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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Vito Mbeki?: AIDS denialism at the Italian Ministry of Health

A policy analysis raises the specter of AIDS Denialism in the Italian Health Ministry. The study examined official records and found numerous cases where an AIDS diagnosis is discussed independent of HIV infection.

The authors initially investigated epidemiological evidence regarding HIV infection and AIDS in Italy using only official data published by the Italian National Institute of Health (Istituto Superiore di Sanità) and by the Italian Ministry of Health (Ministero del Lavoro, della Salute e delle Politiche Sociali). The authors concluded that the Italian Ministry of Health appears to be convinced that HIV is not the [sole] cause of AIDS. The authors describe the serendipity of their findings:

“In the wake of the recent Nobel awards for Medicine, we wished to prepare an essay concerning the numbers of the AIDS epidemic in Italy and the efficacy of the Italian Ministry of Health’s policies to contain and fight the disease. We also wondered whether the Nobel awards could put an end to the polemics concerning the viral origin of AIDS with particular reference to the theses (often referred to as ‘AIDS denialism’) put forward by Prof. Duesberg et al. and Bauer. AIDS denialism refers to the views of a loosely connected group of individuals and organizations who deny that HIV is the cause of AIDS. To this end, a young student (MPG) preparing his bachelor’s thesis began to search the official documents of the Italian Ministry of Health ( and, after a thorough search, we came to a rather paradoxical conclusion: policies, guidelines, definitions and data provided for by the Italian Ministry of Health are indeed consistent with the hypothesis that AIDS could be independent of HIV infection.”
The authors go on to state: “according to the Ministry, AIDS can be diagnosed in the absence of signs of HIV infection; there is legal prohibition to communicate new HIV infections to referring physicians and Health Authorities as if HIV spread were not a threat to public health… no national registry of HIV infection is implemented; and AIDS is not classified among relevant infective diseases nor among infective diseases that are susceptible of control interventions; one fourth of pediatric AIDS cases is not imputable to mother–son transmission.”

The study was conducted by Ruggiero et al. from the University of Firenze and published in the journal Medical Hypotheses. The authors examine their observations regarding what appear to be AIDS Denialist policies. They express considerable surprise, stating that “At the end of what we thought would have been a routine essay, we were left with more questions and doubts than we expected: if the data and the definitions provided for by the Italian Ministry of Health are accurate and consistent, and assuming that the Ministry always uses the acronym ‘AIDS’ to indicate the same pathologic entity (in this life/death matter, sloppiness and/or confusion would not be tolerable), then we are forced to conclude that the Ministry is convinced that HIV is not the sole cause of AIDS in Italy. This hypothesis of ours is easily refutable by the Ministry by implementing the following points:

1. Clearly state in an official document with legal value, that no diagnosis of AIDS can be made without confirmed HIV infection, and withdraw the definitions listed in the circular No. 9 of 29th April, 1994

2. Enforce obligation of notification of new HIV infections to referring physicians and Health Authorities.

3. Establish a coherent national registry of new HIV infection.

4. Classify AIDS among relevant infective diseases that are susceptible of control interventions.

5. Give an explanation for those pediatric AIDS cases not imputable to mother–son transmission.

Until these measures are not implemented, logics force us to include the Italian Ministry of Health within the AIDS denialist community.”

If Ruggiero et al. are correct it would mean that Italy joins South Africa (1999-2008) and Gambia in the family of nations that have sponsored AIDS Denialism.

There are serious implications should the Italian Health Ministry not refute Ruggiero et al.’s hypothesis. AIDS Deniers could easily exploit the Italian Government’s missteps just as they did in South Africa. Watch for an emergence of pseudoscience, natural remedies, Vitamin cures, and other classic denialist escapades. AIDS Deniers could use the confusion to sue pharmaceutical companies, challenge HIV testing, and launch legal defenses for people who knowingly infect others with HIV. Hopefully Italy’s Health Ministry will openly reject AIDS Denial and clarify its position.

UPDATE 7/12/2009
AIDS Denialists are getting excited about the Ruggiero article. They smell the sausage simmering. Henry Bauer has taken time away from looking for Nessie and ranting about Joe Newton to post the Italian analysis. [By the way, I am nominating Henry Bauer to serve as a case example for the new psychiatric condition under consideration post-traumatic embitterment disorder where“People who feel they have been wronged by someone and are so bitter they can barely function other than to ruminate about their circumstances". Sorry Henry, but you have to just let it go!]

