Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Is AIDS Denialism a Cult?

The Cult of HIV Denialism

Published at the Spring 2010

More is known about HIV than about any other virus. Less than three decades ago, doctors were perplexed by the appearance of Kaposi's sarcoma and Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) in young gay men. Since then, scientists and doctors, spurred by the activism of people with AIDS, discovered the virus now called HIV and proved that it causes AIDS by crippling the immune system until the body can no longer resist life-threatening infections.

Scientists around the world have isolated HIV, photographed it with electron microscopes, and sequenced the genomes of its different subtypes. There are now highly accurate tests for HIV antibodies and the virus itself, and increasingly effective and tolerable antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) for its treatment. Science is a gradual process, and there is still much that is not fully understood about HIV, but the evidence that HIV exists, is transmissible by blood, semen, and vaginal fluids -- and that it causes AIDS -- is vast and thorough.
The Denialists and Their Cult
And yet there are thousands of people who persistently reject these facts. They believe that HIV is harmless or doesn't exist. Some argue that AIDS has other underlying causes, such as drugs, depression, "dirty" sex, stress, malnutrition, or conventional medicine. Others say that AIDS is just an artificial clustering of familiar diseases. Those who reject HIV/AIDS science call themselves "AIDS dissidents," but others usually refer them to as "HIV denialists" because they elevate personal denial into an ideology.

Most people are astonished by the existence of HIV denialism. "I had no idea there were 'AIDS deniers,' and I still don't understand why someone would believe such a thing," a blogger wrote upon reading of the deaths of denialist Christine Maggiore and her young daughter, both from AIDS. What is most baffling is the persistence of irrational beliefs, held firmly despite the evidence, despite the terrible deaths, and despite the absence of a coherent alternative theory. How can people ignore both scientific evidence and their own failing health? How could Maggiore do nothing to prevent HIV transmission to her children? How could she allow her child and herself to die needlessly? And how could her admirers, initially frightened, go on to rebuild the wall of denial?

The persistence of the HIV denialism can be understood if we view the movement as a kind of cult. Denialists refer to HIV medicine and science as "the orthodoxy," giving the field a religious framework, and imagine themselves in an oppositional, visionary role. Many of the features that social scientists find typical of cults characterize the denialists. Most fundamentally, they maintain an intense "us-versus-them" worldview. Those inside belong to an exalted and secretive group -- they feel superior but persecuted for knowing a hidden truth. They believe that the pharmaceutical industry, governments, researchers, clinicians, the United Nations, AIDS activists, foundations, and HIV organizations are united in an elaborate global plot, which ex-traffic cop Clark Baker calls "the most significant criminal conspiracy I have ever imagined" to kill healthy people with toxic drugs for profit.

Doctrine and Indoctrination

Many HIV denialists adopt alternative health and spiritual beliefs, including consciousness-altering practices that are typical of cults. The use of hypnosis by HEAL-New York stands out. Members believe that simply being told that they are HIV-positive makes people sicken and die. HEAL's leader, Michael Ellner, uses hypnosis to extract people from the deadly mental "AIDS Zone" and to make them feel "at peace with testing positive."

Ellner is not alone in thinking that words kill but viruses don't. Cult scholars call this "mystical manipulation." Denialist Matt Irwin developed the theory in AIDS and the Voodoo Hex: "The severe, acute psychological stress of being diagnosed 'HIV Positive' is quickly transformed into a severe, chronic psychological stress of living with a prediction of a horrifying decline that could start at any time. This causes a suppression of the immune system, with selective depletion of CD4 T-cells. ... These factors have been studied in healthy people where they create the very same immunosuppression and immune dysregulation that may later be called 'AIDS.'"

Denialist Michael Geiger is another proponent of "dangerous" thoughts, and even accused another dissident of helping to kill Christine Maggiore by worrying about her. "Have we as yet learned nothing ... of how easy it is to plant projections of sickness and death onto our own selves, as well as our friends, acquaintances or even onto our children and thereby help to create those fears into our realities?" Ironically, Celia Farber regularly "projects" in just this way: "I feared for [Maggiore's] life, always. I feared the battle would kill her, as I have felt it could kill me, if I couldn't find enough beauty to offset the malevolence. This is a deeply occult battle, and Christine got caught in its darkest shadows." Farber also blames the "AIDS orthodoxy" for long-distance mental homicide: "This is voodoo, what they are doing to [South Africa's denialist Health Minister] Manto. It is heartbreaking. I sometimes think they killed [Maggiore's daughter] EJ with their voodoo, too. What did EJ die of? Can anybody explain it and does it look like anything anybody has ever seen?" (EJ died of PCP.)

