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Man-Made AIDS & The Scientific Cover-Up

© 2014 by Alan Cantwell, MD


There is good reason why the “AIDS is a man-made disease” conspiracy theory refuses to go away. It certainly makes more sense than the official theory claiming AIDS came from Africa where  a hunter in the bush cut himself butchering monkey or chimpanzee meat  sometime  around the 1930s. This supposedly resulted in the introduction  of a primate immunodeficiency virus (now renamed HIV —the human immunodeficiency virus)  into the black African population. From that incident the epidemic purportedly evolved via sex, dirty needles, and urbanization to produce a pandemic in the 1980s  that has killed more that 30 million people.

Over the past thirty years, a few diehard health professionals, including Robert Strecker MD, Leonard G. Horowitz DMD, and this author have provided evidence in videos, books, and Internet reports suggesting that the man-made theory is, in actuality,  the most plausible theory of all. This theory is not based on magical  thinking  and paranoia. It is based on  facts systematically ignored and hidden from public view by AIDS scientists and  the media.

The AIDS epidemic in the U.S. began in Manhattan in 1979 when young, healthy, primarily white men began to sicken and die in large numbers. The introduction  of HIV exclusively into this select sexual minority in a distinct geographical locality can only be logically explained by a serious analysis of a government-sponsored vaccine experiment in gay men in Manhattan which quickly led to the first cases of the “the gay plague.” Most significantly, the   vaccine injected into homosexuals was developed in laboratory chimpanzees, the primate that carries an immunodeficiency retrovirus most closely related to HIV.



Beginning in 1974, the New York Blood Center in Manhattan solicited 8,906 gay men for a hepatitis B vaccine research study. More than 10,000 blood samples were donated by homosexuals willing to participate in the development of a vaccine that might prevent hepatitis B, an STD (sexually transmitted disease)  disproportionately  affecting  sexually-active homosexuals. Eventually, 1,083 gay  men  were  recruited to be injected with the experimental hepatitis B vaccine at the Center.

In the months before the experiment, the vaccine underwent preliminary testing on 200 physicians at New York Medical Center, and 28 employees of Merck & Co, which made most of the vaccine The first group of   gay men was inoculated in November 1978. Each man got an initial dose of vaccine, then  a  repeat dose a  month  after, and a final inoculation six months later. All  were asked to donate blood samples for two years after the three injections. Over a period of months, all  1,083 men would be injected. Half the men were given the vaccine; the  other half served as the control group and were given useless placebo injections. Additional experimental hep B vaccine trials, all using gay men, were conducted in 1979 and 1980 in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver and St. Louis.

This experiment at the Center ended in September 1980. The success rate in preventing hepatitis B in the group receiving the vaccine was 92.3%. In May 1981, the men in the placebo group  were offered a chance to take the vaccine. As a result, an additional 270 men were inoculated. Because men in the vaccine-recipient  group and the placebo group were now both inoculated with the vaccine, it would no longer be possible to compare the two groups in terms of future HIV rates. Because the experiment was confidential and anonymous, the fate of the individual men in terms of dying from AIDS in  the  future could never be ascertained. 


 The first AIDS cases were uncovered in Manhattan in 1979, a few months after the experiment began. The hallmarks of the new immunodeficiency disease, initially found only in young gay men, were a rare form of cancer known as  Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) and a rare form of pneumonia, caused by a yeast-like fungus. In   June 1981, after 41 cases of this gay disease were reported to the CDC, the AIDS epidemic became official. By the end of 1981 there were 160 cumulative cases from New York City; a decade later,  9,000 cases. The early cases were termed gay related immune deficiency disease.