Henry Bauer states that a “remarkable coup has just transpired in publishing serious questions about HIV/AIDS in a mainstream journal.”

Now hold your water old fella.
Bauer is referring to Medical Hypotheses as a mainstream journal. For someone who has edited the Journal of Scientific Exploration, Mad Magazine would be considered mainstream science. Medical Hypotheses has been the home to articles by Peter Duesberg and the Perth Group. They also published the papers “Ejaculation as a treatment for nasal congestion in men is inconvenient, unreliable and potentially hazardous” and my personal favorite “The nature of navel fluff” by Georg Steinhauser [Thanks Nathan, again!]. I just have to share that abstract…

“Hard facts on a soft matter! In their popular scientific book (Leyner M, Goldberg B. Why do men have nipples – hundreds of questions you’d only ask a doctor after your third martini. New York: Three Rivers Press; 2005), Leyner and Goldberg raised the question why “some belly buttons collect so much lint”. They were, however, not able to come up with a satisfactory answer. The hypothesis presented herein says that abdominal hair is mainly responsible for the accumulation of navel lint, which, therefore, this is a typically male phenomenon. The abdominal hair collects fibers from cotton shirts and directs them into the navel where they are compacted to a felt-like matter. The most abundant individual mass of a piece of lint was found to be between 1.20 and 1.29 mg (n = 503). However, due to several much larger pieces, the average mass was 1.82 mg in this three year study. When the abdominal hair is shaved, no more lint is collected. Old T-shirts or dress shirts produce less navel fuzz than brand new T-shirts. Using elemental analysis, it could be shown that cotton lint contains a certain amount of foreign material, supposedly cutaneous scales, fat or proteins. Incidentally, lint might thus fulfill a cleaning function for the navel.”

Medical Hypotheses is regularly featured in Ben Goldacre's Bad Science as a crap journal. Henry Bauer holds the journal in high esteem, that says it all.

So let’s keep this in perspective. As a commenter has already said elsewhere, this was not exactly published in JAMA or The Lancet.

For the full article see Ruggiero M et al. Aids denialism at the ministry of health. Med Hypotheses (2009), doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2009.06.002
To request a copy of the article you may contact the corresponding author Stephania Pacini


  1. I know this is a little off topic, but Im writing a paper for college about Michael Callen.
    Was he an aids denialist? If so, why is he not listed as one at AIDSTRUTH?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. You've got it backwards - Ruggerio is an AIDS denier, see his website:

    He's also giving a talk at the RA2009 conference. The paper is just typical denialist sophistry.

    See also here:

  4. Yep Ruggiero is an AIDS Denier and Medical Hypotheses is not a legitimate peer-reviewed journal....anything goes in Medical Hypotheses. I suppose there is a place for such a journal, to express ideas for others to investigate. Put you would think should be some quality control. This is not the first AIDS Denialist piece they have published (Duesberg 1988; Papadopulos-Eleopulos 2004). Although it is from a leading science publisher, Elsevier, the outlet has extremely low impact – one paper is cited for every one published – that means it is crap! (2008 Impact Factor 1.4)

    Another clue is that David Crowe put it up on his website… so we know Ruggiero sent it to him.

    The paper also elevates Henry Bauer to the stature of Peter Duesberg. In reality that means Duesberg is now in the same class as the former editor of the pseudoscience Journal of Scientific Explorations. That must make Peter proud. Duesberg is right next to the world’s Loch Ness Monster Scholar. An established fraud-scientist can be retained in the National Academy of Sciences. Lifetime appointments are just a bad idea.

    The problem here again is that Ruggiero’s paper appears scientific enough to get attention. If the Italian Health Ministry does not clarify the mistranslations and explain the flaws it could be used in the litigious efforts by the more paranoid AIDS Deniers in their legal pursuits.

  5. "I know this is a little off topic, but Im writing a paper for college about Michael Callen."

    Not really off topic...
    I would not consider Michael Callen an AIDS Denier. Here is why,

    When singer/activist Callen was questioning whether HIV alone causes AIDS, or whether there are important co-factors, much less was known. In the late 1980’s we just did not know as much about HIV and how it causes AIDS. As I say in Denying AIDS, Peter Duesberg in 1988 also should not be considered an AIDS Denier. Only when the science became clear that HIV causes AIDS, even in the absence of co-factors that can accelerate HIV disease, Dueberg turned the corner from being a dissident scientist to being an AIDS Denialist. And now he has sunk to the all time low of being equated by Ruggiero et al. with UFOlogist and Monster Hunter Henry Bauer. (see, not off topic)

    Michael Callen died in 1993. He was very critical of AZT monotherapy which we now know had serious ill effects when used in the early doses and in the long term – especially with regard to treatment resistance.

