Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

I am Richard Feynman and I approve of this blog

Qualified outsiders and maverick insiders are often right about the need to replace received wisdom in science and society, as the history of the Nobel prize shows. This blog exists to back the best of them in their uphill assault on the massively entrenched edifice of resistance to and prejudice against reviewing, let alone revising, ruling ideas. In support of such qualified dissenters and courageous heretics we search for scientific paradigms and other established beliefs which may be maintained only by the power and politics of the status quo, comparing them with academic research and the published experimental and investigative record.

We especially defend and support the funding of honest, accomplished, independent minded and often heroic scientists, inventors and other original thinkers and their right to free speech and publication against the censorship, mudslinging, false arguments, ad hominem propaganda, overwhelming crowd prejudice and internal science politics of the paradigm wars of cancer, AIDS, evolution, global warming, cosmology, particle physics, macroeconomics, health and medicine, diet and nutrition.

HONOR ROLL OF SCIENTIFIC TRUTHSEEKERS

Henry Bauer, Peter Breggin , Harvey Bialy, Giordano Bruno, Erwin Chargaff, Nicolaus Copernicus, Francis Crick, Paul Crutzen, Marie Curie, Rebecca Culshaw, Freeman Dyson, Peter Duesberg, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, John Fewster, Galileo Galilei, Alec Gordon, James Hansen, Edward Jenner, Benjamin Jesty, Michio Kaku, Adrian Kent, Ernst Krebs, Thomas Kuhn, Serge Lang, John Lauritsen, Mark Leggett, Richard Lindzen, Lynn Margulis, Barbara McClintock, George Miklos, Marco Mamone Capria, Peter Medawar, Kary Mullis, Linus Pauling, Eric Penrose, Max Planck, Rainer Plaga, David Rasnick, Sherwood Rowland, Carl Sagan, Otto Rossler, Fred Singer, Thomas Szasz, Alfred Wegener, Edward O. Wilson, James Watson.
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Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

Skepticism is dangerous. That’s exactly its function, in my view. It is the business of skepticism to be dangerous. And that’s why there is a great reluctance to teach it in schools. That’s why you don’t find a general fluency in skepticism in the media. On the other hand, how will we negotiate a very perilous future if we don’t have the elementary intellectual tools to ask searching questions of those nominally in charge, especially in a democracy? – Carl Sagan (The Burden of Skepticism, keynote address to CSICOP Annual Conference, Pasadena, April 3/4, 1982).

It is really important to underscore that everything we’re talking about tonight could be utter nonsense. – Brian Greene (NYU panel on Hidden Dimensions June 5 2010, World Science Festival)

I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing ever interfered with my learning was my education. My name as you already perceive without a doubt is George Bernard Shaw, and I certainly approve of this blog, in that its guiding spirit appears to be blasphemous in regard to the High Church doctrines of science, and it flouts the censorship of the powers that be, and as I have famously remarked, all great truths begin as blasphemy, and the first duty of the truthteller is to fight censorship, and while I notice that its seriousness of purpose is often alleviated by a satirical irony which sometimes borders on the facetious, this is all to the good, for as I have also famously remarked, if you wish to be a dissenter, make certain that you frame your ideas in jest, otherwise they will seek to kill you.  My own method was always to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine) One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways. – Bertrand Russell, Conquest of Happiness (1930) ch. 9

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A lay dissenter’s travails and courage – Christine Maggiore

AIDS is an ethical battlefield, as well as a medical one. Activists and politicians who fight for patients’ rights against prejudice and official inertia have long made this clear, and we agree. But as well as the behavior of government officials, we have a different realm in mind.

We are thinking of science. It is the scientists who fight for honest review and public responsibility in the science of AIDS, and who refuse to sell out to the enormous psychological and financial pressures brought against them, the dissidents, who are the greatest heroes in AIDS, at least in our book.

With some establishment supporters too frightened or self serving to come out in public, Peter Duesberg, David Rasnick, Nobel prize winner Kary Mullis, Harvey Bialy and all those who have put their name to review in AIDS have moral courage and a devotion to science proper that deserves acknowledgment�not to mention a public spirit that makes the avowals of concern of those at the helm of the AIDS ship look storebought.

Equal courage is shown, we believe, by the few laypeople who also chart their own course in this field, especially those who are told they are “HIV positive” and should take AIDS medications, and who then decide instead to double check the conventional wisdom for themselves.

This in itself is brave. For the news inevitably has enormous impact, amounting to a death sentence in most people’s minds. The instinctive reaction is easy to imagine, and worth analyzing.

The human psychological response is to panic, and to cling to the nearest rock, or authority figure, as a source of rescue�the doctor who is managing your case. The assumed consequences are so dire that instead of seeking a second opinion, your spine turns to jello and your mode becomes infantile. You grab the security blanket of complete trust in and cooperation with your doctors, your nurses and your health workers, treating them as Godlike, the only source of authority and absolute power. Out of self-preservation, you demonstrate your total obeisance to their ideas. Any skeptic who doubts their powers is attacking your security and undermining your new religion.

Paradoxically, in this emotional transaction, you behave precisely as if you have fallen into the hands of a tyrannical ruler, or have been kidnapped. The victims of tyrants or kidnappers face ruthless jailers with the power of life and death over them, whom it is fatal to question or challenge, let alone to flout their wishes. Their wish must be your command, for they are the only ones who can save you. The psychology of the positive HIV test is to place you in the same emotional predicament of powerlessness and bondage.

In reality, of course, physicians and health workers are neither kings nor kidnappers, however similar their effect. They are, especially in AIDS, typically nothing more than underresearched and underinformed technicians repairing your body according to a manual written by someone else, whose logic they do not fully understand, since it doesn’t yet make complete sense.

They are doing their best to apply their limited conventional understanding of disease and medication to your case, an understanding drawn second, or more accurately, fifth hand, from the scientists who actually do the research, form the theories and write the papers which inform the scientific beliefs of AIDS, and thus by extension inform the medical authorities, and fill their textbooks and their teaching, through which their theory ultimately reaches the manual of the physician.

The few patients who are strong enough to keep their senses in this situation and seek a second opinion have to be unusually strongminded or brave, or both. For as they soon find out, the politics of belief in AIDS are more religious than scientific in nature. Any public questioning of the conventional wisdom is deplored as “dangerous” by those who are paid to work in the field, who are for some reason enthusiastically encouraged in this unscientific attitude by the scientists who lead the ideology. Thus those who like to think for themselves will usually run into the disapproval of their primary physician, and also of nearly all the people who are involved in AIDS care.

If they then uncover the contrary opinions of Peter Duesberg of Berkeley and other scientists and experts who adamantly reject the basic tenets of current AIDS ideology, and decide that they make more sense than the still unexplained, paradoxical, inconsistent and anomalous ideology of current “AIDS”-think, they then have to face down the authority of the biggest institutions and some of the best known scientists in America, if they are to retain the benefit of their own judgement.

Activist Christine Maggiore, author of What if everything you thought you knew about AIDS was wrong? is one of the bravest of these challengers of authority, and she has followed this thorny path without flinching. When she was found to be “positive”, she became one of the faithful, joining the congregation, believing implicitly in the conventional story of AIDS and proseltyzing those still free of it.

When later tests came back as negative, however, her doubts began. She looked into the question further, soon discovering that the challenges to the faith looked a lot more convincing and sensible to her than the dogma. In fact, Maggiore became completely persuaded that AIDS was, to use a blunt colloqial phrase, a crock, and she ended up writing one of the best lay introductions to AIDS as a scientific mess that have been published. The fourth edition of What if everything you thought you knew about AIDS was wrong? was published in 2000, and it continues to sell and deserves to. Like all the books critiquing the current AIDS wisdom, it remains as relevant as it was when it was written, its questions remaining current and unanswered.

