Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy

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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.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

AIDS Apathy is Fertile Soil for Denialism

Leading AIDS Denialist David Crowe once said “The world is getting bored with AIDS”.

And yet, as President of the Rethinking AIDS Society, Mr. Crowe refurbished the Rethinking AIDS website, hired a public relations person, and reinvigorated his propaganda campaigns. He also started daily updates on his other denialist website for the Alberta Reappraising AIDS Society.

Why would David Crowe and Rethinking AIDS do all of this if the world is bored with AIDS?

Because AIDS apathy is good for AIDS Denialism.

AIDS apathy means less attention to AIDS science, reduced information seeking, less critical thinking about AIDS, and fewer quality information resources. AIDS apathy may explain why 45% of Gay men believe “HIV does not cause AIDS” and 51% believe that “HIV drugs can harm you more than help you.” Apathy may also help explain the rise in AIDS conspiracy theories, where one in five men and women in Houston believe that “AIDS is an agent of genocide created by the US Government to kill of minority populations” and 43% of African Americans in the US believe that “People who take the new medicines for HIV are human guinea pigs for the government”.

The Kaiser Family Foundation just released a new survey of Americans that shows the public sees AIDS as less of a threat than in the past, even as new infections are on the rise. The proportion of Americans who see HIV/AIDS as the most urgent health threat facing the country has plummeted from 44% in 1995 to 17% in 2006 and 6% today. AIDS apathy was also greatest among those most affected by AIDS and those at greatest risk.

The study showed that the number of people who say that they have heard, seen, or read “a lot” or “some” about HIV/AIDS in the US in the past year declined from 70% in 2004 to 45% in 2009. Those who said they saw “a lot” about HIV/AIDS was cut about in half from 34 percent to 14 percent.

Americans who say that we are losing ground on the problem of HIV/AIDS has decreased from 36% in 2004 to 22% in 2009.

Sadly, we are actually losing ground in the fight against HIV/AIDS. An estimated 1.7 million Americans have been infected with HIV and 580,000 have died of AIDS. New HIV infections in the US are occurring at a rate of 56,000 a year, that means that every 9 ½ minutes someone in the US is infected with HIV. The District of Columbia has the worst AIDS problem in the country, with HIV infecting 3% of the city it rivals countries in West Africa as one of the most AIDS afflicted places in the world. All of this is happening while Americans are caring less about AIDS and AIDS Denialists spew ever more misinformation.

AIDS denialism claims that HIV does not cause AIDS, that HIV tests are invalid, and HIV treatments are poison. If our greatest hope for defeating AIDS Denialism is an attentive and educated public, we have a lot of work to do.


  1. The very fact that, as you yourself pointed out, "45% of Gay men believe “HIV does not cause AIDS” and 51% believe that “HIV drugs can harm you more than help you” shows very clearly that you and your cronies have already lost your war, bonehead.

    20 years ago, it would have been 99.9% of Gay men believe hiv is the cause of aids.

    The proverbial handwriting is on the proverbial door for AIDS Inc. Goodriddance to all.

  2. Hmmm, that's strange Michael. According to you stress causes what difference does it make if they do or don't believe HIV causes AIDS? Like normal, please don't answer that, I really don't care what you think, I just enjoy highlighting your flawed quasi-science.

  3. Lisa
    This is what is so sad about AIDS Denial. Like Maggiore, Michael cannot accept, cannot even fathom that HIV causes AIDS. Anyone who has faced a life threatening illness can surely understand that. Imagine Maggiore who would have to have lived with infecting her baby. And think of having infected others. Who would not seek refuge? See, Michael actually believes this crap because he is incapable of dealing with HIV causing AIDS.

    He is not like others we see who are just trying to cause mischief (e.g., Sadun).

    Those who have tested HIV+ are victims of the psychos and frauds who generate the pseudoscience and conspiracy theories that underwrite denialism. Unfortunately, these particular characters have also become the pawns and puppets of the fringe scientists (e.g., Duesberg), snake oil salesmen (e.g., Null), and loose cannon ‘journalists (e.g., Crowe, Farber).

