the medical research gravy train. Strong stuff, but Duesberg has never been alone in this analysis or in his scientific arguments. He has never before gathered his case together and presented it to the general public, though, so regard this book as a milestone essential to any collection concerned with AIDS. Ray Olson

From Kirkus Reviews

A well-credentialed scientist's hard-driving attack on the accepted view that AIDS is an infectious disease caused by HIV. Duesberg (Molecular biology/Univ. of Calif., Berkeley), an early researcher in the field of retroviruses, asserts that HIV, like virtually all retroviruses, is harmless. He finds that HIV meets none of the usual criteria (such as the six laws of virology) used to establish that a microbe causes disease. But if that is so, why do scientists persist in saying that AIDS is an epidemic caused by HIV? As Duesberg tells it, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention needed a serious epidemic to justify its continued existence, and by naming AIDS a single contagious disease, it created an atmosphere of public fear that brought it increased funding and power. The biomedical establishment took note. Having failed to find a viral cause of cancer, Duesberg says, virus hunters needed a new disease, and AIDS was it. The HIV-AIDS connection was then announced by Robert Gallo, head of a retrovirus lab at the National Cancer Institute, at a 1984 press conference rather than demonstrated in a peer- reviewed scientific paper. Further, Duesberg charges, the pharmaceutical companies exploited the situation by bringing back highly toxic failed cancer drugs, such as AZT, which, he says, destroys the immune system and causes AIDS-like symptoms. Duesberg cites other scientists who have questioned the HIV-AIDS hypothesis, among them several Nobel laureates, including Kary Mullis (for Chemistry), the author of this book's foreword. Duesberg's own theory is that AIDS is linked to the use of immunity-suppressing illicit drugs (such as crack and ``poppers''), and he urges investigation along these lines. One need not accept Duesberg's drug hypothesis, however, to be persuaded that the serious charges he makes deserve serious answers. A controversial book, certain to be met with strong resistance from the biomedical establishment. Four appendixes (not seen) include articles on HIV by Duesberg in scientific journals. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 722 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing, Inc.; First Edition edition (February 27, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0895264706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0895264701
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 2.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #436,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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156 of 175 people found the following review helpful By Stephen McLeod on October 21, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First: Don't be put off by the shrill reactions of other "reviewers" here who don't show any evidence that they have actually read the book. It is not clear to me what could be proven by Duesberg or anyone else injecting themselves with the virus, other than they believe that what they say is true. I don't suppose anyone in the scientific community has sacrificed more to maintain his challenge than has Duesberg. Even a cursory comparison of his career history before and after he became a "heretic" will demonstrate this. I don't think injecting himself with HIV would enhance the already clear and overwhelming evidence of his integrity. (Incidentally, while comparing credentials, check out Robert Gallo's. He started all this, after all. He holds the patent on the stuff their testing our blood with. Evaluate HIS integrity.)
Second: Don't be scared by the size of the book. It is well written, accessible, and engaging. The science is patiently explained for the general reader without being patronizing or condescending. This is coming from someone who has a paralyzing fear of scientific writing. I read the first hundred pages the day I got it. Plus, the last 300 pages are appendices which ought, in any case, to add credibility to the argument, since they present the actual evidence upon which the argument is based.
Third: Keep an open mind. Duesberg is no quack. He is a member of the elite National Academy of Sciences, and before he became a heretic, was on the Nobel prize fast-track for his discovery of the first cancer gene. Moreover, long before AIDS appeared, Duesberg was an eminently respected retro-virologist.
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138 of 155 people found the following review helpful By JF on November 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book shortly after it hit the shelves in 1997. I wasn't on the lookout for anything like this; I just happened to be strolling through a bookstore when I ran across it and skimmed through the foreword by Kary Mullis. I devoured the book in a few days. The conclusions--that AIDS is not infectious, that HIV is harmless, and that AIDS drugs do more harm than good--were certainly shocking, but not all that shocking to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of science, in particular medical science. Mistakes get made all the time in medicine. But could a mistake of this scale have been made and then perpetuated by thousands of well-meaning scientists? That's really the question one must answer when considering this book, and one that I set out to answer myself.

It's interesting that many of the negative reviews below argue that anyone who spends time hunting down Duesberg's references will see through his charade. It's interesting because when I first encountered this book, I was in graduate school pursuing my philosophy PhD, and upon reading the book, I did exactly what these reviewers suggest everyone should do (it's what any good graduate student does): I buried myself in the stacks at the basement of the UCSD medical school library. For three weeks. And I read. And read. And I found something quite interesting: With a few minor exceptions for misinterpreted evidence, Duesberg was right. The caliber of logic used to establish HIV's connection to AIDS was abysmal. I read countless papers in internationally-respected journals that, had they been submitted to me by one of my undergraduate philosophy students, would have been returned bathed in red ink. The reasoning really was that sloppy.
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133 of 150 people found the following review helpful By Cathleen M. Walker VINE VOICE on July 28, 2000
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Silence=Death. That's what the Act Up movement has been screaming for years. Then why the effort to silence Duesberg, who is only asking for scientific review of the "evidence" that HIV causes AIDS? It is the effort to silence Duesberg that actually adds to his credibility, the massive effort to keep his thoughts, questions and ideas from the mass of individuals who might start asking their own questions. Aren't we taught to ask questions of our doctors? Aren't we taught that we have to take responsibility for our own well being? Why is it that Duesberg is considered such a threat to the medical establishment? Who benefits by his silence? Who loses if the truth comes out?
From the first chapter: "our leading scientists and policymakers cannot demonstrate that their efforts have saved a single life." Who benefits from testing and "treating" the "high risk" communities who are, more likely, dying from the "treatment" that is *not* saving their lives? "AIDS itself has not yet affected larger numbers of women nor has it entered the heterosexual population outside of drug addicts: nine out of ten AIDS patients is still male, and more than 95 percent still fall into the same risk categories: homosexual (men), heroin addicts, or, in a few cases, hemophiliacs. All other sexually transmitted diseases are equally distributed between the sexes. AIDS has not exploded into the heterosexual population, as do all other sexually transmitted diseases. Yet, the cry rings out for all pregnant women (especially women of color) to be tested, to receive treatment *even if they are not sick*, to transmit AZT to their unborn children, *to save their lives.
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