Item description for Serious Adverse Events: An Uncensored History of AIDS by Celia Farber...
Controversial AIDS reporter Celia Farber collects twenty years of investigative work on AIDS.
Building on her much discussed cover story in Harper's Magazine—“Out of Control: AIDS and the Corruption of Medical Science”—Celia Farber's Serious Adverse Events: An Uncensored History of AIDS asks important questions about the costs and results of the two-decade long “war on AIDS.”
Here Farber conducts new interviews with controversial AIDS dissidents, including UC Berkeley's Peter Duesberg, UNAM's Harvey Bialy, and Nobelist Kary Mullis. Their views on HIV and cancer—rarely discussed in the mainstream press—are considered at length.
Also included are accounts of some of the most dramatic and controversial questions caught up in the fight against AIDS. Farber investigates AIDS co-factors, unexplained causes of immunodeficiency (HIV-negative AIDS), estimates of the AIDS epidemic in Africa, and, perhaps most importantly, drug treatment plans. In 1989, Farber was the first magazine journalist to call attention to the dangers of high-dose AZT monotherapy. In 2000, she took aim at David Ho's “hit hard, hit early” treatment plan. In both cases, Farber's suspicions turned out to be correct. AIDS drugs, when improperly prescribed or promoted, can be much more deadly than AIDS itself.
Farber's candor and extensive research sheds new light on the AIDS epidemic and its important effects on our current state of medical research.
“Although much of what Farber dredges up is not new, the fact remains that her argument has not been answered to the satisfaction of a lot of people. I would guess that it is not going to be so easy now to sweep this debate under the carpet by naming Farber and Duesberg and others ‘crazies' and ‘HIV deniers.' As Farber herself points out, there is too much money and greed now controlling the entire system of our ‘treatment' for that to be an effective response.” —Larry kramer, Founder, ACT UP
“It's an engaging piece of investigative journalism that exposes deep problems with the standards of medical research when it comes to AIDS.... Her argument is that AIDS has become an industry and a certain kind of sloppiness has entered the search for new anti-retroviral drugs.” —Gal Beckerman, Columbia Journalism Review
From 1987 to 1997, Celia Farber wrote and edited SPIN magazine's AIDS column, “Words From The Front.” She has also written for many magazines and newspapers, including Esquire, Rolling Stone, Gear, Salon, and Harper's. She lives in New York City.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.1" Width: 5.5" Height: 1.1" Weight: 1.05 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2006
Publisher Melville House
ISBN 1933633018 ISBN13 9781933633015
Reviews - What do customers think about Serious Adverse Events: An Uncensored History of AIDS?
Timeless and staggering. Aug 19, 2008
Truly inspiring. Ms. Farber's work will become a testament to the power of the human intelligence and will to overcome lies, ignorance and fear. Whatever your opinions on HIV and AIDS are, this is a work to be reckoned with. Well-written and thoroughly researched and obviously the product of lots of blood, sweat and tears, SERIOUS ADVERSE EVENTS, in the end, is great journalism.
This is a Censored History of HIV/AIDS Apr 18, 2007
Celia Farber is no journalist. A journalist might want to look at both sides. Celia does not interview any people with HIV who are doing well on current treatments. She does not interview any actual HIV researcher. She does not talk to the many heroic social workers who work on the frontlines of the epidemic. She doesn't speak to Medicine Sans Frontiers who are trying to get the millions of people around the world who need HIV medicines these lifesaving medicines.
If you're read one article by her, you've read them all. She is always trying to prove that HIV doesn't cause AIDS. The questions that she asks are bad questions. The research that she gives is old research. HIV medicine is a fast changing field. Celia should try actually interviewing people on the frontlines of the epidemic -- nurses, physicians, social workers, patients, people who work at AIDS organizations and HIV/AIDS clinics across the country. Instead she talks to chemists or people who have no direct experience treating or caring for people with HIV. Her work is irrelevant.
Celia is like a broken record, she just goes on and on and on in magazine articles (where the editor is ignorant enough about the issue to publish it) and on and on in her books. And even when she's told the truth about HIV, she closes her eyes to it. Many AIDS activists and people living with HIV have tried to talk to her over the years, but she's sticking to her story even when they all provide her evidence to the contrary. She can't seem to assimilate new information it seems. She got stuck on this theory in the late 1980s and even though there's been a revolution in the field, with dramatic changes in treatment and care, she's stayed deaf and dumb to this news. God knows why she persists.
