History of AIDS dissent
From AIDS Wiki
Today the mainstream calls any theory which even questions the HIV-T4-AIDS hypothesis, dissident or even denialist. Yet people have been questioning a sexually transmitted viral epidemic from the beginning. There were other reasonable arguments for what was causing KS and PCP. Dr. Joseph Sonnabend is just one example of a doctor who proposed a multifactorial cause of the diseases he was seeing in gay men. Early on gay activists Jeremy Selvey of Project AIDS International as well as Hank Wilson and journalist John Lauritsen raised the role of poppers and benzene lubricants in the illnesses attributed to AIDS.
The 1984 press conference which announced Gallo's findings prior to their publication had the effect of focusing all funding for AIDS research on the new retroviral cause. NIH scientist Harvey Haverkos, who studied the role of poppers, and Peter Duesberg, are just two examples of scientists whose proposals for research remained unfunded because of the orthodoxy forming around HIV as the sole cause of AIDS. While from Berkeley, Duesberg argued the virus was a harmless passenger and drugs, including AZT, were the actual cause of illness, the Perth Group in Perth, Australia identified oxidative stress as key to mortality and morbidity, and began to ask if the virus had ever been properly isolated. They also focused on semen as a significant cause of the phenomonen known as AIDS, a focus which has not been readily accepted by all dissidents.
The late Michael Callen became famous as a gay rethinker with HIV. His study of longterm survivors (of the 80s) showed that what they shared was a refusal of the treatments. The HEAL movement which began in New York guided by Michael Ellner also questioned the source of illness and proper treatment. It was the founding grass-roots organization within the movement. In 1996 Christine Maggiore and others in Los Angeles broke-away from HEAL and founded Alive & Well to provide a more media-saavy approach to communicating with the public at large. Rod Knoll left Alive & Well to form ACT UP Hollywood, a dissident direct action group in southern California which later morphed into AIDS Reality Check. Meanwhile Fred Cline who worked as Duesberg's unpaid secretary as well as David Pasquerelli and others at ACT UP San Francisco challenged homophobia within and without the AIDS dissident movement, confronting a health scare campaign equating sex with death. Since 1999, Kelly Jon Landis, (also an on-land activist organizing efforts to reach gay men and 'HIV' positives), and Mark Hanau (aka "Paul King" a founder of HEAL-LA, the forunner of Alive & Well) and others organized a much stronger lay dissident network on the internet, first with aggressive campaigns on mainstream AIDS discussion forums and later founding AIDS dissident forums such as AIDS Myth Exposed on MSN and Virusmyth on Delphi and others.
Today a key force of dissent is in South Africa where the debate was first opened by President Thabo Mbeki's call for an inquiry just prior to the International AIDS conference in Durban where he appointed a panel of experts from both sides of the debate. They approved ten experiments which would resolve the controversy. While ARVs have been rolled out in South Africa, the implementation of this policy has been slowed down both by an alternative health sympathetic Health Minister appointed by Mbeki and by the very public debate which is being waged through the media and AIDS dissidents such as journalist Anita Allen, scientist David Rasnick and attorney Anthony Brink – the latter two of whom are working with alternative health advocate Mathias Rath.