After a blood test for HIV was devised in 1985, the stored gay blood specimens at the Center were re-examined. This HIV testing revealed that by the end of 1979, 6.6% of 378 men who had been "hepatitis B trial participants" or who had donated blood in the experiment at the Center were already HIV-positive. By 1981 when the epidemic became official, 20% of the men were infected! (This was also at a time when the African AIDS epidemic was unknown.) A letter to the New England Journal of Medicine (May 12, 1983) by  the Center’s Cladd E Stevens noted no increased incidence of AIDS in recipients of the hep B vaccine; and only two men in the group had been diagnosed with the disease. But by 1984 over 40% of the trial participants were  HIV-positive, making this the most infected group in the world!

These  shocking statistics were reported in the JAMA medical journal in 1986 by Cladd Stevens et al. ( This is the most important follow-up paper to come out of the Center because it documents the increasing incidence of HIV in the men in the experiment after 1978. Strangely, this landmark paper is not cited on the PubMed website, hosted by the National Library of Medicine, and the primary source for researchers of scientific literature.

The CDC concluded in  its  Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, dated Dec 14, 1984, that the  hepatitis B vaccine was safe-and that  "epidemiologic monitoring of AIDS cases and high-risk groups confirms the lack of AIDS transmission." When later studies revealed the high incidence of HIV in these men, as noted above, there was no comment by the CDC. It is current scientific consensus that the gay experiment had nothing to do with introducing HIV into homosexuals. After the experiment at the Center, New York City quickly became the epicenter for   the American epidemic. One hundred thousand New Yorkers have died of AIDS, and more that 100,000 New Yorkers are now living with HIV/AIDS.


The hepatitis  B vaccine was developed by famous Merck vaccine maker Maurice Hilleman (1919-2005) from the pooled blood of 300 highly sexually-active  gay men and intravenous drug abusers from Manhattan in 1977. The blood of these men carried the  hepatitis virus Hilleman required to manufacture his vaccine. Before the vaccine was ready for human use, it was tested in chimps and took  65 weeks to make. In 1977 there were no  AIDS  cases, no KS in young men,   and no  stored American blood  that tested positive for HIV.

In  VACCINATED  (2007) Paul Offit, a pediatrician  and  vaccine developer for Merck, insists the gay vaccine was safe. He theorizes that although "HIV was likely present in the blood from which he made early preparations of his vaccine, Hilleman's choice of pepsin, urea, and formaldehyde had completely destroyed it." Nevertheless, when the vaccine was later released for public use, few people wanted to take it because of its connection to AIDS. A new commercial method of manufacture was then devised.

Can we trust Offit that the vaccine was not contaminated? Offit claims  the American blood supply was heavily contaminated with HIV in the mid-1970s. He offers no documentation for this statement, nor are there any studies (or epidemic AIDS cases) which document this. In actuality, the earliest HIV-positive stored blood specimens in the U.S. date back to 1978-1979, and  are those deposited by gays at the Center. There may be one exception to this. According to VIRUS HUNTERS OF THE CDC  (1996), author Joseph McCormick states six hundred blood specimens from Zaire, Africa, were sent  to the CDC  in 1976 during the Ebola virus outbreak. When re-tested for HIV in the mid-1980s, five of the specimens were positive. This suggests that HIV was already being passed around in American animal virus research laboratories before the outbreak of AIDS in Manhattan and Africa.

Offit is critical of my research and writings, noting that "The publisher of Alan Cantwell's book, Aries Rising Press, was founded by Cantwell himself to promote his uninformed views on the origin of the AIDS epidemic." Unlike Offit, I never claimed that HIV was contained  in Hilleman's  gay blood brew in 1977. Yet, he insists (without evidence) that HIV first entered the U.S. a few years before Hilleman began working on his vaccine. Offit believes Hilleman would be "the first (and last) to use human blood to make a vaccine. He didn't know until years later that  the  blood   was heavily contaminated with HIV." For more details on the hep B vaccine controversy, read Leonard Horowitz’s ‘Early hepatitis B vaccine and the man-made origin of AIDS’ (2002), available on-line.