Corruption of Science Feb 1, 2007
Science is facing some serious challenges nowadays. We have people who insist that humans walked alongside dinosaurs or that there is no such thing as time dilation, regardless of the scientific canon, we still have catastrophists and UFOlogists and people who insist that the moon landings were a fraud... It's a frustrating thing, sometimes, to waste precious time on people who have corrupted science out of ignorance or for their non-scientific agendas, and one can be tempted to insist on censoring them and locking them out of the hallowed halls of science.
I have examined various challenges to the established scientific currents and found them wanting. I validated a number of calculations regarding relativity, refuted a computation that arrives at a 6,400 year age for the sun, studied the videos of men on the moon: I invested much precious time examining sundry claims. It's clear to me that there are many Corruptors of science, with the AIDS dissidents seemingly among the worst.
Delving into the complicated world of HIV/AIDS, however, I found that I could not refute the better-laid arguments of the dissidents while the orthodoxy repeatedly fails to substantiate its fundamental tenets. Whereas creationists are almost exclusively religious zealots, AIDS dissidents include Nobel laureates and thousands of Ph.D.s, physicians and scientists. When I would read that there is no study that establishes the necessary presence of HIV in patients, that HIV has never been isolated from any one patient, that no study has established the sexual transmissibility of HIV, that the pathology of HIV has never been demonstrated, that the spike in AIDS deaths corresponds to AZT prescription, etc., I would check these statements from sites such as TheBody, the NIH, the CDC - bastions of the orthodoxy. I would follow the unfortunately very rare discussions (for ex. Foley vs. Rasnick) on the web, and much to my surprise, the orthodoxy has never been able to meet these challenges. The HIV virus seems to have arisen out of a scientific void.
Farber's book gives a good account of the history of the purported virus, the players in the drama, the forces at work, such that the reader will see what is lacking in the science and how such a big lie can come to be. She has been in the trenches from very early on and I perceive no agenda on her part other than to uncover the truth - it is, after all, hardly a good career move to challenge a 170 billion dollar juggernaut. Accusations that the dissidents are doing it for the money are ludicrous. A similar argument goes for Duesberg, who would be far better off financially (and reputation-wise) if he were to renege on his dissidence, but he has adamantly refused: the only motive I can imagine is respect for the truth, a quality that is in perilously short supply.
I give the book three stars because the majority of reviewers here are the choir to which important dissidents such as Farber are preaching. Some of the one-star reviewers also have their minds made up the other way. Though you may find the dissident claims surprising, those of you who realize that you really don't know are the important audience. The book merits five stars as befits its quality and that of its author, but gets three as befits the controversial nature of its contents. But it must be read. There is a battle going on right now to get "life-saving" AZT and nevirapine into Africa, but these are lethally toxic drugs and the several hundred thousand who died needlessly over here from AZT will translate into tens of millions over there, with the deaths being attributed to AIDS and not the drugs. For this reason alone, minds and books such as Farber's are hugely important.
Much of Serious Adverse Events had already been known to me and however hard I may try and have tried to refute the facts it contains, I wind up only strengthening them. How is such a big lie possible, with constant media harping about "HIV/AIDS" and "life-saving anti-retroviral medicine"? Some of the answers are in this book. If, as I am now convinced, the HIV=AIDS paradigm is false, then we are faced with the chilling fact that we can hardly contemplate locking the Corruptors out of the halls of science: they're already barricading themselves in and the Duesbergs out.
A Massive Illusion Nov 7, 2006
In Serious Adverse Events, activist-author Celia Farber combines the unproven claims of Professor Peter Duesberg with her own ignorance and manipulates the facts to produce a massive illusion that people not familiar with the issues may naively accept as true.
Even though the scientific understanding of HIV and AIDS is built upon solid, peer-reviewed research (thousands of peer-reviewed papers and over 40,000 HIV or SIV genetic sequences in Genbank), the author skillfully plants doubts about the validity of the science and the honesty of the scientists involved, employing phrases like: "wished or dreamed into existence", "retroviral faith", "entrapped millions of minds", "the core catechism", and so on.
The author characterizes the 1984 press conference called by Margaret Heckler, then Secretary of Health and Human Services, in which she announced `the probable cause of AIDS has been found,' as "a moment not only of scientific disgrace but a theater of the absurd." Now, I had just read that press conference, unrelated to this review, and it seemed like a typical press conference where reporters asked the same question, with slight variations, over and over, and they tried to get the scientists to make a firm prediction as to when a vaccine would be available. It was anything but absurd, and certainly not a scientific disgrace. Heckler should have waited for Dr. Gallo's scientific papers to be published, but please recall that in 1984 there was near panic in some risk groups because this mysterious disease, AIDS, was killing a lot of people. It was not absurd for H&HS to want to announce this important finding as soon as they reliably could. And the research had been done, four important scientific papers about the research had been submitted to peer-reviewed scientific journals and approved for publication and would be published the next month. Because a government agency wanted to gain political points (the Reagan administration was under pressure to prove they were doing something about AIDS) by making this announcement prior to publication of the scientific papers in no way diminishes the validity of the science. The only absurdity here is the author's description of the press conference.