    As Snout has pointed out, they are being used by the pseudoscientists and sociopaths. It is really sad.

    More concerning than those we see are those we do not see. The people who don’t blog but have tested positive or avoid testing because they believe the crap that the Perthies, Duesberg, Rasnick, etc have spewed.

  4. The very fact that, as you yourself pointed out, "45% of Gay men believe “HIV does not cause AIDS” and 51% believe that “HIV drugs can harm you more than help you” shows very clearly that you and your cronies have already lost your war, bonehead.If you read the article you will also see that 42% of the same population believe that HIV was created in the lab.

    The population in question is obviously prone to conspiracy theories. There is no valid reason to be happy about this.

    When David Crowe debated Boyd Graves I wondered what he was thinking. Surely they would realise how ridiculous this would make both of them look.

    Then I realised that the audience of this radio program is exactly the same conspiracy theory prone population that is described in the papers that Seth linked to.

    Both HIV "rethinkers" and the Lenny Horowitz's are targetting the same audience. They are both peddling conspiracy theories. Big pharma and CDC are conspiring to wipe out minorities. Same conspiracy, just different details.

    I don't think it is coincidental that HIV "rethinkers" are targetting audiences of radio shows such as Black Krishna, George Whitehurst Berry, Robert Scott Bell etc. These audiences are all prone to conspiracy theories.

    Real scientists do real research and publish in real scientific journals. Pseudoscientists target conspiracy theory prone anti-science lay-audiences.

  5. Another point to make is that Denial thrives when the consequences of Denial are not apparent.

    This has always been there with HIV/AIDS because of the long period of time between infection and progression to AIDS. By contrast the side effects of antiretrovirals are often immediately apparent.

    Paradoxically the success of antiretrovirals has fed both apathy and HIV Denial due to the fewer numbers of people dying from AIDS.

    A clearer example is seen with polio. Polio has almost been eradicated from the world but this hasn't stopped conspiracy nuts like David Crowe from claiming that poliovirus doesn't exist rather it gives them more scope to spread their lies because virtually nobody has seen somebody dies from polio in decades.

  6. AIDS is a non-epidemic, propped up by money-grubbing scientists and goofy academics like Dr. Joseph Newton

  7. Bill
    I am not a Doctor. I'm a founding member of the Green Party and I have a degree in Biology and Mathematics, so I have a very theoretical bent as well. You must have mistaken me for someone else. Not that I am making you eat Crowe or anything.

  8. Hi Joe,

    Sorry, I guess I mistook you for Dr. Seth Kalichman.

    Are you aware that he regularly steals your identity:)

  9. Bill, I would call it more of a loan than theft. Certainly not fraud. Indeed, there is only one Fraud in the picture you sent, and I bet you can guess who I am talking about?
    How about you Bill? Who are you, really?

  10. .. I would call it more of a loan than theft. What a riot ― more double-talk from the folks who call AZT, a "reverse transcriptase inhibitor" rather than DNA chain terminator; who call nucleic acid fragments "viral load," rather than "viral titer"; who refer to asymptomatic HIV positive folks as "Long-Term Non-Progressors," rather than healthy people.

    Whereas Bill correctly points out in light-hearted fashion, you're constant double-speak, I'll be a bit more blunt. The problem is that you AIDS zealots can't stop lying ― Professor Kalichman is merely a low-ranking liar, a useful idiot, for the high-ranking liars such as Fauci and Gallo.

    I hate to burst your bubble, but nobody cares about AIDS because it is all hype and fear.

  11. Lisa, you asked a valid question: "so what difference does it make if they do or don't believe HIV causes AIDS?"

    I believe the answer to this is found in the question itself. If one does not believe their diagnosis is deadly, then the chronic stress over it is gone, resulting in vibrant health, provided they are also avoiding other areas of chronic stress and self destructive physically harmful behaviors.

