HIV/AIDS Advocates Criticize Harper’s Article Profiling Doctor Who Believes HIV Does Not Cause AIDS
Some HIV/AIDS advocates are criticizing an article in Harper's Magazine titled, "Out of Control: AIDS and the Corruption of Medical Science," which profiles Peter Duesberg, a doctor and professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California-Berkeley who believes HIV does not cause AIDS, the New York Times reports. The 15-page article, which was published in the March issue of Harper's, examines criticism of a clinical trial that studied the use of the antiretroviral drug nevirapine among HIV-positive pregnant women in Uganda to prevent vertical HIV transmission. The article also focuses on Duesberg and his "strained relationship" with NIH, which funded the trial, according to the Times. According Roger Hodge, who edited the article and who will succeed Lewis Lapham as Harper's editor next month, Lapham had originally assigned contributing writer Celia Farber to cover cancer research conducted by Duesberg, but when the Uganda story broke, the assignment was changed. After the article's publication, criticism of Duesberg's views and the article appeared on Web sites such as nation.com and poz.com, the Times reports. John Moore, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Medical College at Cornell University, said he was surprised at Harper's willingness to "teach the controversy" of Duesberg's theories, adding that the controversy had been "resolved long ago" and that the magazine's credibility has "taken an irreparable hit." Moore, along with seven other prominent AIDS researchers, posted a 37-page rebuttal on Treatment Action Campaign's Web site. In response to the criticism, Farber said neither she nor Harper's endorse the theory that HIV does not cause AIDS, adding, "People can't distinguish, it seems, between describing dissent and being dissent" (Miller, New York Times, 3/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.