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.

Monday, April 20, 2009

AIDS Denialist Movie is a House of Cards

Speaking of deceit in denial, a new crockumentary spreading AIDS denialism is making the scene. Competing with Gary Null & Void Productions to become a major AIDS denialist filmmaker, first timer Brent Leung has released ‘House of Numbers’. Not that Brent Leung is not new to AIDS Denialism. Brent Leung had produced a film based on Boyd E. Graves' book, "State Origin: The Evidence of the Laboratory Birth of AIDS." Now we have House of Numbers, which is aimed at a broader demographic with the potential to confuse a new audience of viewers.
House of Numbers masquerades as a legitimate documentary in much the same way AIDS pseudoscience is confused for science. The movie travels to Perth, Europe, South Africa, and the US as if showing all sides of AIDS. Just as Thabo Mbeki created the illusion of an even divide among scientists by stacking his Presidential Panel in South Africa, Leung creates the impression of a conspiracy around AIDS.

Leung uses the same tactics that denialists have used for years - goal post moving, technobabble, cherry picking, conspiracy theorizing, and misuse of science. Brent Leung tried to stage a pseudo-debate at the world premiere. He sent requests to leading AIDS scientists and was met with a general response of, “Can he be serious? There is not a legitimate AIDS scientist on the planet who would waste their time contributing to delusion that there is a debate about what causes AIDS.”

The film’s trailer presents itself as an evenhanded view of AIDS science. What you are not told is that the legitimate AIDS scientists interviewed were not informed of the film’s intent. Some of the scientists said to be interviewed have no recollection of the experience. It would seem that Brent Leung is the Borat of AIDS denialism, duping people into thinking they are in documentary, Not! But in this case, no one is laughing.

When I first leaned about House of Numbers my prediction was that the film would show to an audience of AIDS Denialists about twice the number that showed up at the Village Voice protest - that would be eight. The film is making its way to film festivals and will surely show globally at HEAL meetings. I was sure that it would show at beer and Weiner Schnitzle parties on UC Berkeley and Virginia Tech campuses. I did not expect it to get much traction.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

AIDS Denialists Threaten to End Product (RED) Campaign

Just when I thought I had seen it all, AIDS Denialists are targeting Product (RED) for a Rethinking AIDS Day show of farce.Started by U2 lead singer Bono, Product (RED) raises money for HIV treatments in Africa. In just two years Product (RED) raised over $100 million and has undoubtedly saved hundreds of thousands of lives. (RED) donates to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which has saved over 3.5 million lives since 2002. Rethinking AIDS actively protests (RED). They have disrupted (RED) auctions by handing out anti-(RED) flyers. Rethinking AIDS posts anti-(RED) propaganda on its website;As posted at Rethinking AIDS,

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

"The Doctor will Sue You Now": Ben Goldacre's Missing Chapter on the Rath of AIDS Denialism

I have been reading Ben Goldacre’s great book Bad Science and I knew something was missing. Goldacre covers all of the wacky snake oil scams and schemes that plague health care today. From antitoxins to homeopathy, Bad Science seems has it covered. What’s missing is none other than the Rath of AIDS Denialism himself, German vitamin salesman Matthias Rath. You know, as in Rath and Rasnick, the guys who embarked on illegal ‘clinical trials’ to build a pseudoscience to boost vitamin sales in South Africa. Now, Goldacre explains why he omitted the Rath chapter and gives us all the essential missing material as a gift!! Enjoy!

From Ben Goldacre: This is the “missing chapter” about vitamin pill salesman Matthias Rath. Sadly I was unable to write about him at the time that book was initially published, as he was suing my ass in the High Court. The chapter is now available in the new paperback edition, and I’ve posted it here for free so that nobody loses out.

