About Kelly Brogan

KELLY BROGAN, MD, is a holistic psychiatrist, author of the New York Times Bestselling book, A Mind of Your Own, Own Your Self, the children’s book, A Time For Rain, and co-editor of the landmark textbook Integrative Therapies for Depression.

Editorial note: As a physician trained to regard informed consent around pharmaceuticals, I believe there can never be too much information provided to women who must make decisions about exposing their future children to medications. The pharmaceutical industry and its minions were apparently so threatened by the article you are about to read that they devoted years of trolling on my platform and also in media sources that you may think are beyond the reach of corporate corruption. Back by popular demand (and with even more primary medical literature links!), here is the information they really hope that you never hear.

There are very few absolutes in this human experience. This seems inevitable given our limited cognitive capacity to apprehend a potentially limitlessly complex reality.

We are often wrong, never in doubt.

It is perfectly okay to be wrong; in fact, that is what science is fundamentally about: a continual reckoning with inconsistencies and contradictions that reveal the tortuous path to truth. If we had all the answers, there would be no need for scientific experiments. What has happened to science, however, is thatit has become scientism, an ideological system of assumptions that render it dogma...complete with taboos that are never to be spoken of, addressed, or researched. The minds on the frontlines of research are strangled by government funding sources that prize profitable outcomes, by journals bought by industry, and by the reflexive moralistic condemnation of anyone seeking to make inquiries into the status quo.

This medical-scientific-industrial marriage has brought us many a meme that we hold on to societally as unquestioned truths:

Record scratch.

You can’t say that! Everyone knows HIV causes AIDS and then kills you! Since Gallo proclaimed HIV to be the cause of AIDS in 1984,1 you might be surprised to learn how many scientific questions remain unanswered.

I want to zoom in on a population near and dear to my heart: women of reproductive age. As I watch pregnant women and their unborn be targeted for unstudied interventions leveraged by paternalistic medical practitioners who seek to co-opt these women’s inner compasses – to take advantage of their unstoppable will to protect their offspring – I see a pattern repeating in the sands of time.

A theory is born – a hypothesis – predicated on the fundamental deficiencies of the human body, its broken nature, and its vital dependency on adding in chemicals for survival. In the interest of fast-tracking pharmaceutical products to an eager market, basic scientific standards - such as eliminating conflicts of interest and placebo controlled trials - are abandoned, or even deemed unethical. We attribute the toxicity of medication and various treatments to the disease process itself - or to other incidental variables - because we have barely observed the natural course of a now-labeled pathology, ultimately giving pharmaceutical companies a wide berth to harm us, and even kill us in the name of a 24 billion dollar annual return.2

The trial that gave the green light to medicate pregnant women

This was the case with a now infamous, but little-publicized perinatal trial of the drug nevirapine to prevent transmission of HIV from mother to baby. An NIH-funded trial staged in Uganda called HIVNET 0123 was said to demonstrate a 50% decrease in transmission. This trial set the stage for world-wide drug dissemination and coercion of women like Joyce Ann Hafford to their death. In this trial, there was no placebo group, but there were cooked books, misconduct, suppressed signals of harm, conflicts of interest, and all of the ingredients we have come to know from Dr. Thompson’s CDC whistleblowing. In her notorious piece, Out of Control, Celia Farber reports the sordid history of HIV medications and treatments in an act of investigative bravery. In her relentless expose, she references a letter from Dr. Valendar Turner, a surgeon at the Department of Health in Perth, Australia:

“561 African women taking no antivirals transmitted HIV at a rate of 12 percent. Had nevirapine been asked to compete with that placebo group, it would have lost. As it was, there was no placebo group, so HIVNET’s results are a statistical trick, a shadow play, in which success is measured against another drug and not against a placebo group.”

The lack of true placebo is also common practice in vaccination trials such as those for Gardasil, also marketed to women and girls. Because of this tactical strategy, high baseline rates of “serious adverse events” are dismissed as being “not statistically significant” since they occur equally in both groups - since both groups are testing drugs. In the HIVNET trial, “the rate of occurrence of serious adverse events in the two groups was similar up to the 18-month visit (19.8% in the ZDV group and 20.5% in the NVP group).” Wait - twenty percent of infants had serious adverse events?? Does that concern anyone?! I suppose not, if the “placebo” exhibited similar risk.

