Continuum vol. 5, n° 6, Summer 1999

Human rights & policy

By Michael U. Baumgartner


It seems ambiguous to speak about human rights of people labelled with either 'HIV' and or 'AIDS' without addressing realities and consequences of these labels on peoples' lives.

These realities do not discriminate against different people holding different views on 'HIV', the alleged virus suggested to cause AIDS. Hence, it does not matter whether you understand that the scientific evidence for 'HIV' as the cause of AIDS does even after over a decade not exist, which could be explained by the lack of a sound scientific isolation of 'HIV'. However, AIDS policies and legal practices do not discriminate on the bases of your knowledge. I have drawn up six scenarios - some of which already confirmed - to which someone living with the 'HIV'-label could be exposed to.

In order to protect themselves and others from these and other human rights violations, people living with a positive 'HIV-test result' have declared principles (GENEVA DECLARATION '98 Of Persons Living With A Positive 'HIV-antibody' Test Result). It was launched at the 1998 World-AIDS-conference in Geneva, Switzerland as The GENEVA DECLARATION '98 OF PERSONS LIVING WITH A POSITIVE 'HIV-antibody' TEST RESULT, and has since been updated.

Scenario 1
A journalist of a famous newspaper is fired from his job. An unidentified confidante of his put a faked obituary notice in the newspaper for his employer to find out about his 'HIV' label, leading to the premature termination of his employment. He has not been able to find employment in the field of journalism since, as he cannot give good reason for being laid off, without disclosing his 'HIV' label.

Scenario 2
A recipient of social welfare and health care benefits is at risk of losing her benefits because she refuses pharmaceutical products with well established detrimental effects. As she has been living with a positive 'HIV' test result for many years, waiting to die, she did not elaborate on finding employment. Her benefits are the only income. She is told that by refusing treatment she 'admits' not to be ill. Hence, she 'should go back to work and be taken off her benefits', as if that were that simple after wasted years of unemployment.

Scenario 3
A drug addict in recovery is at risk of losing his place in a drug rehab program because he refuses to take so-called combination therapy against 'HIV', the alleged virus suggested to cause AIDS. His place is considered 'better used' for somebody 'willing to accept life-saving treatments' and not 'being part of a sect refusing to accept the overwhelming evidence of HIV's detrimental effect just like the 'flat-earthers'.

Scenario 4
A young pregnant woman enters the hospital for what is considered routine testing for pregnant women, which now includes so called 'HIV testing'. The claimed test for 'HIV' shows up positive for no identified reason (infection through sex, syringes or blood products). The young couple - trying to cope with the death sentence put upon the wife by the AIDS-establishment tries to cope. They undergo 'HIV' counselling leading to an abortion. Several weeks after birth retesting of the women shows no trace of what is considered 'HIV'. Pregnancy itself can make a so-called 'HIV antibody test' show up positive.

Scenario 5
Parents of a child suspected to be a carrier of 'HIV', the alleged virus suggested to cause AIDS, lose custody of their baby to the state authorities shortly after birth. After consulting scientific literature and experts the parents have made the informed choice not to give the new-born suggested treatment. Furthermore they concluded that breast-feeding the baby would be the healthiest form of nutritional supply for their infant. The state decided differently and orders the baby onto AZT, forbidding the mother to breastfeed her own child.

Scenario 6
A young gay man is admitted to the hospital with lasting headaches, nausea and increasing physical exhaustion. The clinical 'cause' of his deterioration is 'not found'. But because he identifies himself as gay. 'HIV', the alleged virus suggested to cause AIDS is 'identified'. The fact that he has been on arguably toxic 'prophylactic treatments' for over six months, is ignored. His deterioration continues resulting in his death. The cause of his death - despite lacking clinical evidence - is considered 'HIV' the alleged virus suggested to cause AIDS. Investigation brings to surface that the medication he was put on in the hospital was too strong for an immune-compromised (weak) person. He died of kidney failure - not an AIDS- defining disease - yet is considered another AIDS death.