Although the publishers make a slightly melodramatic fuss about this in the promo material, it is a very serious story about the dangers of pseudoscience, as I hope you’ll see, and it was also a pretty unpleasant episode, not just for me, but also for the many other people he’s tried to sue, including Medecins Sans Frontieres and more. If you’re ever looking for a warning sign that you’re on the wrong side of an argument, suing Medecins Sans Frontieres is probably a pretty good clue.
This is an extract from BAD SCIENCE by Ben Goldacre Published by Harper Perennial 2009.
You are free to copy it, paste it, bake it, reprint it, read it aloud, as long as you don’t change it – including this bit – so that people know that they can find more ideas for free at

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Major AIDS Denialist Protest at the Village Voice in NYC: A Show of Farce

On April 6, 2009 AIDS Denialists demonstrated in New York City to protest the Village Voice newspaper coverage of the HIV treatment trials conducted with Incarnation Children’s Center (ICC) in New York City. AIDS denialist journalist Liam Scheff had alleged that ‘black, Hispanic, and poor’ children in the care of Children’s Services had been enrolled without their knowledge and against the wishes of their parents or guardians in HIV/AIDS clinical trials that were ‘neither safe nor necessary.’ The hysterical distortions resulted in the senseless interruption of the children’s treatment and stopping the drug trials. I discussed the Liam Scheff fiasco in my post below “When Denialists Get Their Due, Do We All Pay?

The protest demonstration was announced at the Rethinking AIDS and AIDS Myth Exposed websites. Calling to arms masses of AIDS denialists in New York and beyond:
On April 1, The Village Voice published a story, "After the Fall," pretending sympathy toward the New York City "orphans" used in painful and sometimes fatal HIV drug trials at Incarnation Children's Center in Washington Heights. These revelations had already hit the city hard in 2004 and were only recently the subject of a sham investigation. At least 200 children, almost all black and Hispanic, died. Asserting that only "denialists" would oppose these practices, the reporter did not disclose that she had received — but refused to read — peer-reviewed, published scientific information on high false HIV positives among pregnant women and newborns, and the terrible side effects of the drugs.

Please join us at 4:00 p.m. Monday, April 6, in front of the Village Voice offices at 36 Cooper Square, New York City, for a demonstration in solidarity with parents and minorities to demand: Publication of a new story about the inaccuracies of HIV testing and the deadly side effects of FDA-designated "Black Box" drugs, using actual scientific evidence; Release of the medical records on these children by the State of New York and Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.”

I was not about to miss this. I asked my colleague Joe Newton to cover the event.

A total of three demonstrators showed up.

Three? Yes, three.

The ratio of AIDS realists to AIDS denialists was 1:1.

The Villiage Voice had one of their reporters there as well, so the ratio was actually 1:0.7.

I was surprised that only three AIDS denialists would be there to protest one of the most outrageous crimes against children in New York’s history.

The protestors were not even AIDS dissidents! Joe spoke with two of the three demonstrators about their beliefs regarding HIV causing AIDS. One said that they thought there was evidence for both HIV causing and not causing AIDS. Not exactly a firmly committed AIDS dissident! And the other said that they had no doubt that HIV causes AIDS and was there demonstrating for the ethical rights of children in clinical trials. These folks didn't even care to talk about HIV/AIDS. There were interested in getting the kids' medical records made public.

The protesters handed out flyers about children abuse.

Flyers were inserted (looks like Beth Ely hard at work) into Village Voice newspapers. There was one line in the flyer that questions the accuracy of HIV tests. That was it.

And where was Liam Scheff during the demonstration? Was he in California covering another story? And what of other AIDS denialist journalists?

What could possibly have been more important?

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

My AIDS Denialist Fan Club

Do you feel the love?

Readers of Denying AIDS have noticed that AIDS Denialists are busy spewing their venom my way.

Nothing unexpected.

I thought you might like to see some behind the scenes excerpts.

I would prefer not to include attack comments and hate mail in my regular posts. Still, Denialist attacks should have a place on my blog. Hence this post.

To start things off, here is an email that was circulated among the Rethinkers. Thanks for sending it my way! I probably should not disclose who was included on this email. I doubt that Claus, Henry, and Michael would appreciate it. So do not even bother to ask.

