Larry Kramer’s Open Letter to Tony Fauci in 1988
San Francisco Examiner, June 26, 1988
Anthony Fauci, you are a murderer and should not be the guest of honor at any event that reflects on the past decade of the AIDS crisis. Your refusal to hear the screams of AIDS activists early in the crisis resulted in the deaths of thousands of Queers. Your present inaction is causing today’s increase in HIV infection outside of the Queer community. We are outraged that Project Inform, an organization that supposedly works on behalf of the infected
community, would insult us by bringing you to our city. You can’t hide the fact that you are nothing but a despicable Reagan-era holdover and drug company mouthpiece.
With 270,000 dead from AIDS and millions more infected with HIV, you should not be honored at a dinner. You should be put before a firing squad.
Clinical trials: government sanctioned mass murder of PWAs
Anthony Fauci, you are a murderer because you oversee government sponsored clinical trials that test and retest combinations of immunosuppressive, toxic therapies that kill people with HIV. The majority of U.S. clinical trials involve worthless antivirals like AZT combined with some other drug (generally another toxic antiviral). What these tests have proven is that you are able to piss away billions of dollars testing dangerous compounds that DO NOTHING to improve the quality of life, to stop opportunistic infections or to extend survival for people with HIV. AZT, 3TC, ddI, ddC, d4T and the current crop of protease inhibitors are nothing but poison. Ten years of the
plague has shown us that trying to kill the virus kills people with AIDS, and you, Dr. Fauci, know it.
How long will it take you to start focusing on the immune system, how to
boost it and how to prevent the opportunistic infections that are killing
people with AIDS? Even you admit that “the immune response against HIV is
extremely powerful and is clearly more effective than any of the therapeutic
approaches currently available in controlling virus replication.” Still , you
give your blessing to clinical trials of highly profitable toxins that
destroy PWAs’ already compromised immune systems.
CD4s and viral load: a marketing exec’s wet dream
Anthony Fauci, you are a liar because you have known for years that CD4 counts are a travesty of a surrogate marker that, through drug company
coercion, have been elevated to the status of “a standard.” Now that everyone
else knows it too, you and your corporate drug company cronies are urging
researchers to foist another useless marker, peripheral blood viral load
counts, on our frightened, desperate community. Peripheral blood viral load
fluctuates in blood circulation and offers virtually no indication of the
health or disease progression in HIV+ people. According to a recent article
in the April 1995 issue of Lancet concerning viral replication, “the
principle that virus suppression will produce a major clinical benefit must
remain an article of faith.” Information like that isn’t stopping doctors of
death like Marcus Conant from insisting that “patients should be treated
earlier with combination therapy, and we should be using markers such as PCR
and branched DNA to measure viral load as surrogate markers in clinical
Your scheme isn’t too difficult to figure out; promote another invalid
surrogate marker that has no relation to health or life expectancy of PWAs;
develop a test that costs $200-$300 to measure this invalid marker; encourage
the creation of more deadly drugs that effect this invalid marker; and then
compare the pathetic results you get from these deadly drugs to the more
pathetic results you got from AZT and other nukes. In the eyes of the
government everybody wins. Companies that sell drugs and market tests get
rich and PWAs who sacrifice their bodies in your trials of death are
eliminated from the face of the earth.
The fact that your clinical trials aren’t meant to save our lives is no
secret. A December 1994 BETA article “A Remarkable Combination: AZT plus 3TC”
reports that the Phase II/III studies of these drugs were “designed to
evaluate the effect of the combination on laboratory markers of HIV disease
progression, such as viral load and CD4 counts, not critical endpoints, such
as opportunistic infections and survival.”
AIDS activists from ACT UP San Francisco and DNCB Now! have been screaming
for over a year that HIV+ people need to activate their cell mediated
immunity and raise their CD8 counts. These activists were invited to the NIH
to present a forum and share their knowledge and experience with researchers.
Finally some researchers are coming around and hearing our voices. Doctors
like Susan Buchbinder who in the August 1994 issue of AIDS stated that
“elevated levels of CD8 cells in healthy long-term HIV+ individuals suggest
that these cells play an important role in delaying disease progression.”
Because of your 1995 Annual Review of Immunology article we know that you
know this, Dr. Fauci, but still you prattle on about those CD4s that tell us
nothing at all.
Selling out: from “Murderer” to “Tony”
One thing that 10 years of the plague has taught us is how easily people and
organizations can be bought off. You are one of those people, Dr. Fauci.
Project Inform is one of those organizations. During this time of crisis you
are complacent; part of a government bureaucracy that values thriving
pharmaceutical company entrepreneurism over the health of people with HIV.
You are a pill-pushing pimp that cooperates with drug companies in forcing
dangerous concoctions down the throats of a desperate community that is
brainwashed into believing that taking a pill, any pill, will help them. AIDS
drugs are not sold to help people, they are sold to make a profit. The
situation is so out of control that drug companies now create and sell drugs
like Marinol, a synthetic derivative of the natural compound marijuana.
The conflict of interest, so apparent between you and the pharmaceutical
corporations, has now been embraced by those in the AIDS community who claim
that they are leaders. In their present state, organizations like Project
Inform, San Francisco AIDS Foundation, and ACT UP Golden Gate are all so
embroiled in conflict of interest that they must be viewed as enemies by
PWAs. Project Inform is still pushing AZT. San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s
BETA reads like a promo piece for Glaxo. And many of today’s so-called AIDS
activists are nothing more than public relations representatives whose job it
is to create a demand for the latest overpriced cure du jour. In the
meantime, grassroots efforts like the AIDS Cure Act are assailed by these
sellout AIDS organizations that have no desire to ever see a cure.
Ten years of hope? Fuck that. Try a decade of death and greed. Go back to Washington, you bastard.