Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy

Seeking Stories of AIDS Denialism

Have you or someone you know been harmed by AIDS Denialism? If you, or someone you care about, have been advised to stop taking HIV meds, ignore HIV test results, purchase a 'natural' cure etc., please email me.

All information will be kept confidential.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What Is HIV/AIDS Denialism?

"Denialism is the term used to describe the position of governments, political parties, business groups, interest groups, or individuals who reject propositions on which a scientific or scholarly consensus exists. Such groups and individuals are said to be engaging in denialism when they seek to influence policy processes and outcomes by using rhetorical tactics to give the appearance of argument or legitimate debate, when in actuality there is none. The term was first used in the sense of 'holocaust denialism', but the usage has broadened to include AIDS denialism, climate change denialism, and evolution denialism."

AIDS denialism actively propagates myths, misconceptions, and misinformation to distort and refute reality. Denialism is the outright rejection of science and medicine. It involves actively contradicting and disregarding medical advice. It is steady state. Denialism is not open to criticism, and evades modification. Denialism is only open to additional evidence supporting its tenets and such evidence most often comes from the misuse of science and from pseudoscience. AIDS denialists, often for the sake of personal preservation or recognition, hold fast to old ideas in the face of new evidence.

One feature of denialism is the tendency to think of the denialist position as beleaguered, and under attack and in a minority that has to stave off the assaults of the vast wrong-thinking majority. As a consequence, those involved in denialism often, in the other justifications for their position, declare their strong allegiance to the principle of free speech. Interestingly, then, denialists often set themselves up as plucky underdogs, battling for their right to speak the truth against a tide of misinformation and, as often as not, conspiracies aimed at keeping them silent.

Deniers and denialists are both terms that describe people who refuse to accept the historical reality of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. There are also 9/11 denialists and those who deny that man ever walked on the moon. Denialism emerges from defiance against objective historical records or, in the case of AIDS, defiance against established science. Still, those who doubt that the Holocaust or 9/11 ever happened do not identify themselves as “denialists” but rather “truth seekers”.

It is plain to see, however, that HIV/AIDS denialists represent just one variant of the broader phenomenon of denialism, sharing common characteristics with Holocaust Deniers, 9/11 Truthers, and others who refuse to accept an indisputable historical record. At the core of denialism is mistrust–in the case of HIV/AIDS, the mistrust is of science and medicine. Scholars have identified the characteristics of political extremists and fringe groups that promote Holocaust denialism. These same characteristics apply equally well to HIV/AIDS denialism.

Like other extremist groups, denialists hold an absolute certainty that they are the sole bearers of “The Truth.” For HIV/AIDS denialists, the truth is that HIV is a harmless virus that cannot possibly cause disease, and that anti-HIV medications amount to nothing more than poison, DNA terminators that can themselves cause AIDS. Second, extremist groups believe that governments are under the control of conspiring forces. In the case of HIV/AIDS denialism, the power of Big Pharma and the medical establishment have corrupted the National Institutes of Health and biomedical sciences in general. A third characteristic of extremists is a hatred for its opponents, often seen as conspiring with their enemies. HIV/AIDS denialists attack the most visible scientists; especially those who are widely exposed in the media as well as those who have publicly debunked their rhetoric. Fourth, extremists deny basic civil liberties to those whose views they see as their enemies. Ironically, denialists censor science by cherry-picking results of research while claiming to be the victims of censorship themselves, and often claiming that their rights to free expression are being systematically thwarted. Finally, denialists, as do extremists, indulge in irresponsible accusations and character assassination. As expected, denialists refer to AIDS scientists and medical specialists as Nazis, the mafia, and murderers.

Psychologist Michael Shermer is the leading authority on Holocaust denialism and he has found that Holocaust deniers’ “fallacies of reasoning are eerily similar to those of other fringe groups, such as creationists”. Remarkably, these same personality features that Shermer describes in holocaust deniers are immediately recognizable among HIV/AIDS denialists. First, denialism concentrates on opponents’ weak points without making definitive statements about their own position. In HIV/AIDS denialism, without a shred of credible evidence to the contrary, there is an incessant call for the one study that proves HIV causes AIDS while not recognizing the thousands of studies that accumulate to irrefutably show that HIV causes AIDS. Even knowing the complexity of HIV and the barriers it poses to vaccines, Peter Duesberg looked me dead in the eyes and said that failure to achieve an HIV vaccine means that an infectious agent cannot be the cause of AIDS. Second, denialists exploit errors made by AIDS scientists, implying that a few errors detected in a mass of work calls into question the entire scientific enterprise.

Holocaust and HIV/AIDS denialism share other common features. For both, millions of people died with the vast majority of Holocaust historians and AIDS scientists confirming the causes. The enormity of human suffering caused by the Holocaust and that of a plague like AIDS offers a platform for denialism. Another commonality is that conspiracy theories drive both Holocaust and HIV/AIDS denialism. There are striking similarities in rhetoric, using selected excerpts from credible documents and calling for a debate on matters for which there is universal agreement. Denialist groups of all types claim mounting controversy and the need for a debate. Both Holocaust and HIV/AIDS denialism have established their own publication outlets, such as the Journal for Historical Review for Holocaust denialism and Continuum magazine in HIV/AIDS denialism. There are full-length films produced by both movements, The Truth behind the Gates of Auschwitz, produced by David Cole for Holocaust denialism and HIV=AIDS: Fact or Fraud, produced by Gary Null and The Other Side of AIDS produced by Eric Paulson and Robert Leppo for HIV/AIDS denialism. The major deniers of the Holocaust are knowledgeable of World War II history and on the fringes of academia, just as the major HIV/AIDS denialists are well versed in the science of AIDS. Denialists of all types seize opportunities by political leaders who express support for their denialism, as has occurred in 2006 by Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad expressing doubt that the Holocaust occurred and President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa expressing doubt that HIV causes AIDS.

