Without question the world would be a better place if not for disease, and through tremendous advancement in medicine many deadly illnesses have been eradicated. There are still numerous conditions plaguing humankind, one of the more prevalent being HIV. Currently, “The Center for Disease Control estimates that more than one million people are living with HIV in the U.S.,” not to mention the throngs of suffering youth. New York City’s Incarnation Children’s Center (ICC) was a prominent benchmark in the treatment of HIV+ children, until evidence surfaced linking infants and children to dangerously experimental HIV drug-trials.
During the late 1990s children living at ICC were subjected to a barrage of medical tests designed to study the effectiveness of HIV drugs. Liam Scheff’s 2004 article, “The House that AIDS Built,” drew significant attention to atrocious research taking place at the Incarnation Center. Although repeatedly attacked as slander the article recounts the sad story of Sean and Dana Newberg, two children from ICC who underwent AZT testing who were later rescued by family. Mona Newberg, the children’s great-aunt, when asked about the horrid condition of a three year old Sean at ICC said, “The nurses fed Sean AZT, Bactrim and six cans of Pediasure a day through this tube, which stayed in his stomach for over two years. Nobody ever bothered to change it.” The deplorable conditions of ICC go far beyond just administering drugs to infants, as many of these so called “treatments” carry unthinkable side effects. Scheff writes, “The drugs being given to the children are toxic — they’re known to cause genetic mutation, organ failure, bone marrow death, bodily deformations, brain damage and fatal skin disorders.” Despite that most of these children have had their rights relinquished to “qualified” state officials, very little is done to protect their lives.
It is hard to justify the role that human testing has played in AIDS research, knowing the deplorable conditions endured by children at ICC. Sean and Dana Newberg now live with lifelong consequences because of dangerous drugs like AZT. Is there hope for a moralistic future when such blatant disregard for human rights can occur in a United States institution? Much less one specializing in the treatment of orphaned HIV+ children. No adult life should be spared by the torturous abuse of infants, specifically those who have had no control over the tragic circumstances determined their fate. Many of the details of ICC are hazy but scientists and pharmaceutical giants across the board have destroyed, altered, and ultimately ended the lives of children—pushing their agenda for the “evolution” of humankind.
A radio interview with Liam Scheff, who wrote “The House that AIDS Built”