AN HIV-positive man convicted of endangering the lives of three
girlfriends is attempting to turn conventional science on its head by
denying the existence of the virus that leads to AIDS.
Chad Parenzee was convicted in February of endangering the lives of
three women and faces 15 years in prison. One of the women now has HIV.
This week, he enlisted the expert evidence of two self-styled
researchers - both members of the so-called Perth Group - who have used
the witness stand to attack the "HIV myth".
In what is believed to be an international legal and medical first,
South Australian Supreme Court judge John Sulan has set aside two weeks
effectively to put HIV on trial.
Prosecutors have prepared several expert witnesses to shore up more
than two decades of global research - which underpins public health and
safe sex campaigns - that HIV causes AIDS and is contracted through
Prosecutors objected in this week's leave-to-appeal hearing to
Parenzee's witnesses' status as "experts" but Justice Sulan said he
would address the objection after their evidence was heard.
The court heard argument from Parenzee's counsel, Kevin Borick, who
is working pro bono, that his client's conviction cannot stand if HIV
is based on flimsy science.
His expert witnesses received no money for their appearance this
week, but their airfares from Perth were paid for by Parenzee's mother.
Perth-based medical physicist Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos, who has a
Bachelor of Science and works as a medical engineer at Royal Perth
Hospital, told the court that HIV was mistakenly identified by a French
scientific team in 1983, which was headed by Luc Montagnier.
In a 50-page Powerpoint presentation, Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos said
AIDS had nothing to do with HIV, which - if it existed at all - was not
a retrovirus and not transmitted between people by sexual intercourse.
Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos argued that HIV had never been isolated,
and was only identified in 1983 by a process called "reverse
transcription", which is said to create retroviruses.
She said the reverse transcription observed by Dr Montagnier in
1983, the so-called "discovery of HIV", was not specific to HIV.
She said the main risk factors for getting AIDS remained the passive role in anal intercourse, and intravenous drug use.
Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos claimed AIDS was caused by prolonged
exposure to semen, which oxidised cells, degrading them and led to
numerous other serious illnesses - the AIDS-related illnesses - which
end in death.
Secondly, she cited numerous scientific papers that concluded that vaginal sex did not transmit HIV.
Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos cited a 1997 published paper by University
of California researcher Nancy Padian that the risk of a male
transmitting HIV to a female at 0.0009 per cent, for each act of
According to the Padian paper, a man would have to have sex with his
wife three times a week for 27.4 years to expose her to a 95 per cent
risk of passing on HIV.
Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos's colleague at the Perth Group, Val Turner,
testified that the testing of HIV was "indirect" - it measured the
presence of proteins and antibodies in blood assumed to be triggered by
Mr Turner said there was no test to directly detect HIV.