New: Scroll down comments to read a letter from AIDS Denialists to the University of Connecticut Department of Psychology ‘telling on me’. WARNING: Empty your bladder and sit down before reading to avoid potentially harmful or embarrassing accidents. Be prepared to laugh!
UPDATE: Celia Farber's new website, The Truth Barrier is up and running. Among the first posts is a review by Claus Jensen (who ever that is) of Denying AIDS. Thank you Claus. Your endorsement means much to me. Without a strong reaction from AIDS denialists Denying AIDS would have no credibility at all.

UPDATE: Henry Bauer has a new passion. Me! That's right. First Nessies and Aliens. Then AIDS. Now ME. Check out what Henry says will be dozens of Blog postings. Even Robert Gallo does not have a whole blog about him! Boy is Bauer pissed at me and Joe. Hopefully he will calm down or he might develop AIDS from the Seth-Stress.

Date: March 24, 2009 10:01:53 PM PDT
Subject: Kalichman

As I doubt you will get an answer to your question from Snout, I will share with you an example of what I consider Seth Kalichman's juvenile level of scholarship with a few notations by me. Examination of more of his pieces may be useful in exposing his insanities.

Following is a bit from Seth Kalichman's research projects. It seems obvious that he teaches what he most needs to learn. The following excerpts are from one of his papers called "
Coping and Safer Sex Maintenance Intervention for Men and Women Living with HIV-AIDS . A Group Leader’s Guide". In his guide for group leaders, Seth wrote the following.

First, Seth describes what qualities make an effective versus ineffective group facilitator. He should soon be an expert on this one. I loved the following:

Qualities of ineffective facilitators

Oriented toward individuals more than groups.

Places personal needs before group needs
Seth would never do that, now would he?

Anxious in groups Overly charismatic – needing to be the center for the group
Such as his latest attempt to be at the center of the battle to stop the damned aids denialists?

Has an “us versus them” mentality
Who? Seth Kalichman and his notoriously documented need to be the "us of hiv orthodoxy" versus the them of "those damned deranged aids denialists

Views self above the group
Such as his attempt to present himself as being all knowing about hiv/aids while never answering a single question that is posed to him, or while censoring on his blog all those who would correct him?

Needs to dominate the discussion
Such as is evidenced by his censoring nearly every post on his site that dissidents have written that show him to clearly be wrong

Inflexible and non-adaptive
Seth inflexible? Oh no, not Seth. He is the most open minded and most flexible individual (like a snake in the grass) that I have ever encountered

Physically and emotionally removed
Such as running off when he is exposed as wrong and as is displayed by his ignoring every pertinent and reasonable question asked of him

Begin with a discussion of stress factors in life. We all have things that create stress in everyday life.
Amazing how he easily notices this, except for one obvious exception: Except for Christine Maggiore, who Seth has portrayed as having had no stress at all after her daughter died of a reaction to amoxicillin and after she was relentlessly attacked in nationwide newspapers and magazines and blogsites and labeled an aids denialist mother whose aids denial and refusal to have her daughter tested or on aids drugs and thereby stood publicly acused and convicted as having caused the death of her daughter

Seth Continues

Some stressors are minor and easy to deal with, while other stressors are significant and can be overwhelming.
Unless your name is Christine Maggiore or you are an aids denialist, then whatever is thrown at you is because you had it coming and is not the cause of your illness because only hiv could do that

HIV can be a long-term stressor that is difficult to deal with.
How astute. Is he aware that suicide, both passive and direct, is the leading cause of death in those diagnosed as hiv infected sexual lepers? No mention anywhere by Seth of just how stressful such a diagnosis can be. And of course, in one is an aids dissident, then one's greatest stress often becomes how to stop the insanity of the hiv pushers such as Seth from destroying your life or the lives of those you love.

