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Errors in Celia Farber's March 2006 article in Harper's Magazine  
  Draft for Harper's Magazine and public distribution: 4 March 2006 (version 2)
Authors (in alphabetical order by surname): Robert Gallo MD1, Nathan Geffen2, Gregg Gonsalves3, Richard Jefferys4, Daniel R. Kuritzkes, MD5, Bruce Mirken6, John P. Moore PhD7, Jeffrey T. Safrit PhD8
This document describes the errors in Celia Farber's March 2006 article in Harper's Magazine, titled Out of Control: AIDS and the Corruption of Medical Science.
Our primary concern is with rebutting Farber's misconceptions about HIV/AIDS and antiretrovirals (ARVs). We have not focused our attention on misleading or biased reporting that relate to the NIH; none of us is an NIH employee. We have also ignored the sections on Peter Duesbergis career problems, his rejected funding proposals, and how he is (or is not) regarded by other cancer researchers nowadays; we have no interest in Duesberg, other than to note that he is not an AIDS researcher and has no practical experience in studying HIV.
Using a plethora of false, misleading, biased and unfair statements, Farber attempts to cast scientific institutions and scientists as dishonest. But intellectual dishonesty is the norm for Farber and other AIDS denialists including David Rasnick, Peter Duesberg, Kary Mullis and Harvey Bialy n all people she mentions favourably in her article. David Rasnick works for a vitamin entrepeneur, Matthias Rath. They have conducted unauthorized experiments on people with HIV in South Africa, convincing their subjects to take Rath's vitamin products in dangerously high doses, instead of scientifically recognised treatments for AIDS. It has been alleged that some of their subjects have died due to this experiment1. Farber implies financial motives permeate scientific research. Why does Farber not make similar allegations against the AIDS denialists, many of whom are involved in the marketing of unproven alternative medicines?
HIV has been shown to be the cause of AIDS in numerous studies. ARVs have been shown to reduce death and illness in people with HIV. They have also been shown to reduce mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV. They often cause side-effects. On rare occasions these can be fatal, but death from HIV/AIDS is a far greater risk. The evidence shows beyond doubt that the benefits of ARVs far outweigh their risks.
We present two tables below (attached pdf). The first is a list of errors in Celia Farber's article in the March 2006 issue of Harper's. The list is possibly incomplete. All of these errors should have been found in the fact-checking process. The second table contains some relevant points about the authorities Farber cites in support of her views.
Errors in Celia Farber's March 2006 article in Harper's Magazine PDF
1 Director Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland Baltimore
2 Policy, Communications and Research Co-ordinator, Treatment Action Campaign, South Africa
3 Gay Men's Health Crisis
4 Basic Science, Prevention & Vaccines Project, Treatment Action Group
5 Director of AIDS Research, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
6 Director of Communications, Marijuana Policy Project (previously a health journalist who covered HIV/AIDS for AIDS Treatment News, Men's Health and other publications)
7 Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York
8 Senior Programs Officer, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation; Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles
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