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.