The trials and tribulations Ms Maggiore has been through on her decade long journey are astounding. They are all courtesy of the hostility and arrogance of the prevailing wisdom and its congregation of the faithful, which seems to extend from every village busybody to automatic membership for almost every member of the judiciary. (Mere lawyers, on the other hand, are often refreshing exceptions to this universal credulity, perhaps because they are in the business of exposing bad arguments from confidence tricksters of many kinds).

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Words From Alive & Well Founder Christine Maggiore

In 1992, I took what is commonly referred to as an HIV test. I had no symptoms of illness, no particular risks or fears, just a new doctor who insisted the test should be part of a regular medical exam. What began as a simple check up turned from routine to life altering when my results came back HIV positive.

Putting aside my shock and shame, I immediately sought out an AIDS specialist. This doctor declared that my test was not positive, not enough to be considered conclusive, anyway. Frightened and confused but hopeful, I followed his recommendations to take the test again along with other lab work to evaluate everything from my cholesterol to T cells.

According to the specialist, the results of this second HIV test were indisputably positive and my progression from somewhat positive to conclusively positive indicated a recent infection with HIV. I accepted his explanation even though the circumstances of my life excluded the possibility of a new infection.

Despite my positive diagnosis, the doctor declared me exceptionally healthy. He also told me that despite my exceptional health, there was nothing I could do to prevent devastating disease and an eventual death from AIDS. According to official estimates, I had between five and seven years to live.

The doctor warned me against wasting money on vitamins and other �foolish� attempts to save my immune system. Instead he advised I wait to become sick and then take AZT, a drug with severe side effects that could possibly make me sicker. I went directly from his office to a health food store in search of the forbidden vitamins. The following day, I began to look for a new AIDS specialist.

Life as I had lived, planned and hoped came to a grinding halt. I lost interest in my job running a clothing company I started in 1986 and had nurtured into a multi-million dollar enterprise. I gave up my goal of earning an MBA and dropped out of business school. Big Sisters of America immediately dropped me from their mentorship program when I confided to having tested HIV positive. Feeling like a cross between a leper and a total loser, I decided to keep my tragedy a secret. I stopped spending time with family and all but a few close friends. Instead, I attended AIDS seminars and joined a support group for HIV positive women where once a week we were encouraged to compare notes on our fears and frustrations, mention any potential symptoms, and lament the lousy deal we’d all been handed.

My AIDS activism began by accident when a friend, moved by my plight, tried to volunteer at AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) and was turned away. Incensed that a warm, intelligent woman with the sincerest of motivations would be treated with such disregard, I complained to the men in charge. Before I could finish my reprimand, I had been drafted into their public speaker’s bureau.

Almost immediately, I was touring local high schools and colleges on behalf of APLA. I appeared as the person that HIV should never have happened to�a white, heterosexual, non-IV drug using business professional. APLA booked me for a year’s worth of engagements before I’d even finished their training course. I made audiences laugh, cry, and most importantly scared since I seemed to embody the slogan that everyone is at risk for AIDS.

My suggestions for improving the women’s HIV support group at LA Shanti turned into an invitation to speak for that organization which led to a position on the founding board of yet another AIDS group, Women At Risk.

Although my involvement in AIDS work began unintentionally, I took on my assignments with great passion and deepening sense that these efforts would give meaning to the tragedy that was now my life. I never for a moment imagined a future that might deviate from where I believed I was headed.

But then a year or so into my diagnosis and public service, and after interviewing half a dozen AIDS doctors whose recommendations ranged from immediate drug therapy to world travel, I found an anomaly among AIDS specialists�a doctor who didn’t routinely fill people with toxic pharmaceuticals and lethal predictions. She treated me as an individual rather than an impending statistic, and in doing so noticed my good health. She said I didn’t fit the profile of an AIDS patient, and urged me to take another HIV test. Afraid to raise my hopes, at first I refused. When I finally found the courage to retest, the result was inconclusive. Further testing produced a series of unsettling, contradictory diagnoses: a positive, followed by a negative, followed by another positive.

Confused by a personal situation that defied all the rules I’d been so passionately preaching as a public speaker, I turned for help to the AIDS groups where I worked. Instead of finding answers, I found my questions were dismissed and that persisting with my line of inquiry resulted only in meaningless explanations.

My desire to learn finally led me outside the confines of the AIDS establishment and into a body of scientific, medical and epidemiological data that defied everything I had been taught about AIDS, and everything that I had been teaching others. The more I read, the more I became convinced that AIDS research had jumped on a bandwagon that was headed in the wrong direction.

When it became clear that the information I had found, however life-affirming, was not welcome among the AIDS organizations I belonged to, I decided to start my own. In 1995, together with a few friends gathered from various support groups and other places along the way, I started Alive & Well to share vital facts about HIV and AIDS unavailable from mainstream venues.

In 1996, while trying to write a simple threefold brochure, the first version of my book �What If Everything You Thought About AIS Was Wrong� emerged. That same year, I met a wonderful man who became my husband. We have two beautiful, healthy children, ages six and two, who have never had so much as an ear infection.

In the 12 years since receiving my death sentence, I have taken an unexpected journey from frightened victim to AIDS activist to HIV dissident to spokesperson for new views about HIV and AIDS. I have abundant good health and live without pharmaceutical treatments or fear of AIDS.

The most surprising aspect of my story is that it is not at all unusual�I know hundreds of HIV positives that are alive and naturally well many years after receiving their own dire prognoses. Contrary to popular claims, what we have in common is not some unique genetic quality, but the ability to liberate ourselves us from unfounded fears and embrace our natural ability to live in health.

Through Alive & Well and my book, I hope to share vital facts, inspire essential dialogue and give other people who test HIV positive the chance to consider a destiny that differs from the one we are taught to expect.

Maggiore had to fight for the right to carry a child and give birth to her son without being forced to imbibe the dangerous drugs prescribed for pregnant “HIV positive” patients,, She then had to battle furiously to retain custody of her child. Luckily she married a documentary maker, Robin Scovill, whose support has included making two films about the issue, after she educated him on the reason and evidence involved. �The Other Side of AIDS� in 2004 followed �Questioning AIDS in South Africa� in 2000.

The kind of prejudicial disrespect and disparagement Maggiore, like all AIDS unbelievers, has been subjected to in the media are well sketched in a ABC 20/20 segment – “The Disbeliever” – she endured in 2001, which you can read if you click the next (Show) about twelve paragraphs below this point.

In this slanted coverage, Dr Mathilde Krim, a biologist and the French-accented, motherly little blonde-bunned founder of AMFAR (American Foundation for AIDS Research) and thus friend of Elizabeth Taylor (who signed on as chief AMFAR supporter and unofficial publicity magnet), is placed opposite her in the piece, opining that she must be “deluded”, and also, in as many words, “dangerous”.

Dr. Krim: The problem here is she’s spreading the delusion to others, without any doubt that she’s maybe wrong, you know. And this is terrible. This is what makes me angry.

However, Christine, by then a practised advocate, shows that she is able to hold her own when she is given the chance. Asked by Connie Chung is she isn’t a flat-earther, she reminds Connie that the flat-earthers were the majority in their time, and their delusion was cured by science.

Connie Chung: There are people who think that you are just like those that did not believe that the Holocaust existed, flat-earth theorists. That’s what you are.

Christine Maggiore: Well, what I recall of history is that the flat-earthers were in the majority, and the people who questioned the idea of the flat earth were in the minority, and finally they were listened to.