    The Callen-Lorde Community Health center in NYC is a major HIV/AIDS service provider in NYC. Named for Callen, it surely is not a monument for AIDS Denial.

    Along with Callen, Joseph Sonnabend had questoned HIV as the sole cause of AIDS and raised the roles of multiple factors in AIDS. Today, Sonnabend has kept with the science and while he was an AIDS science dissident in 1990, unlike Duesberg Sonnabend remains a scientist.

    For your paper, you should read Callen’s book “Surviving AIDS”. Also, discusses Callen’s early role in AIDS-related activist.

    The most important thing for your paper is to pay close attention to historical context. And AIDS dissident in 1990 is not the same as an AIDS Denialist in 2009.

  6. This new paper is very worrying, Seth. Unlike the current group at Rethinking AIDS who are to a man cranks, kooks and charlatans, Prof Ruggiero is a first rate intellect with an established reputation in cell biology. He would lend them considerable unwarranted credibility and would be a major shot in the arm to the flagging and ageing denialist movement. I notice that Henry Bauer is already Croweing about the coup.

    The editors and peer reviewers of Medical Hypotheses clearly recognised what a bombshell his paper is when they approved it for publication the same day it was received. This has clearly been brewing for a while, and we need to get prepared for the onslaught.

    Worse, he is an influential teacher in Florence, and is giving one of the key presentations at the Rethinking AIDS conference.

    I hope the Italian authorities act quickly to address his points and shut him up.

  7. I hope the Italian authorities act quickly to address his points and shut him up.

    His points? My goodness, what possible points could he be making?

  8. The paper is just typical denialist rhetorical garbage, only shames the people that wrote & published it. Don't see any reason for the Italian Ministry of Health to dignify it with a response. Also don't see any reason for anyone to try and shut them up, let them reveal themselves for what they are (the Italian outpost of the Peter Duesberg fan club, seemingly). Don't think it requires much guesswork to figure out where Ruggiero's denialism is coming from.

  9. The paper is so mind numbingly stupid that it is difficult to believe that it isn't satire. However, history has shown that stupidity is the simplest answer.

    The basic logical flaw amounts to falsely equating "absence of evidence of HIV infection" with "evidence of absence of HIV infection".

    If somebody dies with PCP, KS and CMV without being tested for HIV and without other known causes of immune deficiency it makes complete sense to count them as an AIDS case. Surveillance definitions are for -- surveillance. They aren't meant to convince Denialists.

    The paper is so stupid that it is unlikely to convince anyone who isn't already a denialist. I'm more concerned that Ruggiero is getting students to do this crap. It's worth remembering what happened to Bryan Ellison who was Peter Duesberg's graduate student. Duesberg got Ellison to write HIV Denialist papers as a part of his PhD. They had a falling out over the publication of their book and Ellison seems to have fallen victim to severe paranoia. He accused Phillip Johnson of trying to censor the book.

    Ellison was eventually kicked out of his graduate program and later became involved in a Hasidic conspiracy theory organisation. It is no wonder that Duesberg had trouble getting graduate students after this debacle.

    I'm sure the same thing will happen to Ruggiero once their stupidity becomes public knowledge. I'm also sure that they will cry "persecution" and "censorship" when it happens.

  10. LOL!

    Having Chris Noble critique and call stupid Dr. Ruggiero's work is like having a fat drunk at a baseball game fulminating against Alex Rodriquez.

    Here's Dr. Ruggiero's CV:

    Here's Dr. Ruggiero's body of SCIENTIFIC work:

    Now, let's look at this loser Chris Noble: A computer scientist geek, without any meaningful credentials, who has never published a paper on AIDS, molecular biology, toxicology or anything relevant on the subject.

    He does comment on blogs, though!

    Regards, Bill

  11. Chris
    Ruggiero is different from the usual idiots. Culshaw is an idiot. She failed her career and thought she could explain it away by jumping into the Duesberg - Rasnick – Bialy camp.

    Stupid or what?