Cults often manipulate feelings of shame and guilt to control their members. Because both AIDS and the activities associated with HIV transmission are stigmatized, the HIV-negative denialist leadership often degrades those who have HIV, even if they are dissidents themselves. Peter Duesberg has always blamed AIDS in gay men on poppers and promiscuity; he dismisses those who say they didn't engage in either behavior as liars. Clark Baker says that AIDS was invented because "a small group of promiscuous, addicted, nitrite-huffing, gonorrheal and syphilitic bath house veterans began to get sick" and "refused to accept blame for their self-destructive behavior." A poster on a denialist forum attributes AIDS to "premature aging" from "snorting poppers, doing meth, drinking heavily, smoking heavily, eating poorly, not sleeping, having unprotected sex and taking the various pathogens of hundreds of sexual partners into your body."

HIV-positive denialists who get sick are blamed for lacking commitment: "Given a choice between the opposing ideas of dying from the deadly HIV product or living a long healthy life based on the dissident belief that the HIV product is nothing more than a baseless commodity being sold by junk merchants, chosing [sic] the dissident dream is the far better choice. A pseudo dissident ... will use the dissident view as a survival coping device ... When ordinary illness strikes and they run to RX drugs and suffer the very types of health decline that the dissident model predicts, they attack the dissident message."
Denialists who die from AIDS are often posthumously smeared as liars and secret addicts. 

When Raphael Lombardo died, Peter Duesberg wrote, "In hindsight, I think his letter was almost too good to be true. I am afraid now, he described the man he wanted to be and his Italian family expected him to be, but not the one he really was." (Duesberg meant that Lombardo lied about drug use.) Liam Scheff rolled the reputation of Mark Griffiths down a slippery slope of innuendo into the gutter: "I knew Mark; he was cogent when I worked with him -- never anything but. Almost. Sometimes he was -- once or twice he'd been -- a bit groggy. But he told me that it was alcohol. In fact he told me that he did consume alcohol -- perhaps more than he should." Scheff said drinking, not AIDS, killed Griffiths.

Creating Pariahs

Like those leaving a cult, former denialists are treated with extraordinary hostility. Dr. Joseph Sonnabend was one of the first physicians to treat people with AIDS. He insisted on a very high threshold of evidence that HIV causes AIDS, was cautious in prescribing unproven treatments, and recognized that co-factors, such as drug use and frequent STDs, influence an individual's risk of infection upon exposure and how fast HIV disease progresses. Denialists have often claimed Sonnabend as one of their own. When clips of him were used in the denialist film "House of Numbers" to support the denialist perspective, Sonnabend responded with a scathing blog at, repudiating the film's message and affirming that HIV causes AIDS and that ARVs save lives. He wrote: "It is hard to adequately convey the feelings of a physician who was able to finally help his patients in the mid-1990s, having lost hundreds to this disease before that time. By the time these drugs became available about 400 of my patients had succumbed to AIDS, a dreadful rate of mortality. The effect of these drugs was life saving to those with advanced disease whose survival had been limited before. The portrayal of these drugs as in effect only toxic is so unfair."

Sonnabend was immediately savaged by denialists for betraying the cult. In one forum, "Ellis" wrote: "[Y]ou're a disgusting fraud, in my opinion, having once bravely stood apart from the racket, now pointing fingers and calling names of those who still have the decency to not be bought and sold for dollars and popularity contests. Who cares if HIV causes AIDS, or ten thousand things cause AIDS? ... Are you attempting to denigrate the film because of your own outlandish, humiliating lack of composure on camera? Because you sound like the old boozy floozy you really might be, not so deep down? Because you sold out to corporate pseudo-science a long time ago, do you now pour hatred onto those who still aren't satisfied with the one-size-fits-none industrial diagnosis? Shame on you, deep, deep, deep shame. You absurd old sell-out."

Celia Farber similarly attacked Sonnabend on the Spectator's website, accusing him of personal and medical treachery: "I have countless hours of tapes from the ever shifting but consistently indignant Joe Sonnabend dating as far back at 1988 ... through 2001, if not longer. After that, he became impossibly sycophantic to the orthodoxy. ... As for me, like everybody else under Joe's Bus, I forgave him because he seemed so abashed. I even invited him to my wedding. But he is a weak, dishonest man without any integrity, who loves the sensation of throwing everybody under the bus." Sonnabend's sin was to continue to evaluate the evidence, until the proof that HIV causes AIDS and that HAART is an effective treatment was conclusive.
Controlling the Flock
Within cults, the milieu is controlled and members are isolated. For denialists, who have no ashram, this happens online and in small groups. People worried about HIV are urged not to take the antibody test, to avoid mainstream information about AIDS, and to "stay as far away from allopathic doctors as possible."

