Peter Duesberg

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Peter Duesberg at a cancer meeting in Berkeley, 2017
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Peter Duesberg (1936–) is a professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology at the University of California, Berkeley who has championed the idea that HIV is not the cause of AIDS, and that recreational drug use is more to blame for the prevalence of AIDS amongst the homosexual community. He has also claimed that AIDS in Africa is largely misdiagnosed, and is not really AIDS but merely the accumulated effects of malnutrition and disease.

His claims have been repeatedly disproved and are contradicted by over 20 years of sound laboratory and clinical science, in addition to also being utterly bizarre.

The reason for his obsession with HIV denialism is unclear, especially because he is an occasionally gifted scientist whose talents have been distracted by this particular delusion.

In fact, this pattern of otherwise rational and distinguished scientists suddenly being overcome by AIDS-denialist irrationality has been noted on numerous other occasions. There are some things the human mind may never understand, and this may be one of them. However, it appears to stem from personal dislikes of black and homosexual people more than anything else.

Science, the premier US science journal, devoted 3 months of investigation to "The Duesberg Phenomenon".[1] The main conclusions of the investigation were:[1]

  • In hemophiliacs (the group Duesberg acknowledges provides the best test case for the HIV hypothesis) there is abundant evidence that HIV causes disease and death (see p. 1645).[2]
  • According to some AIDS researchers, HIV now fulfills the classic postulates of disease causation established by Robert Koch (see p. 1647).[2][3]
  • The AIDS epidemic in Thailand, which Duesberg has cited as confirmation of his theories, seems instead to confirm the role of HIV (see p. 1647).
  • AZT and illicit drugs, which Duesberg argues can cause AIDS, don't cause the immune deficiency characteristic of that disease (see p. 1648).[4]

Article controversy[edit]

In 2009, Duesberg attempted to publish an article in the non-peer-reviewed journal Medical Hypotheses, which was later withdrawn.[5][6] Later in 2011, Duesberg revised the paper and had it published in the Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology (IJAE)[7] despite multiple problems in the paper.[8][9][10]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Duesberg Phenomenon: A Berkeley virologist and his supporters continue to argue that HIV is not the cause of AIDS. A 3-month investigation by Science evaluates their claims by Jon Cohen. Science, vol. 266, 9 December 1994, pp. 1643-1644.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Duesberg and critics agree: hemophilia is the best test by Jon Cohen. Science, vol. 266, 9 December 1994, pp. 1647.
  3. The epidemic in Thailand by Jon Cohen. Science, vol. 266, 9 December 1994, pp. 1645-1646.
  4. Could drugs, rather than a virus, be the cause of AIDS? by Jon Cohen. Science, vol. 266, 9 December 1994, pp. 1648-1649.
  5. Pity poor Peter Duesberg; even Medical Hypotheses has dissed him by Orac (September 15, 2009) Respectful Insolence (archived from 15 Jul 2012 04:42:47 UTC)
  6. Elsevier to Editor: Change Controversial Journal or Resign by Martin Enserink. Science 12 Mar 2010: Vol. 327, Issue 5971, pp. 1316. DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5971.1316.
  7. AIDS since 1984: no evidence for a new, viral epidemic--not even in Africa by Duesberg, P. H. et al. Ital. J. Anat. Embryol. 116, 73–92 (2011).
  8. Paper denying HIV–AIDS link secures publication: Work by infamous AIDS contrarian passes peer review by Zoë Corbyn (05 January 2012) Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2012.9737.
  9. Duesberg Strikes a blow for HIV/AIDS denialism by Mark Hoofnagle (January 6, 2012 6:00 AM) denialism blog.
  10. Debunking the new Duesberg HIV/AIDS Denialist “paper” in IJAE by Emil Karlsson (January 11, 2012) Debunking Denialism.