In his discussion of Bill Clinton’s “mini-General Assembly” (Cultural Revolutions, November 2005), Dr. Srdja Trifkovic claims that Thabo Mbeki’s assertion—that such “traditional attitudes” of African men as violence against women and promiscuity do not play a significant role in spreading the disease—is highly controversial.  Actually, Mbeki’s assertion is justified.  Dr. Trifkovic should read “The Chemical Bases of the Various AIDS Epidemics,” by Peter Duesberg, Klaus Koehnlein, and David Rasnick, in the Journal of Biosciences (June 2003).  These researchers offer significant support for Mbeki’s statement, asking several questions: Why is AIDS not contagious?  (Venereal diseases in Africa are lumped in with the AIDS “package,” giving a false record of success of abstinence as a cure for AIDS.)  Why is there no HIV in most patients, only antibodies?  Why are the only HIV carriers who get AIDS those who use recreational drugs or anti-HIV drugs?  Why is the mortality of HIV-“tested” patients treated with anti-HIV drugs five times higher than that of untreated patients?

In 2000, Mbeki invited both mainstream and dissenting factions to present their cases for their beliefs about AIDS.  The dissenting scientists accepted his invitation, welcoming a debate with the mainstream doctors, but the latter group snubbed Mbeki and held their own conference in Durban.

        —Edward D. Crosby
Yarmouth Port, MA

Dr. Trifkovic Replies:

I’ve read the article recommended by Mr. Crosby, but I am not qualified to make an authoritative judgment on this matter.  It is nevertheless hard to believe that the overwhelming majority of virologists—experts of all races, nationalities, creeds, and political persuasions—reject the dissident point of view out of mendacity, racism, dogmatism, stupidity, or pique.

Reality is always more complex than we think.  We need to rely on the experience of others, such as Winstone Zulu, a former member of Mbeki’s Presidential AIDS Advisory Panel, who proudly and ostentatiously stopped taking anti-retroviral treatment three years after he was diagnosed HIV-positive.  Two years later, he was on the verge of death and reluctantly changed his mind: “I really wanted them [the dissidents] to be right,” he admitted.  He has responded to treatment and now travels the world speaking against his former mentor’s position.