Re: Re: Re: Re: Request for Peter Flegg and Outstanding 'Perth Group' Questions 24 November 2004
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Gregory P Benvenuti,
Process Engineer
Johannesburg, South Africa

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Request for Peter Flegg and Outstanding 'Perth Group' Questions

Having (amazingly, I think) read through all the rapid responses on this AIDS debate I felt that I have educated myself enough to add my 10 cents worth.

A few months ago I came across some dissident literature and yes, I did find it quite intriguing. I then came upon this site and the rapid responses and I saw them immediately as an excellent way for me to judge who was presenting the most cogent arguments and whose argument I should side with.

So as a non-medical person who has learnt quite a lot about medicine in my research of this topic I have arrived at a few conclusions which can change because I am an open minded person. Firstly, I think the reason this debate exists is because the alternative hypothesis is one worthy of further exploration. I have bothered to read all the Perth Group's output and I have checked their claims when they critique papers. I checked their claims against Gallo and Montagnier's work and I couldn't find any obvious misrepresentation. This is something that Tony Floyd regularly accuses them of. Of course when they say they are critically analysing a paper that means that they do not have to agree with the conclusions of the authors of that paper. They are looking at the data presented and drawing their own conclusions from it. Tony Floyd, in my opinion, is completely missing the point - the Perth Group (as I perceive what they're doing) are presenting completely different ways of interpreting information and to accuse them of misrepresentation is a cop out.

The Perth Group's insistence on isolation, to me is entirely valid. I too, cannot understand why orthodox scientists are not able to present me with a picture of the virus but expect me to believe that it does exist. In all the correspondence on this site I still have not been convinced by the orthodox that this is not a requirement for the existence of the virus. After reading the Toplin and Sinoussi papers I see that it is indeed possible to isolate retroviruses. The orthodox response that HIV cannot withstand the centrifugation process should have at least made them stop and think. But it seems they just carried on regardless with a religious zeal to prove that this retrovirus does exist.

So I then asked myself why are orthodox scientists happy to ignore this isolation issue that presents a problem for my logic. In the absence of any argument that the orthodox provide that can convince me I think one possibility is "factory blindness". In industry, different plant managers are often rotated in order for new problems to be spotted in different places. A manager in a position too long often doesn't see problems which may be glaringly obvious to "new eyes". Perhaps a similar thing has happened in HIV science. Scientists have become too convinced by their own arguments that they simply cannot see the elephant in the room. And maybe that's why I can't "get over" the isolation issue either, because I can see the elephant.

What has not helped the orthodox in my opinion is their snide and condescending attitude towards the dissidents. I have read their stuff, checked some of their references and I don't think that they are stupid. Another thing that makes me doubt the HIV proponents is their insistence that to question them is "dangerous". Why is questioning something dangerous? I am gay, and I want to know if their are other points of view on this issue. I have a friend in Cape Town who is HIV positive, almost died on ARV's, went off them two years ago, adopted a healthy lifestyle and is as healthy as a horse. He has been for two rapid HIV tests lately and both have been negative. His ELISA is positive but his viral load is <400 copies. So what the hell is going on here? I don't think it is dangerous to question, it is dangerous to accept blindly. And this is what 99.99% of the population are doing at the moment. And where is it getting us? No where.

Dr Flegg, I'm sure is an excellent doctor and perhaps he would take the results of an HIV test and read them "correctly". But this does not happen everywhere. This very day, where I work we are having HIV testing sponsored by the company. They are doing rapid tests. What will happen is that anyone with a PPV (young black people in this country) and a positive test will be told that they will probably get sick and die in 5 to 10 years from now even if they're currently "asymptomatic". Like a black female friend of mine who was very healthy at the time of her "diagnosis", went on ARV's and has been feeling terrible for two years. Would Dr Flegg tell a gay man, like me who has never had unprotected sex that I was infected if my test came back positive? Where exactly does he draw the line? If I'd had sex unprotected once? If I had oral sex without a condom? Is being gay enough? In South Africa, is being black enough for Dr Flegg? Being black and having a boyfriend? Being black and pregnant? Being poor, black and pregnant?

I hope that this debate continues and that both sides continue to air their views but also learn to engage the other side. This is too important for you learned people not to.

Regards

Competing interests: None declared