Welcome to AIDS Origins
Welcome to www.aidsorigins.com, the site hosted by Ed Hooper that seeks to provide impartial and uncensored information about the origins of the AIDS pandemic. For a brief introduction to the origins of AIDS debate, see below:
There would be no need for this site to exist, were it not for the fact that it is increasingly obvious that a small group of eminent and influential mainstream scientists are willing to countenance only one version of events about how AIDS began - a version which is scientifically and historically flawed, but which serves the interests of certain powerful political groupings, and a large portion of the "vaccination fraternity".
I believe that this official version of events is wrong.
In 1999 I wrote a book, The River, which proposed the hypothesis that AIDS might be iatrogenic (caused by physicians), and that scientists might have unwittingly started the pandemic through an experimental oral polio vaccine (OPV) administered in central Africa in the 1950s. That book touched more buttons than I had anticipated, for it sparked a major cover-up among those who had been involved with making the vaccine, and among powerful interest groups within the medical community.
The attempted whitewash persuaded me to continue my researches. I have now been exclusively researching AIDS for 20 years, and its origins for 16. And whereas I was 95% persuaded of the merits of the vaccine theory when The River was published in 1999, I am now (in 2006) 99.9% persuaded that this is how AIDS began.
By the end of 2006 AIDS will have killed some 40 million people, making it the worst outbreak of infectious disease in recorded history. (That, by the way, is 7 million more than the current population of Canada.) A further 50 million or more (equivalent to the current population of England) are infected with the causative virus, HIV-1.
The closest animal relative to pandemic HIV-1 is a simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) found in primates. There are many SIVs, but they are found naturally only in African primates. So far, more than 30 African monkeys and apes have been found to be naturally infected, but apparently none of these SIVs causes disease in its natural host. This suggests that all the African primate hosts have been infected with their SIVs for many centuries, and probably millennia.
The fact that humans get disease when infected with HIV-1 strongly suggests that this virus is newly-arrived in our species. Eventually, if we are still around as a species, humans will probably no longer get disease from HIV-1, for the virus will evolve to assume a relationship of benign co-existence with its host, just like the SIVs of the African primates have done.
The SIV that possesses the same genes as pandemic HIV-1, and which is clearly the closest relative to HIV-1, is found in the common chimpanzee.
For several years now, there have been only two really viable theories about how this chimp virus might have arrived in humans, and how the AIDS pandemic began.
The theories of origin
The officially-approved theory, the "cut hunter" or "bushmeat" theory, has it that AIDS got started after an African hunter or bushmeat-seller became infected with chimpanzee SIV while cutting up a chimp for the pot. This theory is non-controversial, but it has many problems and flaws. Most particularly, it fails to explain the timing and location of the earliest AIDS cases and proven infections with pandemic HIV-1, all of which occurred in three African countries formerly governed by Belgium: the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Belgian Congo), Rwanda and Burundi.
The bushmeat theory also fails to explain why at least four separate outbreaks of AIDS have occurred, all apparently beginning in or around the middle of the twentieth century. (As well as pandemic HIV-1, also known as HIV-1 Group M, there are now epidemics of HIV-1 Group O and HIV-2, and a small outbreak of HIV-1 Group N.)
However, a subsidiary theory commonly called the "dirty needles theory" argues that each of these AIDS outbreaks occurred because an SIV that was newly transferred to a human got passed on to another human by means of an unsterilised needle, for instance a needle used in an African clinic. This process, it is postulated, happened several times, and this so-called "serial passage" allowed the new virus to adapt, and perhaps to become more infectious and pathogenic, and thus to start an outbreak of AIDS. Reusable needles were indeed available in Africa in greater numbers in the mid-twentieth century than ever before, and it is clear that proper sterilisation techniques were not always observed. However, "dirty needles" still has difficulty explaining the location of the earliest cases of HIV and AIDS, especially in the case of pandemic HIV-1.
The second theory of origin, the "oral polio vaccine" or "OPV" theory, proposes that AIDS began after batches of an experimental OPV called CHAT, which had been cultured in chimpanzee cells, were given to up to a million Africans from the DRC, Rwanda and Burundi in the latter half of the 1950s. This hypothesis is controversial, and is rejected by many medical scientists, including those who prepared and administered CHAT vaccine in Africa, and those whose articles and letters are published in Nature and Science, the world's two leading scientific journals.
