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.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mass Delusion in San Francisco

This week I attended the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Illnesses (CROI). There were over 5000 scientists from around the world at CROI, all sharing the mass delusion that HIV causes AIDS. These poor suckers have obviously not been persuaded by Peter Duesberg and his cronies that all retroviruses are harmless. It was apparent that these people are conspiring to keep the status quo. They obviously have everything to lose by telling the truth. There was not one single session on Loch Ness Monsters, UFOs, CIA conspiracies, Aneuploidy, or leaky guts.  And they call themselves scientists!

Want to see for yourself? All of the major sessions are available for webcast

A most interesting time was spent having lunch with one of Peter Duesberg's old graduate teaching assistants. I kid you not. Old stories from this former student confirm the Duesberg chapter of Denying AIDS. 

Here is the Big Story from CROI….
2/19/2010, 8:11 p.m. EST
David Brown
The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO-The antiretroviral drugs that revolutionized the care of people with AIDS are on the threshold of a new life-as tools to prevent infection in individuals and brake the epidemic in populations as a whole.
Studies are under way testing whether periodic use of the drugs, either as pills or as vaginal or rectal gels, can prevent transmission of HIV in high-risk sexual encounters. At the same time, it's becoming clear that the incidence of HIV infection declines over time in places where most infected people know their status and are on treatment, and thus are less likely to pass the virus to others.
Description of these effects at a big AIDS conference here is likely to spur a further swing of the treatment pendulum toward early and widespread treatment of HIV infection.
"Arguably the greatest progress in the AIDS epidemic has been in the development of highly effective drugs," said John Mellors, an AIDS researcher at the University of Pittsburgh and chairman of the 17th Retrovirus Conference. "This is now being applied not only to help infected individuals, but as a public health approach to the whole epidemic."
Since the advent of "combination antiretroviral therapy," or ART, in 1996, patients and physicians have blown hot and cold on how aggressively the drugs should be used.
Recognition of ART's dramatic life-extending effect was followed by the appearance of unexpected side effects, including increased risk of diabetes and heart disease and changes in many patients' appearance. As a consequence, researchers over the last 15 years have conducted dozens of studies seeking to learn how long an infected person could safely put off starting the drugs, or whether they could stop taking them periodically without harm.
It's now clear that interrupting treatment is not a good idea, and that starting it early in the course of infection may have real benefits even though it means a lifetime of daily pill-taking. The new studies discussed here are likely to only increase the use of the drugs, which now number more than 30.
Antiretroviral drugs are already being given to babies born to infected mothers immediately after birth and during breast feeding to greatly reduce the chance of infection.
"We know prevention works in babies. It shouldn't be any different in adults," Mellors said.
Several studies are under way testing "pre-exposure prophylaxis" with the drugs in people at high risk for acquiring HIV, including commercial sex workers. Some results may be available late this year.
There are already indirect hints that AIDS medicines can be prevention tools just like condoms and abstinence. Specifically, when an infected person is on a successful ART regimen, the amount of the virus in the bloodstream falls to such a low level that the chance of infecting someone else is almost nil.
In a study presented Friday, Deborah Donnell of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle described this effect in "discordant couples"-a couple in which only one partner is infected-in seven African countries. When a person's HIV infection got to the stage at which ART was started, the chance that the partner would become infected fell by 92 percent.
This suggests that, at least in discordant couples, ART should be started much earlier than guidelines in African countries recommend. A similar argument could be made for all HIV-infected people in those high-prevalence countries.
Such a strategy would require a huge step-up in treatment.
The World Health Organization recommends that infected people start ART when their CD4-cell count-a gauge of the immune system's health-falls below 350. Now, only 30 percent of HIV-infected people in that range are getting the drugs.
Antiretroviral drugs are also breathing life into the quest for a vaginal "microbicide" that a woman could apply, in private and without her partner's knowledge, to prevent HIV infection. Numerous substances have been tried and none have worked. Researchers here described experiments in which rhesus monkeys were protected from infection with a microbicide containing maraviroc, an HIV "entry inhibitor." Taken in pill form, the drug also is concentrated in rectal tissues, suggesting it may be useful to prevent infection through anal intercourse.
One of the researchers, John Moore of Weil Cornell Medical College in New York, said his team is now working on a maraviroc-containing vaginal ring, which would release the protective drug over a period of weeks.


