Aids in a different light

by Marie-Thérèse Bocabeille *


Modern medicine so far has nothing effective to offer to Aids patients, in spite of the massive technological, chemical, surgical and radiotherapeutic resources devoted to Aids research in recent years. At the same time, the principles of traditional forms of medicine have been ignored. And yet, while they make no claim to halt the epidemic, they can make a big contribution to the strengthening of the immune defences and to the prevention of opportunistic diseases.

According to Dr. Christian Tal Schaller (1), who has twenty-five years experience as a practitioner of alternative medicine, there are two schools of thought. On the one hand there are those who believe that the virus is the sole or major cause of the immunodefciency. On the other, there are practitioners who are in touch with natural medicine movements all over the world and who subscribe to the dictum of the great French physiologist Claude Bernard (1813-1878): "The virus is nothing, the terrain is everything".

The "terrain" comprises all the different parts of an individual that it would be too simple to limit to his or her physical body. In addition to the physical organs, which are themselves very complex, there are all kinds of complex forces and states of mind that play an essential role in any process of improvement.

Modern medicine, sophisticated though it may be, is almost exclusively concerned with physical illnesses which it regards as originating from outside—people are supposed to "catch" a disease—without the individual's having any particular responsibility for what happens to him or her.

It must be accepted, however, that this approach provides no explanation as to why, for example, not everyone who is HlV-positive develops Aids nor why some even return to being HlV-negative.

As things stand at present, the possibilities offered by traditional medicine cannot be ignored, much less snubbed or made fun of.


Niro Markoff Asistent, a Belgian therapist living in the United States, was diagnosed HlV-positive in 1985. Some time went by before she accepted her condition and recognized her own responsibility for her rundown state. When her doctor admitted there was nothing he could do for her, she decided to take her life in her own hands. Using with the utmost care the 500-day reprieve she had been given, she embarked on a voyage of physical and mental self-discovery.

A year later, Niro Asistent became HlV-negative again. Inspired by her experience, she created a foundation, the Self Healing Aids-Related Experiment (S.H.A.R.E.), to which she now devotes her life. "I believe," she writes, "that Aids is the most powerful transformational tool that has ever been available to us on a mass level. It has detonated a bomb under the surface of society that is forcing us to reevaluate the entire foundation of life as we know it. It is shaking the medical community and its related industries, it is affecting the educational and judicial systems. It is forcing us to question our values, our morals and our identities.(2)


HIV alone is not enough to cause Aids, because not all HIVpositive people develop Aids. There are thus grounds for thinking that other factors, or co-factors, are involved.

A California research centre (3) has drawn up a list of cofactors which may contribute to the acceleration or slowdown of immunodeficiency. They include psychological factors such as stress, depression, pain and the conviction that one is dying. Others, such as nutrition, oxygenation, sleep or physical exercise, are related to life-style. Therapeutic treatment, relations with one's doctor, and the capacity to cure oneself are also involved.


Mark Griffiths, a British musician, was diagnosed HlV-positive in 1986. He immediately began improving his quality of life by learning to know himself and live at peace with himself. He sought to disintoxicate himself physically and mentally by natural methods, and gradually recreated between his inner self and his body. By following his own evolution, without any miracle cure but with great confidence in his own intuition, he became his own doctor.

In the summer of 1990, Mark Griffiths came across a text entitled ‘Is the Aids virus science fiction?’ by Peter Duesberg of the University of California, Berkeley, which echoed many of the doubts and questions that arose when he learned he was HlV-positive, especially about the opportunistic diseases that he was told he would encounter. In September of that year, he published a booklet entitled ‘Healing into freedom: Aids, the apprenticeship’, in which he reported the experiences of those he calls the long-term survivors.

Intent on encouraging the publication of alternative research which would be both scientific and rigorous, he has become the champion of a new way of looking at the question and a new debate. He believes that to be HlV-positive should not be regarded as a death sentence. He is fighting for patients to be free to choose their treatment. He has created a network which collects the testimony of people who have returned to good health after a serious illness, of scientists who support the theses of natural regeneration and therapists who teach self-healing. The Aids acronym for him has been reshuffled to read "Acquired Interior Development Source".

1. Dr. Christian Tal Schaller, Domaine de Faujas, 26770 Taulignan, France.
2. Niro Markoff Asistent, Why I survive Aids, Simon and Schuster/Fireside, New York, 1991, pp. 243-244.
3. LIFE (Learning Immune Function Enhancement), Aids Response programme, Center for Social Services, 3916 Normal Street, San Diego CA 92163, U.S.A.

Article in The Unesco Courrier. AIDS a worldwide emergency. June 1995.
* MARIE THERESE BOCABEILLE is a staff member of UNESCO's Promotion and Sales Division.