Hidden from view in the out of Africa scenario of AIDS is the revelation that the NY Blood Center in 1974 established Vilab II, a little-known chimp research lab in Robertsville, Liberia, West Africa. Alfred Prince,  a  hepatitis researcher and virologist at the Center,  was also the Director of  Vilab  from 1975 to 2000. The captured chimpanzees, the only nonhuman species susceptible to hepatitis B, were purposefully infected with the hepatitis virus in order to develop vaccines for human use. In 1978 Vilab began to release some chimps back into the wild. The Blood Center disbanded the lab in 2006.

HIV is not the first primate virus to be widely introduced into the human population. Maurice Hilleman was well aware of simian (primate)  viruses contaminating vaccines, having personally discovered Simian virus-40 in 1960 in polio vaccines. SV-40 is a cancer-causing green monkey virus that  was injected into millions of people worldwide beginning in the 1950s via the polio vaccine. SV-40 was also used extensively to induce cancer tumors in  lab  animals, as part of the largely forgotten Special Virus Cancer Program (1964-1980), which preceded AIDS. For more details, see my article ‘The virus cancer program; the birthplace of AIDS and the Kaposi’s sarcoma epidemic’ (2005), on-line. 

In a YouTube  video entitled "Merck chief brings HIV/AIDS to America”, posted by Horowitz,  Hilleman is heard telling his colleagues, "I brought African greens [monkeys] in. I didn't know we were importing AIDS virus at the time [i.e., between 1970-1974]. His colleagues are heard laughing. Someone says, "It was you who introduced AIDS virus in." This shocking interview was cut from a TV documentary based on Edward Shorter's book THE HEALTH CENTURY  (1987). However, Hilleman's assertion gives further credence to the conspiratorial view  that  the most likely source of HIV was from a laboratory primate used in research, and not from the wilds of Africa in the 1930s. 

The close association   between  the   gay experiment and the outbreak of AIDS can hardly be denied. June Goodfield, in  QUEST FOR THE KILLERS (1985), emphasizes the dangers of the experiment, due to the pooling of the blood and possible contamination of the vaccine. She reveals that  some of the vaccine was made by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). "Was something wrong with the vaccine, possibly contamination? This was no theoretical fear, contamination having been suspected in one vaccine batch made by the National Institutes of Health, though never in Merck's."


The  development of the hepatitis B vaccine has a  dark history that  precedes AIDS. Less than a decade before the gay experiment, sixty mentally retarded children at Willowbrook State School, on Staten Island, New York,  were fed live hepatitis B virus. In another experiment, the serum from a patient with hepatitis B was injected   intravenously   into 25 retarded children with dire results. According to Hilleman, "They were the most unethical medical experiments ever performed in children in the Unites States."

The history of covert human experimentation in the 20th century, which likely continues up to the present, is indeed shameful.  For the morbid details, Google: human medical experimentation. Worthy  of  mention  is one recent revelation  uncovered by Susan Reverby in 2010, quite by accident,  while researching the notorious Tuskegee Syphilis  study. This chilling  and unethical experiment was sponsored by the U.S. Public Health Service (now the CDC), the National Institutes of Health and the Pan American Health Sanitary Bureau (now the World Health Organization's Pan American Health Organization) and the Guatemalan government. According to the Wikipedia entry, In a 1946 to 1948 study in Guatemala, U.S. researchers used prostitutes to infect prison inmates, insane asylum patients, and Guatemalan soldiers with syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases, in order to test the effectiveness of penicillin in treating sexually transmitted diseases. They later tried infecting people with "direct inoculations made from syphilis bacteria poured into the men's penises and on forearms and faces that were slightly abraded . . . or in a few cases through spinal punctures. The  study was sponsored by the U.S. Public Health Service (now the CDC), the National Institutes of Health and the Pan American Health Sanitary Bureau (now the World Health Organization's Pan American Health Organization) and the Guatemalan government. Eighty-three people died.