My book Denying AIDS and this blog are intended to debunk AIDS denialism and open access to the facts surrounding the human tragedy of HIV/AIDS.


  1. Dear Seth Klichman,

    I understand you have a new book coming out about AIDS denialism.

    Are you aware that the original papers published by Robert Gallo are faulty?

    Please see the press recent release at the top of

    Note that all those 37 distinguished scientists and pros who signed to have the foundation papers for the HIV - AIDS causal connection withdrawn because of fraud. Do you think they are all crazy?

    You refer to ''the thousands of studies that accumulate to irrefutably show that HIV causes AIDS." Could you please cite a few of these thousands of references for me? I'll be you can't!

    Furthermore after all this time scientists don't know the aetiology of how HIV kills the CD4 white blood cells. Can you give me a reference that shows the mechanism of cell death or even that HIV is killing CD4 cells in sufficient numbers to cause illness?

    I'll bet you have not read Peter Duesberg's book 'Inventing the AIDS Virus.' As a psychologist you would be interested in the 'perfect storm' of political pressure, the CDC epidemic goon squad, and and the virologists financial need created the destructive paradigm which you now support.

    I have not mentioned the epidemiological evidence showing AIDS cannot be an infection, the incompetence of the viral load and CD4 tests, and the documented flakiness of the tests for HIV positivity.


    Martin K. Barnes

  2. Hello Martin

    Thank you for your note.

    I am quite well aware of the issues concerning Robert Gallo and the events of 1984. I actually just watched the classic movie ‘And the Band Played On’ again a few nights back. I have talked with several people named in the book and they tell me it is pretty accurate.

    But today HIV/AIDs is more than about Robert Gallo.

    The early papers in Science that you refer to are important in the history of AIDS, but they are really only historically important now. What we know about HIV causing AIDS is not grounded in those few papers, faulty or not. As you noted there are thousands of clinical, immunological, and epidemiological studies that do, in fact, prove HIV causes AIDS. I understand that you would like to see ‘the one study’ that proves HIV causes AIDS. You are referring to what I call the single study fallacy.

    There is no one study.

    There are over 120,000 studies at concerning HIV pathogenisis the processes by which HIV causes disease and ultimately AIDS. A few references that I think you will find of interest are,

    Fogli M, et al. Lysis of endogenously infected CD4+ T cell blasts by rIL-2 activated autologous natural killer cells from HIV-infected viremic individuals. PLoS Pathog. 2008 Jul 11;4(7):e1000101

    Vahey MT,CD4+ T-cell decline after the interruption of antiretroviral therapy in ACTG A5170 is predicted by differential expression of genes in the ras signaling pathway. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2008 Aug;24(8):1047-66.

    Musey L Cytotoxic-T-cell responses, viral load, and disease progression in early human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection. N Engl J Med. 1997 Oct 30;337(18):1267-74

    Brahmbhatt H, Mortality in HIV-infected and uninfected children of HIV-infected and uninfected mothers in rural Uganda. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2006 Apr 1;41(4):504-8

    The danger posed by these references, of course, is that without the proper training and background to understand them we are prone to confusion and misinterpretation. Believe me, none of the Rethinkers who signed the letter to Science has the background in clinical medicine to understand this work. If I am wrong, can you please name who in that list has treated infectious disease patients or worked with retroviruses?

    Review papers are easier to digest than primary studies, so here is one recent review of how HIV causes AIDS that even I can understand.

    Forsman A, Weiss RA. Why is HIV a pathogen? Trends Microbiol. 2008 Dec;16(12):555-60. Epub 2008 Oct 30

    To answer your question Martin, I did read Peter Duesberg’s book and as you can see to the right on this page I met him as well. I actually have a signed copy of his book. I dedicate an entire chapter in my book to the psychology of Dr. Duesberg.

    So I have read Dr. Duesberg’s book.

    My question is, will you read mine?

    As for the 37 ‘distinguished scientists’ you note, I am not sure who you are referring to. I have come to know these guys pretty well.

    Al-Bayati exploits the autopsies of dead children by posting them on the Internet,

    Harvey Bialy is a student of Peter Duesberg whose major contribution is telling the Peter Duesberg story,

    Kelly Brennan-Jones is a social psychologist who actually got me interested in denialism,

    Roberto Giraldo conducted pseudoscientific experiments on HIV tests,

    David Rasnick conducted unlawful/unethical (as ruled by the South African courts) vitamin studies on humans with Matthias Rath in South Africa,

    Henry Bauer has proven HIV cannot cause AIDS; he also believes in large green monsters lurking beneath Scottish waters and other ‘scientific explorations’.

    Most interesting about the letter to Science is who did not sign it - Peter Duesberg. Could it be that Dr. Duesberg is backing off from AIDS in the hope of receiving NIH funding for his Aneuploidy work? I sort of doubt that. Can he no longer stand being associated with the fringiest of the fringe in pseudoscience that denialism has attracted? Perhaps he will tell us why he did not sign this important letter.