The OPV theory is also rejected by many (though by no means all) of those involved in present-day public health programmes. Sadly, many of the latter seem to believe that questioning the safety of one particular experimental vaccine prepared fifty years ago is dangerous, because it might diminish public confidence in the efficacy and safety of modern-day vaccines. I believe this view is inherently wrong. There have indeed been occasional vaccine disasters down the years, but few who have examined the history of vaccination would argue with the view that the cost-benefit ratio is heavily in favour of vaccination, which technique has saved many millions of lives. However, I would argue that it is risky, and indeed profoundly wrong, to whitewash the history of CHAT vaccine in Africa in an attempt to protect the reputation of vaccination per se. Those who do this are not only guilty of sloppy scientific thinking, but also of convenient moral compromise. At the end of the day, they are more concerned with avoiding the perceived potential risks of multi-billion dollar law suits, and of protecting the reputations of colleagues, than of doing what they are supposed to do - which is to pursue the truth with clear and unbiased eyes.
To assume that Joe and Josephine Public are so stupid that they will not be able to discriminate between cavalier experiments in the past and the high standards of vaccine preparation that apply today, and that they must therefore be led by the nose with doctored versions of the truth, is not only immensely condescending. It's also something which - if strong evidence to the contrary exists, which it does - is a thoroughly misguided game to play, not least because most cover-ups, when revealed, spark a powerful backlash.
The fact that the HIV/AIDS coverage in Nature and Science is controlled by interest groups that fundamentally oppose the OPV/AIDS theory is also of concern. Despite the fact that neither journal has ever provided even a single page for someone to lay out the basic tenets of the OPV theory, their preoccupation with discrediting the theory is indicated by the fact that on at least five occasions they have noisily promoted the publishing of articles or news features whose headlines have falsely claimed that the makers of CHAT have been "exonerated", and that OPV/AIDS has been "refuted" or has "died its final death". Each one of these contributions was written by an eminent scientist or journalist, and yet was based on (at the very least) misrepresentation of the available evidence.
Among the scientific information that has been suppressed is: (a) that in the 1950s cells and sera from chimpanzees were obtained in large quantities at Lindi camp, near Stanleyville, Belgian Congo, in order to make tissue cultures for the local preparation of CHAT vaccine; (b) that the samples of CHAT that were finally tested (in 2000) and found free of SIV, HIV-1 and chimpanzee DNA, were the "wrong" vaccine batches, for they had been prepared in the US, and not in the Congo; and (c) that the attempts by geneticists to date pandemic HIV-1 (to 1931) are spurious, being based on a flawed and inappropriate theoretical model.
The coverage in Nature and Science also fails to reveal relevant historical information such as the following: (a) that in 2001 a group of doctors led by one of the former CHAT scientists used large sums of money in order to illegally obtain tissue specimens from the 1950s that were stored in the basement of the Laboratoire Medical de Stanleyville; this group has now had five years in which to do what they wish with these samples (which might include destroying or even relabelling them); (b) that this same group of doctors has used techniques of bribery and intimidation to lean on certain witnesses from the 1950s, in an attempt (not always successful) to persuade them to modify their stories; and (c) that a group of eight of the CHAT vaccine-makers and geneticists most actively involved in this debate have written a series of identical letters to TV companies and film festival directors, letters which falsely claim that the OPV theory has been "laid to rest", and which urge them not to show "The Origins of AIDS", a multi-award-winning documentary that reached conclusions favourable to the OPV theory.
These are but some of the clues which will suggest to many that that this is no longer a purely scientific debate, but that it's also a political debate of genuine ferocity. Much of the information that has been suppressed is available on this site.
If you find any of these issues to be of interest or concern, then I invite you to explore the essays and articles that are available here. Many of the papers have been written by myself, or by others who believe that the OPV theory has merit. But we have also tried to include opposing views, to give the site as much balance as possible.
I hope that this site will serve as a repository for scientifically tenable arguments, both mainstream and alternative, about how AIDS began.
I also hope that those who visit this site will have the opportunity to make up their own minds about the origins of AIDS, based on a proper knowledge and understanding of the available evidence.
www.aidsorigins.com is dedicated to those who have suffered because of HIV and AIDS, and also to those (like the late Bill Hamilton, and his equally missed partner, Maria Luisa Bozzi) who made sacrifices in the pursuit of truth….people who were not prepared to accept versions that were modified, or falsified, for selfish or political ends.
Ed Hooper, July 26, 2006.
[Much of the material on this site first appeared on the "Polio Vaccines and the Origin of AIDS" web-page, hosted by Professor Brian Martin of the University of Wollongong. Brian has become one of the most radically courageous defenders of probity and truth in science. His site, http://www.bmartin.cc/dissent/documents/AIDS/, hosts many relevant articles on AIDS, including some of those available here, but it also features a wealth of other information for those wanting to investigate whistleblowing and the suppression of dissent in science. I warmly commend it. EH]