Man-made AIDS has always been a taboo subject for scientists, who simply dismiss it as conspiracy theory. However, the cut-hunter theory is so full of holes, it amazes me when doctors accept it without question. For example, HIV/AIDS is an STD. If one believes the epidemic started in Africa among heterosexuals, why were the first American cases of AIDS exclusively found in homosexuals in Manhattan? How could a black  heterosexual African STD be exclusively transformed into a white gay man’s disease? Common sense would indicate that this is a biologically impossibility; and there is no epidemiological evidence for this. The first U.S. epidemic cases were reported in 1979, but HIV-discoverer Luc Montagnier,  in his book VIRUS (1999), says the  African epidemic did not begin until the Autumn of 1982 at the earliest. He also emphasizes that tracing the origin of epidemic AIDS cases is not the same as tracing the origin of its primate virus cause. The chimp virus may have an ancient history, but the AIDS epidemic traces back to the late 1970s at the earliest. There is also a genetic difference in virus subtype between HIV in Africa (subtypes A,C,D)  and HIV (subtype B) in America. Leading AIDS researcher Max Essex suggests that subtype B spreads more rapidly with anal sex; the African types spread more easily via vaginal intercourse.


AIDS conspiracies began in earnest in 1985 when a commentary from a Moscow radio station concluded that the AIDS epidemic had been caused  by  experiments carried out in the U.S.A. as part of the development of new biological weapons. The accusation harks back to a 1969 Congressional hearing on biological warfare capabilities when Donald MacArthur revealed that “within the next 5 to 10 years, it would be possible to make a new infective microorganism which would differ in certain important aspects from any known disease-causing organisms. Most important of these is   that it might be refractory to the immunologic and therapeutic processes upon which we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infectious disease.”

On May 11, 1987, an article entitled ‘Smallpox vaccine triggered AIDS virus,’ appeared on the front-page of the London Times. Science editor Pierce Wright suggested that African AIDS was a direct result of the World Health Organization's smallpox eradication vaccine program conducted in the 1970s. Robert Gallo was quoted as saying, "The link between the WHO program and the epidemic is an interesting and important hypothesis. I cannot say that it actually happened, but I have been saying for some years that the use of live vaccines such as that used for smallpox can activate a dormant infection such as HIV (the AIDS virus)."The Times report is one of the most important stories ever printed on the AIDS epidemic; yet the story was killed and never appeared in the major media in the U.S.

In October 1987, AND THE BAND PLAYED ON,  by gay news reporter Randy Shilts,  was published to great acclaim. Despite exposing the government’s tepid response to the mass deaths in the gay community, the book is probably best remembered for promoting the story of patient Zero —the Canadian airline steward who, according to Shilts, brought AIDS from Paris to New York and “played a key role in spreading the new virus from one end of the U.S. to the other.” Zero’s  real name  was Gaetan Dugas, who had early symptoms of AIDS for a year before being diagnosed with KS in June 1980 in New York. He died 4 years later.

The major media, the tabloids, and even the medical journals,   had a field day with the story, that has since been debunked. The AMA publication American Medical News (October 23) fell for Shilts’s literary fantasy, reiterating that Dugas may have brought AIDS to the U.S. As already noted, 20% of the men in the hep B experiment were HIV-positive when Dugas was diagnosed in 1980, making the accusations against him  ridiculous. The lurid accounts in the media of the dead man serve as examples of how easily so-called AIDS “facts” become propaganda that are then used for various political, scientific, social, and moral agendas.

On Gaetan Dugas’s Wikipedia page, a new Patient Zero dating back to 1969 is now claimed to be Robert Rayford, a 16 year old black teenager from St. Louis who died of KS in 1969. Microbiologist Memory Elvin-Lewis,  who studied Robert’s case, proclaimed to American Medical News (Dec 11, 1987) that  she was sure other cases existed in the 1960s, “but the disease didn’t take hold. The real epidemic required the excesses of the sexual revolution of the 1970s. That condition was met when gay promiscuity and drug addiction  gave the virus the amplification it needed to survive.” Several other old cases, one later debunked as a case of viral tissue contamination, appeared over the years in the major media in the continuing attempt to change the AIDS origin timeline well before the gay experiment in 1978. Some of these include a white sailor from Manchester, England, who died in 1959;  and the most  cited ­ an unidentified Bantu man from the Belgian Congo,  also in 1959,  whose stored blood contained fragments of HIV.