    To answer your other question, I do not think that all of the signers are ‘crazy’. I spent over a year interacting and studying these denialists. I think only some of them are crazy. Some are surely misguided. Some are more interested in conspiracy theories and intelligent design than they are AIDS. Some more generally do not believe in ‘germ theory’. Only a very few are evil in that they are doing intentional harm for self-gain. Evil or not, they are all harmful to individuals and to the public health. That is why I wrote Denying AIDS.

    I appreciate your taking the time to write me.

    Seth Kalichman

  3. Thanks Seth. It is sad that such a book needed to be written.

  4. Holocaust Denier? and the Royalties of your book go to Poisoning Africa. Are you ok Mr Seth? I don't think you are.

  5. Seth Kalichman,
    I see you're quick to shift the focus from the science of HIV/AIDS to a field with which you apparently feel more comfortable, the psychology of "denialism". Changing topics or goal posts, bait and switch, pontificating on scientific issues while at the same time claiming that you are no expert, all the tactics of the perverted denialist mind is that not so, Dr. Kalichman?
    So which is it going to be, real science or the pseudoscience which you call "pshychology"?
    I've done a bit of psychology in high school and Bible class myself, and your unreferenced unsubstantiated screed above struck me as a classic exmple of projection, you know the beam in yur own eye and all that; for what you are describing in every detail is people such as Dr. Foley, the various shills from South Africa and AIDSpravdadotorg. For example you write:
    "Denialism is not open to criticism, and evades modification. Denialism is only open to additional evidence supporting its tenets. . ."
    You mean like so?:
    "We will not:
    Engage in any public or private debate with AIDS denialists or respond to requests from journalists who overtly support AIDS denialist causes. The reasons are:
    The debate has been settled: HIV causes AIDS, AIDS kills, and AIDS can be treated with significant success by the use of antiretroviral therapy. These are the facts."
    Does this strike you as a manifesto written by people open to additional evidence that does not support their tenets? Hey what was it you said about about denialists thinking they are
    "the sole bearers of "The Truth." For HIV/AIDS denialists, the truth is that HIV is a harmless virus that cannot possibly cause disease, and that anti-HIV medications amount to nothing more than poison. . ."?
    That's actually funny. You have quoted John Moore's manifesto from the AIDStruth website almost word for word, reversed it and shown it as an example of denialist psychology. You are not even original Dr. Kalichman; you're but an AIDStruth clone.
    Let's drop the pretenses shall we? I think we all realize you're not treating of the phenomenon of projection, or psychology in any other form; you're simply a commmon hack, executing a low-class smearjob, and as all such I could easily skewer you on your own hypocrisy a million times over.
    Now I'm fully expecting you to complain how
    uncivil it is of me to call you a hack when all you have done is compare me to a Holocaust denier. Or am I just being paranoid? I guess time will tell if it is going to be censorship or the couch eh Doc?

  6. W-O-W.... Bible class huh? Impressive.... I find it amazing how much one can be hateful.... The point I think Dr Kalichman is trying to get across when he compares AIDS denialism to Holocaust Denialism is that both are irrational since there is such overwhelming evidence...
    As a Jew I find it hurtful when people deny the genocide that happened... I would assume and HIV positive person would feel the same way.
    When someone makes an argument one way or another I think there should be at least SOME research on the topic... Oh and a hack? You've resorted to name calling? How mature... I just think that Dr. Sues is right when he said “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind." and since I want to matter I respect both sides... but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with both... Maybe you should try it some time....
    ~Yours Sincerely
    Ema Nekaf

  7. Kalichman, You said, and I quote: "If I am wrong, can you please name who in that list has treated infectious disease patients or worked with retroviruses?

    You are quite wrong.

    Rethinker Dr. Duesberg had been labeled as "The Greatest Virologist in The World" by none other than Robert Gallo.

    Rethinker Claus Kohnlein has personally treated dozens of hiv positive patients and none have yet died in more than 20 years.

    And then there is also myself, another Rethinker of HIV whom you so carelessly label as a "denialist". I specialised in EM photographs of retroviruses for many years, and here is a letter recently sent to the now under investigation for conflicts of interest Nobel Committee:

    The Nobel Prize in medicine has been recently awarded to Barre-Sinoussi and Montagnier for “The discovery of immunodeficiency virus (HIV)».
    This award is, to a large extent, based on a paper published by the laureates et al. in May 1983, in «Science» (vol 220, pp 868-871). The conclusions presented in this paper result, in a large part, from observations made by transmission electron microscopy. Having been responsible for research on electron microscopy of retroviruses, at the Sloan Kettering Institute of New York from 1956 until 1981, I do have scientific competence to raise the following questions related to the significance of the paper under reference.

    This 1983 paper is illustrated (Fig. 2) by an electron microscopy image of thin sections of virus-producing cord lymphocytes. Three day old cultures of T lymphocytes from two umbilical cords had been «infected with the cell-free supernatant of the infected coculture». This «coculture» consisted of cultured human normal T lymphocytes admixed with lymphocytes that originated from the lymph node biopsy from one patient «at risk for acquired immune deficiency (AIDS)». The author’s interpretation of Fig.2 is that it demontrates that cord blood lymphocytes had been successfully infected by retroviruses from that patient.

    Unquestionably, Fig 2 illustrates typical retroviruses (C-type), budding from the surface of a lymphocyte.