    But what motivates a young guy with a promising career like Bent Leung to get into AIDS denial? And what about Ruggiero? Why would he be both a biologist with what seems to be a reputable record and an AIDS Denier?

    I have an idea it is what we have seen before from Brassard to Maggiore to Zanetti.

    This type of denial is maladaptive to an extreme and explains much of what we see in these people.

  12. "Why would he be both a biologist with what seems to be a reputable record and an AIDS Denier? "

    Seth, he is an Aids denier because you say so. Your blog is an Aids denialist factory.

  13. I know an oncologist who has treated cancer for two decades. When his wife’s mammogram came back positive he believed it to be in error. She could not have breast cancer. Just could not be true. Didn’t feel she should follow up. How could this be? How could he be a cancer specialist and yet deny his wife’s own situation? Well, because it was his wife’s own situation.

    Only Ruggiero can tell us what he believes and where he is coming from. And he is not talking. I suspect that there is a reason this biologist is denying AIDS.

    All I know is..

    He is Red Superstar Rethinker on The List

    He has spent time at UC Berkeley

    He links to lots of AIDS Denier websites

    He is speaking at the meeting of Rethinkers
    Of course, with the exception of speaking at the Rethinkers Conference (so far) all of the above can be said for me!!

  14. you're a real sherlock holmes. Have you tried to communicate with him?

  15. I never said I was an investigative agent..Clark Baker is the Private Dick.
    Yes I have been in touch with Marco. I asked him whether hiv causes aids and his response was that he knows gallo and duesberg. So that answers that.

  16. "I know an oncologist who has treated cancer for two decades. When his wife’s mammogram came back positive he believed it to be in error." Well, genius, mammograms CAUSE cancer. If any "Cancer specialist" had half a brain, they would not allow their wife to get a mammogram in the first place. ( But you probably don't want to hear this, or you might be compelled to start another blog about Cancer Denialists, and well, who's got that kind of time?

  17. I already have a blog on cancer denial. You denialists are pretty much the same. Aids, aneuploidy, whatever. That is the point. Thanks for commenting.

  18. So it is your opinion that to think mammograms cause cancer is to be in denial? Obviously, you are the one in denial, because even the mainstream docs say radiation causes cancer. This is not a fringe idea. And it's very telling that you take up sides with big pharma in each "denialism" debate. Shocker.

  19. you're a real sherlock holmes. Have you tried to communicate with him?

    What? You think that Seth should just ask Ruggiero whether HIV causes AIDS. That would hardly be scientific. Seth should of course get a grant and have one of his students read all of Ruggiero's published work to try to see whether they are consistent with HIV causing AIDS. He should then publish the results in Medical Hypotheses in a paper titled "AIDS Denialism at the University of Florence".

    Seriously, why didn't Ruggiero just write to the Italian Health Ministry and ask them whether HIV causes AIDS?

  20. "But what motivates a young guy with a promising career like Bent Leung to get into AIDS denial? And what about Ruggiero? Why would he be both a biologist with what seems to be a reputable record and an AIDS Denier?"

    If you could for a second peel through the layers of your own denialism, you would see the answer to that question staring you right in the face: These smart, promising individuals are getting into "AIDS denialism" because they are smart, promising individuals. How many people will have to point out the fallacies and frauds of the HIV theory before you climb down off your high horse and admit to at least the POSSIBILITY that they are on to something?

  21. “How many people will have to point out the fallacies and frauds of the HIV theory before you climb down off your high horse and admit to at least the POSSIBILITY that they are on to something?”

    I have worked on psychiatric wards where everyone shared the same delusion.
    So how about some real scientists start doing some real science on all of so called dissident claims? That would be a good start.

  22. You just said Ruggiero was a real scientist. A promising one! You can't lump all people who think something is wrong with HIV theory into the same psychiatric ward. The only thing they have in common is common sense.

  23. And for the early detection of breast cancer, I suspect you would suggest an Aneuploidy test and the David Crowe Breast Massage?

  24. "Yes I have been in touch with Marco. I asked him whether hiv causes aids and his response was that he knows gallo and duesberg. So that answers that."

    That says nothing actually...would you mind sharing your communication with us?

  25. "So how about some real scientists start doing some real science on all of so called dissident claims? That would be a good start."

    because when they do, you say they are crazy...and it isn't funded anyways...for obvious reasons...they are crazy. and round and round we go...