This fact would be less concerning if this trial were not the “empirical” foundation behind treating pregnant women around the world with antiretrovirals - and the reasoning underlying corollary recommendations such as clinical statements that women with HIV should not breastfeed (playing right into the formula industry, playing into a lifetime relationship with the pharmaceutical domino effect). Reporting on the findings of molecular biologist Dr. Peter Duesberg and others, Farber raises questions about assumptions we have come to believe are truths:

Is HIV really a deadly diagnosis?

Several factors suggest that the HIV diagnosis process is rife with inconsistencies. For example, Farber references the likelihood of false positive testing in pregnancy,4 the unstandardized lab ranges from country to country, and the abandonment of even those criteria in Africa where an HIV diagnosis can be conferred based on symptoms like malaise and diarrhea alone. Is it possible that the presence of antibodies to HIV are simply an artifact that we do not yet understand? Perhaps this is why hundreds of thousands who have been diagnosed with HIV have remained perfectly healthy - for many years - and why early predictions of the HIV virus decimating sub-Saharan African populations have not turned out to be true. To the contrary, the population there has exploded in recent years.5

Do we know that HIV causes AIDS?

Similar to mental illnesses, AIDS is a syndrome of more than 25 diseases, not a disease entity itself. We risk tautology (saying the same thing in different ways) when part of the definition of AIDS is the presence of detected HIV antibodies, since a person with circulating HIV antibodies is not necessarily sick, nor do we know that they will become so (since naturalistic studies that controlled for lifestyle factors such as recreational drug abuse, have not been done). Ultimately, since the diagnosis of AIDS has been defined by the detection of HIV antibodies, we have not needed to scientifically establish causality. You would be hard pressed to find a mechanistic study showing how the HIV virus translates into AIDS symptoms.

Because of this lack of causality, two people presenting with symptoms of a given disease in the long list of AIDS-defining illnesses may be given totally different diagnoses. For instance, if one also happens to be HIV positive, they are labeled with AIDS, and the other is simply diagnosed with the presenting diseases themselves (ie Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) or Kaposi’s sarcoma). The hexing power of the AIDS diagnosis is, of course, not to be lightly dismissed as we learn more about the power of the nocebo effect to negatively influence the immune system. And we cannot dismiss the myriad lifestyle and epigenetic factors that contribute to severe immunosuppression.

We also know that this immunosuppression - including the syndrome characterizing AIDS - can emerge in the absence of HIV positive results (as studied in ICU patients, pregnant patients, and others).6 7 8 9 It turns out that the cause of low CD4 T cell counts and role of HIV in the destruction of the immune system (T cells) is still under investigation.10 Seems like there are some significant questions still remaining in the realm of causality.

Not unlike revisiting the role of serotonin in theories of depression, or rogue genetics in cancer, our increasing understanding of the immune system as the connective tissue between the gut, the brain, and our hormones, begs renewed investigation into so many reductionist disease models.

Is the treatment actually driving perceptions of the illness?

Perhaps the symptoms we associate with AIDS result from the antiretroviral drugs, not from the HIV virus. Indeed, published studies suggest that the drug toxicity associated with AIDS treatment may very well the driver of the majority of deaths.11 12 13 In the words of Matt Irwin, MD,14 “Many drugs regularly used to treat people diagnosed as HIV-positive have severe immunosuppressive effects, as well as other serious adverse effects. These include corticosteroids, AZT, other drugs in the same class as AZT, certain antibiotics, and protease inhibitors...corticosteroids induce immunosuppression that is claimed to be caused by HIV, with lowered CD4 counts and sparing of CD8 cells as well as sparing of antibody production.”

Glaxo Wellcome puts the following warning in bold-faced, capital letters at the start of the section in the 1999 Physician's Desk Reference that describes AZT (a common antiretroviral drug originally developed for cancer).15


An earlier version of the Physician's Desk Reference, published in 1992, made the connection even clearer:

It is often difficult to distinguish adverse events possibly associated with Zidovudine (AZT) administration from underlying signs of HIV disease or intercurrent illness. (PDR 1992)

The 1996 edition of the United States Pharmacopeia's USP DI: Drug Information for the Health Care Professional states:

Because of the complexity of this disease state, it is often difficult to differentiate between the manifestations of HIV infection -sic- and the manifestations of zidovudine (AZT). In addition, very little placebo controlled data is available to assess this difference. (United States 1996, pages 3032-3034)

Another recent study found that the antiretroviral drug Elvitegravir may severely damage the adaptive immune cells, namely, B cells, likely contributing to chronic immunosuppression.16

Dr. Duesberg has devoted decades of research (here he is speaking to it on Joe Rogan) to exposing these simple question:

If HIV causes AIDS, why have thousands of AIDS victims never had HIV?