The program ends of course with the banner of mainstream TV prejudice against a lay dissenter from established science still flapping in a strong breeze, and Krim allowed to have the last reassuring but essentially meaningless word:

Dr. Krim: I wish she were right, but she’s not. It would be nice, you know, if it was not – if we didn’t have an HIV virus in this world. But we have it, and we have to learn how to face reality and deal with it.

Those interested in true “balance”, instead of this false version, will ask why Peter Duesberg or Kary Mullis were not produced to back up Maggiore, instead of leaving her at the mercy of the media-skilled, supposedly scientifically expert Dr. Krim.

For example, Krim is permitted to imply, without challenge, that HIV is scientically proven to cause AIDS, which is precisely the point of HIV skeptics�that it is not. There is no proof of any scientific kind in any peer reviewed paper that HIV is the culprit, which Duesberg or Mullis would have been glad to point out. That is why the issue remains open, after twenty years during which the unlikely claim has remained a conjecture, but has been treated for funding purposes in science and health work as an established fact.

Connie Chung [to Dr. Krim]: Does HIV cause AIDS?

Dr. Krim: Absolutely. Absolutely. The evidence that HIV causes AIDS is as – good as the evidence that exists that polio is caused by a polio virus, and measles by a measles virus.

Millions hear this and think it is correct. But this is par for the course for media coverage of AIDS and its challenging review. It is something of a miracle that the dissenting view even succeeded as a proposed topic with the poltically canny 20/20 producers, except of course that it is the bias towards the sanctioned conventional wisdom that protects them from the ire and retribution of the NIH.

Luckily, Christine, who physically looks attractively soft, has a spine of titanium.

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Maggiore on 20/20, August 24, 2001 – Transcript

Ms. Maggiore can be reached at Alive & Well AIDS Alternatives, 11684 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City, CA 91604. Telephone: (877) 92-ALIVE. E-mail: christine@aliveandwell.org. Her book questioning the cause, identification, and treatment of AIDS is available through www.amazon.com or the Alive & Well website at AliveandWell

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Announcer: From ABC News, around the world and into your home. This is 20/20, with Barbara Walters. Tonight – a woman out on a limb. HIV-positive – and having unprotected sex with her husband. HIV-positive – she breast-fed her child. HIV-positive – and pregnant again.

Christine Maggiore: I’m a healthy person. Charlie’s a healthy boy.

Mathilde Krim: I think she’s deluded.

Announcer: The story of a mother hell bent on defying the conventional wisdom that HIV causes AIDS.

Connie Chung, ABC News: There are people who think that you are just like those who did not believe that the Holocaust existed. That’s what you are.

Announcer: Connie Chung with “The Disbeliever.”

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Announcer: And now, from Times Square in New York, sitting in for Barbara Walters, John Stossel.

John Stossel: Good evening, and welcome to 20/20. Barbara Walters has the night off. Our first story may make you angry. You’re about to meet a woman who’s infected with HIV, but she refuses to take any of the drugs which might fight the virus. Now, you could say that’s her choice. It’s her body. But what about her husband, with whom she has unprotected sex? And what about the kids they’re having together? What she’s doing seems cruelly irresponsible. Yet some people cheer it, and she’s now made converts around the world. Connie Chung has some hard questions for a mother we call ‘The Disbeliever.’

Connie Chung: It’s a picture-perfect day in the San Fernando Valley, and Charlie Scovill is celebrating his third birthday. With presents on the lawn, burgers on the grill, and a happy-jump in the backyard. It looks like the American dream. But this little boy’s future may be as fragile as bubbles on a summer breeze. Christine Maggiore, Charlie’s mother, is HIV-positive, and experts say there’s at least a one-in-four chance that Charlie is infected with the virus that causes AIDS. But don’t feel sorry for this little boy – or his mother. She says HIV can’t harm them.

Christine Maggiore: The idea that HIV causes AIDS is an idea that has not been proven to be correct or true.

Connie Chung: Wait a minute! The medical community has been telling us for two decades that HIV causes AIDS. Are you saying that HIV does not cause AIDS?

Christine Maggiore: I’m saying that there are many valid, vital reasons to go back and rethink what we’ve been told.

Connie Chung: Activists attack her. Dissidents admire her. AIDS experts wish she would just go away. But Christine Maggiore’s influence is growing. Her controversial book, What If Everything You Thought You Knew About AIDS Was Wrong?, questions even the most basic medical and scientific findings about AIDS. [To Maggiore:] You don’t even have a college degree. How could all of them, with their years and years of training and research, be so wrong, and you be so right?

Christine Maggiore: I don’t think it takes a medical degree or a scientific degree when your life is on the line.

Dr. Mathilde Krim: I think she’s deluded. And because the reality was too painful for her to accept.

Connie Chung: Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Dr. Mathilde Krim is the co-founder of the American Foundation for AIDS Research, AmFAR, which has raised more than $100 million to research and find a cure for AIDS. A scientist herself, with a Ph.D. in biology, Dr. Krim fears that Maggiore is doing incalculable harm in the fight against AIDS.

Dr. Krim: The problem here is she’s spreading the delusion to others, without any doubt that she’s maybe wrong, you know. And this is terrible. This is what makes me angry.

Christine Maggiore: I could be angry with Mathilde Krim. After all, it’s her paradigm that says I should have started AIDS drug therapies, I should have been living as though I were dying, I should not have had a child, and I should be quietly succumbing somewhere to illness.

Connie Chung: Maggiore never dreamed that she was at risk for AIDS. By the time she was 30, she was a successful entrepreneur, running a million-dollar clothing company in Florence, Italy. [To Maggiore:] Did you use intravenous drugs?

Christine Maggiore: No.

Connie Chung: Were you sexually promiscuous?

Christine Maggiore: No. I would describe myself as a pretty average single adult person. I had been involved in a long-term, what I believed was a monogamous relationship, at least from my end.

Connie Chung: In 1992, two years after the relationship ended, Maggiore took an HIV test during a routine medical exam. [To Maggiore:] Do you remember the moment that you were told you were HIV-positive?

Christine Maggiore: Oh, yeah, very clearly. It was a very long moment. I saw the typical photographs that you see of somebody who has AIDS, and thought that would be my future: that I would leave a miserable, isolated life of illness and an untimely death.

Connie Chung: Maggiore soon learned that her Italian ex-boyfriend had also tested HIV-positive. Believing she was terminally ill, she threw herself into warning others about the dangers of AIDS.

Christine Maggiore: Yes, I encouraged people to take tests. I called them accurate and specific, and I told people that everything added up in the world of AIDS science. And I believed that with my heart.

Connie Chung: Maggiore’s conviction was shaken to the core when a year later, another HIV test came back ‘indeterminate.’ Her next test was positive – and the next one, negative.

Christine Maggiore: I truly believed, based on the day and the result, I was either living or dying.

Connie Chung: Frustrated and angry, Maggiore desperately searched for answers. But the more she read, the more questions she had. She was shocked to learn that HIV tests measure antibodies, not the virus itself, and that no scientist could explain exactly how HIV causes AIDS. Then she came across the writings of Dr. Peter Duesberg, a controversial virologist at the University of California at Berkeley, who had been saying for years that HIV could not cause AIDS.

Christine Maggiore: I realized that what I had been taught, and what I was teaching other people, did not add up. Many times it was simply wrong.

Connie Chung: Maggiore became convinced that AIDS is caused not by HIV, but by known immune-suppressing risk factors such as recreational drug use, toxic AIDS treatments, even poverty and malnutrition.

Christine Maggiore: The diseases that we call ‘AIDS’ can range from chronic yeast infections to certain forms of cancer, to certain kinds of pneumonias. These happen to people who don’t test HIV-positive.

Connie Chung [to Dr. Krim]: Does HIV cause AIDS?