  26. "Seriously, why didn't Ruggiero just write to the Italian Health Ministry and ask them whether HIV causes AIDS?"

    he did...we should hear the answer shortly.

  27. Requesting AIDS Dissident Science.
    Please, point the way? I have never been critical of unfunded research - some of my best work has been unfunded. I would like pubmed references please, no websites, books, magazines, or comics.
    Lets see what you deliver and others can judge if you are crazy.

  28. Why didn't Ruggiero simply write to the Italian Health Ministry first?

    Why go through all of this rhetorical bullshit?

    Why involve a bachelor student and possibly ruin their career?

    Why does he need a financial grant to simply write to the Italian health Ministry and ask them whether HIV causes AIDS?

    Ruggiero might be a real scientist but the Medical Hypotheses article is not real science. It is an exercise in semantic masturbation.

  29. Josef Mengele and Peter Duesberg could be considered real scientists. Does that make them any less deranged?

  30. Under the theory that a broken clock gets it right at least once a day, Seth actually wrote something sensible:

    He was very critical of AZT monotherapy which we now know had serious ill effects when used in the early doses and in the long term – especially with regard to treatment resistance.

    Serious ill-effects? An improvement, Seth, but and understatement -- drinking Clorox bleach probably has serious ill effects,too. Duesberg pointed out the flaw in AZT in his classic 1988 debate with Gallo in the pages of Science:

    Since the cause of AIDS is debatable, the control of AIDS may not be achieved by controlling HIV. This is particularly true for the highly toxic "control" (preventive or therapeutic) of AIDS with azidothymidine (AZT)-AZT is designed to inhibit viral DNA synthesis in persons who have antibodies to a virus that is not synthesizing DNA

    It's a shame how many AIDS patients were killed by AZT in the late 80s. Glad to see you're on board with Dr. Duesberg on this, Seth.

  31. A broken clock actually gets it right twice a day. Much better than the Denialist broken record...AZT, AZT, AZT, AZT, AZT, blah, blah, blah...

    Yes, Peter and I have a special relationship. He is quite the guy. Shows every sign of frontal lobe damage… confrontational, impulsive, socially and sexually inappropriate. Peter is blast!

    By the way, any AIDS Deniers want to bid on my signed copy of Inventing the AIDS Virus? I may part with it if the price is right – of course, I would donate the money to the Family Treatment Fund.

  32. designed to inhibit viral DNA synthesis in persons who have antibodies to a virus that is not synthesizing DNA

    Actually, it was shown that HIV is constantly replicating and synthesizing viral DNA. His arguments against AZT were
    completely fallacious.

    So, Duesberg is the broken clock. AZT monotherapy ended up showing no long term benefit but not for any of the reasons that Duesberg gave.

    There were many others who criticized AZT monotherapy without denying the causal role of HIV in AIDS.

  33. To anybody who thinks there might really be denialism in the Italian Health Ministry: Tranquilate! (calm down)You have been hanging around the Duesenbauers too long.
    There's no need to call, write, or wonder, since Ruggiero's paper gives no evidence of any such denialism. Right now the Health Ministry is in the midst of a big HIV testing promotion campaign. We're talking about a professional operation, not a bunch of sweaty cigar-smoking guys in sleeveless undershirts drinking wine and dreaming up diagnostic criteria. Do you really think they want to dignify Ruggiero's garbage paper with a reply?
    Fulano de Tal

  34. Thank you Fulano de Tal

    I have to say that the only conclusion to draw is that the Ruggiero paper is crap. And Medical Hypotheses is an eyesore for Elsevier. I am having our University Librarian ask to have it removed from the Elsevier Bundle…which will essentially kill the journal. I urge others to do the same.

    Now Fulano de Tal, I am the first to admit that we get some weird and wild shit on this blog. Only to be expected. BUTT your Profile Picture is the BEST yet!! I urge everyone to click on Fulano de Tal’s link above. How Bruno missed this idea I will never know!
    Thanks again!