    Quite simple, yes? And it fully agrees with Dr. Kalichman's finding that stress contributes to illness in hiv positives.

    So Lisa, I thank you for asking.

  12. Anonymous
    Nothing better for a laugh than AIDS denialists calling others liars and zealots.
    And Anonymous, how do we know you are not Bill? Or Michael? Or David Crowe...
    Oh, wait we all know Crowe has never been proven to exist at all!! So here we are again, all this blogging from thousands of Restinkers could just be old Gary Null&Void conspiring with Big Vitamin to snake oil. Why not post with a real name and real profile? Afraid AIDS Inc. will call you names?
    Also, if AIDS “is all hype and fear” then remind how Eliza Jane and Christine Maggiore died?

  13. Michael,
    Why is it that you acknowledged Lisa's question, and yet you ignored Chris' question? No, Michael, don't answer, I want to pretend to be you and answer for you!
    Naw, I can't do it. You are way too complicated for little ol' self hating, drug abusing, constantly-in-the-bathhouse-taking-it-up-the-ass me!!
    So why not comment on what Chris said? Does it pose too difficult a scenario for you to make some snide, transparent bull-shit comment?
    Oh, Michael, you are such a tool!!!
    Love and kisses,
    J. Todd DeShong

  14. Hi Seth! and Hi Toddy!

    Tod, you asked why I did not answer Chris Noble's question, you silly boy! I did not answer Chris Noble's question simply because he did not ask any question.

    The only reason I answered Lisa and yourself, is because both of you did ask me a question.

    And for gosh sakes, Toddy. Calm down, before you make yourself sick. And before you sicken the rest of us.

    PS: And I hope you enjoy yourself at the bathhouse. Though your continuously cheating on our relationship is getting a bit old. If you continue to misbehave and cheat on me, I may have to discipline you very soon. In private!




  15. Michael Geiger wrote:"If one does not believe their diagnosis is deadly, then the chronic stress over it is gone, resulting in vibrant health, provided they are also avoiding other areas of chronic stress and self destructive physically harmful behaviors."

    Michael, I think you have just hit on The Cure For All Diseases.

    1. Pretend there's nothing bad going on.
    2. Be good.
    3. ?????
    4. Vibrant Health!!!

    Thanks for summarising the AIDS denialist mindset in a very nutty nutshell.

  16. Michael, not believing in HIV did not save Casper Schmidt from AIDS.

    A large proportion of people are diagnosed with HIV infection and AIDS at the same time only when they turn up in hospital with a serious opportunistic infection.

    Ignorance and Denial do not protect you from HIV and AIDS

  17. Michael said - "And it fully agrees with Dr. Kalichman's finding that stress contributes to illness in hiv positives."

    Michael, stress does contribute to illness. Especially chronic stress. Who said it doesn’t?

    There have been dozens of studies, several at the University of Miami, that show stress reduction can increase CD4 cells in people living with HIV/AIDS. intensive stress reduction programs that include relaxation and aerobic exercise increase CD4 cells and natural killer cells. The increases are interesting and may help slow deterioration of the immune system, but they do not indicate a reversal of HIV disease and they do not protect against developing AIDS.

    The Miami group also showed that denial of HIV status can lead to depressed affect, hostility, reduced social support utilization, high-risk sexual behavior, alcohol and/or drug abuse, impaired immune functioning and possibly accelerated HIV disease progression.

    Depressed affect? Hostility? Social Isolation? Sound familiar?

    Remarkably, denial, even less prolonged than the sustained “Maggiore” form of denial and the denial fostered by HEAL, “is a significant predictor of disease progression even after controlling for CD4 number at entry. Furthermore, change in denial (five weeks post-diagnoses minus pre-diagnosis) was significantly correlated with the CD4 number one year later.”

    Denial is so maladaptive it is more harmful to the immune system than stress!

    Ok, Michael, let’s hear some denial of the harmful effects of denial. Ready, set, go!

  18. "Denial is so maladaptive it is more harmful to the immune system than stress!"