Dr. Krim: Absolutely. Absolutely. The evidence that HIV causes AIDS is as – good as the evidence that exists that polio is caused by a polio virus, and measles by a measles virus.

Connie Chung: At this sold-out benefit concert by the platinum-selling band Foo Fighters, thousands of teenage fans cheered this rebel with a cause.

Foo Fighters Band Member [concert film clip]: Everybody give her a hand!

Christine Maggiore: I encourage all of you to question what you’ve been told about HIV and AIDS!

Connie Chung: Last summer, Maggiore stepped onto the world stage at the 13th international AIDS conference in Durban, where she met with South Africa’s president, Thabo Mbeki. Mbeki reportedly became intrigued by the dissidents’ views while surfing the Net. Protests erupted when Mbeki stunned the world by questioning whether HIV was in fact the cause of the AIDS epidemic devastating his country. AmFAR shot back with this full-page ad in the New York Times. [To Dr. Krim:] Is Christine Maggiore putting lives in jeopardy?

Dr. Krim: I believe she is putting lives in jeopardy, and what she says she has learned draws people to the conclusion that they can throw away their condoms and stop taking medications.

Connie Chung: Mainstream scientists say the evidence is irrefutable. HIV can be found in the blood of almost 100 percent of those diagnosed with epidemic AIDS, and virtually no one without HIV will develop AIDS.

Dr. Krim: To see others, on spurious, disingenuous arguments, fight us and undermine what we’re doing is very, very difficult to accept. And frankly offensive.

Connie Chung: Offensive?

Dr. Krim: Yes.

Connie Chung: Maggiore knows that according to statistics, she has a 95 percent chance of dying from AIDS within the next six years – unless she is treated. But not only has she refused to take anti-HIV drugs, she has consistently broken all the rules, including the warnings about unprotected sex. Her husband, documentary filmmaker Robin Scovill, who provided additional video footage for this report, knew that Maggiore was HIV-positive when they became involved.

Robin Scovill: I just never really bought the premise that if you have sex with the wrong person, you’re going to be infected and your life as you knew it is over. I just never really bought that.

Connie Chung: Shortly after they became intimate, Maggiore discovered she was pregnant.

Christine Maggiore: Well, first we laughed, and then we cried, and then we laughed.

Robin Scovill: Yeah, we – yeah, exactly!

Connie Chung: They had made a decision to play Russian roulette with their own lives. But would they be willing to gamble with their baby’s life as well? Doctors warned that there was a 25 percent chance that Maggiore would transmit the deadly virus to her unborn child – unless she took powerful anti-HIV drugs like AZT. Maggiore refused.

Christine Maggiore: I did not want to expose my growing child to toxins during pregnancy.

Dr. Krim: I can’t believe a mother would put her child at risk. This is where I say good luck to her, because she is taking a terrible chance.

Connie Chung: Because she refused to take AZT, no hospital or clinic would accept Maggiore as a maternity patient. A midwife finally agreed to help her with a natural birth at home. Charles Dexter Scovill entered the world in an inflatable swimming pool in Maggiore�s living room. And, true to her beliefs, Maggiore made yet another radical decision: she began breast-feeding her child, even though experts say HIV can be transmitted through breast milk.

Christine Maggiore [film clip, meeting with San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, January 16, 1999]: I’m Christine Maggiore, from HEAL / Los Angeles.

Connie Chung: She even breast-fed Charlie, then more than a year old, during this meeting with San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.

Christine Maggiore [film clip]: And antibodies can’t cause disease, and they don’t predict future illness.

Connie Chung: Maggiore didn’t know it then, but her public display of her private convictions would backfire. When Charlie was 2 1/2, an anonymous call was made to the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services. The caller complained that Charlie was malnourished and was being breast-fed by his HIV-positive mother.

Christine Maggiore [film clip]: Right as we speak, a representative from Child Protective Services is approaching our front door.

Connie Chung: The woman coming to the door was a county social worker with the power to take Charlie away.

Christine Maggiore: It’s insane. It’s just completely insane. It’s like the world is upside down. But when you’re inside of it, and it’s your life, and your child, and your everything, then it matters a lot.

Connie Chung: Charlie’s pediatrician, Dr. Paul Fleiss, came to Maggiore’s defense.

Dr. Paul Fleiss: Charlie is a very healthy boy. He has never been sick. I think his mother takes very good care of him.

Connie Chung: Charlie was allowed to remain at home. [To Maggiore:] If you are wrong, aren’t you afraid of what you’re saying could profoundly affect not only your own health, but the lives of thousands of people?

Christine Maggiore: I think I’m successful when I get people to think and that’s all I’m asking is for people to think about these issues. What I do is not about a philosophy –

Connie Chung: -I know, but you could affect their lives.

Christine Maggiore: I hope to affect their lives –

Connie Chung: – I mean in a detrimental way. If you’re wrong –

Christine Maggiore: I’m not in a position to be right or wrong. I’m providing people with information that they can use to make informed choices about their life and their health.

Connie Chung: Yet when it comes to her son, Maggiore has chosen to remain uninformed. Like his father, he’s never been tested. [To Maggiore:] A lot of people would think that it was irresponsible of you to not test him. Doesn’t he have a right to know?

Christine Maggiore: I don’t need to risk introducing into his life a label that will wrongly describe him as ill when he’s not.

Dr. Krim: She’s afraid of testing him, she’s afraid of testing her husband, because she’s in denial and she is afraid.

Connie Chung: Experts say that the incubation period between HIV infection and full-blown AIDS is 10 years.

Dr. Krim: She is in fact a rather common occurrence of somebody who is a slow non-progressor.

Christine Maggiore: Mathilde Krim would describe me as ‘a slow progressor,’ as if to make ‘progress’ I need to become ill! Then I’ll be fulfilling my obligation as somebody who’s HIV-positive.

Dr. Krim: She is still in – within, you know, the asymptomatic period. That may last a few more years.

Christine Maggiore: What kind of system is that? What kind of language is that to use to put on me, to describe me? I mean, there are so many people, I’m not an exception. We progress every day in our lives by staying healthy and productive, and off of toxic drugs.

Connie Chung: There are people who think that you are just like those that did not believe that the Holocaust existed, flat-earth theorists. That’s what you are.

Christine Maggiore: Well, what I recall of history is that the flat-earthers were in the majority, and the people who questioned the idea of the flat earth were in the minority, and finally they were listened to.

Dr. Krim: I wish she were right, but she’s not. It would be nice, you know, if it was not – if we didn’t have an HIV virus in this world. But we have it, and we have to learn how to face reality and deal with it.

Connie Chung: Right or wrong, Maggiore remains convinced that she’s beaten the odds. Today she’s five months pregnant with her second child, a daughter. She’s not taking AZT or other anti-HIV medications during pregnancy. As with her first child, Maggiore is rolling the dice against a dreaded disease. And it’s winner-take-all.

John Stossel: If you’d like to talk on-line with Christine Maggiore, go to abcnews.com for more information.

Logic and reason, of course, are things which exist in an alternate universe as far as this kind of television coverage is concerned. So we end with this noxious paragraph below, which implies that Maggiore is still within the paradigm, and merely gambling with her chances of escaping the dire consequences of flouting the dogma which still rules intact, impervious to her points. What is really a chess game of logic, which Maggiore has won with what looks very much like a fool’s mate, is represented as backgammon, where she has merely rolled some lucky dice.

Connie Chung: Right or wrong, Maggiore remains convinced that she’s beaten the odds. Today she’s five months pregnant with her second child, a daughter. She’s not taking AZT or other anti-HIV medications during pregnancy. As with her first child, Maggiore is rolling the dice against a dreaded disease. And it’s winner-take-all.

