World AIDS Day: How about a look back?
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/11/30
The conference, Rethinking AIDS 2009, was a treat in many ways, some of which I described in “The Family of Rethinking AIDS”. A special pleasure for me was to meet in person people I had respected for quite some time, indeed admired for their work and their integrity. I learned something new from the substance of many of the presentations, and perhaps even more from conversations.
I continue often to be abashed at how little I know about the early days of AIDS, and especially that so many incisive insights and explanations were published long ago that have seemed to me like fresh revelations. The difficulty is that AIDS Rethinking doesn’t have the organized indexes and abstracts and review articles and textbooks that established disciplines do. Tony Lance illustrated that in his talk when he mentioned that after he had recognized intestinal dysbiosis as a central explanation for much in the early days of AIDS, he found that Koliadin had made similar suggestions on the old virusmyth website. Who could possibly have read, and even in that case who could possibly remember, all the material on that website, and in Continuum, and in the early newsletters, and in the dozens of Rethinking books, and in the hundreds of articles scattered over obscure periodicals and websites?
The difficulty is compounded by the lack of agreement among Rethinkers over all sorts of details. We are all of the opinion that HIV has never been shown to be the sole, necessary and sufficient cause of AIDS, but beyond that we differ widely; not only over substantive issues but also over how best to proceed in trying to bring regard for the facts into the public arena. In established disciplines, one can read authoritative overviews of manageable size; concerning HIV/AIDS Rethinking, without having read EVERYTHING one cannot be sure that something of importance has not been missed.
Amid these hindrances, it makes sense to look at where Rethinking has been, and we’re fortunate that John Lauritsen accepted the invitation to talk about that at RA2009. He has now posted his initial draft, which was far too long for the 25 minutes he was allotted at the conference, and he invites comments and suggestions for additions or corrections. I enjoyed his talk immensely, and gained even more from reading his longer discussion of “The History of the Controversy”.