Scenario 7
In a hospital somewhere in an economically deprived area of this world an undernourished child - who is considered as having AIDS (an 'HIV' tests is not always needed to give an AIDS diagnosis and over 60 different other conditions can make a test considered to show the presence of 'HIV' turn positive) lies in a hospital with a malaria diagnosis. Her parents ask the doctor what treatment she needs, hoping that she would receive it in the hospital. The doctor explains to them: 'Because we know she wil definitely die of AIDS, we have decided we cannot afford to give her and other HIV-positive patients malaria medication'. If the child had been considered as having malaria only, she would be given appropriate treatment against her clinical condition. The girl dies shortly after due to untreated malaria and will be another ill-identified AIDS attributed death.

All scenarios have already, or can occur easily based on the current well propagated views on both 'HIV' and as an all endangering, sexually transmitted and fatal disease. They are either viewed as "in the best interest of the patient", possible patient (individual as in Scenarios 2 - 7) or the group perceived as being affected by a labelled individual (social environment as in Scenario 1). It does not take much observation to realise, however, that all of these cases - as different as they might seem - are actually discriminatory and not in the interest of the persons living with a 'HIV' label.

Let us now going to link briefly the above mentioned scenarios with what I perceive as the most pertinent and inclusive human rights declaration which grew out of the above mentioned and other realities persons living with a positive 'HIV-test' result face. The 1998 GENEVA DECLARATION OF PERSONS LIVING WITH A POSITIVE 'HIV-ANTIBODY' TEST RESULT.

Scenarios 1 and 2 relate to Art. 1/viii of the GD98 "right to work". Scenario 2 relates to 3/v of the GD '98 "right to assistance". All three scenarios are internationally declared human rights. Scenario 4 addresses the "right to information" GD '98 and also issued in the UNAIDS-guidelines. Scenario 5 relates to art. 1/vi and 1/vii. The protection of the family again is an internationally declared human right. While art. 1/vii is a supplemented clause issued by people who experienced state interference because of a 'HIV' label. Scenarios 6 and 7 are crucial issues generally not addressed in international human rights. The first part (freedom of choice) belongs to the field of patient rights and as such to be addressed in declaration on patient rights and medical ethics. The second part (clinical condition priority) is especially relevant in dealing with 'HIV' and AIDS. I will address issues of patient rights and medical ethics at a later stage.

The GD '98 is based on the dissenting views on 'HIV'/AIDS as well as on the mainstream ideas and is therefore unique. It is written in a matter to match international human rights language as it refers to and supplements internationally declared human rights either signed or endorsed by national governments. The two sources referred to in this declaration are the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS (UDHR) of the International Bill of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations, and the International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS And Human Rights compiled by UNAIDS and endorsed by the United Nations.

The 1998 Geneva Declaration Of Persons Living With A Positive 'HIV-antibody' Test Result

We the people living with the label 'HIV' positive and/or AIDS, with our well-being affected by policies based on scientific findings acknowledge - whilst people appropriately and inappropriately are labelled with AIDS - the following :

I:1 Both 'HIV' and AIDS evolved in a multi-billion dollar industry full of commercial interests and bias.

I:2 Information generally available does not reflect all scientific opinions on 'HIV' and/or AIDS.

I:3 There are different views in the scientific establishment on what causes AIDS.

I:4 The scientific literature documents over 60 conditions (including, pregnancy, Malaria, TB etc.) which can cause a test for 'HIV' to be positive.

I:5 The discoverer of 'HIV', Prof. Luc Montagnier from the French Pasteur Institute, has admitted that he has never 'purified' (isolated) 'HIV'. Independent research has shown that there is no proof in the scientific literature of such isolation according to the Pasteur Protocol 1973.

I:6 All so-called 'HIV'-tests have therefore yet to be validated.

I:7 Public Health interests do not conflict with our rights (see UNAIDS guidelines 15/b)

We therefore request the following of local, national and international AIDS, health and human rights authorities:

II:1 People living with a positive 'HIV' diagnosis request the right to be part of all decision making processes involving 'HIV' and AIDS on local, national and international levels.

II:2 The results of our positive tests must be kept confidential at all times in order not to put us at risk of human rights abuses.

