The Band of AIDS Fighters

William J. Clinton eased himself into the spotlight, at least a little, recently. He announced current projects of the Clinton Global Initiative, and they are impressive indeed. In fact, I am taken aback by the hubris of a man who calls his organization a "global initiative!" Think BIG is Bill’s motto.

And he’s not kidding: present at his recent Clinton Foundation meeting were Warren Buffett, Laura Bush, Bill Gates, Jacques Chirac, Richard Branson, and Rupert Murdoch. What they discussed over lunch were the current objectives of the Foundation: Poverty Alleviation, Religious and Ethnic Conflict Reconciliation, Global Energy Solutions, and Global Public Health. Well, that about covers it: we can relax. The world’s poverty, energy, religious discrimination, and health problems are as good as gone.

Of course, it is unnecessary to point out that this group seeks solutions to these problems using other people’s money, taken from them by government. Nor shall I point out the utter and absolute illegitimacy of this. As regards the U.S. Constitution, all people fall into one of two groups: the first knowing what the Constitution mandates, and aware that it is a dead letter, not taken seriously; and the second neither knowing what the Constitution says, nor caring.

Into which category does Mr. Clinton fall? Who cares? At a recent press conference he bemoaned "our meager contribution to fighting the global (AIDS) epidemic." That "meager" contribution (although it wasn’t so much contributed as exacted) amounts to billions of dollars yearly, with as much as fifteen billion sent to Africa in a single year recently. Obviously, if the Constitution doesn’t authorize government involvement with health care in the U.S. — and it doesn’t — it couldn’t begin to imagine U.S. government involvement with health care in Africa! (And, of course, "our" contribution means yours and mine, extracted from us by force, or the threat of it.)

Yet Africa plays a major role in the Clinton Foundation’s anti-AIDS campaign. Perhaps that’s because AIDS in America has proven a disappointment to those with a vested interest in "fighting" the disease. Even prior to protease inhibitor therapy, AIDs cases were dropping: from 60,000 in 1997 to 48,000 in 1998. In the same time period, new cases among women fell from 13,000 to 11,000. The predicted heterosexual explosion of the "epidemic" wasn’t materializing, in other words. The anti-AIDS business had to look elsewhere.

Africa beckoned! AIDS is all over the place in Africa, largely because it is diagnosed quite often with the "Bangui Definition." By the Bangui Definition, AIDS is present in anyone with two of these three symptoms: prolonged fever for a month or more, weight loss over 10%, or prolonged diarrhea, in conjunction with any one of these: swollen nodes, persistent cough, herpes, itching skin inflammation, or several others. No blood test required. Indeed, the widespread presence of such diseases as tuberculosis, leprosy, or malaria, result in so many false positives, that, according to the Journal of Infectious Diseases, HIV tests are useless.

In other words, almost anyone chronically ill in Africa is considered to have AIDS. It may not be good medicine, but it’s sure good business! Billions of dollars of drugs sold, billions in aid spent and received, corruption more rife than germs, and no end in sight!

This expensive, and therefore profitable, assault upon AIDS is, as indicated, not remotely lawful (i.e. Constitutional), but it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense medically, either. While most of the medical profession accepts the HIV-AIDS hypothesis, it is by no means a settled issue. Dissenters, such as Dr. Peter Duesberg, have excellent credentials, and claim that AIDS is not a disease, but merely the name given to a person with a chronic disease, such as TB, who also happens to test HIV positive — the HIV infection being incidental and not a cause of serious illness. If Duesberg and his colleagues are correct, then the current medical treatment of AIDS is a preposterous boondoggle, with potent drugs such as AZT killing more people than it saves — indeed, it can’t "save" anyone, if the HIV virus is an innocuous parasite.

Does the current AIDS lobby, such as Clinton’s Global Initiative, give any consideration to the fact that they may be spending billions treating a mythical disease? Apparently not. Indeed, if AIDS were curable with the treatments recommended, the "fight" against AIDS would end, along with the profits attendant thereto. We shouldn’t be too surprised: if fighting AIDS is a profitable racket, we’d expect politicians, especially of the stripe of Bill Clinton, to be in the front lines. Perhaps no one has ever been cured of AIDS, but that only indicates the need for more spending, more research, more clinical trials, and, just possibly, more bribery, graft, and corruption. It’s a government project, after all.

Dr. Hein [send him mail] is a retired ophthalmologist in St. Louis, and the author of All Work & No Pay.