  35. You laugh while I must sit on a doughnut pillow!
    I'm sure you did not miss the earlier post on Bauer's blog about a dissertation from a student of Ruggiero. The abstract is very sketchy, but the study seems to show a correlation between AIDS and recreational drug use, which we are told means heroin. The data do not include a measure of HIV status, but nonetheless the analysis is described as support for the "chemical hypothesis."
    Abrazos y besos,
    Fulano de Tal

  36. I decided to post it on my Blog....From Fulano de Tal:

    Querido Seth,
    I, Fulano de Tal, did not want to clutter your blog with this, but I thought you might like to have my rejected comment for your files. Do whatever you like with it.
    Besos y abrazos,
    Fulano de Tal

    My rejected post to Bauer's site
    Thursday, July 16, 2009 9:32 PM
    Fulano de Tal said
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Thursday, 16 July 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Querido MacDonald,
    I have read the Ruggiero et al. paper very closely and can say that whether it is crap or not is in the nose of the beholder. It does shed a little light on the woeful inadequacies of HIV/AIDS surveillance in Italy. It is this, not an analysis of official data, that forms the core of the paper. Some of the criticisms of the Italian Health Ministry are unfair without more information. For example, it can be very reasonable and reliable, in certain instances, to make a diagnosis of AIDS without a confirmation of HIV infection.

    What little data, and even littler analysis, appears in the paper, provides no challenge to current knowledge about HIV. To take the “finding” highlighted in the press release, we find only that in data from the ISS (Istituto Superiore di Sanitá) 25% of pediatric cases of AIDS are coded as due to “other causes/not determined.” Of all the reasons the source of the infection could be missing — lack of access to the mother for testing, no consent given by the mother, bad recordkeeping — the authors make the unjustified leap of concluding that “One fourth of paediatric AIDS cases in Italy is not due to vertical transmission.” Italy has some of the strictest laws governing consent and anonymity of HIV test results, which are lamented in this very article. If it is illegal to attach identifying information to test results, might that make it difficult to match mother’s results with infants? Anyway, Ruggiero et al. conduct no investigation whatsoever of what happened in those cases.
    In effect, when faced with missing data in 25% of cases, they have simply filled in the blanks with invented data that support their desired conclusion, but are sharply at odds with every existing study of pediatric AIDS. That’s kind of crappy.

    It is also crappy to attack the Ministry of Health by associating it with AIDS denialists. After many years of caving to the Vatican’s preference for an unrealistic chastity-based approach to prevention, the Ministry has in recent years embarked on an aggressive public information campaign promoting safe sex.

    Fulano de Tal

  37. Ironic that Bauer censored a response to McDonald. McDonald often refers to my blog as ‘highly censored’. Just too funny.

  38. If you read the article that Ruggiero's article cites then you'll find that out of the 765 reported cases of paediatric AIDS 711 were classified as MTCT, 15 haemophilia, 12 transfusion and 27 other/not determined.

    27/765 = 3.5%

    As with the bulk of the paper the major problems are logical fallacies.

    Other/not determined does not mean non-transmissable or non-viral.

    The same logical fallacy is seen in a field that Henry Bauer is more familiar with. Unidentified flying object does not logically correspond to alien spaceship. Unidentified dose not mean that there isn't a simple non-alien explanation only that not enough information is available. Likewise "not determined" does not mean that the child did not acquire HIV from its mother.

  39. My latest, and soon to be deleted post on hivseptic.
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Friday, 17 July 2009 at 6:47 pm
    Querido MacDonald:
    I am glad to see that we are on the same page. You are right about the Ruggiero hypothesis. But it looked like Dr. Bauer, in the title of his post – “Official Italian data: no causal connection between HIV and AIDS” – Ruggiero in his press release, even in some statements in the paper, and some online commenters had interpreted the paper as offering evidence that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. I am glad that we now agree that it contains no such evidence, and that this was not its intent.
    So what about its actual intent? Does the paper provide evidence that the Italian Health Ministry is in HIV/AIDS denial or appears like it is? I, Fulano de Tal, say no! I hypothesize that Ruggiero et al. appear to know nothing about public health policy in their own country. And I can back it up!
    Let’s look at the five pieces of evidence they offer:

  40. 1. AIDS in the absence of HIV
    Do you know in what year the CDC revised its case definition to require a confirmed HIV test for an AIDS diagnosis in all cases? 2008! Do you know what case definition the Italian Ministry of Health uses? The CDC’s! Do you know who allowed the diagnosis of AIDS in some cases in the absence of a confirmed HIV infection in 1994, when the “circular” cited by Ruggiero was published? Everyone in the world! So, without going into the reasons for diagnosing AIDS without confirmed HIV (not AIDS with confirmed HIV-negative) we can say that if this is evidence that the Ministry of Health accepts denialism, then so does the CDC, the WHO, etc. (See: Pezzotti, P., et al. “The spectrum of AIDS defining diseases.” International Journal of Epidemiology 1999; 28:975-981.)