Why have hundreds of thousands who have had HIV - for many years - remained perfectly healthy?

Why does the discoverer of the HIV virus now claim it cannot be the sole cause of AIDS?

Why has more than ten years of AIDS research - costing tens of billions of dollars - failed to show how (or even if) HIV causes AIDS or attacks the immune system?

He points out that, as in the case of the vaccination program, there has never been a true trial of untreated vs. treated (with current cocktails) outcomes in the setting of HIV positivity.

Additionally, because medications with unacknowledged toxicity lead to new and separate diagnoses and medications, it is no surprise that a diagnosis of HIV and associated antiretroviral treatment can lead to a number of psychiatric diagnoses and associated medication-based interventions. In my days of conventional psychiatry, I authored an indexed paper on the complexity of applying psychiatric medications to the vulnerable population of individuals labeled with HIV/AIDS. Toxic medications beget toxic medications.

It’s time to allow science to interrogate some foundational assumptions

In reference to further vaccine safety research, Dr. Bernadine Healy, former head of the NIH, is quoted:

“No one should be threatened by the pursuit of this knowledge.”

Is it possible that, like psychotropics, these medications themselves are exacerbating, propagating, and even inducing the very syndrome they purport to resolve?

To my mind, HIV/AIDS and the application of associated medication treatments, seems to fit neatly into a model I have already worked to expose around psychotropics:

  • Diverse causes and drivers (etiology) of a syndrome
  • Proclamation declaration of the one cause leading to orthodoxy
  • Escalation of use without substantiating safety or efficacy science
  • Medications that drive the very presenting pathology
  • Powerful media-driven nocebo (diagnosis harms) and placebo (pills help in the short term because of belief in them)
  • Intolerance to any inquiry around orthodox assumptions
  • Non-integration of new scientific models of immunity, dismissal of inconvenient findings

Embrace the complexity of root cause drivers, question the one right fix, heal your way

Celia Farber also references the role of vitamin A in HIV transmission,17 if we are to accept the clinical relevance of this concern, and how unacknowledged the role of nutrition is in infectious disease – stating that before the discovery of niacin and vitamin C, pellagra, Keshan’s, and scurvy were thought to be contagious.
Her words are more apt than ever:

“America is a place where people rarely say: Stop. Extreme and unnatural things happen all the time, and nobody seems to know how to hit the brakes. In this muscular, can-do era, we are particularly prone to the seductions of the pharmaceutical industry, which has successfully marketed its ever growing arsenal of drugs as the latest American right. The buzzword is “access,” which has the advantage of short- circuiting the question of whether the drugs actually work, and of utterly obviating the question of whether they are even remotely safe.”

While I recognize the hypocrisy in using my mind to help unearth truths while proclaiming our fundamental limitations as thinkers, there is an abuse of ideas, and it is the people who blindly accept them who are experiencing harm and suffering where there might have been something entirely more benign if we just gathered more information. Information not corrupted by a profit-driven apparatus that puts its gains before our welfare. Through the lens of human ecology, we see that forcing a system to adapt to a pharmaceutical grade chemical is a misguided assault on their very humanity. We must protect our most vulnerable from this assault, lest we look back on these transgressions with blinding shame.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6200936
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27312723
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK22293/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28872277
  5. http://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/10/30/hivaids-indeed-colossal-catastrophe
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6605684
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8818839
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7587233
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9883844
  10. https://kellybroganmd.com/blog/hiv-pregnancy-pharma-abusing-women/#
  11. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01695694
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7908356
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2320079
  14. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265187234_Low_CD4_T_lymphocyte_counts_A_variety_of_causes_and_their_implications_to_a_multifactorial_model_of_AIDS
  15. http://time.com/4705809/first-aids-drug-azt/
  16. http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/iisc-hiv-drug-elvitegravir-lowers-the-efficiency-of-immune-system/article21822514.ece
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9147424