At best, these scattered rare cases over a period of 20 years are an unlikely source of a new immunodeficiency disease and KS epidemic in gay men. What is prominently absent are proven cases from Africa in the 1960s and 70s, even though KS  (the so-called gay cancer of AIDS) has been a well-known common form of cancer in Central Africa in the decades before HIV/AIDS.  

Despite the blackout of  a serious discussion of man-made AIDS in medical journals and in the mainstream media (and even in the gay media), a poll of 1,300 adult Americans released in March 2014 by the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine reveals that half of all Americans believe in one or more medical conspiracies.   When people were specifically asked about “the widely circulated theory that the CIA deliberately infected African Americans with the HIV virus as part of the hepatitis inoculation program,” authors J Eric Oliver and Thomas Weed found that just over half of those polled rejected this statement. But 12% agreed, and 37% said they were unsure. Because medical conspiracy theories are so popular, the authors caution it would be unwise to dismiss all those who believe them as a "delusional fringe of paranoid cranks." Instead, "we can recognize that most individuals who endorse these narratives are otherwise normal" but use a sort of cognitive shortcut to explain complex and confusing events.” 

In an Internet response to the barrage of media coverage, Leonard  Horowitz posted : “I especially oppose the fraudulent diagnosis heralded by Oliver and Weed that most individuals who endorse these medical conspiracy theories   are ‘otherwise normal,’ but ‘use a sort of cognitive shortcut to explain complex and confusing events.’  The major ‘cognitive shortcut’  is  the fraudulent conclusions drawn by the authors in their polling statement: The CIA deliberately infected large numbers of African Americans with HIV under the guise of a hepatitis inoculation program.’” Horowitz claims no  reasonably informed person would answer ‘yes’  to such a false and misleading question. “As noted by Dr. Cantwell, no legitimate social scientist would have drafted this deceptive CIA/AIDS question, since the targeted population in America was not African Americans, but mainly and initially gay men in New York City.”


In October 2000 the Royal Society of London held a two-day conference on the origins of HIV. The man-made theory was not discussed. One professor simply declared: "All human infectious diseases have an animal origin." The "Last Word" at the conference was that "all human viral infections were initially zoonotic (animal) in origin. Animals will always provide a reservoir for viruses that could threaten human populations in the future." The scientists predicted: "There is still a myriad of current unknown viruses in animal populations on land, sea, and air with the potential to cause human disease."

But what about dangerous animal  viruses  forcibly transferred between species and adapted to human cells in various laboratories as part of the Special Virus Cancer Program (1964-1980)? And the human cancerous tissue and blood routinely pumped into primates?  That was never considered.

In the July 2000 issue of Lancet, virologist and primatologist Preston Marx states: "There is no evidence that a person can contract AIDS from a monkey or chimpanzee". He agrees that HIV   originated from an immunodeficiency virus found in African non-human primates. However, the assumption that AIDS is a zoonosis, meaning a disease of animals that can be transmitted to humans, is incorrect. "We do not know what launches animal viruses to become epidemic in humans,” says Marx. “Much is known about emerging viruses, but almost nothing is known about emerging viral diseases.” His views certainly cast doubt on the cut-hunter theory.


Did HIV originate in  primates held captive in a virus laboratory? Was AIDS a covert biological warfare experiment tested  on gays and African blacks? Such questions are never asked or answered by AIDS scientists. However, well-known to insiders are the embarrassing primate virus contamination problems which plagued Robert Gallo's virus lab at the National Cancer Institute, and Max Essex's lab at Harvard. Both men initially proposed the original African green monkey theory of  HIV/AIDS  origin, now shown to be erroneous.

