Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy

Seeking Stories of AIDS Denialism

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

HIV/AIDS denialists prefer the term "re-thinkers." What's the difference?

When Is The Truth Pejorative?

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The truth is often cold, hard and downright ugly. But is the truth ever pejorative? Can the truth be used in such a way that it can have a disparaging, derogatory, or belittling effect or force? I’d say no; truth can only be what it is. When the truth is portrayed in any other form, it is, quite simply, a lie. The truth is really the only thing in the world that is black and white.

In The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, the father, Baba explains sin to his son Amir this way:
"Now, no matter what the mullah teaches, there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft. When you kill a man, you steal a life. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth."

Perhaps this is overly simplistic. For example, some people say there are three sides to any disagreement: the plaintiff, the defendant, and the truth, which lies somewhere in the middle. Yet even in such an example, the truth is not diminished. Even though each person may slant the truth in his or her favor this does not change nor alter the facts. And facts are what support the truth.

When a person or group holds a belief or opinion that is not supported by facts, the best way to distract others from this flaw is to make a specious claim. Such is the case with AIDS Denialists. They are offended by being termed “denialists,” as they claim the term unfairly associates them with deniers of the Holocaust, Climate Change and 9/11. However, is that a legitimate claim, or further distraction from the truth? Here at Splice Today, Zach Kauffman wrote a thoughtful article called, Notes from the Field: HIV/AIDS Denialists, which apparently was the final straw for this group. In direct response to Kaufmann, they created a Facebook page as a call to arms for AIDS “Re-Thinkers,” (their preference) to rise up and fight this horribly pejorative term!
I can’t understand their logic.
AIDS Denialists say that they are just questioning the validity of the science of the past 26 years. They are not “denying” anything. But is that true? It’s my assumption that they will agree to the following:
They deny the existence of the virus known as HIV OR
They deny HIV is harmful or pathogenic.
They deny HIV is transmitted sexually, especially heterosexually.
They deny HIV medications are helpful.
They deny HIV medications have drastically extended and improved lives.
They deny HIV has devastated South Africa
They deny HIV caused the deaths of countless hemophiliacs.
They deny HIV destroys the immune system.
They deny the devastation HIV caused in the 1980s.
So why is it that this group abhors the term “Denialist”? They admit to holding the above beliefs. Is it just semantics? Do they have a valid beef? Or are they just tilting at windmills, obfuscating the facts and attempting to steal our right to the truth?


  1. Can you please show me the evidence that HIV is the cause of AIDS?

  2. Jeroen,
    The sound of no one answering is because this has been answered so often that if denialists don't get it by this point in time, then no amount of data is likely to convince them. This is why is it called "denial".



    "The HIV-infected twin develops AIDS while the uninfected twin does not.

    Because twins share an in utero environment and genetic relationships, similarities and differences between them can provide important insight into infectious diseases, including AIDS (Goedert. Acta Paediatr Supp 1997;421:56). Researchers have documented cases of HIV-infected mothers who have given birth to twins, one of whom is HIV-infected and the other not. The HIV-infected children developed AIDS, while the other children remained clinically and immunologically normal (Park et al. J Clin Microbiol 1987;25:1119; Menez-Bautista et al. Am J Dis Child 1986;140:678; Thomas et al. Pediatrics 1990;86:774; Young et al. Pediatr Infect Dis J 1990;9:454; Barlow and Mok. Arch Dis Child 1993;68:507; Guerrero Vazquez et al. An Esp Pediatr 1993;39:445)."