Robert Lifton, a scholar of cults, identified the "principle of doctrine over person" as a characteristic feature. This doctrine "is invoked when cult members sense a conflict between what they are experiencing and what dogma says they should experience. The internalized message ... is that one must negate that personal experience on behalf of the truth of the dogma. Contradictions become associated with guilt: doubt indicates one's own deficiency or evil." Many HIV-positive denialists struggle with the reality of failing immune systems, which undermines their belief that HIV is irrelevant. The long list of denialists who have died from AIDS (posted on contrasts with the fact that not one of the HIV-negative denialist leaders has died young, let alone with multiple strange infections that happen to be AIDS-defining illnesses.

Some HIV-positive denialists defy the prohibition on HIV treatment when they develop AIDS; they start ARVs and experience a rapid return to health. But instead of abandoning denial, many struggle to frame an alternative explanation for the success of the meds. Noreen Martin insists that her AIDS is not viral: "My own experience with AIDS was due to a lifetime of negative health issues. When extremely sick, I took the medicines, ate healthy, took over 50 supplements a day, and had a good attitude. So, within a few months I was as good as new." She stopped ARVs for three years. "During this time," she wrote, "my fatigue slowly came back, my CD4s dipped and my viral load increased to over 3 million. Nevertheless, I never placed much stock in either of these numbers because after extensive research, I realized that neither were [sic] related to health. It was other conditions that caused the problems and the ARVs were powerful enough to keep them at bay. ... Last fall, I became extremely tired again after being anemic for almost a year and fighting lymphedema for months, I took the ARVs, as I could barely get off the couch and could not function in life." Her health again improved.

Another denialist said, "I have seen many friends get better on ARVs, but my understanding has always been that these drugs are broad spectrum in their efficacy -- that they serve to kill virtually all pathogens, but also all the 'good stuff' in our bodies." Another, a thoughtful woman struggling to reconcile her recurrent illness with dogma, wrote: "All I can say is that I'm doing what seems to be working at the time. If it stops working, I'll make a new plan. And just because they call them antiretrovirals doesn't mean that's what they are." The only way they can remain alive and in the dissident camp is to pretend that ARVs, so precisely designed to target the ways that HIV infects T-cells, are a supercharged all-purpose germicide.


Some denialists with HIV are unable to ignore their own experience, and are pushing back against the cult rhetoric. One weary man, positive since 1996, wrote, "Frankly, I'm sick of the questions at this point. Some of us here are experiencing strangely similar symptoms. Some well known people have died just like the orthodoxy said they would. At what point are dissidents going to start asking the important questions, rather than repeat the words 'AIDS ZONE' over and over? I'm not in any AIDS zone, but something is happening beyond my control. I have never been closer to taking Atripla than I am today. I hate to type that ... but it's true."

The denialist movement is also deeply split by conflicting theories of AIDS causality, different schools of quackery, and the basic question of whether the virus exists or not. Their unity is only maintained by their ritual invocation of long-disproved claims and their refusal to engage with scientific evidence. The most successful denialist propaganda avoids making direct claims and persuades only by innuendo and inference, because clear and specific statements generate hostility within the movement and can be easily disproven by evidence.

Still, it is very difficult for believers to break free of HIV denialism. Dissidents build their worldviews, their sense of themselves as heroic and embattled, their careers in journalism and alternative medicine, and their webs of social relationships around their rejection of HIV science and medicine. They have a lot to lose if they acknowledge that they are simply wrong. But as HIV treatments get better and better, and people with HIV live long and healthy lives using them, the psychological impulse to refuse to accept what was once a terrible diagnosis is diminished. Perhaps soon the only AIDS denialists will be HIV-negative people far removed from the communities most affected by the epidemic, and their cult won't matter at all.
Jeanne Bergman is a veteran AIDS and human rights activist in New York City.


  1. Wow, another fact free rant by "AIDS and human rights activist" Jeanne Bergman.

    Does she cite any studies? No

    Does she cite any data from studies? No

    Does she comment on the utter failure to develop a vaccine in 26 years? No

    Does she comment on drug toxicity, particularly AZT toxicity? No

    Does she comment on the billions of $$ made by George Bush's pharmaceutical buddies, like Don Rumsfeld of Gilead? No

    Does she interview anyone that she quotes? No

    Just more emotive nonsense by another AIDS groupie, scouring the internet. Sad and pitiful, methinks. But, Hey, I'm an optimist!

  2. Bill, don't you have anything original to say? You've regurgitated the same old rubbish the cult spews out at conferences, in articles, in web comments, on forums and so on. Its so predictable and tedious. We're all so bored it.

  3. Oh, Bill, when are you going to learn to READ before you expectorate nonesense?

    Jeanne used quote, after quote, after quote to suppoprt her points. Well respected professionals, as well as the very sickening words of the denialists themselves. Besides, in this style of piece, supporting quotes are much more effective!

    Lastly, most all of the facts surrounding HIV science is common knowledge. It is only Denialists such as yourself who are trying to rewrite the facts of the past 30 years!

    Sad. Really sad.

  4. Clark Baker on HIV/AIDS: "the most significant criminal conspiracy I have ever imagined"

    You mean this isn't the first time?

