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.

Friday, December 25, 2009

AIDS Denialism 2009: A Year in Review

The first year of my Author’s Blog is winding down, and what a year it has been. The year started and ended with the recent death of AIDS Denialist Christine Maggiore. Despite her having tested HIV positive and dying from pneumonia and disseminated herpes - two AIDS defining conditions, Maggiore was proclaimed by denialists to have died from everything but AIDS – from coffee enemas gone wrong to the stress caused by TV show Law and Order SVU. Ultimately, AIDS denialists placed their own Christine Maggiore ‘autopsy’ report online. The report was delivered by none other than Mohammed Ali Al-Bayati, who concludes that Maggiore died of the same cause that he determined killed her daughter – antibiotic poisoning. Denialists never cease to amaze.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Harvard Denialism, Mistrust, and Stigma Symposium

Hosted by Dr. Laura Bogart, Harvard Center for AIDS Research

On October 19, 2009 Harvard University hosted a day long symposium on AIDS Denialism and Conspiracy Theories. Presentations featured new research and social analysis with excellent commentaries and questions.

I had the opportunity to present along side Nicoli Nattrass from the University of Cape Town South Africa. Nicoli is one of the great anti-denialist researchers and activists. The Symposium also featured Pride Chigwedere from Harvard University who provided additional insights into the devastating effects of AIDS denialism in South Africa. Nicoli and Pride presented compelling research that shows how hundreds of thousands of South Africans needlessly died from the AIDS denialist policies during the Mbeki/Manto/Duesberg era.

In addition to AIDS denialism, the Symposium featured the latest research on AIDS conspiracy theories. Pioneering researcher Laura Bogart organized the Symposium and she presented some of her latest research showing the harmful consequences of AIDS conspiracy theories.

Now you can watch the Symposium presentations and discussions at the Harvard Initiative for Global Health website. Listen for the uninvited and always interesting example of AIDS Denialism in action provided by John Lauritsen. See if you can pick out other frequent bloggers in the audience.

Q&A Session featuring AIDS Denialist John Lauritsen as himself

Symposium Summary
HIV denialism is a barrier to HIV prevention and treatment at the individual, community, and policy levels, and can increase HIV stigma, homophobia, and racism. This symposium focused on misconceptions related to HIV, defined as mistrust, suspicion, and rejection of medical research (e.g., HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV was created in a government laboratory). Researchers and community speakers defined HIV denialism and conspiracies and discussed their distinct consequences for policies, individual behavior related to HIV prevention and treatment, and HIV stigma.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The End of an Error: AIDS Denialist & Former South African Health Minister 'Manto' has Died

The former South African Health Minister 'Manto' has died.

I sat behind Manto at the 2006 International AIDS Conference in Toronto. We were in the session where at least a few dozen AIDS activists, mostly from the Treatment Action Campaign, filed up on the stage leading a call for Manto to resign or be fired. I was struck by her detachment. I remember thinking that she was so unmoved by the scene she was either in another world or had simply gotten used to people hating her. My own impression was that she was not dealing from a full deck of cards. Nearly catatonic. At that moment she seemed like a sad case. A throwback to my days working on psychiatric inpatient units.

Manto will be, and should be remembered as the person who implemented Mbeki’s AIDS denialist policies. Manto may very well have been the perfect person to serve as Mbeki’s Minister of AIDS Denial. But let us not forget that these were Mbeki’s policies. Manto was certainly complacent in AIDS Denialism, but she was not the architect. Manto played a critical role in the death of over 350,000 of her people and the senseless HIV infections of 35,000 babies. She also received personal counsel from Matthias Rath and Roberto Giraldo. Her legacy is theirs.

UPDATE: New York Times Story

AP Reports
CELEAN JACOBSON, Associated Press Writer

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa's former health ministerManto Tshabalala-Msimang, who gained notoriety for her dogged promotion of lemons, garlic and olive oil to treat AIDS, has died. She was 69.

The ruling African National Congress said Tshabalala-Msimang died in a Johannesburg hospital Wednesday from complications related to a 2007 liver transplant. Media outlets said she was possibly undergoing tests for a possible second transplant when she died.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

HIV, AIDS, and One Year Later: No Rest for Christne Maggiore

There is apparently no rest for Christine Maggiore. Exploited by AIDS Denialists throughout her bout with HIV infection, the manipulation of facts and twisting of reality continues one year after her sad death. Christine Maggiore tested HIV positive in 1992, as proven by her HIV positive test results shown in the film House of Numbers. Christine died of pneumonia and disseminated herpes (an AIDS defining condition) as shown on her Death Certificate.

Now we see an autopsy summary that includes her having another AIDS defining condition, Pneumocystis jiroveci (carinii) pneumonia (PCP) - although the actual autopsy report is unavailable and her Death Certificate shows no autopsy was conducted. Yet, the report states that Christine Maggiore did not die of AIDS. Rather, she died of antibiotic poisoning.

Coincidentally(?), we are to believe that her baby Eliza Jane Scovill also died of antibiotics despite the official report by the Los Angeles Coroner that ruled she died from complications of AIDS. At first, AIDS Denialists claimed that Christine Maggiore died from a ‘bad detox’. Then there was speculation that she died from the stress caused by the Law and Order SVU television episode that portrayed her AIDS Denial. Now it seems Law and Order is off the hook and antibiotics killed Christine.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Does Luc Montagnier Make the Case for AIDS Denialism?

If you have wondered just how manipulative and destructive AIDS Denialism can be, look no further than the ‘documentary’ House of Numbers. As I have posted before, House of Numbers uses the classic tactics of AIDS Denialism to create the illusion of a debate among scientists as to whether HIV causes AIDS.

Images can be powerful and persuasive. In the age of digital editing, anyone can snip away in their own home to create what could appear to be a credible film. Such is the case with House of Numbers.

The latest mischief focuses on four minutes of snips from an interview in House of Numbers with Nobel Prize winning discoverer of HIV, Dr. Luc Montagnier. AIDS Denialists around the world have rejoiced at those four minutes of footage. Aside from the
Rethinking AIDS Society etc… the video of Dr. Montagnier has quickly taking on a life of its own with…

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