    Highly questionable, however, is the origin of these retroviruses.

    The authors of the report claim that they originate from the patient lymph node, via the «cell-free supernatant» of the coculture.

    This interpretation is not satisfactorily supported by the data presented.

    Indeed, if this interpretation was correct, one would have expected :

    1) evidence, by electron microscopy, of the multiplication of retroviruses in this «coculture», and
    2) evidence, again by electron microscopy, for the presence of retroviral particles in the «cell-free supernatant of the infected coculture».

    Since 1) and 2) evidences are totally missing, how could the authors of this paper justify their claim for having «infected» the cord lymphocytes with the «cell-free supernatant of the coculture» ?

    The authors have regarded their «coculture» as «infected» only on the basis of reverse transcriptase activity in sucrose fractions from the supernatant. Sucrose fractions at density around 1.16, however, are known to contain large amounts of cell debris that can readily account for the observed transcriptase activity. In short, one is asked to believe that cord blood lymphocytes have been sucessfully infected with the supernatant of a coculture the viral infection of which has not been demonstrated.

    As indicated above, Fig. 2 of the paper shows typical retroviruses (C-type) budding from the surface of a lymphocyte. Where are they coming from, if it is not from the «cell-free supernatant of the coculture» ?

    There is another possible explanation for the viral electron microscopy evidence of Fig. 2, an explanation that did not, obviously, received the slightest attention from Barre-Sinoussi, Montagnier et al.

    The observed cultured lymphocytes came from cord blood, and therefore originate from the placenta. It is well known, since the late 1970’s (Sandra Panem’s work, in Current Top Pathol, 1979, 66 :175-189), that the normal human placenta contains loads of C type retroviruses (HERVs). Placental lymphocytes are, therefore, likely to contain the same HERVs that, when placed under stimulating culture conditions, may bud from cell surfaces and form complete retroviral particles (C-type) recognizable with the electron microscope (Fig. 2). Barre-Sinoussi et al. avoided to explain why their experiment apparently wouldn’t work with lymphocytes from the peripheral blood, instead of those from cord blood? The simple explanation is that human peripheral blood lymphocytes do not harbor HERVs.

    In my opinion, Fig. 2 illustrating the paper under consideration totally fails to convincingly demonstrate that the observed retroviruses originated in the lymph node of one patient «at risk of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome». There is no scientific reason, therefore, to refer to these particles as «LAV» nor as «HIV». Referring to these particles as «LAV» or «HIV» mislead the Nobel Committee, and resulted in a seriously questionable award of the Nobel prize.

    Etienne de Harven, MD, Emerit. Prof, Univ. of Toronto.

  8. Ema Nekaf who you fooling? it's no secret that the name calling began with the the HIV Industry Pundits feel a surge of opposition smacking against their nicely polished bank accounts. How ignorant can one be to post a response of hipocrite neutrality when the very essence of the epithet "denialist' is plastered all over this blog.

    As for denying the Holocaust, it's a desperate attempt at changing the topic,when the very nature of the Reappraisng AIDS movement has for 25 years try to expose the current Antiretoviral Death Holocaust taking place before our eyes. If anyone is a Holocaust denier it's Mr Seth he is sending Gas ovens to Africa with his book royalities!

    I can't believe you would tell us not to call people names when the very epithet "denialist" or "denialism" is the very address of this blog.

    who you fooling Ema ?

  9. Hi Seth

    Unlike Alfred, above, I think that the psychology of AIDS denialism is a really important thing to come to grips with, and, I’m looking forward to reading your book when it comes out.

    I find it much easier to understand how someone directly affected by HIV might fall into denial as a way of “coping” with the reality of what until recently was the prospect of a grim and uncertain future. That’s kind of a normal human response to a threat, at least temporarily.

    But most of the “leading lights” of AIDS denialism are not making an understandable if unhelpful response to personal distress: rather their denialism is a form of pathological hubris.

    Some, such as Bauer and de Harven are retired science academics and seem to be looking for a new interest without realizing that their previous expertise is not transferable to a new scientific field they lack broad basic knowledge of. Others like Duesberg and the Perthians became stuck on a wrong scientific hypothesis decades ago like “retroviruses can’t cause disease” or “this new immune system disease is a manifestation of our oxidative stress hypothesis”. Instead of abandoning their erroneous beliefs once they were found to be incompatible with the evidence, they cling to them even more tightly, and as time goes on become more and more divorced from reality. This is a cognitive trap that all scientists can fall into: it is hard to let go of a hypothesis you have invested time, credibility and intellectual activity into - kind of like the Gambler's Fallacy.

    A surpising number of denialists are lawyers, perhaps because they more than any other profession have been trained to use (or misuse) the concept of “reasonable doubt” to defend a position no matter what the truth may be. Others are “alternative” health practitioners with eccentric ideas about human physiology and pathophysiology, and sometimes commercial interests in promoting their goods and services.

    Some are "journalists" who have convinced themselves, or been groomed into believing that they have found the Big Story that will make their name, while lacking the insight into their own lack of grasp of their subject matter.

    These are people who are not directly threatened by the virus themselves who have embraced denialist ideologies (plural). There are many mutually contradictory varieties of denialist beliefs: the only thing many seem to have in common is that the rejection of mainstream science. That’s the one defining characteristics of AIDS denialists: what unites them is not what they believe but what they are unable to accept.