Mathilde Krim was more pertinent some time ago when in a stroll during a conference we asked her what she thought of Peter Duesberg’s dissent. “Well,” she confided, “We can’t prove HIV is the cause of AIDS, and Peter can’t prove it is not.”

This happens to be as true as ever, these many years later. As is its corollary, which Krim didn’t state, and apparently hasn’t faced up to even today. That corollary is the very simple proposition, If you don’t know what you are doing, it is better to err on the side of caution and not administer powerful drugs which are well-established by the peer-reviewed literature as dangerous and, in the end, fatal.

Of course, that is only common sense, a corrective rarely applied to AIDS and its ideas, though often enough by Christine Maggiore, who pricks fantasies like soap bubbles when she talks her robust brand of sense to an interviewer.

We particularly like the many needles of reality she used on the AIDS bubbles in her classic interview with the Valley Advocate in 1998.

For example:

Have you heard about the AIDS vaccine? They’re trying that out in Thailand now.

Yeah. That’s a pretty lame idea. Think about it. People who test HIV positive have antibodies; a vaccine is something that provides you with antibodies as protection. Hello? What synapse busted in somebody’s brain for that to take place? But most people do not know that the HIV test is testing for antibodies. They assume, as I did for the longest time, that it is testing for something that can measure disease. When it’s a life or death thing, you tend to be so paralyzed with fear that you tend not to ask. And then you have a person in authority telling you this.

And a nice comment on the lack of public debate:

But if there are already gaps in their arguments that you and other dissidents have found, wouldn’t you think that its inevitable that they will come out?

Yes. And you would think that they would like that to come about sooner rather than later so as to save some people’s lives. But one analogy is that this is like a steamship: once something gets this big, it becomes hard to turn it.

But you’ve already tried talking to people about this issue?

We have, and if you check out our web site Alive and Well that lists the 120 or so people and organizations that we have challenged to a debate with us.

And have any of them come forward to debate with you?

No. And another thing, too, is that they don’t have to. If you’ve got the predominant paradigm on your side, why would you bother to come forth and pit yourself against… what? A little rag-tag group that says you’re doing something wrong? And all you have to do is show up and shake hands and you win awards and government funding. Why would you bother? Its like O.J. appearing before the American public for a little question-and-answer. Why would [he] do that? He’s been found innocent. You have nothing to gain and everything to lose.

Good realistic stuff, and nice examples of how once stripped of formality, truth emerges naked. Here is the whole thing, a classic Maggiore performance freed of any necessity to kowtow to the borrowed celebrity power of a Mathilde Krim.

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Interview with Christine Maggiore — 6/9/98

Ms. Maggiore is the founding member of HEAL-LA, an activist group that speaks out against the direction and methods of orthodox AIDS researchers. She is also the author of a handbook titled, “What If Everything You Thought You Knew About AIDS Was Wrong?” published by HEAL.

Interviewed by Sarah Klipfel

Advocate: What do you see as the major points of contention between the dissidents and the orthodox AIDS researchers?

Maggiore: The reliance on antibody tests to diagnose infection when the antibody test can’t do that; the inaccuracy of the antibody test to diagnose what is supposed to be a fatal illness; the notion that HIV has been proven to be the cause of AIDS, which is not correct; and the use of chemotherapy treatments such as AZT and other experimental chemicals like protease inhibitors that all focus on eradication and inhibition of HIV, which has never been proved to be there, and as a treatment for immune suppression. I think those are the main points of contention.

With the inaccurate test, then, do you think that patients are being misdiagnosed?

Well, if you have an inaccurate test that automatically leads to misdiagnosis; and the notion that you can use an antibody test to somehow tell if a person is infected with something is obtuse. … But rather than say that people are being misdiagnosed, I would say that people are being erroneously diagnosed.

Because the test is not an accurate one?

Meaning that there is no such thing as one antibody specific to any disease, so an antibody test in and of itself is inaccurate.

I was wondering about the drug treatment issue that you bring up. Don’t you recommend that people diagnosed with HIV not take the new drug treatments?

Well, it’s not really my recommendation. Its more my opinion after examining the literature that the drugs offer no positive benefit.

What do you say, then, to people who have shown improvement after taking the drugs?

People show improvement with all kinds of things. Placebos, just because, and there’s also that when you introduce more toxic chemicals into your body, each one has a lesser chance of being assimilated fully. And the people who are feeling better are few. The news reports tend to emphasize those, but if you talk to people in real life, a lot of people believe that they’re doing better because their, quote: “viral load” counts are down, that’s another stupid test, but the compromises are that they have diarrhea, their hair is falling out, they develop buffalo humps, liver failure, sudden death, even if you look at the ads for the drugs, they don’t even say anything good if you look at the fine print.

So you don’t think there’s any actual chemical connection to people getting better?

I can’t see a reason scientifically why there would be. If you can’t isolate a virus in people who are, quote: “ill,” why is a chemical that is designed to inhibit viral replication making people feel better? I mean, the virus isn’t even there. If it is having any beneficial residual effects it has nothing to do with the intended effects of the drug. Back when AZT was first released for use, there were all kinds of people claiming that it was life-saving; now they’re all dead.

(We discussed possible speakers for the orthodox side of the debate. Maggiore advocated Public Health officials rather than members of ProjectInform because of their obligation to address possible public safety issues).

Why do you think there’s so much reluctance on the part of the orthodox AIDS researchers to want to advance dissident concerns scientifically and figure out the gaps?

Because if this immune suppression associated with AIDS turns out not to be viral then they’ve spent a good deal of their life and time mistreating people. So that’s lawsuits, guilt.

But if there are already gaps in their arguments that you and other dissidents have found, wouldn’t you think that its inevitable that they will come out?

Yes. And you would think that they would like that to come about sooner rather than later so as to save some people’s lives. But one analogy is that this is like a steamship: once something gets this big, it becomes hard to turn it.

But you’ve already tried talking to people about this issue?

We have, and if you check out our web site aliveandwell.org), that lists the 120 or so people and organizations that we have challenged to a debate with us.

And have any of them come forward to debate with you?

No. And another thing, too, is that they don’t have to. If you’ve got the predominant paradigm on your side, why would you bother to come forth and pit yourself against… what? A little rag-tag group that says you’re doing something wrong? And all you have to do is show up and shake hands and you win awards and government funding. Why would you bother? Its like O.J. appearing before the American public for a little question-and-answer. Why would [he] do that? He’s been found innocent. You have nothing to gain and everything to lose.

But don’t you think the “rag-tag” group is getting bigger?

Oh, absolutely. Doctors and scientists lead rather insulated lives. A lot of the doctors who treat AIDS patients don’t even know about the side effects their own patients are having because the nurses deal with them on that. They’re not really in the mix with the rest of us.

So what do you think the major problem is? Funding? Media attention?

Well, it’s a common thing in a society driven by profit margins that you can’t do anything without making money. The whole thing is a huge money-maker. Its a boom growth industry for the pharmaceutical companies. They’re being subsidized by the U.S. government and the World Health Organization. As people in this country and other industrialized countries move away from AZT as a monotherapy — it’s now considered reckless and irresponsible to do that — they’re able to dump it in the Third World and have different health organizations pick up the tab for poisoning people.

Have you heard about the AIDS vaccine? They’re trying that out in Thailand now.

Yeah. That’s a pretty lame idea. Think about it. People who test HIV positive have antibodies; a vaccine is something that provides you with antibodies as protection. Hello? What synapse busted in somebody’s brain for that to take place? But most people do not know that the HIV test is testing for antibodies. They assume, as I did for the longest time, that it is testing for something that can measure disease. When it’s a life or death thing, you tend to be so paralyzed with fear that you tend not to ask. And then you have a person in authority telling you this.

