HEAL London

A more intelligent approach to HIV/AIDS

AIDS in Africa: What's really going on?

Comment by Mike Hersee

Charles Geshekter gained his Ph.D in African History at UCLA in 1972, and since retiring as Professor of History at the University of California, is now Professor Emeritus of History at California State University, Chico. Over many years he has become an expert on the sociological, political and economic aspects of dishonesty and deception over AIDS in Africa in particular. I can't now remember where I came across this comment but I am pretty certain I recall him saying somewhere that what initially provoked him to start questioning AIDS was when he heard UN / WHO experts blaming AIDS in Africa on too many Africans having wild promiscuous sex, when he knew from his own visits that widespread occurrences of this kind of alleged behaviour was not consistent with his experiences on the ground.

When filming for Gary Null's documentary AIDS Inc at his home in Chico, California, Charles's testimony was so coherent, professional and substantial (far more than Gary could use) that he decided to mildy edit it and release it on YouTube. Compared to a normal documentary this might be regarded as boring visually because it was done with a single camera in continuous shot - obviously, the original intention was to use selected quotes interspersed among many others from different people, and so on these videos there isn't much to watch as it were. However, you can run the three videos and get on with something else on your computer in the meantime while you're listening to what he says.

Charles is worth listening to if you're trying to make sense of the discrepancy between the way the media usually portrays AIDS in Africa versus the explanations and descriptions that AIDS rethinkers give. Covering a broad range of issues and going from technical detail of HIV tests to wider geopolitical issues, one of the essential things Charles does very well in these videos is put claims about AIDS in Africa in an appropriate, much larger context of the troubled history of Africa over the last 50 years.


Part 1 - Why the very definition of AIDS in Africa is fundamentally flawed; Incompetence of AIDS researchers; Difference between media reports and credible statistics; The importance of understanding the history of Africa (and South Africa in particular); The relationship between AIDS cases and historical oppression; “The closer you look at the numbers, the quicker they vanish”;Deepening spiral of multiple, overlooked factors that compromise health; Racist notions of African sexuality; Separating out HIV diagnoses from AIDS cases; False positives in Africa and flaws in HIV tests; Treating the imaginary HIV instead of the actual illnesses people are suffering from.

Part 2 - The relationship between AIDS and poverty; AIDS is an excuse for putting the blame back on Africa rather than persistent factors where at least partial responsibility lies with wealthier countries; The contrast between a sexualised environment Kwazulu-Natal versus Durban compared to AIDS cases – AIDS doesn’t correspond with sex; The presence of AIDS researchers causes AIDS cases; Thabo Mbeki’s mistake – with his stick of enquiry, giving the hornet's nest of HIV religious fanatics a good poke; Mbeki’s AIDS panel - How the orthodoxy struggled when face to face with detractors; Medical resources in poor areas of Africa – the disparity between basic essentials versus AIDS-related supplies.

Part 3 - The media, responsibility, and absence of scepticism and critical thinking; Award-winning journalists who parrot the orthodox line are weak and unable to handle critical challenges; Rigorous journalists who question the orthodoxy get hammered for their honest enquiry; The ongoing bottomless fit for AIDS funding without any results – a system that is not supposed to end; Looking at historical economic and political indicators from the 70’s that lead to decline in the health of Africans during the 1980’s; Media and entertainment stars are regarded as experts way outside their actual areas of expertise; The religious and psychological structures that keep AIDS going – why it is so rarely questioned from those on the inside; Why it's got too big for those inside to stand up and say, "We got it wrong"

Further information

You can read an example of Charles battling with an AIDS journalist that he refers to in the videos. Notice a distinct degree of evasiveness and over-simplifying / glossing-over of irregularities of facts in the journalist's answers. Also, for a comprehensive and enlightening sociological and scientific analysis with much more interesting factual information and challenging statistical specifics, The Myths and Misconceptons of the Orthodox View of AIDS in Africa will provide it.

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