    It is of only minor concern to denialists that they can’t even agree if HIV exists or even what AIDS is: what is more important is to define themselves in terms of and against the mainstream (reality based) position.

    What they all have in common is a pathologically unshakeable conviction that they are right, even if their beliefs are completely incompatible with any of their other denialist “colleagues”. And a total lack of insight into the harm they do promoting their personal agendas to people with HIV or the governments charged with dealing with epidemic, when such an audience lacks the basic scientific know-how to be able to critically evaluate denialist claims.

  10. By the way, Seth, we know that you have a conflict of interest with the discussion, but how about Snout.

    Snout, mind telling us all your conflicts of interest with this? Are you an HIV researcher, do you treat patients? Do you have any direct connections to hiv treatment or research?

    Come on now, Snout, be honest... for a change.

  11. Dr. de Harven
    I do not believe we have met but Anthony Brink has told me much about you.
    Please note that Dr. Durebserg has never done any research on HIV or AIDS. I believe the Gallo quote is true and was true of Duesberg in 1980. How Dr. Duesberg went from scientist to dissident to denialist is central to my book.
    I am aware that Claus Koehnlein was a German physician affiliated with the Department of Oncology at the University of Kiel up until 1993. Like you he too was on the Mbeki 2000 South African Presidential AIDS Panel. He has only one scientific publication to his credit and it is co-authoreed with Peter Duesberg and David Rasnick. He has, however, been a liability to HIV/AIDS denialism. His statement that people treated with ARVs remain healthy is inconsistent with Duesberg’s claim that the medications are toxic. In addition, he has said that one of Duesberg’s central premises, that ARVs cause AIDS can be easily empirically tested and yet is obviously false because there are tragic numbers of children who have never taken illicit drugs and never treated with AZT who have died of AIDS.
    I understand that you are retired from the University of Toronto and had been a Professor of Cell Biology at Sloan Kettering Institute New York from 1956 to 1981. I am aware that you isolated and conducted electron microscopic studies of the murine (mouse) friend leukemia virus. I believe you challenge the proof that HIV has been isolated, according to the standards laid down by, well, you. Didn’t you say "Dominated by the media, by special pressure groups and by the interests of several pharmaceutical companies, the AIDS establishment efforts to control the disease lost contact with open-minded, peer-reviewed medical science since the unproven HIV/AIDS hypothesis received 100% of the research funds while all other hypotheses were ignored."
    Looking you up in PubMed shows that you have never published on HIV or AIDS (aside from letters to editors and commentaries). In fact, the last research article (not opinion piece) that you were authored on was published in the journal Stem Cells in 1996 (see for and search de Harven). May I ask why you have never published findings that fail to confirm the existence of HIV? I suppose the peer reviewer conspiracy strikes again. If you would like to post your unpublished articles here on my blog I may be able to help you with that.
    Thank you again for writing.

  12. Hello Seth,

    Can you post the reference for the "tragic numbers of children who have never taken illicit drugs and never treated with AZT who have died of AIDS."

    thanks, Martin

  13. Hi Martin

    About a quarter million children in the world have died of AIDS and 2 million have HIV infection. Se WHO/UNAIDS report of 2007 linked below.
    I do not find it logical to say they had done drugs or even that all of their mothers had done drugs? The rate of illicit drug use in the places with the most AIDS is the lowest in the world.

    Many (if not most)of these children live in places that do not have HIV treatments. When they do have treatments they live longer.

    Some are in poverty others are not.

    What all children who have died of AIDS have in common is they have HIV antibodies.

    And counter what Henry Bauer would say, they are not all Black/African.

    Thank you again for reading my blog.

    link to UNAIDS Report

  14. No, Michael, I have no conflicts of interest in this matter.

    I’m fascinated that you consider trying to understand and confront the phenomenon of denialism to be a “conflict of interest” for a health care provider. I’d have thought it was part and parcel of the job.

    To be honest my own specific interest in AIDS denialism comes from the fact I’m a gay man and therefore belong to the community that in my country at least has borne the brunt of the epidemic and has also taken on the lion’s share of the responsibility for dealing with it, along with quite a few non-gay people who have responded with intelligence, decency and diligent hard work.

    Now, I do feel some sympathy (as well as frustration) for those most affected by HIV who use denial as a personal, if dysfunctional, coping mechanism. There are much more sensible and effective ways of dealing with reality.

    However I have no patience at all for those cranks and hobbyist denialists who use the internet and other media to promote their idiot pseudoscience to vulnerable people who lack the scientific background to be able to always tell when they are being fed bullshit. I find that dishonest, contemptible, exploitative, manipulative and profoundly unethical, and it makes me very angry.

    So I hope that clears things up for you, and thanks for asking.

  15. Seth:

    If I once believed that your comments were legitimate, you lost all credibility when Brian Foley of the Los Alamos National Laboratory praised your blog.

    As a 28-year investigator who has conducted thousands of criminal and civil investigations (and unlike Dr. Gallo was never formally accused of fraud or misconduct), I was asked last May to investigate the AIDS industry and alleged “denialism.” Almost immediately, I was pressured and ultimately attacked by members of AIDS Inc. – individuals who coordinated their attacks with Dr. Foley and John Moore, PhD (Cornell). While your so-called denialists welcomed my unbiased investigation, members and beneficiaries of the pharmaceutical industry applied tremendous pressure (and still do) to get me to discontinue my ongoing investigation.

