Serious Adverse Events: An Uncensored History of AIDS

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9781933633015: Serious Adverse Events: An Uncensored History of AIDS

At an April 1984 press conference, government researchers announced that the cause of AIDS--the disease then terrifying the nation as if it were a Biblical scourge--was a "retrovirus" called HIV.

Many scientists, including two Nobel winners, said it wasn't possible. But they were quickly drowned out by the ecstatic response from activists, government-funded researchers, a relieved public and, especially, the pharmaceutical industry, which quickly offered a treatment for HIV--a drug called called AZT. Within four years, the entire first group of AZT test subjects was dead.

But the idea that HIV caused AIDS became so entrenched that international policy was being based on it, while big pharma raked in billions. Scientists who disagreed found themselves ostracized, their funding cut off. Journalist who raised questions were subject to vicious attacks from politicians and activists.

Celia Farber has covered the tumultuous story in all its facets for over 20 years, including: disastrous National Institutes of Health drug tests on mothers and children in Africa, Tennessee and New York City; extensive interviews with blacklisted researchers and scientific dissidents such as Berkeley's Peter Duseberg and NIH renegade Jonathan Fishbein; and reporting from South Africa on the influence of pharmaceutical companies on foreign aid and policy.

It is an astonishing and largely unknown story, and in Serious Adverse Events, Farber chronicles the entire history of AIDS, its triumphs and its failures, with astonishing research and mind-opening candor.

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About the Author:

Celia Farber has been chronicling the shadow story of AIDS science since 1987, which she originally covered for SPIN magazine in a regular column that ran for eight years. She has also written for Esquire, Rolling Stone, and Harper's, among other magazines. This is her first book.

Review:

“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

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