For some people HIV can be at the top of the list as a stressor, for others HIV may not be the number one stressor in life.
Oh really? And just how stressful can it be Seth?

In either case, HIV can present added problems and stress for you that can effect your health. WHAT??? Did I read that right? Seth Kalichman herein fully and publicly admits that STRESS can affect physical health??? If that is what he believes, then why did he ignore this when Christine was stressed to breaking as he fought vehemently to portray Christine's only problem as a lack of aids drugs? Why does he ignore that she was endlessly attacked in the media, including by him? Why does he ignore she had just been portrayed as a murderous denialist mother in a recent Law and Order episode just one month before she became ill? Why does he ignore the stress Christine was facing at the trial of the coroner that she was scheduled to testify at the week after she got ill and died? Why does Seth conveniently ignore the massive nonstep grief and stress that Christine was faced with?

For the group discussions, Seth's entire agenda seems to be created for kindergarteners, such as is evidenced right from the beginning of Seth's group meeting discussions. Seth recommends the following:

Select a partner… get to know each other Questions:

1. Who are you?

2. What is one thing you find stressful and how do you cope with it?

3. If this was your day and you could do anything you want, what would you be doing?
From there the activities of Seths group is to watch role playing movie clips with brief discussions centering on "what would you do if it were you" and "would this be stressful for you". Then Seth likely reveals to us his own real motivations in the following

The Stress of Hiding Parts of Ourselves: The Bird Cage, trying to be straight scene; Partners in Crime, Surgeon General scene.
trying to be straight? Could this be Seth's little secret? Highly likely.

Sometimes we all try to hide things about ourselves or things we’ve done from others and this can be stressful.
Ah Ha! Just what is it Seth is hiding about himself?

The group should enjoy the comical nature of the two clips and no discussion is necessary.
So just what IS IT THAT SETH the pseudopsychologist IS HIDING ABOUT HIMSELF? What seeming vile thing has he likely partaken in or that he is tempted to partake in that he has hidden even from his wife? Did he play the girlfriend role for his older brother or father when he was 10? Is it that Seth cruises the park at night for sexual encounters? Just what is it that Seth has done, as he seems to be clearly informing us that he too is hiding something from his loved ones? And furthermore, is it that Seth also uses his own fear of the hiv boogeyman to keep from acting out his own fantasies and desires? Does Seth also personally NEED the fear of aids?

Obviously SOMETHING is driving this man. Something he keeps well hidden. And whatever his motivation is, it is certainly not about being a loving compassionate would be savior to hiv positives nor is it a benevolent desire to save the world from suffering death by aids. Not for Seth. For Seth this is a very personal crusade.

And to answer your question about Seth's "scholarship"..... Read the paper. The astoundingly juvenile nature of his "best works" in psychology gives me sincere question as to how someone such as Seth ever got a degree, let alone a professorship, in of all things, psychology!

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Friday, April 3, 2009

South Africa's Current ANC Government Apologizes for AIDS Denialist Policies of Thabo Mbeki

South Africa’s former President Thabo Mbeki allowed AIDS denialism to hijack his country’s Health Ministry and AIDS policies, resulting in hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths. Mbeki chose denialism over realism. He chose pseudoscience over science. He chose to listen to Peter Duesberg and David Rasnick over legitimate scientists, including some of the world’s leading AIDS researchers in his very own country. AIDS denialism everywhere is nothing less than a crime against humanity. The current South African government, like the shamed Apartheid Government before it, now apologizes for allowing Mbeki’s denialist policies.
ANC plans stunning apology on Aids
The ANC is planning a post-election apology to the nation for former president Thabo Mbeki’s disastrous HIV-Aids policy.
By Claire Keeton, Dominic Mahlangu and Nkululeko Ncana

THE ANC is planning a post-election apology to the nation for former president Thabo Mbeki’s disastrous HIV-Aids policy, which has been blamed for the deaths of thousands of infected people.

“We owe it to the nation. We, as MPs, were there and we failed to rise up,” said an ANC MP.

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