    So please Seth, please explain to me why independent investigators intimidate the so-called scientists you defend? Why did they want an independent investigator to stop his investigation? Why do they behave like Gambino Family enforcers? If you have proof that HIV attacks cells and causes AIDS, wouldn’t it be easier to post links on your blog that shows us exactly how the AIDS industry proved it so that other independent investigators and scientists could corroborate your findings? Why write about denialists when you can simply post your proof for everyone to see? What’s the big secret?

    If AIDS science was so compelling, why would you and your friends work so hard to attack an independent investigator or write a book about so-called denialists? Why do you think your friends attacked me? Why do you think Foley used a fake name and Los Alamos servers to attack one of my witnesses? Why do you think one of their cohorts stole my ID (LAPD Report 08-0619018)? Why did you write a book that attacks real scientists and others as denialists?

    Denialism is clearly not a mental disorder, but an epithet (not dissimilar to “Jew-lover” and “N-GG-R lover”) designed to protect dysfunctional and corrupt scientists and pharmaceutical companies from getting caught the way Bernard Madoff was recently caught with his $50 billion fraud. His sophisticated investors were duped into believing something that did not exist. Until scientist Jeffrey Wigand exposed the tobacco industry, tobacco industry scientists and doctors said there was nothing dangerous about inhaling tar or nicotine. 30 years ago, the tobacco industry would have hired you to attack Wigand and other “tobacco denialists.”

    Having investigated criminal gangs before, I’ve found that AIDS Inc behaves not unlike any other criminal enterprise I’ve investigated, greased by nearly a trillion taxpayer dollars since 1981. Your book is merely a continuation of those attacks.

    Anyone familiar with US universities today understand that freedom of thought and speech no longer exists on campuses. Why can the PC crowd prevent others from telling the truth on campuses like Cornell? Could it be that honesty would stop the flow of millions of research dollars each year that are used to perpetuate the myth? If you suddenly discovered that HIV science was a myth, would you have the courage to lose your funding to tell the world the truth? Your book only proves your cowardice.

    So Seth, instead of creating a blog that attacks the questions, why not post your reports that show exactly how the AIDS industry proved that HIV attacks cells and causes AIDS? If you do that, I’ll get an independent lab to prove that HIV attacks cells and causes AIDS and I will gladly modify my report to prove to your alleged denialists that they are wrong. Please, help me help you.

    One more thing – Your UNAIDS Report does not jibe with South Africa’s mortality report:

    If UNAIDS told the truth, their employees would no longer receive funding.

    Lastly, I have one favor - please get your pharmaceutical friends to call their dogs off me.

  16. Dear Snout,

    In your long winded diatribe describing who the deniers are, you left out the common folk who see right through the diabolical trappings of your overly protected, heavily funded death and dying club. They grow in numbers day by day. Jesus... you and the good old boy Dr. Kalichman make it seem there's there's just a handful. You both severely underestimate.

    In the meantime answer for the casual reader who stumbles on to your blog: Why is it that people on treatment with anti-HIV medicine are dying from the side effects of these drugs more often than from illnesses associated with AIDS? (Reisler et al - Grade 4 events)

  17. Clark,

    While your "investigation" may have exposed you to ideas and beliefs you were previously unfamiliar with, your report is nothing more than a rehash of the same old discredited denialist canards that have been circulating for years if not decades. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    As for the Stats SA report you cite, maybe you missed this bit on page 2:

    "This release covers mortality and causes of death broadly, and hence does not focus
    specifically on HIV and AIDS. It does, however, provide indirect evidence that HIV may be contributing to the increase in the level of mortality for prime-aged adults, given the increasing number of deaths due to associated diseases. The data captured through this exercise can contribute to detailed studies in which the incidence of deaths due to AIDS related conditions is estimated (see, for example, Groenewald et al, 2005)."

    The Executive summary of the 1997 – 2004 Adult Mortality Report makes it even clearer:

    "HIV death rates have a distinctive pattern by age in which there is an increase to a given age and then a rapid decline at older ages. This peak occurs at 30-34 for females and at 35-39 for males. Many HIV deaths are registered as being due to some other cause of death. This problem is aggravated by the fact that HIV is not a reportable disease in South Africa, unlike some other communicable diseases. Based on the age pattern of death rates by sex, it is likely that a high proportion of deaths registered as due to parasitic diseases, parasitic opportunistic infections, certain disorders of the immune mechanism and maternal conditions (females only) are actually caused by HIV. Some registered causes of death rise to a peak with age but then decline at older ages more slowly than HIV, especially for males. For these registered causes of death, some of the deaths are likely actually due to HIV, but some of the deaths are likely due to something other than HIV. These causes of death include all infectious diseases, tuberculosis, malaria and nutritional deficiencies.

  18. "What all children who have died of AIDS have in common is they have HIV antibodies."

    Dr. K,

    What is an "hiv antibody," and how can we know it? Which of the "Hiv tests" reacts ONLY with "Hiv antibody?"

    Yours truly, "learning about hiv testing."

  19. Hi Seth,

    I have several gay friends, who, in the 1980's, were given death sentences by their doctors based on a non-specific anti-body test, and then, to fight the death sentences, were given life-time doses of AZT, an old cancer chemotherapy, originated in 1964 by Dr. Jerome Horowitz.

    Are you going to write a book about these poor victims, next?