A case in point is Gallo's reported 1975 "discovery" of a "new" and "human" virus reported in scientific journals as "HL-23." This virus was eventually proven to be not one, but three different contaminating ape viruses (gibbon-ape virus, simian sarcoma virus and baboon endogenous virus). Gallo says he has no idea how these viruses contaminated his research.

Essex had similar woes. In 1986 he announced the discovery of a new human AIDS virus (HTLV-4). This human virus bore a striking similarity to a monkey retrovirus known as STLV-3. In February 1988, Essex's new human HTLV-4 virus turned out to be a monkey virus that accidentally contaminated his human blood samples. The source of the contamination was traced back to blood samples from a monkey that was experimentally infected by an AIDS-like virus at the New England Regional Primate Research Center. Carol Mulder of the University of Massachusetts Medical School cautioned: "This episode should serve as a strong warning for all virologists to check any newly discovered viruses against viruses present in the laboratory."

In 1994, a new herpes virus was discovered and accepted as the cause of all forms of Kaposi’s sarcoma (first recognized in 1872 in Vienna). Scientists explained that two separate epidemics had actually occurred in gay men. One due to HIV; the other to the KS herpes virus-8. How two viruses were introduced exclusively into the gay population at the same time was not discussed. Virologists simply again claimed HIV  and the KS herpes-8 virus were both related to ancestor viruses found in primates in the African wild.

Chimps  were extensively used by the aforementioned Special Virus Cancer Program because ethical considerations would not allow official testing of animal cancer viruses on humans. Conspiracy theorists believe the Program, with its special connections to the biological warfare establishment,  is the most likely birthplace of AIDS. The ultimate goal of the Program was the laboratory production of so-called human candidate viruses, defined as animal or human viruses that might cause cancer in humans. HIV is a primate-derived cancer-causing virus.

In 1967 Herpesvirus saimiri, a harmless squirrel monkey virus closely related to the new KS herpes-8 virus, was forced into different lab animals where it produced cancer in the form of malignant lymphoma, now a common AIDS-related cancer. A few years later, the virus was seeded into laboratory cell lines of human origin.

Certain herpes viruses, like H. saimiri,  were utilized as “helper viruses.” Scientists knew that some cancer-causing animal sarcoma viruses could not produce cancer unless a helper virus was also present. The introduction of a cancer-causing virus (HIV)  and a helper virus like the KS herpes virus into gay men supplied the proof that animal viruses could indeed cause cancer in humans. This proof was the ultimate goal of the Special Virus Cancer Program.

From the very beginning of AIDS most research focused on discovering a new virus as the probable cause. At the time, I was studying bacteria that I discovered in cases of pre-AIDS “classic KS.” My own dermatologic KS research publications, originally dating back to 1981, later showed bacteria in KS tumors in gay men, as well as similar bacteria in an autopsied KS case.  These reports have all been ignored by the AIDS establishment. (See the on-line article, “It’s the bacteria, stupid!” by Lawrence Broxmeyer and Alan Cantwell, 2008)

Animal retroviruses  were discovered in the early 1970s;  and the first human retroviruses were discovered the same year (1979) the first cases of AIDS were reported. Is it just a coincidence that AIDS began soon after gay men were injected with vaccines made by Merck and the National Institutes of Health (both with close ties to the biological warfare community)? Were the primate ancestors of HIV and the KS herpes virus contained in some vials of the hep B vaccine? Was it a coincidence that the epidemic initially infected the most hated minority in the country—and only a few years after homosexuals were no longer considered as mentally ill?

Is there a scientific cover-up to squash evidence supporting the man-made theory of AIDS and the ensuing deaths of 30 million people? Of course there is. That's why it's The Greatest Medical Conspiracy Story Ever Told.

(Alan Cantwell is a retired dermatologist who has written about man-made AIDS for 26 years. His books, AIDS & the Doctors of Death; and Queer Blood, are available from


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