Q: Although you're not talking about sexual practices, the fact that you are talking about drug use recalls the earlier versions of 'lifestyle' as the cause of AIDS.

 A: Non-infectious agents seem to be called lifestyle, and that implies responsibility or blame. If the cause is a virus, no one can help it. I talked to an AIDS group recently, and they were sensitive to the 'risk-AIDS' hypothesis. They said, 'You're saying we are doing bad things, bringing this on ourselves.'

 

Q: What was your response?

 A: I said, 'I'm a scientist, not a politician or a priest. My only interest is to find a solution for AIDS. Or at least an explanation. Once you have an explanation that makes sense, then you can debate public health policies.'

 

Q: You have been both ignored and vilified since you came out against HIV as the cause of AIDS. What do you see as you look ahead?

 A: I'm a little more optimistic than I was a year or two ago. I think my best ally is the truth. The virus hypothesis simply doesn't make any sense. It is so poorly framed, and like all poorly framed hypotheses, it doesn't generate any benefits. It has yet to save the first patient. And we are about to kill off, intoxicate, 50,000 people with AZT. That's the number now taking AZT. And that's the same number of people we lost in Vietnam.

This is now 1990, by which time AIDS was supposed to have killed off the Haitians and to have moved into the heterosexual population because it was a sexually transmitted disease. But we don't hear anything any more--in the press or in the scientific literature--about Haitians. And the primary risk groups, drug users and homosexuals, have remained the same as they were at the beginning. All of these paradoxes had to be incorporated into the virus-AIDS hypothesis: This virus is so special and so smart that it causes a disease in homosexuals it wouldn't cause in drug addicts, causes different diseases in Africa than in Europe, and it waits ten years to do so.

I think people will soon wake up and ask, 'Why are we spending a billion dollars a year on a hypothesis that has yet to save a single life.'"