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When AIDS first took the world by storm in the early 80’s, these words were the inevitable accompaniment to a diagnosis of the disease.  The poor individual on the receiving end of such a diagnosis would, of course, feel like their whole world was crashing in around them. Then they would ask the fateful question, “How long do I have?”

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Answers to this could range vaguely from weeks, to months, to years – they really didn’t know exactly when, just that it would be “soon,” and that without proper medication it would surely happen even sooner.

People were dropping like flies just a few short decades ago, and millions of people globally have died from HIV/AIDS, but fast forward to today and a different picture emerges -one where people with HIV have the opportunity to live a fairly normal lifespan. An obvious question to ask is, why? What has changed? Is it ‘amazing new medical advancements’ or something a bit more sinister?

Positive Hell

A new documentary by Joan Shenton and Andy Reiss has just been released (trailer found at the end of this post) called “Positive Hell” It features the story of 5 Spanish adults, all diagnosed with HIV 25-30 years ago.

Despite all being given a death sentence by their doctors at time of their diagnosis and told to take the usual prescribed drugs, all five decided not to take the HIV medications. Some refused outright, while others stopped once they realized the drugs were making them feel worse. Apart from one of these five, who was an intravenous drug user and died last year due to non-HIV related illness, all are alive and very well today.

Two are married and have children who are all HIV negative, already prompting the question, “Isn’t HIV highly transmittable?” Both the partners are also HIV negative, despite having unprotected sex many times over the years. One of the film’s subjects, Dr. Manuel Garrido, is a practicing physician.

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How Is This Possible?

Their story begs the question, how can people who were previously told they were going to die and who “must take the medication” in order to survive still be alive and well today, almost three decades later, without taking any HIV drugs?  Are they just “lucky,” or is there a simple reason why they haven’t succumbed to the disease? Haven’t we all been told that those who test positive for HIV are surely to die?

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Impressive Advances In HIV Drugs Or Are They Now Simply Just Less Toxic?

Many attribute the development of newer drugs to the increased life expectancy of those diagnosed with this disease. These drugs are thought to do a much more effective job at targeting the actual virus – and allowing people to live longer – but when you dig a little deeper it seems that the original AZT drugs were proven to be incredibly toxic, causing people to die far sooner.

You might also be shocked to know that AZT was previously rejected by the FDA as a chemotherapy drug almost ten years before HIV was discovered due to its high toxicity.

One scientist, who is praised for his cancer and retrovirus research (he isolated the first cancer gene) Dr. Peter Duesberg, is Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at Berkeley University, has looked into these drugs extensively and said that the medication actually brings on AIDS. He had this to say about AZT:

 “The most toxic drug that has ever been licensed for long term consumption in the free world… AZT is a prescription drug and according to the manufacturer itself it causes symptoms that are indistinguishable from AIDS. So I would say it is not arrogant for me to say that AZT is AIDS by prescription.”

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On the label of AZT these words are found:

“TOXIC. Toxic by inhalation, in contact with skin and if swallowed. Target organ(s): Blood bone marrow. If you feel unwell, seek medical advice (show the label where possible). Wear suitable protective clothing.”

AZT was classed as a ”black box” drug with skull and bones on the label; this is an indication that the drug is indeed a deadly poison. The bottle above contained only 100 mg tablets, but people with HIV were prescribed typically between 500 to 1500 mg a day!

What Did The Original AZT Studies Show?

In relation to AZT causing much more harm than good, was Dr Duesberg correct?

Celia Farber

Celia Farber

Celia Farber was one of the first brave journalists to really investigate the safety and effectiveness of AZT drugs (made by Burroghs Wellcome at the time, now known as GSK) which were being given to millions of HIV positive people. The FDA passed this drug back in 1987,  but one of the first studies -involving 1749 “healthy” but still HIV positive people, known as the ”Concorde Study,” and carried out in England, France, and Ireland -showed some very concerning results:

  • The study found that AZT was too toxic for most people to tolerate, had no lasting effect on HIV blood levels, and left the patients with fewer CD4 cells than they had started with.
  • The team concluded that AZT – a highly toxic and carcinogenic drug – neither prolongs life nor staves off symptoms of AIDS in people who are HIV-antibody positive but still healthy.

Celia spoke to some of the doctors involved in this study about the pressure being put on them to make the study look less concerning than it really was.

I had heard that the Concorde team had been under tremendous pressure from AZT’s manufacturer Burroughs Wellcome, to soften its results. After one of the sessions in which the results were discussed, I walked up to Dr. Ian Weller, a chief investigator of Concorde, and congratulated him. I asked whether there had indeed been pressure from Wellcome. He nodded. A woman standing next to him, also on the Concorde team, nodded emphatically and finally burst out: “Yes, there has been pressure, and it has been placed at the very highest level’.’ Doesn’t that, I asked, frustrate and infuriate you? She nodded, furiously, and said, “The most frustrating thing is that I can’t tell you about it.” Much of that raw Concorde data, particularly on toxicity, remains to be revealed.

Isn’t it alarming to know that right from the very early days this drug was causing so many problems, yet was allowed to be given to people in massive doses for such a long time? And that it was also being given to infants and children?

AZT is still given in conjunction with other medications to HIV/AIDS patients, but the adult dose is now around 300 mg twice a day.

Are these four adults still alive today just because they haven’t taken the recommended drugs?

Never Ending Stigma & Dogma

Imagine for a minute what it’s like to be told “You are going to die,” without any inclination of when that might happen. Imagine how your family would feel, not knowing if this year was going to be your last. Imagine the constant stress, or trying to go to sleep at night, having this death sentence constantly weighing down on your mind.

Try to think about how angry you would feel remembering the constant fear engendered by those words, only to still be alive almost 30 years later. Was it necessary to be told so conclusively that you are going to die?

If you happen to be HIV positive, this diagnosis follows you wherever you go. It’s like a life-time “guilty” sentence. And if you choose not to take the recommended HIV drugs, you might have a very hard time receiving any medical treatment at all. It seems not many doctors today are willing to see HIV positive patients without them following protocol, which means taking the anti-retroviral drugs.

The 5 people in this film are certainly not the only ones refusing to take these medications; there are now thousands of HIV-positive people all over the world who have rejected taking this treatment and say they feel much better.

Positive Hell is only a short 30 minute documentary and is really a collection of testimonials, but their powerful stories certainly leave you with plenty of questions.

Is the HIV/Aids industry just another example (like the Cancer Industry) of us doing more harm than good by using toxic drugs?

Check out the film’s website here

Joan Shenton and Andy Reiss, have also produced the film Positively False – Birth of A Heresy and Joan is an author of the book Positively False – Exposing the Myths Around HIV and Aids which has just been released in its 16th edition which includes new updates.

For a further look into this very controversial subject you might like to take a look here and here.


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