So it sounds like a major issue is to develop a more accurate test?

Well, first of all you have to find out if the microbe that you’ve been testing for has been substantiated as the cause of the disease. If you go and test AIDS patients, you can find that they test positive in greater numbers for a variety of microbes and bacteria; also people, just general human beings, have between 50,000 and 100,000 retroviruses that just hang out in their bodies. So people will test positive for lots of things. Like birds on a electrical wire during a power failure, it doesn’t mean they caused it. It just means they were there.

What does this mean about the existence of an HIV virus? What about the French research team led by Luc Montagnier in the early ’80s who claim to have found a retrovirus? Is what they found now proven to be incorrect?

Well, there are certain criteria to prove that a retrovirus, in particular, comes from outside your own body. Our human DNA can produce what are called “endogenous” retroviruses. It doesn’t come from outside, it’s just being spit out from within your own body. And it’s stuff that doesn’t do anything. So, first, the whole notion that HIV causes AIDS is based on the studies of a cancer doctor who spent twenty years trying to say that retroviruses cause cancer.

Dr. Robert Gallo.

So, basically he is taking his pet project and applying it to a new problem. That’s hardly a substantial and well-founded way to address a new problem, to blame whatever you have hanging around your lab for causing the problem. It defies logic, in that they studied these things for 20 years because retroviruses don’t kill cells, but then this guy comes along and says: “Oh look at this retrovirus, and its killing the T-cells!” Well, they’ve never shown the virus to be in T-cells, and as a matter of fact, when they culture and grow the conglomeration of particles they call the HIV virus, they grow it in immortal T-cell lines. That is, they’re growing it in T-cells that never die because the HIV doesn’t even bug them.

So they’re setting up an unreal situation.

Yeah, it’s a totally unreal scenario; and rather than say, “Oh, God, in 1984 we took off and went from zero to sixty in the wrong direction, they initiated all these Public Health programs…. They keep trying to explain with this “Oh what a tangled web we weave”-theory way of doing stuff. The web becomes more and more tangled, and HIV becomes more and more mysterious. When the drugs… when people first start with them, the body responds as it would if it were under attack from anything, especially from a poison — it perks you up. They call that the drug “working.” It elicits the body to create more T-cells in response to an attack. And then when the body tires itself out from trying to constantly produce what is being destroyed, they blame that phenomenon of quote: “the drug is no longer working,” on a mutant strain of the virus, rather than saying, “Well, maybe the drug was never working in the first place.”

But didn’t it seem like AIDS was, at first, a new form of old diseases?

They’re all old diseases in the AIDS definition. It’s just that they were showing up where you typically wouldn’t see them. You wouldn’t have found a 24-year-old with Kaposi’s Sarcoma, that was an old Mediterranean man’s disease. Also, it wasn’t something particularly lethal. It was just something you coexisted with, and you looked kind of icky.

So there is something that’s turning these diseases into something lethal?

Yeah. It’s called screwing around with chemicals and not sleeping. When you look back on the original AIDS cases, and you see how these people lived, that [they were] in their mid-20s, their average number of sexual partners was already over 1,000, that they had had syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, amoebic infections, parasitic infections, Hepatitis, all kinds of things over and over again, had spent years on antibiotics, many lived on crystal meth, which means you don’t eat… I mean, malnutrition is the number one cause of immune deficiency in the entire world. Of course you’re going to fall apart in all sorts of ways; and things that would not normally bother a person who has a defense system and is healthier, are going to tear you down. It’s going to make it impossible for your body to defend itself, because your body is so weak. If you look at the most popular AIDS-defining illness in the United States, PCP pneumonia — everyone in the world has PCP bacteria in their lungs. But who gets sick? People who wear themselves out. If you follow what the AIDS definition is in Africa, PCP is not even in the definition.

But how do you explain, then, the presence of HIV in newborns and hemophiliacs?

Newborns? 80 percent are born to moms that are crack-addicted and drug-addicted.

But don’t you think there are the exceptions of people who are otherwise healthy?

Yeah, but those are the ones that tested positive and then they’re thrown on AZT during their pregnancy; or as soon as the baby is born and it is tested and it tests positive for its mother’s own antibodies — the baby doesn’t even have an immune system yet — then they go and put the baby on AZT, a toxic, DNA-chain-terminating, chemotherapy drug. Good luck living through that. Of course they’re going to get sick. You know, I just read an article about a woman who was on AZT during her pregnancy and her baby was born with extremely life-threatening anemia, which is one of the side effects of AZT. Anemia’s not even an AIDS-defining illness; it’s drug-induced.

So you think it’s impossible, then, that any normal, healthy person would contract the disease?

There is not a single one in all of the literature. Not a single one in which HIV has been the only risk factor. Not one. I’ve scoured all of the medical literature — people do all the time who are on, quote, “this side of this issue” — looking for a single case proving that HIV was the only risk factor, that mom wasn’t doing coke or crack, that the baby wasn’t born with some sort of immunodeficiency that was unrelated to HIV or viruses, that the person who went on to get AIDS just tested HIV positive, never went on any drug therapies, never did anything that would compromise their health and suddenly died. It’s just not there.

But you do think there is something there that is making diseases worse than they were?

It’s not “something,” you have to look at the individual person, which is what Western medicine tends not to do, and has completely forgotten about in this case. They’re not saying: “Well, gee, we’ve got Bob over here who’s a hemophiliac and he’s awful sick; and we’ve got Dave over here who’s a drug-using homosexual and he’s awful sick; What’s wrong with Dave and what’s wrong with Bob?” Well, Bob’s been using Factor 8 for the last 15 years of his life, which is the distillation of the blood of 20,000 people he’s never met. That causes an immune response. And Dave over here has been on crystal meth for the last three years, and before that he was having problems with alcohol abuse, he’s had syphilis 15 times, gonorrhea six times… You know, its silly to focus on an “it” in a situation where you have 29 diseases, some are fungal, some are bacterial, some are caused by cell-proliferation, others caused by cell-depletion, and say its one thing. It’s like a dream world for someone who wants to patent one thing as a cure. It’s a dream world for somebody who doesn’t want to take responsibility for their wellness or their illness. In the case of hemophiliacs, I use the word “responsibility” in that a hemophiliac should be told: “You’re putting Factor 8 into your body. I mean, God, sir, this stuff is extremely immuno-suppressive.”

What would you recommend, then? How about research that goes back to only what can be proven about HIV and AIDS?

I would recommend, I mean if I were in charge of everything, remove the “HIV” and treat people for what’s wrong with them.

So, say that there is no such thing as HIV?

Yeah. If somebody shows up at your office with quote: “AIDS” and immune suppression, take a look at their life, take a look at their medical history. If you took HIV out of the picture, you could treat people for what is wrong with them, rather than projecting onto healthy people that there will be something wrong with them, and scaring them into taking toxic chemicals and making something wrong with them. And the people who are genuinely ill, you could help by addressing what’s really wrong with them. If you look at it through the lens of AIDS, the person who has a yeast infection gets the same treatment as the person who has tuberculosis as the person who has cancer. They all get put on the same “cocktail” drugs.

But doesn’t it seem like people may be treated for what is specific to their disease and it’s not working because there is something wrong with their immune system?