  1. I can't wait to read the entire post, but first I have to implore you to tell the stories that Duesberg's old student told you! Please!

  2. Great article. Very optimistic.
    I also find it interesting that researchers are acknowledging the side effects of the drugs and not hiding them or "denying" them as the AIDS denialists want people to believe. Instead, they are acknowledging them, studying them and trying to minimize them. Also their are new drugs being researched that will be less toxic and therefore cause less side effects and milder side effects. I would call that being responsible.

  3. could they all be there together!? Brent Leung said that the world of AIDS science was in disarray! From the looks of it they all seem to agree! *Shock!*

  4. Is it just coincidence that the speaker on the podium is John P. MOORE? Another pharma funded speaking gig for the good doctor.

  5. Yes Anonymous Denialist, it is Dr. Moore speaking. I think it is just great that you believe all research funded by pharmaceutical companies is corrupt. Tell you what, next time you have cancer, stuff some coffee grinds up your kazoo and do the Brian Carter Chant.

    Just to note, as I will on all future threads, Bill has not been able to comment on the Boily et al. Lancet article reviewing factors associated with heterosexual HIV transmission. He was asked to put up or shut up well over 6 weeks ago... The Padian Rant is dead. Thanks Billy.

    Poodle Stomper, Brent Leung is a moron. The field is moving steady forward... my general summary of CROI>..

    No preventive vaccine on the horizon. Most disappointing area of research.

    HIV is now a chronic disease, very controllable. One doctor/researcher told me 'this has become more like a diabetes meeting'. That was interesting to hear and felt true.

    People talking about a cure again. This time it is well within reach. Very exciting things happening on the therapeutic side.

    HIV treatments are now being considered the first line for HIV prevention. This is very interesting to me, of course. I am 60% on board. Although Bauer and the Douche-bags say I go with the 'establishment' on everything, I had a letter in JAMA a few months ago calling for Dr. Fauci to PLEASE consider the behavioral implications of treatment for prevention. Funny how the Deniers missed that cherry to pick.

    This guy was a Teaching Assistant for Duesberg. He did not work in his lab so his reputation was spared. He is now a prominent Infectious Disease Specialist. He earned a PhD in molecular biology from the University of California at Berkeley. He found Duesberg to be an engaging, intellectually stimulating, and interesting person. Just as Joe Newton (I) described. It was also obvious to him that he was obsessed with Gallo. Felt he has been done wrong and deserved the Nobel. He saw Duesberg get into serious fights with colleagues in the hall over the science of HIV/AIDS. He could not take it for more than a year and had to get a new assignment.

  6. Seth,
    You mentioned the Brian Carter Chant...but what has happened to Michael Geiger?
    Also, I wonder why the "dissidents" have not been ripping this post? There should be plenty of solid science from the conference they can misinterpret and misquote.

  7. JTD
    Sorry for the delay in getting back with you... I have been swamped with my real work plus dealing with AIDS Deniers. I did a talk today at the Gay Student Center here at UConn...My best title yet..

    "If Gay Men Stopped Doing Drugs They would Stop Getting AIDS" and other myths of AIDS denialism

    Anyway, I think Michael Gagger still comes around, but I cannot be sure. We have lots of comments from 'anonymous' as you know. I figure one of these is Bill because he has such a need to be heard. Too bad really. He should learn how to read, that would be better use of his time.

    I also figure Baker comments, you know those rants that are so paranoid and loose they border on word salad.

    But I do not think Mikey is commenting as Anonymous. There have not been any comments exceeding 5000 words.

    The AIDS Deniers have not been ripping this post for two reasons. One is that they are probably as bored with themselves as we are with them. Another is that they cannot read and understand science.

    Not to worry, the AIDS Deniers have not gone away and I fear they never will.