    If that were the case, I would be very concerned about your health and well being, and the health of all of you, including Chris and Snout, (though my heart is pretty much with bathhouse boy, Cheating Toddy at the moment. Though if he doesn't calm down about dissidents, he could crack his own last egg and lose his health)

    At any rate, Seth, the study you pointed out simply confirms that internalized chronic stress is behind most, if not all, illness attributed to hiv.

    And that corny study you present above did not investigate even one person who would be what you would define as being in denial. It said, and I qote: "An important issue to be considered, is how denial MIGHT BE related to disease progression".

    Might be Seth, not IS. They found no such thing. They didn't even investigate it. You have found more evidence for it than they have. And your current study of all of us denialists is probably the most important one you will ever do again. And if you were smart, you would quickly file for some of that current PEPFAR funding to get a few more studies while the getting is good. Your final study, including on just how obnoxiously sick and unhealthy I am, could just be the one that lays it all out, on just how harmful the real denialism really is. So you might as well get paid for it, yah know? ;)

    But back to their lame ass study, they didn't have one! Likely because any so called "denialists" that these guys would have approached, would have listened to the researchers silly proposal for 3/4 of the first sentence, and then any red blooded card carrying denialists would have immediately denied that any of the researchers had any common sense, and would have run, not walked, in the opposite direction. After all, they would exhibit the independent so called "irrational mind" of those you commonly call "denialists". What denialist would join an hiv study? After all, they are not HIV two-step orthodoxy drug taking puppet dancers nor are they HIV/AIDS program followers.

    As such, Seth, the only study of denialists that has ever happened to date, is the one you, Seth, are now doing. And again, I really think you should file for funds on this one while you still can. If you don't, others will.

    Sooooo, Doctor Seth, I am looking forward to you grading this grade A denialist. Am I about to sink from depression? I will grant you there are times I have been seriously hostile, but what red blooded denialist does not get hot around the collar when surrounded by viciously angry orthodoxists who are trying to push their every button and publicly calling them every dirty name they can think of including the meant to be degrading label of "aids denialist"? As for loneliness, sometimes I wish. I am not very isolated, my phone rings all day and I have several employees, many friends, a room mate, and a full social life with other so called "denialists" calling and emailing all the time. There are times when I would prefer a bit of isolation. You know what I mean?

    So what's my prognosis, Dr. Seth? I know life is a terminable affair for us all, but do you suppose my health will go down the toilet some time soon? After all, I have been suffering from chronic and terrible bouts of AIDS denialism since the early 1980's. And the latest and most extreme bout has lasted since 2001. Am I soon to be a gonner, Dr. Seth? Just tell me the truth. I can take it.

  19. "The increases are interesting and may help slow deterioration of the immune system, but they do not indicate a reversal of HIV disease and they do not protect against developing AIDS".

    I fully agree, Seth. I really could not agree more. It would take more than just minor stress reduction and exercise for hiv positives in order to protect them from long term from aids. For some, it may take a spiritual epiphany. For others, relieving them of long held subconscious death wishes, and for others, ridding the patient of the belief in inevitable sickness and death from AIDS, along with probably a successful long term treatment in a 12 step recovery program for drug addiction, along with laying down the toxic aids drugs before their liver is too far gone in order to succeed in protecting them from developing AIDS.

    One size does not fit all, obviously.

  20. Chris, I realize you are labeling it as aids, but aids is not an actual cause of death. What was the actual cause of Caspar Schmidts death?

    And if you do not know, would you be honest enough to please admit it?

  21. Chris, the New York magazine article you posted above was interesting. It clearly stated: "Intravenous-drug users make up the biggest group, 38.5 percent...of total AIDS deaths".

    But what it does not mention, is that most of the other 2/3rds were still for the vast majority, usually chronic drug abusers that were snorting or smoking lots of dope or deaths due to the aids drugs, combined with the toxic chronic stress of believing they were going to die of aids.