  5. Look, you Morons, AIDS is a serious disease. But there are serious questions about the safety of drugs used to treat it, and the ridiculously broad clinical definition of AIDS, which has changed several times to capture more and more patients. Yes, I think some patients can obtain some clinical benefit from the current regime of anti-virals, but, Yes, some people don't. And, they should be free to not take the drugs, without pressure and propaganda, from the likes of these "activists" like Jeanne Bergwoman.

  6. Bill

    You are so brainwashed by Rethinking AIDS, you make the case that AIDS denialism is a cult.

    'utter failure to develop a vaccine in 26 years'

    'billions of $$ made by George Bush's pharmaceutical buddies'

    'definition of AIDS, which has changed several times to capture more and more patients'

    'AZT toxicity'

    Can you say anything about AIDS that is not ripped from an AIDS denialist website?'

  7. "More is known about HIV than any other virus."

    Well that is a very sad statement for virology and would indicate that they know pretty much nothing about anything. Still I'm sure Snout will trot out some garbage about a foamy type virus or prove that HIV leads to AIDS by comparing a different virus like SIV to a different species of animal. Not an actual close relative animal though like a chimpanzee that doesn't get AIDS but an unrelated Macaque, junk science is as junk science does though boys, keep up the good work and funding of course.

  8. "More is known about HIV than any other virus."

    LOL!Oh really?

    See Gluschankof et al, Journal of Virology, Vol. 230, 1997, 125 -133.

    "Cell Membrane Vesicles Are a Major Contaminant of Gradient-Enriched Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type-1 Preparations"

    In English, this means that what they call purified "HIV" is a frickin' stew of cellular debris and DNA fragments. It's like describing the bits and pieces of table scraps in your garbage disposal as evidence of a "new type of Apple"

    They know more about HIV than any other virus? Puh-leaaze. 99.999% of AIDS researchers have never even SEEN the elusive virus in a patient. This is all cargo cult science.

    Have a nice weekend.

    Simian Macaque virus, my arse!

  9. Bill, I don't know how many times we have explained this to you, or what if anything it would take for you to grasp this. For you not to have understood this by now I can only think of three explanations: you are either extraordinarily stupid, or mentally ill, or involved in a cult. Of course, these three categories are not mutually exclusive.

    Let me try this one more time.

    This blog is about HIV/AIDS denialists and HIV/AIDS denialism.

    Got that?

    This is not a blog about people who weigh up the risks and benefit of antiretroviral therapy for themselves and make an informed decision not to use them at a particular time.

    HIV/AIDS denialists are people involved in a semi-organised campaign to promote their bizarre belief that HIV is not the cause of AIDS. Many of them also try to promote the belief that HIV does not exist, and/or that HIV/AIDS is not sexually transmissible.

    This is a blog about the activities of these people, and the psychology and sociology of the phenomenon.


  10. Jeanne Bergman is a wild speculator (see her piece on Maggiore). I wouldn't take her word. ever.

  11. Snout
    "Bill, I don't know how many times we have explained this to you"


    Bill is brainwashed.

  12. Hi Snot,

    Why not stop "explaining" your nonsense to me, and addressing the issues I raise?

    Hi Seth,

    I'm not brainwashed, I juss don't the AIDS party line.

    Here's a quote from that ridiculous Harvard seminar where you spoke about denialism, Seth:

    "Kalichman cited a 2007 report on 696 gay men in five U.S. cities that showed a surprisingly high acceptance of denialist beliefs. Forty-five
    percent, he said, agreed with the statement “HIV does not cause AIDS,” and 51 percent agreed with the statement “HIV drugs can harm you more than help you,” remarking that it would be troubling if even half those numbers believed such statements."

    45 -51% of gay men don't buy this garbage, and neither to I.

    Have a great Sunday! Some of you boys need to go to church!

  13. "Why not stop "explaining" your nonsense to me, and addressing the issues I raise?"

    Erm, ok. The "issue you raise from the 1996 paper is important to an extent, which is why mainstream scientists investigated it, but in no way dismantles the causality of HIV to AIDS or the isolation of HIV.

    Firstly, advances have been made in purification techniques that yield >99% HIV vs. vesicles (I can cite the paper for you if you want but I know we've cited it before and if I recall correctly you simply ignored it). This paper was published to warn of possible issues for vaccination where alloimmunity against the HLAs from the source cell may be possible (if you'd read this paper you would know that).

    Secondly, HIV has been experimentally shown to hijack exosomal secretion pathways to bud (see the papers by Dr. Gould). Other retroviruses do the same and thus, it is no surprise that the retroviral envelope contains cellular antigens. What is (or to the normal human, should be) more telling is that while infected cells produce HIV and exosomes, uninfected cells produce exosomes but no HIV.