The chapters on Peter Duesberg continue the illusion. Duesberg is first introduced by the author in the preface as a "retroviral titan." Well, for those who don't know, the "retroviral titan" made erroneous assumptions (unproven to this day) about AIDS more expectable from a 98 pound weakling than a scientist of "titanic" stature. The error the good professor made was to assume that because the two groups in which AIDS first showed up in significant numbers - men having sex with men (MSM) and intravenous drug users (IVDU) - shared a common factor, drug use, that drugs (amyl nitrites were popular among some members of the MSM group in the early 80's) was the cause of AIDS when we now know that they shared something more significant: effective routes of transmission of HIV. With IVDU's, the sharing of needles is a highly effective route of transmission. With MSM's the effective route of transmission is anal intercourse, the most effective sexual route for HIV transmission.
Of course, the Duesberg-drug theory does not explain AIDS deaths in non-drug users with HIV, or in HIV-positive mothers who transmit the virus to their infants who then develop AIDS, or the AIDS cases of recipients of HIV-infected blood from blood transfusions. None of this seems to matter to Duesberg, who continues to insist that HIV is harmless, and that drugs (or other causes) explain AIDS despite the lack of proof of this claim, and despite overwhelming data that HIV causes AIDS.
A model example of how the author manipulates perceptions by selective use of facts is the chapter on the HIVNET012 study where the author uses quotes from a letter to Science magazine by Valendar Turner (a member of the Perth Group in Australia who despite tens of thousands of genetics sequences in Genbank, makes the incredible claim that HIV does not even exist) objecting to the study's findings because of the lack of a placebo arm, while ignoring the rebuttal letter published in Science by the study's principal investigators explaining why the findings were valid without a placebo arm (this was due to the fact that the efficacy of one of the study's two test drugs, AZT, had recently been established and thus could serve as the control for assessing the efficacy of the study's other test drug, Nevirapine). As the principal investigators described it, ""when an experimental drug is found to be superior to a control that itself is not harmful (thus replacing a placebo), the effectiveness of the experimental drug is thereby established."
Such one-sided portrayal by selective use of the facts is, of course, dishonest. Further, the author does not explain why the placebo arm of the study was dropped, leaving one to suspect some nefarious behind-the-scenes manipulation. The reality is this - the placebo arm was dropped because the public interest group, Public Citizen, aggressively criticized perinatal HIV drug trials involving placebo controls because effective drugs to reduce mother to child transmission had already been discovered. In the words of Public Citizen's Dr. Lurie, "It is simply unbelievable that any researcher would design a study in which no intervention whatsoever is offered to the women, particularly after the Thai/CDC results," said Dr. Lurie. "What was the purpose of the previous round of studies if not to identify drug regimens that could actually be offered to HIV-positive pregnant women?" From the pressure brought by Public Citizen, the NIH and the United Nations (and others) made a joint recommendation to drop the placebo arms from all perinatal HIV drug trials.
This is all public information, easily found on the internet, so I find it implausible to think the author was unaware of it. However, to tell the truth would work against the obvious agenda of discrediting the trial, the drug, and all involved.
As fiction, the book is interesting. As non-fiction it's rubbish.
Discover the uncensored history of HIV Nov 3, 2006
I first came to this debate after reading an online essay of Farber's that explained the numerous discrepancies surrounding HIV testing practices. After reading that essay, I sought out other writings by her and was pleasantly surprised with the release of this book. Farber writes passionately about this polarizing topic, but never at the expense of her own or the reader's intellectual integrity. She's very astute but never condescending. Particularly notable is Farber's ability to deftly deliver measured passion in the face of an apparently bottomless inhumanity, where corporate interests justify innumerable atrocities (consider the differing clinical trial standards in Africa and the Western world). Such censorship cannot be allowed to go uncountered, any longer. The often brutal treatment failures in HIV's wake should be public knowledge, but it sadly is not even a viable topic of conversation for most since so few are courageous enough to seek out the truth. So, I am as grateful for Celia Farber's courage as much as I am for her eloquence. She's doing her part. Do yours and read this book.