The Valerie Emerson case represents a milestone in
the AIDS reappraisal movement, perhaps the most important one since
its inception. Judge Clapp heard arguments on both sides of such
essential questions as: Does HIV cause AIDS?
Do the anti-HIV medications benefit HIV-positive
people? Or are these drugs actually one of the causes of AIDS? In
the days between the hearing and Clapp's decision, AIDS reappraisers
braced themselves for the worst. The overwhelming majority of government
officials, physicians, scientists, journalists, politicians, and
voters insist that overwhelming evidence supports the HIV-causes-AIDS
model and the pharmaceutical therapies based on it. But these individuals
form this opinion before they ever consider criticisms of it.
There is no telling if Clapp felt pressure from
popular majority opinion to endorse the official view. But surely
he entered the case assuming that HIV causes AIDS and that the cocktail
therapies provide benefits, a view that represents a fundamental
assumption in our society. Perhaps this is why the state's attorney,
not Valerie's, prompted Rasnick and Giraldo to articulate their
belief that HIV does not AIDS. Was this an attempt to impugn their
integrity, to align them with a "kooky" idea?
If so, it didn't work. By failing to endorse the
dominant view Ñ with its billions of dollars, millions of supporters,
thousands of supportive media reports, and government sponsorship
Ñ and by giving the competing reappraisal view Ñ promoted by a relatively
small group of officially ostracized scientists who have no funding
Ñ equal merit, Clapp delivered a clear defeat to the HIV proponents,
and an electrifying victory to AIDS reappraisers.