    In short, your "issues" are only "issues" to you because of y our lack of knowledge in the field. Don't let that stop you, though! You keep hacking away at the Illuminati conspiracy. You'll crack it one day.

  14. Check out this great article in the NY Times Magazine about these goofy "science bloggers" who are mostly unemployed/underemployed grad students who are terrified of, er, actually doing real science:

    Ring any bells, Poodles?

  15. P.S. Looks like an exosome, smells like an exosome and comes from an exosome pathway.

    I'll call it a pathogenic virus.

    Such is the leap of faith and blind adherence to dogma.


    Watch AIDS Inc get shot down once again

  17. One for Bill,

    Poodle Stomper, Snout, DeShong, Kalichman.

    A collective of "Staff Bloggers" for AIDSTRUTH.

  18. Bill,
    "Ring any bells, Poodles?"

    Not I. I'm not a grad student, I'm employed and noe underemployed and doing biology research. What is it you do again? It must be science related right? No? Huh, shame.

    "P.S. Looks like an exosome, smells like an exosome and comes from an exosome pathway. I'll call it a pathogenic virus."

    P.S. Viruses are minimalist organisms. They tend to hijack cell machinery rather than use their own when possible. Some use cell polymerases. All (that I know of) hijack cell ribosomes and other tranlational machinery. Many target different organelles in the cell by using signaling sequences that force the use of the cells processing systems. Retroviruses hijack exosome secretion pathways to be...well, secreted. If you knew anything at all about virology you'd know this is completely with precedent. By the way, as I mentioned before, infected cells still produce exosomes but also produce HIV. Uninfected cells produce exosomes but do not produce HIV. That alone SHOULD (although as I stated this refers to normal people) tell you something about HIV.

    "Such is the leap of faith and blind adherence to dogma."

    Nah, it's simply having a correct understanding of virology. Now being biologically illiterate and and having zero background in the subject but still thinking ones self capable of telling everyone else why they are wrong (but only if their views don't coincide with your own) that takes blind faith. I'm curious how you rationalize to yourself your own failure to understand a simple review to the point that you couldn't write a brief post on it (Boily). Truly you are scientific juggernaut, Bill. It's only a matter of time before you get recognition in the scientific world!

  19. Video from anonymous:
    "Watch AIDS Inc get shot down once again"...if that is what it looks like to get "shot down" put a .357 Magnum between my eyes and pull the trigger! Are you kidding me? Duesberg got his ass handed to him! Anonymous, you must truly be on some other planet if you think Duesberg came out looking good in that video.

    Duesberg took a page from Sarah Palin, but much less discreet, with his pages and pages of NOTES!! You mean to tell me that by now Duesberg does not what he is lying about without notes? The other panelists knew fact after fact without a note one!

    Thanks for tipping me off to that SNL Skit!! haha
    I will be blogging about that high~larious bit at D4D very soon!!...once I stop guffawing and clean the pee off of myself!

  20. Bill, I actually agree with you. Well, that's a bit misleading on my part. However, I do agree with about 70% with the NY Times article regarding "". I have been very off put and disgusted by their vicious attacks on some occasions, which are many times on other "scienceblogs bloggers". Much of it really made them look childish and not worthy of a PhD. However, they are human beings, no matter how educated they are and therefore vulnerable to human emotions and antics. Their passion sometimes manifests the way any human being is capable; sometimes productive, other times, not so much.

    However, Bill, why did you lie? You had something going for you. Why did you state the following exaggeration:
    "Check out this great article in the NY Times Magazine about these goofy "science bloggers" who are mostly unemployed/underemployed grad students who are terrified of, er, actually doing real science:"

    That statement makes it obvious that you are either extremely unfamiliar with or you are intentionally lying. The bloggers there are mostly PhD researchers, actual medical doctors and some grad students who are indeed "doing real science" as you (eloquently) put it. When you stoop to such obvious agenda laden verbage and tactics, you lose any credibility you would have inately been entitled to by sheer objectivity. You blew the objectivity, and by extension, you blew your credibility.

    That is a HUGE problem with all of you denialists. When you have a legitimate concern, you either exaggerate, extrapolate and bastardize the original point, thereby stripping it of it's original legitimacy OR you just bitch about your point and do nothing proactive to change it. What good is that, except to make others much less amenable to trusting you in the future.

  21. "Watch AIDS Inc get shot down once again"

    I watched but did not see. All I saw was Duesberg rambling his same tired BS over and over and then proudly proclaiming how he had published a "paper" in Medical Hypothesis. Wow...if that's the best he has that's just sad.

  22. All I saw was Duesberg rambling his same tired BS over and over and then proudly proclaiming how he had published a "paper" in Medical Hypothesis. Wow...if that's the best he has that's just sad.

    He's a tenured professor at a major University, are you, Poodles?

    He's a member of the National Academy of Science, are you, Poodles?

    He's published in Nature, Science, and PNAS. Do you even read Nature, Science and PNAS?