  20. Hello Anonymous 'Learning about HIV Testing'

    To better understand antibodies and how they are detected by HIV antibody tests I suggest UCSF HIVinSite

    What is nice about the UCSF site is it gives lots of detail. It explains how denialists have distorted the testing package insert information to make unfounded claims. The site discusses the importance of testing in a clinical context.

    If this information is too technical for you, I would suggest

    But you should avoid entirely what the denialists say about HIV testing. It is one of their more harmful distractions. They often rely on a pseudoscientific experiment conducted by Roberto Giraldo to say the tests are invalid. For example, Henry Bauer has taken time away from chasing the Loch Ness Monster to proclaim HIV tests are invalid, relying on Giraldo’s wacky experiment (see Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Summer, 2008 by Joel M. Kauffman, Henry H. Bauer

    Giraldo’s experiment is pseudoscience at its worst and is discussed at length in Denying AIDS.

    Thanks for reading my Blog

  21. Dr. K,

    I'm just reading your response to my question about antibody testing. I want you to answer, not some third-party website.

    It's you I trust.

    You wrote, "What all children who have died of AIDS have in common is they have HIV antibodies."

    I asked,

    "What is an "hiv antibody," and how can we know it? Which of the "Hiv tests" reacts ONLY with "Hiv antibody?"

    That is my question. Please don't pawn me off on some website. You're the expert, writing books on what we should, no, must do to all Africans who have an 'antibody reactive' test.

    How do we know that "Hiv Tests" react to ONLY one thing? Please share your knowledge.

  22. Seth Kalichman,

    Could you be persuaded to discuss Roberto Giraldo's "pseudoscience" in an uncensored forum with right to reply?

  23. Hi Seth,

    Can I make a suggestion for your blog?

    For most AIDS denialists what passes for “discussion” is the endless and uncritical regurgitation of the same old canards that have been answered again and again on forums like this. It can get pretty tedious after a while.

    Often such misinformation is presented as “questions” that appear to demand fairly detailed and complex answers, and usually carry an implied impossible expectation, for example that diagnostic testing is only valid if it is based on a single test rather than an algorithm, or that a single test is unreliable unless its specificity is 100.00%: (99% or more is simply not good enough).

    Perhaps to brighten up your blog you might want to set up a game of AIDS Denialist Bingo.

    This is where you set up an array of say the 36 most common denialist canards, and readers can mark them off as they appear in the discussion thread. Maybe you could even offer a prize for the first reader to spot them all!

    Here are 36 of my all-time favorites, but I’m sure your readers can think of more.

    1. Non specific HIV tests
    2. Show me the one paper
    3. The petition(s)
    4. Gallo was a fraud
    5. Epidemiology proves it can’t be an infection
    6. Never been isolated
    7. Poppers cause KS
    8. Anything quote mined from a test kit insert
    9. No EMs of HIV
    10. Magic Johnson is really HIV neg
    11. “Everyone tests positive”
    12. Hardly any deaths in South Africa
    13. Dissidents have been persecuted/silenced
    14. AIDS Inc / AIDS Mafia
    15. AZT too toxic for cancer chemotherapy
    16. Lab AZT has a skull and crossbones on the label
    17. Pharma Shill
    18. HIV is really (endogenous) HERV
    19. AIDS Truthers won’t debate with us
    20. Padian
    21. Rodreguez
    22. The Bangui definition
    23. Intestinal dysbiosis/Gay bowel Syndrome
    24. No gold standard
    25. 1 million flat graph US prevalence since 1985
    26. AIDS is really untreated syphilis / mycoplasma
    27. The Continuum award
    28. Galileo was right!
    29. Just a new name for old diseases
    30. AIDS is a category not an illness
    31. Kuhn or any use of the word “paradigm”
    32. Antibodies mean immunity
    33. No vaccine proves there’s no virus
    34. There are no FDA approved HIV tests
    35. HIV only rarely detected in people with AIDS
    36. HIV rarely progresses to AIDS

  24. Anonymous/Taminy

    I am not so sure you trust me. If you are a Denialist, you likely have a problem trusting in general.

    At the core of denialism is the inability to trust science/medicine/government/industry.

    That is what conspiracy thinking is all about.

    I am happy to direct you to credible sources. But I am afraid from that point forward you just have to read and, yes, trust.

    I am also happy to point out the wacky and the strange world of Denialism. That is what this Blog is all about.

  25. Giraldo's Ghost

    No. I cannot dedicate space on my Blog to the Giraldo’s joke that turned into AIDS pseudoscience lore. But I do dedicate quite a bit of Chapter 3 – the Pseudoscience chapter of Denying AIDS to his bizarre and unethical (if not illegal) fiasco.

    You can find the wacky quackery article at the website below, and while you there you can also learn how emotional stress is the cause of AIDS and how good nutrition can cure AIDS. You can also schedule a natural health consultation with Giraldo – now wouldn’t that be wonderful! Not.

  26. Dr. K,

    I'm hurt and disappointed in you. I put my trust in you to set the record straight, and I'm trying to find out if Hiv tests react with Only ONE thing, so I know I can trust what they say. And you won't answer! You're sarcastic and rude to me.

    This is why people don't trust the Aids industry, because you won't answer questions, except with put-downs.

    People want to know more about the tests, about the drugs, and about the diagnosis. That's our right.

    Dr. K., do the tests react positive for more than one thing?

    Please let me know.

    PS - you didn't post my other post about looking into the history of scientific racism. Please allow my comment to be published on your blog.

