LOST VOICES FROM THE HEPATITIS TRIALS
The following excerpted from QUEER BLOOD: The Secret AIDS Genocide
Plot by Alan Cantwell Jr., M.D. The book is available from ARIES
Rising Press, P.O. Box 29532, Los Angeles, California 90029 $12.95
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A rare published account of a volunteer injected in the gay
experiment appears in AIDS: The Ultimate Challenge. Elisabeth Kubler-
Ross recounts Peter's story through the words of an ex-alcoholic drug
abuser and prostitute who cared for Peter during his last months. In
1980 Peter volunteered for the hepatitis B experiment in San
Francisco. He recalled being taken into a room and injected. The
nurse said, "Oh, don't worry. We're not giving you anything that will
make you sick." Peter "said that he was told that a couple of times,
and that after the injection he worried and was very sorry that he
had been a part of the study. He was convinced that it was an
experimentation of viruses that got out of hand."
Peter was convinced that this is how the AIDS virus got started in
the gay community. "He had an enormous amount of anger about it and
it seemed that, at the time he was telling me about the story, most
of the people that were in the hepatitis B study had already died of
AIDS. A lot of his fear and anger came from that."
Another angry gay man, who was injected in the experiment at the New
York City Blood Center, wrote a letter published in the New York
Native (July 30, 1990). He was a participant in the experiment for
four years, and recalled all the time and energy he devoted to it.
Now he was enraged that no outcomes of the study were being published.
On multiple occasions he protested to Cladd Stevens, director of the
Epidemiology unit at the Center.
In August 1989, when the tone of his protests got louder, he received
a letter from Dr. Stevens "acknowledging that their last major
article had been published in JAMA in 1986, and that they had not
published since. She promised at that time to send a newsletter to
participants updating them on publications and other plans that never
The gay volunteer was distraught. "As I see friends and acquaintances
die all around me, I cannot but feel enraged by this waste of money,
data, and people's time." He complained about the ethics of the Blood
Center. He received quarterly reports indicating the number of "T
cells" in the blood specimens he donated, but when his T cells
dropped to abnormal levels, the follow-up letters stopped arriving.
He worried: "Was this their subtle way of letting me know that I
should consult a specialist in a hurry? ... It came as no surprise to
me that when I left a recorded message at the Center in May of 1990
saying that I was dropping out of the study, no one even bothered to
call me back."
After studying the hepatitis B vaccine trials for so long, it is
difficult for me to imagine anyone who cannot see a connection
between the gay experiment and the "gay plague." After the
publication of AIDS and the Doctors of Death in 1988, I was not
surprised when further details on the "outcome" of the gay experiment
no longer appeared in the medical journals. The scientific world
wanted to forget Wolf Szmuness and his vaccine trials.
Although the evidence was circumstantial, it didn't take a rocket
scientist to figure out the connection between AIDS and the hepatitis
experiment. But during my study of the hepatitis trials, I had
overlooked the most obvious piece of evidence linking AIDS to
Szmuness' experiment. The strongest piece of evidence was in the
tremendous success of the vaccine trials!
According to June Goodfield: "In those (gay men) who received all
three injections, 96% developed antibodies against the (hepatitis)
virus. Overall, the vaccine was shown to be 92.3 percent effective in
protecting high risk individuals against hepatitis B; these findings
are of an order of magnitude that has never been equaled in any other
vaccine trial, either before or since."
The experiment could never have been so phenomenally successful if
the gay men were infected with HIV before the experiment!
The reason for this is now obvious. Recent studies have shown that
hepatitis B vaccination is not very successful in immunodepressed
people. In HIV-positive individuals, the success rate of the hepatitis
B vaccine is about 50%, only protecting one out of two people
infected with the AIDS virus.
The gay men in Szmuness' study were healthy before the experiment--
and damaged afterward. The experiment would have been a failure
(never 96% effective) if the immune systems of the men hadn't been
working at full capacity. The cohort was infected with HIV at the
time of the experiment--not before.