    No mystery about any of these deaths that you present, Chris. It is all exactly what we dissidents have been screaming about for 20 some years: Drug abuse, aids drugs, and chronic stress. And much of the chronic stress comes along due to believing in the diagnosis itself. Of course, it doesn't take much chronic stress to finish someone off who is already weakened from drug abuse, sniffing or IV, aids drugs, or factoring in the intensity of self loathing for being gay that is still very common in much of the chronically homophobic US of A.

  22. Well Michael, you are a master at misunderstanding research and twisting words to fit your perceptions.

    I have no clue how you arrive at your conclusions.

    FYI, PEPFAR money is not for research. It buys HIV treatments in Africa. How do you explain the reductions in AIDS deaths in Brazil and Botswana as HIV treatment has increased? Do you think they are suddenly drinking green tea and radically detoxing over there? How do you explain the reductions in infant deaths?

    You really should take a break. Do you realize how much stress your anger and hostility are causing you?

    Do you see how angry you are? Where do you get the time to do all of this? If you are on disability it surely cannot be for HIV/AIDS. So what then?

    Limit your responses to one comment with sub-parts and keep them succinct as you have been. Start to take over my blog with long rants and I will stop posting your comments.

  23. According to Ian Young who interviewed Casper Schmidt: Diagnosed with AIDS, he entered hospital, and shortly afterwards left, to die at home of AIDS-related illness in the late Spring of 1994, about eighteen months after our interview. The long-promised second part to "The Group-Fantasy Origins of AIDS" was never completed. All his research papers, manuscripts and patient case files have disappeared.Of course if you are an expert Denialist then you will claim that Casper Schmidt was secretly taking drugs.

  24. At any rate, Seth, the study you pointed out simply confirms that internalized chronic stress is behind most, if not all, illness attributed to hiv.That's the beauty of confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance - everything confirms your beliefs - if you try hard enough.

  25. Nessie, did you just hack my blog with your holiday photos?

    You naughty Monster, you!

  26. Hey Guys,
    I hate to break it to you, but this "Michael" is NOT our Mr. Geiger. How do I know? This person actually has a sense of humor!! He/She is a dumb as dirt like Geiger, but still is not Geiger.

  27. JTD
    I knew those comments were too coherent. How did you discover that 'Michael' is not Geiger? Do you know who has infiltrated my blog? When I find out I will start a new blog dedicated to obsessively posting about him/her. I will call it the Mythical Michael Madness. Or perhaps Dr. Michael and Mr. Hide. Just tell me, please!

  28. Hey Snout
    It appears that you caught a snap of us in the middle of game we call "Henry Bauer"... I think you humans call it "Marco Polo". It's one of our favorite pastimes. Not surprisingly Bauer sucks at it and generally spends his time wandering around saying "henry, henry" to no avail because we can't stand him.
    PS - a picture of me with Bauer in it is certainly NO holiday!!!

  29. Hello Doctor Seth,

    You said: "I have no clue..."

    I fully agree. You do seem again to be clueless. And not just about hiv, aids, or those you call denialists. You are even clueless about PEPFAR. And...You are missing the boat! PEPFAR does fund studies. Only half of PEPFAR goes to drugs. I oughta know, I have followed every detail.

    And from the looks of things, no more study monies this year. FY2009 submissions are closed. So you are not only clueless, but perhaps slow as well. But don't be foolish, Seth. FY2010 submissions will be open soon!

    PEPFAR-supported Public Health Evaluation (PHE) studies fund any type of evaluation that will contribute to disbursing the drugs.

    And if shutting up or "curing" us denialists from ending the toxic poisoning of Africa with AZT and Nevirapine and who knows what else does not fit in there somewhere, I don't know what does!

    Chris Nobel, you ended your last rant with "Casper Schmidt was secretly taking drugs".

    I didn't know that. But I wouldn't doubt it. Schmidt, before he died, did diagnose himself as having fallen prey to the belief. He admitted to Ian Young, that at some point in his researches, he realized, to his horror, that he was diagnosing himself. At that point, the stress at least, as he was no longer young, certainly could have suppressed his immune system.