Furthermore:

1. Protection of the Rights of persons living with a positive 'HIV' antibody test result.

i) Right to life, liberty and security of person (Art. 3, UDHR)

ii) This includes the right to privacy and protection against any form of discrimination based on one's health status including the right to freedom of association.

iii) The right to freedom of movement; the right to travel or seek citizen-ship in any country of their choice free of discrimination based of their 'HIV' status.

iv) The right to freedom of opinion and expression and the right to freely receive and impart information.

v) No person must be subject to forced testing and/or treatment or otherwise cruel or degrading treatment (see Art. 5, UDHR).

vi) People living with a positive 'HIV' diagnoses have the right to found a family, with their family being entitled to protection by society and the state (see Art. 16/3, UDHR).

vii) No child shall be removed from the custody of the mother because she is diagnosed as being 'HIV positive'. It has to be accepted as her decision if she sees breastfeeding in the best interest of her baby and herself and resists toxic treatments for herself and her new-born (see Art. 25/2, UDHR).

viii) Everyone, including persons living with a positive 'HIV' diagnosis has the right to work and participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits (see Art. 27/1, UDHR).

ix) Everyone, including persons living with a positive 'HIV' diagnosis, has the right to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this declaration and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) can be fully realised.

x) All, including persons living with a positive 'HIV' diagnosis, are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection by the law (see Art. 7, UDHR).

2. Access to all information regarding 'HIV', AIDS and treatments

i) The right to education, especially about all aspect relevant to all conditions related to 'HIV' and/or AIDS.

ii) Publicly funded medical research into relevant fields must be free from commercial and/or otherwise inappropriate interests.

iii) Hence, the health of those living long term with a positive 'HIV' antibody diagnosis should be subject of publicly funded studies.

iv) All parties financially involved in a study and/or researcher and/or laboratory must be clearly and visibly stated in writing on the study.

v) All local, national and international policies on 'HIV' and/or AIDS must refer in writing to the scientific data which is taken in consideration as the basis for the intended intervention.

vi) The media's responsibility is to report accurately and without censorship all issues regarding 'HIV' and/or AIDS and relevant treatments according to guideline 6/a of the International UN guidelines on HIV/AIDS and human rights1. Where censorship can be demonstrated it must be challenged be media regulatory bodies.

3. Right to medical care and social welfare assistance according to our choices and needs.

i) The right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

ii) Non-toxic treatments and local resources (including natural medicines and traditional medical practices) should be given at least parity of availability and research with pharmaceutical treatments.

iii) It is the responsibility of each treating practitioner, if consulted, to access all potential treatments according to his/her practice, and reveal all information (including effects and adverse effects) regarding all treatment options to his/her client.

iv) People living with a positive 'HIV' diagnosis have the right to the treatments of their choice. Treating clinical conditions should be given priority.

v) People living with a positive 'HIV' diagnosis have furthermore the rights as outlined in Art. 25/1 UDHR especially the right to adequate standard of living, assistance, medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment according to their needs and their treatment choices.

Laws and/or regulations should be enacted to enable implementation of the policy of widespread provision of information about HIV/AIDS through the mass media. This information should be aimed to the general public as well as at various vulnerable groups that may have difficulty in accessing such audience and not be in appropriately subject to censorship or other broadcasting standards'

Furthermore we refer to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UNAIDS guidelines on HIV/AIDS and human rights.

Breaching of any one or more of these requests must be viewed as putting our lives at unnecessary risk and may therefore be subject to legal prosecution.

Geneva, Switzerland, June 1998; revisions 1999

No matter what your level of knowledge on 'HIV' and AIDS is, the initially mentioned cases do not discriminate between those buying into mainstream ideas or dissenting knowledge on 'HIV'/AIDS. Hence, it must also be made very clear that no person living with a positive 'anti-HIV-antibody' test result will ever be safe as long as the 'HIV=AIDS=death-dogma' prevails. No policy will ever change as long as the pressure from people labelled and those concerned to reappraise the 'HIV'-AIDS-dogma is not successful. Informing oneself about the facts of 'HIV' and 'AIDS' might just be the first step to combat discrimination based on fraudulent science and ill-advised politics.

Michael Baumgartner <michubaga@access.ch>

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Change in the AIDS blunder will probably take place through legal action and political lobbying.
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