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'AIDS; The Failure of Contemporary Science'
Neville Hodgkinson
Fourth Estate, London UK 1996, 420 pages,
ISBN 1-85702-337-4.

In this paradigm-shattering investigation into the origins of the HIV theory, Neville Hodgkinson offers a serious scientific challenge to the belief that AIDS is caused by a lethal new virus.

When AIDS was first reported, two principal schools of thought developed about its origins. One, which gained the strongest currency, held that AIDS was caused by a deadly microbe - the Human Immunodeficiency Virus - and that, because of a long time-lag between infection and disease, millions of people around the world could be facing death. The other theory maintained that an accumulation of infections and other assaults on the body led to the breakdown of immune responses as seen in AIDS. For over ten years, Hodgkinson argues, the former theory has been slavishly adhered to, not because it is correct but because the virus theory offers something concrete to fight against, from which people can gain scientific renown, pharmaceutical profit and, most tenaciously of all, hope. Debunking the myth, Hodgkinson presents a detailed analysis of the inadequacies of the 'HIV test', disclosing evidence that, from its inception, scientists have recognised that the test was flawed - the 'virus' the test is supposed to detect has proved impossible to isolate in a routine way. He demonstrates that genuine hope lies in shedding the illusions and distortions that have grown up around a failed hypothesis.

In this incisive appraisal of the 'AIDS industry' Hodgkinson not only unravels the conflicting scientific theories, he also draws on the stories of the dissident and heroes who have tried to swim against the tide of opinion on HIV and AIDS: Michael Callen and Jody Wells, who lived long and productive years after their AIDS diagnosis (precisely because, they believed, they resisted the medical treatments endorsed by the virus theory); medics and scientists such as Joe Sonnabend and Professor Duesberg who were frozen out by their professions for keeping non-HIV approaches alive.

The resulting picture is a sometimes frightening indictment of medical stubbornness and a fascinating argument for a radical rethink of science's observational methods, checks and assumptions. The changes arising from such a new stance could bring enourmous benefit not only to AIDS patients but to the whole of medicine and indeed to the role of science in society.

From 1985-9 Neville Hodgkinson reported on AIDS as medical correspondent of the Sunday Times. From 1991, as the newspaper's science correspondent, he wrote a series of highly controversial questioning reports based on the arguments of some groups of scientists and experts who were seeking a reappraisal of the HIV theory. He is the author of Will to be Well - the Real Alternative Medicine.

  • Go here for a book review.
  • Here a review by John Maddox.
  • Another review can be found here.
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