    The last year or so of Casper's life remains something of a mystery. Diagnosed with AIDS, he entered hospital, and shortly afterwards left, to die at home of AIDS-related illness (whatever the hell that meant) in the late Spring of 1994.

    Snout, if Cheating Toddy cannot stay out of the bathhouse, or at least learn to share his tricks, I may consider moving down under with you. We could be the odd couple. But I have to admit, I find Doctor Noble's brilliant mind at least as attractive as your big hairy snout pictured on your blogsite, so you and he may have to compete for my attention a bit. They say big snouts are often indicative of big feet and other big things, and if that is true, this is not necessary, but depending on how well you work your snout may be a plus for you winning out. I think I could enjoy manhandling great big feet while poking someone in their snout.

    But, Lisa, is the only woman I would ever go straight for. One of the greatest difficulties I have had with relationships with women is that they argue and criticize until one answers them back. And then argue and criticize even more. But not you. I could be attracted to a woman who always ends her criticisms with "please don't answer" and then runs off to pout.

    So last chance, Hot Toddy. You gonna be faithful, or will you quit rubbing it in that you are a cheating JackA&&, or perhaps at the very least, will you learn how to share? And you better decide soon, or I may tire of your head games and move down under to indulge in 3 way bareback sessions with chris and snout's big snouts and feet while looking at nude pictures of nessie and sending pictures of it all back to Lisa for her and Dr. Seth's soon to be announced Pepfar funded study of the unhealthful sex habits of aids denialists.

    Sorry for all that, Dr. Seth. Didn't mean to get you excited.

  30. Did I say coherent? Oh well.

    Michael, take a breath.
    You still have not said whether you take State of California AIDS Disability support. Should we assume you do? Now that would be something.

    Now you know I won’t debate with a denialists.

    But man are you off on PEPFAR - a State Department program. Saying Public Health Evals are research is like saying teaching evaluations are research.

    How can you AIDS Deniers claim to understand research when you do not even know what research is?

    Now Michael, please, try to focus. Take a deep breath and repeat after me…”I am Michael Geiger. I am in San Diego. Today is May 9 2009. The President is Barack Obama.” Are you ok now Michael?

  31. haha....for one, I bet any of you that in Bauer's next blog he will use these Nessie postings as proof that the monster exists. Don't say I didn't warn you!....Next, Michal please don't do that again, I just finished wiping the puke off of my keyboard.

  32. Please pass the sponge and Windex when you've finished with them, Lisa.

    Even at the best of times Michael Geiger is a truly disgusting troll, but that was an especially revolting post, even by his usual standards.

  33. I might as well throw in my two cents. I am a physician following this "conspiracy theory" before i even went to medical school. I was a firm believer in it and read deusbergs book. I decided to rethink my stance after taking immunology and pathology, ending up somewhere in the middle...slightly confused. Then i worked on an HIV shift for a year. Interestingly, the only patients i saw were gay males, all of who has used hard drugs and massive amounts of anti-biotics. They were all on HARRT meds and claimed it was helping them stay alive (while they continued to do methamphetamines and opiate deratives). Why only males???? Now i work at an international resort and have met two docs who work in africa (with the Gates foundation). They don’t believe HIV is the sole cause of AIDS (maybe a co-factor), and that poor infrastructure (i.e. unclean water) and malnutrition are the main causes. HMMMM. I am still left wondering. Point is, dogma shuts down open critical thinking. ALL chronic disease is multifactorial. ALL of them! They reflect an imbalance in internal ecology as all damaged ecological systems are subject to invasion and collapse, after "open real state" and corrupt terrain has been initiated. SO instead of spending all your energies whining about AIDS denialist,or ecluding the possibility that the HIV hypothesis might actually be true, why don't you all spend some time trying to figure out why this virus is selective in who it affects demographically, and why we are spending so much time developing drugs for africans, when we should be providing clean water and food for them. Well, as one public health person told me (after working as a doc in africa for years)...there is no money in infrastructure. No one will pay for it.