    Sorry, but no self-respecting scientist, would trollop around the internet with imaginary friends, and call himself Poodle Stomper. That's a big red flag, right there.

    Duesberg isn't right on all the issues, but he's a heluva lot closer to the truth than you bozos.

  23. What have you got published Poodles?

  24. This is interesting and important. What I mean is, it is interesting to see the duality of orthodoxy versus denial perpetuated into the comment section in the guise of disagreement and countering explanation... Denialism and the Denialism of Denialism.

  25. JTD,
    "I have been very off put and disgusted by their vicious attacks on some occasions, ..."

    have you read your own work lately??? LOLZ!!!

  26. I actually am published in peer reviewed genetics journal and am working on a project which will be published eventually (when all the results are in) that is again genetics-related.

    The thing is I don't feel the need to brag about that. The fact that Duesberg feels he needs to brag about being "published" in a non-peer reviewed journal like MH shows just how low he's sunk.

    And what have you got published, Anonymous?

  27. Like all things Poodle Stomper you conceal the truth and dodge the questions. Duesberg has more to his credits than simply claiming publishing in medical hypotheses. Just off the cuff I can see articles in Lancet, Cancer, Acc Sciences, etc etc etc Oh and a few books to boot.

    "Peter Duesberg knows more about retro viruses than any man alive"
    Robert Gallo (The non Nobel recipient, the non co-discoverer {stealing doesn't count as discovery} of the non pathogenic virus)

    And your specious claim of being published is worthless, I did the pubmed search for "Poodle Stomper" and came up with nothing. In fact nothing you have to say as a fictional dog can be taken as having any worth at all.

    Poodle who?

  28. Still arguing ? Please come on to facebook, to Celia's defunct group or the posts of Ricci Davis or Joachim Cools - two uber denialists. They and Karri and busy rubbishing a middle-class english woman whose husband was undiagnosed and now is very sick in hospital with CD4 of 8, she is +ve too and on ARVs. These are two very normal english people, he was a merchant seaman, she a horse loving housewife and mother. I've got another guy from edinburgh who is fuming and unable to accept he's +ve, praising house of numbers and refusing to take meds.

  29. If you are a hammer everything looks like a nail. If you are a shrink then everyone looks insane. Isn't that right Krazy Kal?

  30. "Like all things Poodle Stomper you conceal the truth and dodge the questions."

    Really? I believe you asked what I have got published. I answered. I'm sorry if you don't like the answer. Speaking of which, you never answered what you had published. That's a bit hypocritical in light of your comment.

    "Duesberg has more to his credits than simply claiming publishing in medical hypotheses. Just off the cuff I can see articles in Lancet, Cancer, Acc Sciences, etc etc etc"

    All from a while back before he had completely gone down the drain. I was referring to the the youtube clip where he seems to be bragging about that particular "publication". It seems you have problems with reading comprehension.

    "Oh and a few books to boot."

    Wow! Really! I didn't know he had "a few books"! That totally makes him believable. We should thusly also consider credible those other authors that have published books...say on Nessie or on how aliens built stone henge. News flash there, anonymous; anyone can write a book. That doesn't necessarily make them credible.

    "Peter Duesberg knows more about retro viruses than any man alive..."

    Perhaps at the time it might (key word is might) have been true but that doesn't mean that he is incapable of going down the nutty path. Old Pete has made numerous incorrect claims about retroviruses. The fact of the matter is that he was once respected in the field but, just like in the field of cancer research, he is nothing more than an irrelevant old kook.

    "And your specious claim of being published is worthless, I did the pubmed search for "Poodle Stomper" and came up with nothing."

    As has been pointed out in the past, PoodleStomper is my middle name, duh!

    "In fact nothing you have to say as a fictional dog can be taken as having any worth at all."

    More reading comprehension issues here? I'm Poodle Stomper, i.e. he that stomps on poodles. Not the poodle itself. Sheesh, if you can't even read a name correctly it's no wonder you can't understand science.

    "Poodle who?"

    Anonymous who?

  31. jonny, can you post a link to where those discussions are happening on Facebook?

    Bill wrote: "Do you even read Nature, Science and PNAS?"

    Is it even necessary to dissect the galaxy-sized logic fail in this question?

    Please give us your analysis of this Nature paper Bill, which you obviously will have read:

  32. Celia's dormant group is here. The Scottish posting in there guy is one for Seth's files (and clinic if you run one). Sounds like he 100% convinced his doctors are lying to him. That's very sad, especially in Edinburgh, a city famous for its medical school and its doctors.

    And Ricci who keeps telling us HIV in Africa is not HIV but other diseases:!/video/video.php?v=414508482186&comments&ref=notif&notif_t=video_reply

    Didn't Mbecki form his disastrous opinions after a few days surfing? There must be countless numbers of people who do exactly the and stumble across the glowing beard of our favourite sociopath telling them that HIV tests should be banned and AZT causes aids.