Well, if you have an immune system that’s not functioning, that’s something wrong; but its not anything mysterious or strange or contagious, its just that your immune system is broken down. You know, I was misdiagnosed as an adolescent with having a problem with my thyroid that I never had. I was put on a very powerful medicine that caused me to have immune suppression — it depleted the calcium and potassium in my body, it caused me to lose bone marrow, bone density, I was sick a lot, it caused my heartbeat to elevate, and my body temperature to rise, I was losing my hair; and I was on the medicine for 18 years. It took about eight years before it got really noticeable and horrible — kind of like wearing shoes that don’t fit, you just get used to the pain — but I was horribly immune-suppressed because of that, and it took me a while to get better. How I got better was not taking other chemicals. I stopped taking the medicine under the care of a doctor who understood that I never had the problem in the first place. Then I had to rebuild my health. The only way you rebuild your health is through exercise, diet, supplementation, things like that. There’s no chemicals, produced by any pharmaceutical company, that will restore your health.

Which is restoring your immune system as well.

Yeah, I mean, there’s even debate about what the immune system is. The immune system is our entire body, and that even starts with our skin. Burn victims can die, not because the burns kill them, but because their skin is gone and they have nothing to protect them. Our whole body is an immune system, our whole body is a functioning organism, that requires other things to aid its function, to optimize its function; and when you mess with that balance — especially with antibiotics in the stomach area — you’re no longer able to intake the nutrients in food because you’re not digesting properly. Right there you’re on the track to living life as a sick person.

It’s more human and complex than HIV=AIDS=DEATH. Western medicine tends to simplify and look for patentable solutions. I mean, God forbid you tell someone to go on a diet rather than give them Fen-Fen. People are so loathe to doing anything themselves about their health and well-being, they would rather rely on chemists and doctors. But it’s a changing trend, thank God.

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Copyright �1998 New Mass. Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

But perhaps the best example of how feisty and victoriously sure of herself Christine Maggiore has become after fathoming the merits ( or lack thereof) of HIV–think over the years is this account, My Bout of So-Called AIDS, that she wrote of being briefly taken in by a diagnosis of an “AIDS-defining condition”.

(show)

My Bout of So-Called AIDS

By Christine Maggiore

Home

This document was provided by:

Health Education AIDS Liaison, Toronto

www.healtoronto.com

tel/fax:(416) 406-HEAL

This past March, I had the unsettling experience of being diagnosed with an AIDS defining condition. The news arrived with cruel precision on the 10-year anniversary of my testing HIV positive, coinciding perfectly with the orthodox axiom that we get a decade of normal health before our AIDS kicks in.

The diagnosis was based on a grade 3 Pap smear with cervical dysplasia, a result that insinuates cancer. Devastating enough on its own, my HIV positive label added a layer of complication.

As you may know, cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer were added to the AIDS definition in 1993 causing the number of women classified with AIDS to increase notably. Even though some 65,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with cervical cancers, and only a small fraction of these (about .0015%) are among women that test positive, HIV + cervical abnormalities = AIDS.

I imagined Dr. Matilde Krim cackling with delight at this seemingly tragic turn of events. Director of the orthodox AIDS research group AmFar, Krim had pronounced me “delusional” in a national television broadcast last fall for daring to consider myself healthy. According to the good doctor, I am merely enjoying the so-called latency period between testing positive and getting sick. During her interview, she did everything short of wish I would die of AIDS.

As an outspoken representative for alternative AIDS views, a full time mascot for healthy HIV positives, and a new mother for the second time, tackling this challenge was the last assignment I wanted. The diagnosis was totally inconvenient to my life and work. I fell prey to despair, called my husband and sobbed into the phone. Together, we recovered my rationality. I dried my tears and asked the doctor to perform another test.

Given the unreliability of diagnostics in general, and the fact that Pap smear slides are read by lab technicians for a matter of seconds, this seemed a perfectly reasonable request. She refused, however, imploring me to “stop being in denial,” and acquiesced only after I politely but unrelentingly insisted. Holding my own was emotionally exhausting, and in the end it felt more as if she were humoring me than respecting my judgment.

The second Pap came back grade 2, a slightly less concerning level of diagnosis. According to my doctor, this suggested the presence of Human Papilloma Virus or HPV, a supposedly contagious condition associated with cervical cancer. Since I have never been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease, my husband’s never had one, we’ve been together for six years, and all my previous Paps have been normal, I questioned the new results. My skepticism seemed to reinforce her notions I was lolling in denial. Our conversation turned contentious.

I cited information refuting the HPV/cervical cancer hypothesis, Professor Peter Duesberg’s well-referenced deconstruction in particular. I recalled how the assumption that HPV caused cervical cancer had risen to popularity in the late 1970s following the complete failure of the Herpes Virus/cervical cancer hypothesis of the 1960s. That according to studies, half the American adult population is infected with HPV yet only 1 percent of women develop the cancer, and while equal numbers of men and women have HPV, men rarely develop penile cancers.

My doctor responded by recommending I see a specialist.

After much discussion, the new gynecologist acknowledged the presence of HPV only correlates with cervical cancer in some cases, and there is no evidence of a direct, causal relationship.

Both gynecologists agreed I should disregard the second test and consider the one indicating cervical dysplasia to be correct. Both recommended a colposcopy (a fairly invasive and painful procedure), to prepare for a biopsy, and urged me to act promptly. Instead, I decided to gather other opinions from holistic health practitioners.

In consultation with a naturopath, I determined I would follow the gynecologists’ advice and act as if the worst-case scenario were true, that I had cervical dysplasia or cervical cancer. Together, we created a protocol that would serve to better my health no matter what diagnosis – if any – were correct. This program included detox, colon hydrotherapy, digestive enzymes, daily juicing, food combining, some new supplements, and regular exercise – something I’d slacked off on since the birth of my daughter. On my own, I added ozone therapy to the regimen.

Life went on as normal, apart from the whirr of the juicer every morning and arranging for childcare during the ozone infusions.

Although I vacillated between dauntless, nervously hopeful and scared, my confidence in what I know about HIV and AIDS did not waver. What makes sense in times of health makes the same sense in time of health challenge. I felt no temptation to suddenly regard my positive HIV test as an illness in need of treatment. Sometimes I worried how others might interpret or use my situation, but the possibility of cancer did not inspire any panicked denouncing or erosion of what I understand about science, medicine, natural health, HIV and AIDS. If given a choice, I would have preferred not having to deal with another dreaded diagnosis, but as long as life dished it up, I accepted the opportunity to learn.

In August, I had a new Pap smear performed by a third gynecologist. I used an assumed name and did not mention my HIV status. This time the result was normal.

My doctor was at lunch when I called with the good news, so I left a message with the front office manager who was totally unimpressed. She explained, “That happens all the time. Most women get an abnormal Pap after having a baby. We just run the test again and it usually comes back normal. If not, the doctor gives them this little cream and that takes care of it.”

Until that moment, neither doctor had mentioned an abnormal test was normal after childbirth, that second smears are routinely performed in such cases, or that there was any “little cream.”

I have since discovered that the overwhelming majority of my female friends�all HIV negative, some with children – have received abnormal Pap results like mine. For them, a second test was a matter of course rather than a hard won concession. In every case, their results reverted to normal with no therapy.

Testing HIV positive often means being treated differently – with prejudice, based on unfounded assumptions, and as though well informed decisions are elaborate forms of denial. It seemed the dysplasia diagnosis confirmed my doctors’ beliefs about HIV, and my supposed illness was the expected outcome. I felt frustrated, and even humiliated. I had to insist on getting what everyone else receives without discussion�the chance to be a healthy human being until proven otherwise.

Whenever I speak in public someone invariably asks, “If HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, why do a lot of people who test HIV positive get sick and die?” I think a better question is: How does anyone who tests positive remain well?

Between the initial devastation of the diagnosis, the subsequent social isolation, dire predictions by doctors, lab tests measuring out our remaining time, medical care that assumes our inevitable early demise, AIDS organizations poised to usher us into death, negative expectations of friends, family and the public, constant media reports on the incurable fatal virus, pressure to consume toxic drugs, to regard ourselves as infected, abnormal, and ill, pitches to sell off our life insurance, exchange work for disability, and get a handicapped parking pass, and official orders to keep a safe, latex-covered distance from people we love, I wonder how so many of us manage to live.