    2. No national surveillance system of new HIV infections
    Ha ha ha, Fulano is laughing. I am truly embarrassed for Ruggiero and his co-authors. Italy once had no national surveillance system of new HIV infections. It took other European countries a long time to develop one. But since March of 2008, over a year before this paper was submitted, Italy has had a full-blown national system of surveillance of new HIV infections. See

    3. AIDS is not a relevant infective [sic] disease in Italy
    It’s nice that the only source here is almost 20 years old! It’s true that Italy got a very slow start, hampered by a very conservative public morality. Since 1990, which was well before AIDS peaked in Italy, the Health Ministry has made fighting HIV/AIDS a priority. But you can’t fault Ruggiero et al., since 1990 was the last year that anything was published anywhere about the Health Ministry’s top secret HIV/AIDS strategy. I know Wikipedia is not exactly the best authority, but all the primary sources are in Italian, so

    4. In Italy, there is not spread of AIDS in the general population
    Don’t be so absolutist, there is some spread outside of main risk groups, but not much. What does this have to do with the hypothesis? If AIDS is spread by the transmission of HIV, then you expect it in the groups exposed through sex and blood.

    5. One fourth of pediatric AIDS cases in Italy is not due to vertical transmission
    OK, so there are some data issues, which I addressed in my previous post. My understanding of confidentiality guarantees in Italy suggests that it would be impossible for Ministry staff to go back, track down, and test the mothers of the infants with missing data. You can hardly suspect them of acting as if they were denialists for their failure to determine the source of infection in these cases.

    So there it is. Not only do Ruggiero et al. not provide any evidence against HIV as the (sole necessary) cause of AIDS – to this you agree – but they also fail to provide any evidence that there is denialism in the Italian Ministry of Health or that there are any non-denialists acting as though they believed denialism. In three of the four items above, this can not even be a matter of interpretation, since their evidence is flatly wrong. Their attempt to embarrass the professionals at the Health Ministry would be libelous were it not so incompetent.

    Fulano de Tal

  41. It looks like Bauer has tried to make a false conclusion with this paper in much the same way the denialists have made a false conclusion with the Padian paper!
    But then again, who would expect less of Bauer? Actually, I do not think it possible to expect less of Bauer than most people do!
    Bauer so generously gives us a daily blog in which every day is a new low for poor, old Bauer.

  42. Seth said, "AZT, AZT, blah, blah, blah". Its wondeful to hear you so cavalier about the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people directly attributable to western medicine. Yet, you are the first to try and claim denialists are responsible for 300,000 deaths in Africa.

    As just as your oncologist and your hiv denialists have some personal motivation think the way they do, so too must you admit you that you have some motivation to be championing hiv=aids theory. Does it give you some perverse elitist mentality that you are hiv-? Does removing hiv status from the common lexicon in some way diminish you?

  43. Dear seth Kalichman alias Joe Newton (or should I say Isaac?),

    Please tell me where and when I have, to this date, ever published a paper in Medical Hypotheses, as you state above on July 11, 2009.


    Peter Duesberg

  44. Well Professor Duesberg, welcome to my Blog.

    I stand corrected.

    I was mistaken.

    I believe your first publication in the non-peer reviewed fringe journal Medical Hypotheses indeed comes this year. Noteworthy is that you are now not only publishing with David Rasnick but also with Henry Bauer the acclaimed pseudoscientist of Loch Ness fame. I suppose it has gotten that bad.

    My mistake about Medical Hypotheses stems from so many articles being grounded in your sad ideas.

    Such as Parris, Clinically significant cancer evolves from transient mutated and/or aneuploid neoplasia by cell fusion to form unstable syncytia that give rise to ecologically viable parasite species. Med Hypotheses. 2005;65(5):846-50, which follows ‘the idea of Duesberg and Rasnick.’ And Papadopulos-Eleopulos E. Reappraisal of AIDS: is the oxidation caused by the risk factors the primary cause? Med Hypotheses 1988;25:151–62 and Broxmeyer, Is AIDS really caused by a virus? Medical Hypotheses (2003) 60(5), 671-688.

    Still, as insane as these papers are, they are not yours and I stand corrected. When I am wrong I am pleased to be corrected. No denying that. So thank you.

    Thanks for the memories. Hope to see you in November.