The AIDS Mirage

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The AIDS Mirage (ISBN 0868403423) is a 1994 book by Hiram Caton.

In this book, Caton charges Donald Francis and others at the Centers for Disease Control with "inventing a viral epidemic" in 1982 based on insufficient evidence and faulty reasoning. He blames the medical establishment and doctors for uncritically accepting and promoting Francis's theory. He describes the Gallo/Montagnier controversy between Robert Gallo and Luc Montagnier over priority of the discovery of HTLV-III as "a cameo of the science culture in which sleaze thrives" and the 23 April 1984 press conference announcing HTLV-III as the cause of AIDS as an example of "junk science".

Allusion to Dubos

The title of the book is an allusion to René Dubos's 1959 book Mirage of Health. The title also has a secondary meaning – it refers to the imaginary pool of human suffering caused by AIDS in the minds of medical practitioners, as compared to epidemiological reality. The "AIDS mirage" is then situated as part of a larger "mirage" in modern medicine – the illusion that all human suffering is bad, and the belief that medicine can and should alleviate all human suffering from the world. The inability of "wounded healers" to meet this impossible task, and the related inability of modern man to confront and accept death, have led to a crisis in Western civilization.

Caton offers a quote of Kimberly Bergalis as an example of the "curse" that patients often direct at doctors when they realise doctors cannot stop all suffering and mortality.

The publication of The AIDS Mirage attracted a great deal of media attention in Australia at the time, and Caton received a great deal of criticism from local health authorities.

The full text of The AIDS Mirage was published online in 1995 with corrections and an updated preface. This 1995 online version is available in the Documents section below.


From The AIDS Mirage

  • "On the face of it, the designation of AIDS as the most significant threat to public health is nonsense. Morbidity and mortality from AIDS is minor by comparison with other diseases. What makes it seem significant is the belief that AIDS is a viral epidemic, together with projections of HIV's spread. In that way, health authorities conjure horrific mortality rates 10-20 years down the track, not to mention unaffordable health care costs. This catastrophic vision is the AIDS mirage."
  • "When Duesberg's criticism is combined with the Royal Perth group's theory of cellular oxidative stress, and their criticism of immunoassay tests, a comprehensive view of the foul-up and the right road ahead emerges. It is this. AIDS diseases are not viral. They are caused by introduced toxins. The indicated therapy is to use reducing agents to halt the oxidisation of cells by these toxins and prevent further introduction of them."
  • "Doctors need only to inflect an anxious voice, shed some tears, and wave the 'saving lives' flag to win the applause of millions of 'spoiled children'...for projects that are manifest nonsense..."
  • "The experience of AIDS medicine tends to confirm that the origin of human suffering is anxiety of death. Its vision of calamity was not confected from the morbid anxieties of those sick to death, nor from the depths of extreme pain, but sprang from the minds of well medical scientists. The vision of mass death expresses, I have argued, the trauma of a profession that has assumed responsibilities beyond its capacity to deliver.... But we can retrace our steps, scale down our expectations of medicine, and travel the alternative path on which suffering is transfigured by its meaning. In the case of AIDS, retracing the steps places the burden of suffering on the medical profession's recognition that a phantom epidemic symbolises its misconception of the aims of medicine."

About The AIDS Mirage

  • "Although all aspects of this enormously complex problem have not been thought out in this book, it serves to begin a dialogue which we must commence in the gay community if we are ever going to liberate ourselves from a predatory biomedical establishment and a largely unsympathetic society. We will only mature as a group when enough of our members seek their deeper selves and give what they have learned back to the community. This book should be read by all those who are sincere about participating in this process." — Fred Cline (Cline 1995)


Full text

  1. Why We Need AIDS
  2. A Virus Invades The Mind
  3. The Swine Flu Epidemic: Strong Cure No Disease
  4. Donald Francis Invents a Viral Epidemic
  5. AIDS Mania
  6. Junk Science Goes Belly Up
  7. Medicine and Human Suffering



  1. Cline, Fred, 1995. Review of The AIDS Mirage, Rethinking AIDS reflector, 7 January 1995.