  27. Taminy, I can see that you will not read HIV/AIDS science and trust authoritative information. If you were looking for answers you would read the sources I sent you. But you prefer to enter a debate. I fear you are sliding into the hole of denialism. This blog is not a debate site. There are plenty of those.

    This blog is about AIDS denialism….not a forum for denialists.

    But I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

    The HIV/AIDS science and medicine will tell you that the screening test for HIV (the ELISA test) is sensitive and can cross-react to non-HIV antibodies, this is rare, but it does happen. It does not cause a false positive result, but rather an inconclusive result. People should avoid ELISA testing when they have just been vaccinated, for example. The confirmatory test (Western Blot) is very specific to HIV antibodies, over 99% accurate in detecting HIV antibodies. If you test positive for HIV antibodies with a Western Blot test, you have HIV infection. And yes, HIV infection causes disease that degrades the immune system over years which then makes you vulnerable to infections and some cancers – we call that AIDS. But you probably know all of this and just doubt what you know. You may be confused by the Denialists – that is the harm that they do.

    If you spend too much time reading the denialists you will think that everyone tests HIV positive and that AIDS in Africa is different than AIDS in the USA.

    You will hear that drug abuse and HIV medications cause AIDS and that good nutrition will cure AIDS.

    If you listen to Peter Duesberg you will hear that HIV is harmless and that ALL cancer is caused by hazards and environmental toxins.

    And if you pay attention to Henry Bauer, you will hear that homosexuality is a mental illness and that the Loch Ness Monster lives.

    Taminy, if you are interested in getting out of AIDS Denialism, email me your address and I will send you a copy of my book. Every copy I buy will purchase HIV treatments in Africa.

    Thank you again Taminy.

  28. Snout

    Great list. A major contribution.

    Have you ever met David Crowe?

    Do you think he exists?

    Is he a harmless passenger blogger?

    Is there a global vitamin conspiracy orchestrated by Matthias Rath and David Rasnick to propel the myth that David Crowe exists?

    Are you familiar with

    Should we start a wesite

    Can anyone prove David Crowe exists?

    What do you think?

  29. Hey you dishonest chump

    I'm objectifying *you* at

  30. Interesting is this list of 36 issues that Snout has painstakingly listed in an attempt to coerce people into believing a very narrow one sided view. Those are the things that never get satisfactorily explained. Your list, albeit a bit hilarious in the way it's presented (Denialist Bingo) is a distraction from the real issue; that the bottom line, the original arguments by Gallo et al were fatally flawed. Everything else from Camp Mainstream AIDS is another assumption built upon a crumbling mound of garbage.

  31. Why didn't you post what I wrote yesterday?

  32. This Blog is about AIDS Denialism. It is not a platform for a pseudo-debate on questions long answered. If you had written a coherent, intelligible, brief (<250 words), and civil comment I would have posted it. I welcome you to try again.

  33. Brian, Taminy, anyone who has ever tried to engage with denialists quickly learns that they are not interested in finding factual answers to questions or even about testing their beliefs in good faith in informed debate. If they were they would open up their own websites to genuine discussion. They are simply indulging in a ruse for promoting their propaganda to what they hope is a wider audience. Denialists have been refining their rhetorical techniques on web forums for years now, and they are easily recognisable.

    Mainstream scientists, health workers and educators sometimes fail to understand what is going on at first, because their jobs usually entail helping people to understand intricate phenomena and teasing out the complexities of ideas. They can make an easy target for trolling by denialists if they fail to spot the rhetoric under the seemingly innocent questions. They can waste a lot of time before they recognise the real agenda of the people they have engaged in discussion.

    Denialists almost never make positive assertions about their overvalued ideas, which are usually ill defined and contradictory. Debating their “logic” is like nailing jelly to a tree: frustrating, messy and ultimately pointless.

    Denialist rhetoric usually follows a basic pattern: cherry picking of data, impossible expectations, moving the goalposts, citing fake experts, fallacies of logic and ultimately culminating in claims of conspiracy and maleficence by their opponents.

    The current silly campaign by AIDS denialists to have Science retract the four Gallo et al papers after 24 years is a transparent and desperate deployment of the last rhetorical technique in their armory. It will be treated with the contempt it deserves.

  34. You throw the term propaganda around freely and quite often when referring to the dissident movement. Isn't the shoe on the wrong foot? WikipediA: Propaganda, states; "As opposed to impartially providing information". Impartial or impartiality are not a part of mainstream vocabulary, whereas predominate basic messages from the dissenters are almost always non biased and/or impartial. But hey, you know what? I think there are several rethinking websites open for genuine discussion, i.e. Henry Bauer. Maybe some are just closed to you?

  35. Hehe, well Seth, you proved your point - you killed the debate.

  36. "And if you pay attention to Henry Bauer, you will hear that homosexuality is a mental illness and that the Loch Ness Monster lives." -Seth


    About Nessie: he talks about the probability of something living there that we don't yet know about. Unlike you he personally avoids calling it a "monster"

  37. "If you test positive for HIV antibodies with a Western Blot test, you have HIV infection"

    Excuse me, sir, but your facts are wrong. Please read

    AIDS Counselling for Low-Risk Clients

    “even if the results of both AIDS tests, the ELISA and WB (Western blot), are positive, the chances are only 50–50 that the individual is infected (Stine, 1996, pp. 333, 338)"