According to official definitions, I had AIDS a few months ago. I’ll never know if the detox, ozone treatments, and dietary changes “cured” me, if the diagnosis changed along with my name, or as with most women, my cervical abnormalities went away on their own – if they ever existed in the first place. Of one thing, however, I feel certain: My knowledge and convictions prevented me from accepting an unverified diagnosis, engaging in unnecessary invasive procedures, and from believing my ability to live in health had come to a crashing halt.

All too often, our options are limited by medical authorities that encourage us to believe the worst, disregard the facts, deny our intuition, doubt our health, and quietly obey orders. I offer my experience with hopes that those of you also labeled HIV positive will create a foundation of knowledge that supports your choices and that enables you to act in your best interests when faced with life’s many challenges.

With good wishes to all,

Christine

Christine Maggiore, Founder/Director Alive & Well AIDS Alternatives

Alive and Well

11684 Ventura Boulevard Studio City, CA 91604 USA

Tel 818/780-1875

National Toll-free 877/411-AIDS

Fax 818/780-7093

Note: The information on this website is presented for educational purposes only.

It is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified professional

The key paragraph is one which tells much about the alarmist con game which is unhappily part and parcel of the practice of too many medical professionals today, perhaps partly because they must keep one eye at all times on the malpractice lawyers who are making their lives a misery. The panic she is misled into by the doctor’s advice is dissipated by the helpful honesty of the staff.

My doctor was at lunch when I called with the good news, so I left a message with the front office manager who was totally unimpressed. She explained, “That happens all the time. Most women get an abnormal Pap after having a baby. We just run the test again and it usually comes back normal. If not, the doctor gives them this little cream and that takes care of it.”

Until that moment, neither doctor had mentioned an abnormal test was normal after childbirth, that second smears are routinely performed in such cases, or that there was any “little cream.”

However, let’s note that although Christine was buoyantly combative after she found out just how spurious the threat to her life and health really was, she tells of her initial despair, even after so many years of challenging authority:

The diagnosis was totally inconvenient to my life and work. I fell prey to despair, called my husband and sobbed into the phone. Together, we recovered my rationality. I dried my tears and asked the doctor to perform another test.

And of the great concern and how many decisive actions she took to deal with it before she learned the reassuring truth.

For as her own paragraph in that story emphasizes, the psychological burden of the negative opinion of the medical establishment is very heavy, whether you are newly diagnosed “HIV positive” or heavily armed with needles that prick the fantasies of theory. The most powerful weapon in the armory of the medical establishment is the psychology of authority, whether used to cure or, as in the case of AIDS, to condemn the patient. And its handmaiden is panic.

A personal tragedy

The reason we were thinking of Christine Maggiore today is that we have learned that she has suffered the most grievous private tragedy that any parent can suffer in life. She has lost a child, her second born, her sweet natured and gentle three year old daughter Eliza Jane.

Her many friends all over the world were told of this in the following email, in which a friend describes the tragedy and conveys the news which Christine and her husband are too much in a state of shock and despair to convey.

All those interested in the disasters that current attitudes in medicine and particularly in AIDS can visit on even enlightened and courageous people should study this story, for it reveals that Christine’s irretrievable loss might have been, in a disastrous irony, the fault of the same drug based medical culture, and the panic that thrusts people into its arms, that she was fighting in AIDS.


I am deeply saddened to inform you that Eliza Jane, the younger of Christine Maggiore’s two children, died suddenly and unexpectedly of undetermined causes on Sunday (May 15th).

Christine, her husband Robin Scovill, and their son Charlie, are obviously in shock and deep despair, but are buoyed by their personal strength and their network of friends and family. I talked to Christine for a little while on Tuesday and, in between tears, we had the occasional laugh at memories of Eliza Jane’s lovely (but often challenging) personality.

Like most parents, Christine and Robin would do anything for their children, they meant the world to them, and losing one is simply the worst nightmare they could possibly endure. It’s no easier for Charlie, age 7, who has to endure the loss of his loved little sister. In his innocence of modern rules and regulations he wanted to bury her in their backyard garden, expressing his desire to keep her close to him.

Eliza Jane, 3 years old, was sick for several days with a condition that three different pediatricians diagnosed as a simple ear infection. None of them prescribed antibiotics, as most ear infections clear without them. All three pediatricians advised to start natural approaches. The condition did not appear worrisome or threatening. Eliza Jane still had flashes of her normal bouyant and independent personality, sometimes laughing and arguing with Charlie, although much of the time she was unusually restless and uncomfortable.

Eventually a reddened inner ear led Christine and Robin to use antibiotics and some tylenol as prescribed on the afternoon of Saturday, May 14th, by one of the three pediatricians who came to their home to see EJ. This would be the fourth time the problem was diagnosed as an ordinary ear infection, and the fourth time that they were told EJ had no swollen glands, no sore throat, and no congestion in the lungs -potential signs of worse or worsening condition. Some time after this Eliza Jane started to vomit and then suddenly, on Sunday night, went into cardiac and respiratory arrest. Heroic efforts by the ambulance crew and the E.R. trauma team could not revive her.

I am writing to let you all know about this, after checking the details with Christine and Robin. They wanted to write to everyone personally, but are obviously overwhelmed so they asked me to carry the news to you.

If you would like to send a card or letter with your sympathies, please send them c/o “Alive & Well, 11684 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA, 91604, USA”. If you feel so inclined, feel free to make a donation to Alive & Well or to a children’s charity of your choosing.

Eliza Jane will always be in the garden in a corner of our hearts, where the wind often makes the flowers dance.

It is impossible to read this story without your heart going out to a parent whose loss is so sudden and enormous. But if you read this account of the family tragedy more than once, your sympathy for Christine Maggiore may double, if that is possible. For what is clearly implied is very simply, that her child was allergic to the antibiotic given her, and that the reasons why it was administered despite misgivings are rooted in the culture of modern medicine which Maggiore has long fought to change.

It seems clear what happened. Three pediatricians, aware of the dangers of giving three year olds antibiotics, advised her to let the infection run its course, and let it be suppressed in the natural course of events by the immune system of the child. This evidently accorded with the parents’ own educated view that antibiotics were to be avoided if possible as a first line of defense, since adverse reactions are always possible, especially in young children.

Although the infection reddened the inner ear, there was no glandular or other systemic disturbance. One would have expected a natural remedy such as garlic to be applied. But then for some reason, against everyone’s instinct of caution, antibiotics were given in the end, and the systemic reactions which had been entirely absent up to that point appeared, including vomiting, and eventually cardiac arrest, with intervention tragically ineffective.

Of course, we do not know all the details and any outside speculation is without any medical authority. But apparently, in a catastropic irony, under the weight of parental reponsibility Christine Maggiore and her husband panicked on behalf of their treasured charge, and after years of pressure to do the conventional thing in AIDS, made a risky decision to entrust the welfare of their child to a standard tool of modern medicine and its drug infatuated approach. She gave in to what her whole life had been devoted, in her own case, to keeping at bay.

And once allowed to proceed, the establishment and its medication in effect gambled with the life of her child, and lost.

One can only hope that Ms Maggiore’s tragedy is not compounded by the fiendish ignoramuses of AIDS politics, who are likely to twist this failure of conventional medicine into an accusation that somehow links it with her rejection of conventional diagnosis and treatment of her “HIV positive” status.

The plain fact of the matter is that when Christine Maggiore finally gave conventional medicine her trust, it let her down.

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