Until he was 14 years old, Jason Thomas (not his real name) spent the bulk of his life in three places: He lived with relatives, he spent time in hospital beds, and he stayed at the Incarnation Children's Center. Today, he can't recall how much time he spent in each place, and there aren't many adults in his life who would have kept a record of it.

At 22, he is a handsome and slender man who wears his hair braided tightly against his scalp. He is polite and sweet-natured, and he jokes around a lot. But when he isn't joking, a serious look comes onto his face. He knows he has had a difficult life.

Thomas was born HIV-positive in 1987. In that year, about 240 children in New York City were born with the virus, and their median life expectancy was estimated at 38 months. Only about half of the children born with the virus in 1987 are presumed to be alive today.

Brian Stauffer

For this meeting, Thomas has come to a restaurant in Washington Heights to meet Mimi Pascual, a former nurse's assistant at Incarnation whose apartment is nearby. Like Thomas, Pascual practically grew up in the Center. She started working the night shift at Incarnation when she was just 17, making barely above minimum wage. She worked there for nearly a decade, until she was fired in 2004, and she's one of the few people who stays in contact with Thomas. A few years ago, she helped him get on welfare and into public housing. He lives in the Bronx, but he came all the way from his job in Brooklyn at a large telecommunications company to see her. He said he was proud to be both healthy and employed.

One of the first things Thomas does is pull out his baby pictures, which he often carries in the breast pocket of his jacket. "The funny part is that I wasn't even supposed to live," he says. "But I showed everyone, didn't I?" He then shows a photo ID that was taken when he was 17. In it, his face is twisted in a grimace.

"That's when I had cancer," he says. It was Burkitt's Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system that can affect people with HIV. "I graduated from high school on a hospital bed."

When he was just four years old, Thomas was taken out of Incarnation by his grandmother, and then he later moved in with his mother, who was a drug addict. "My mom was cool," he says. "Except when she got high."

At age seven or eight, he got sick and spent a year at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Then he went back to Incarnation and later visited his mother, who became hospitalized with AIDS. The last thing he did for her, he says, was put lotion on her body. He says she smelled very bad, and the nurses wouldn't touch her—and he didn't think that was right. "I know I did something for my mother," he says. She died the following week.

It was during his second stay at Incarnation that he met Pascual. For both of them, Incarnation was a defining experience. Thomas says that those memories are actually some of the happiest of his life. He was surrounded by nurses' assistants and volunteers that doted on him and took him on outings and to a playroom. "Incarnation was my playground," he says. "I ran that place." When he was around nine years old, he drew a picture that was auctioned off at a fundraiser attended by celebrities like Rosie O'Donnell.

Pascual's memories have a different tone: Some are warm, but others are traumatic. "When I was working there, I was only 17 years old. We were the official ass cleaners," she says. "Our job was to wipe asses and clean up blood and shove tubes down their throats." The children that Incarnation took in had often been rejected by other foster homes, either because they were too ill or because of the stigma of HIV.

It was a pediatrician at Harlem Hospital, Stephen Nicholas, who had turned Incarnation into a home for sick foster children. Harlem Hospital was ground zero in the HIV epidemic: The hospital was reporting one of the highest number of births of HIV-positive children in the country at the time. As the Times reported in 2005, Nicholas knew it was time to find a place for the most ill children when, at the hospital, one of the patients called him "Daddy." Incarnation's mission, to serve the sickest of the sick, gained it much positive publicity. Princess Diana even paid a visit.

But for the workers, it could be a grim experience. Pascual remembers changing a 13-year-old's bloody diaper in a public park. The medicines that the children took—especially during the trials—had many toxic side effects. When children could not process their medications or would spit them out, the medicines were sometimes administered through stomach tubes. The children would pull the tubes out, she says. Though she was not a nurse, Pascual was instructed to pop them back in.

Pascual had her own photographs to show. One little girl at Incarnation, who Pascual says was about seven years old, looked like she was on the brink of starvation. Asked if the girl had died, Pascual responds, "Of course."

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2 comments
poetx9
poetx9

Careful examination of the "dissident" (rather than "denialist") positions on HIV/AIDS shows that they are more accurate and scientifically true than the bogus garbage the public has been force-fed from the "medical" establishment since the beginning of this tragedy of errors.

"HIV causes AIDS" is simply not proven, has never been. The original claim, "HIV is the probable cause" lost the word "probable" and was pounded into public acceptance with the help of a NY Times reporter who was also an employee of the CDC which sponsored that original lie. (When the papers used to support this claim were published AFTER the news conference by Robert Gallo and Margaret Heckler, the papers show HIV presence in a mere 36% of the group being studied. Why was this never questioned and exposed?)

The unreliability of the "HIV test" is obvious when taking into consideration the dozens, as many as 100 or more, causes for a "false positive." The inherent discrimination of the test is obvious to at least one gay man, myself, whose positive test over 15 years ago was never once investigated or considered such a "false positive." The test is meant to instill fear and encourage those who may already have minor but measurable health issues to take toxic and eventually lethal drugs, pure and simple.

That our American health system is a military-modeled organization means that orders and information flow only in one direction, from the top down. This explains why respected and knowledgeable scientists such as Kary Mullis and Peter Duesberg, both of whom have clearly and scientifically shown the holes in the mainstream web of lies and misinformation, have been ridiculed and shunned for their courageous stand on this issue.

Even without the extensive research I've done, later than I wish I had, I know firsthand that HIV does not cause AIDS. I've been supposedly "positive" for at least fifteen years with zero AIDS-related illness or symptoms. Friends and acquaintances who have taken "AIDS drugs" have died, been maimed (hip replacement is certainly maiming) and are being used to shift gross amounts of money from insurance companies and charity organizations into the bank accounts of the murderous pharmaceutical industry. There is no shame on luxury vacation flights, of course. That those who benefit and profit from this think they are being helpful and benevolent is no excuse for murder-by-medicine.


ElizabethEly
ElizabethEly

"Council member Bill de Blasio tells the Voice that he isn't satisfied with the state's answer and that, within the next few months, he plans to sponsor a bill requiring the state to release the records to Vera. "If you push, there's always a way," de Blasio says."

Now that he's been elected mayor, are you going to call him up and follow up on that promise?  Where is the bill he sponsored "in the next few months"?  Nobody could find the resolution he announced he'd filed when the Vera report came out, either.  Would appreciate your looking into that, Elizabeth Dwoskin.  Because no, the AIDS Babies as Guinea Pigs Story is Not Finally Over.  It's barely begun to be told.

 
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