  33. If you consider what I write to be "vicious attacks" you need to look closer. EVERYTHING I write is completely founded, substantiated, cited with loads of proof for what I write. And I do not see it as "vicious attacks". Shining a light on lies and hypocrisy is not "vicious attacks".

  34. Poodles level of proof?

    "I published an unnamed aritcle in an unnamed journal and use a pseudonym for myself"

    WTF? it's right up there with the original 4 science papers or AIDSTRTUHS proof that HIV causes AIDS, vaccuous and vapid but said with such authority!

    Then to attempt attacking me 'cause I hit the anonymous button for ease, Oh shoot I'll just place a dodgy name and that'll give me credibility. Pleeeeeease.

  35. Hi Seth,

    Do you advocate circumcision as an ADIS prevention measure?


  36. "I published an unnamed aritcle in an unnamed journal and use a pseudonym for myself"

    Would it really make a difference if you knew who I was or which publications are mine? Would you suddenly change your mind and realize the insane level of stupidity you display simply because you knew who I was and where I've been published? I think not.

    "Then to attempt attacking me 'cause I hit the anonymous button for ease"

    No I "attacked" because of the stupidity you display in your comments. I personally don't care whether you post your real name or another pseudonym as long as what you say is based on factual data.

  37. "Do you advocate circumcision as an ADIS [sic] prevention measure?"

    Obvious troll is obvious.

    We're all deeply sympathetic that you don't have a foreskin any more, you poor mutilated lovey. Unfortunately, not even circumcision can cure you of being a dickhead.

    Now get over it or go troll somewhere else.

  38. Wow
    Lots of silliness here!
    The Denialists seem restless.
    Sorry I have only been posting and not responding. I have been at our research site forcing toxic poisons down people's throats.

    I do not really consider myself an advocate for anything. I suppose I am an advocate against lies and denialism, but I am not even sure advocate is the right word.

    About male circumcision (MC). For years I was very skeptical that MC played an important role in HIV epidemics. The epi studies were so confounded by religion and other cultural factors I could not make sense of them. But when 3 carefully controlled randomized trials showed the exact same findings of around 50% reduction in HIV transmission, along with those epi studies AND the biology behind them...I am convinced and on board.

    That is the difference between a skeptic and a denialist.

    And so now what happens with this compelling information is up to countries and individuals. The public health implications are clear...the cultural, religious, individual right, partial protection issues and lots of other factors -- not so clear.

    Long answer to a simple short question.


  39. Snout, circumcision does not "cure" one of being a dickhead, it simply removes the skin around the dickhead, thus providing ease of view to the dickhead.

    Much as my blog, Dissidents 4 Dumbees, circumcises the lies and hypocrisy of the AIDS Denialists, thus providing an easy, direct view of their dickhead souls! Oops, they have no soul. My mistake.

    Now THAT'S how you troll! heheee

  40. Seth does your book investigate the theme that maybe some denialists are infact highly intelligent? Ever seen the film "A Beautiful Mind"? Think about it, some of these guys have no training in medicine, yet can argue complex theories and twist them around to support their viewpoint. A man with a high IQ can see patterns in almost anything, and come to false conclusions due to their own cerebral ability to perform mental gymnastics. They can be too clever for their own good. Problem is they attract people of lesser mental calibre because their conclusions are appealing. Where is the divisional line between genius and madness? I hope your book explores this - if so I will buy it.

  41. Anonymous

    The line between genius and insanity is not as blurred as the movies would make it seem. Geniuses can be eccentric for sure. But that is not what we see in AIDS Denialists.

    I studied AIDS Denialists for a couple years and met some of the leaders. I can assure you that they are not geniuses.

    The uneducated denialists that you mention, like David Crowe etc., actually cannot argue complex theories. They recite the same inaccurate, misleading, cherry picked, old news points. Like they are brainwashed. They are the cognitive equivalent of a broken record. This like perseveration more than anything else. Like what you see in autism. The same repetitious self-stimulation. They also have an impermeable belief system that looks like an encapsulated delusion. Now, these facets are discussed in Denying AIDS.

    The genius - insanity question is not part of Denying AIDS. Thanks for mentioning it, you just might see it Denying AIDS Volume 2: The Joe Newton Diaries.

  42. I think it's a mistake to underestimate the intelligence of some of the denialist leadership. Duesberg is clearly a very bright man, and I think Turner and Eleopulos are also pretty smart.

    However, being bright isn't the same as being sane.

    One measure of intelligence, as Anonymous says, is the ability to discern patterns. The problem is that drawing such connections (erroneously) is also a feature of some kinds of insanity, too.

    It's not that genius and insanity are on some kind of continuum, but the two can coexist in the same person.

