Gear magazine describes HIV "cocktail therapy" benefits as "science fiction"

IN THIS MAJOR FEATURE (March 2000), staff writer Celia Farber (an RA Group Board member) reports on the failure of the protease inhibitor drug "cocktails" to fulfill their much-hyped and little-scrutinized promise. Farber reminds readers of the ecstatic claims that attended the 1996 introduction of this therapy, including anecdotal accounts of dying AIDS patients "rising from the dead," thanks to these drugs.

She quotes HIV-AIDS critic David Rasnick, a protease inhibitor researcher and fellow RA Group Board member, pointing out that these "Lazarus" effects eluded the clinical trials, which never demonstrated a health benefit for the drugs. Farber cites mainstream scientists and physicians who now refute the four contributions that won superstar scientist David Ho the Time magazine 1996 "Person of the Year": the therapy itself (it harms more people than it might help), the "hit hard, hit early" strategy (symptom-free people who test "HIV-positive" are more likely to suffer the toxic effects and less likely to enjoy any apparent benefits), its theoretical basis (the "virological mayhem" math model is wrong), and the "viral load" technique to quantify its effects (the test doesn't measure viruses).

New "dissident" ACT-UP chapter forms in Hollywood

LONG-TIME HEAL-LA and Alive & Well-LA speaker and organizer Rod Knoll has opened a Hollywood chapter of ACT-UP (www.actuphollywood.com). ACT-UP was one of the original gay-oriented activist groups that lobbied hard for "the government" to produce a viral model and a pharmaceutical treatment for AIDS.

In recent years disaffected members formed a dissident chap-ter, ACT-UP/San Francisco (www.actupsf.com), which promotes the alternative view that non-HIV factors -- such as recreational drugs and "anti-HIV" pharmaceuticals themselves -- are among the actual causes of AIDS. ACT-UP/Hollywood represents the organization's second "dissident" chapter.

The chapter has already locked horns with KABC talk radio host Al Rantel and the LA Gay & Lesbian Center. A center official canceled the group's paid meeting space, fearing that a public AIDS reappraisal would be "injurious to the community."

Giraldo succeeds Rasnick as RA Group president

IN JANUARY, THE RA GROUP'S president, David Rasnick, stepped aside after three years. The Group elected Board member Roberto Giraldo to succeed him. Rasnick holds a PhD in chemistry and has worked as an industry protease inhibitor researcher. He remains an active member of the Group's Board.

Giraldo is a physician and author of AIDS and Stressors . He has formal expertise in infectious, tropical, and immunological diseases. In his native Colombia, he served as a department chairman at a medical school and developed extensive clinical experience as a practicing primary care physician. He left for the United States in 1987 when colleagues responded harshly to his open reappraisal of the HIV-AIDS model (RA April 1997).

In his current position at a New York City university laboratory performing the various HIV tests, he has become an expert in that field. His former Colombian colleagues have come to respect his assessment that HIV does not cause AIDS. On several occasions they hosted him for guest presentations at the country's largest universities.

Reappraising AIDS to become Rethinking AIDS

THE RA GROUP has elected to modify its name and the name of this publication. Effective May, 2000, the RA Group will be known as "The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of AIDS," and the name of this publication will return to its original title, "Rethinking AIDS." Board members decided that the new names are less unwieldy than the current ones.