    Bright ideas in science begin with this creative spark of discerning patterns and floating new, previously unthought-of ideas. It is not insanity to do this. Where the problem arises is when a scientist is unwilling to test the idea, and to discard it when it has been falsified.

    This is the problem with Duesberg and the Perthians - they started off with ideas that were "out-there" but not entirely unreasonable at the time. Unfortunately, they have not been able to find it in themselves to let go of these ideas, and that way madness lies.

    The difficulty for their followers (who are not as bright as Duesberg or the Perthians) is that it is very hard to distinguish brilliance from madness if the subject of the belief system is well outside of your knowledge base - they can look very similar.

    The ethical issue is that having failed to convince his peers (who do have the ability to distinguish a brilliant and surprising scientific theory from wingnut crankery), Duesberg and others have deliberately targeted a constituency who lack the ability to make this distinction.

    Which is basically how all cults start.

  43. What I would like to know is where the denialists get their funding. They are are such a small group yet can produce documentaries such as House of Numbers, Aids Inc etc - as well as get their message into some main stream channels. Sure, some funding may come from the sale of quackery medicine, but as these don't work hardly much revenue can be expected.

  44. Is the book available in UK book stores? Or do I have to order it on amazon?

  45. Hi Anonymous
    Lots of people have wanted to know about how AIDS denialism is funded. One place is from victims. Several people have talked about how they spent their savings on false hope and fake cures.

    Another place is from crazy rich people. The name Leppo is on Duesberg's lab and denialist movies.

    Sad. A fool and his money soon go separate ways.

    Finally, truth is they do not have lots of money. We are talking about mostly unemployed, retired, 'freelance', and disabled people.

    Most AIDS Denialism is not about money. It is no mystery which Denialists are making a buck...they are selling stuff, mostly fake cures, vitamins, and remedies. But most are not selling stuff.

    They are selling bad ideas in exchange for attention.

  46. Also... Denying AIDS is available in London at Waterstones...I saw it on the shelf at the store that has a large medical book stock...Gower, I believe?
    Otherwise, Amazon for sure. FYI we just delivered the first royalty check to the Family Treatment Fund... they have already started buying people meds in Uganda!

  47. One of the Executive Producers of House of Numbers is Martin R. Penny, formerly head of Good Hair Day, and he has a lot of money.

    "Martin Penny, who made £21 million from selling his stake in Good Hair Day (GHD) of Silsden, is worth £62 million, down £18 million on last year."

  48. What I would like to know is where the denialists get their funding. They are are such a small group yet can produce documentaries such as House of Numbers, Aids Inc etc - as well as get their message into some main stream channels.

    Anthony Brink (who has fallen out with the "tumbling farting clowns" as he calls the Board of Rethinking AIDS) has published excerpts of the minutes of various RA board meetings.

    Among them is this gem from 11th June 2006:

    "Bob Leppo moved that RA board authorities authorize the RA foundation to make grants for a wider range of purposes, including films and video. Seconded by Charles Geschekter...
    "Robert Giraldo moved that the RA foundation make grants for Brent Leung's film based on available funds. Seconded by Christine Maggiore. Unanimous agreement..."

    Which makes it even harder to believe Brent Leung"s unconvincing posturing that he is an "independent" film maker "just asking questions".

    Brink also claims that RA is almost entirely funded by Leppo.

    There is a Facebook Causes site to raise money, set up by David Crowe and Sadun Kal. Sadun has since fallen out with Crowe and the RA mob. The site has over the past year raised $438.

  49. Do not forget begging. As the Rolling Stones, the Temptaions and even TLC sang:
    "I ain't too proud to beg."

    Farber duped her readers out of $450. Baker begs for "donations" (which is really funny since he lives a multimillion dollar home...of course his "woman" owns that), Crowe begs at

    Also, they make money thru Fraudulent activities like playing up the disease they do not believe in to bilk the U.S. taxpayers out of money, ala Karri Stokely, Jonathan Barnett and others at via Social Security Disabiity.

  50. There's a $25,000 grant to Brent Leung listed on the Rethinking AIDS 990 tax form from 2006, it's available on Guidestar with free registration.

  51. What is Jeanne Bergmans' Phd in?

  52. Guess dissidents have to beg funds, unlike you well paid pharmasluts.

  53. No - DENIALISTS have to beg for money because they are conspiracy-theory-loons that project insanity. At least Bergman has a PhD unlike the proclaimed leaders of the denialists who tend to be fired traffic cops with no college education.
    HAHAHAHHA!!! Denialists make me laugh all the time...

  54. CLARK CAN NOW CLAIM HE IS A "DOCTOR"!!!! This is the guy that denialists rely on!!!,11237/

  55. Probably more intelligent than the HIV voodoo doctors out there though.

  56. "Guess dissidents have to beg funds, unlike you well paid pharmasluts."

    No, Clark, get with the program already. Brent Leung isn't a "dissident". He's a neutral independent film maker "just asking questions".