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.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Anti-Science of AIDS Denialism: New Must Read Blog Post

AIDS Denialism: Deadly Ignorance Part I@ In Vivo Blog
Those of us in the skeptical community are no strangers to whacko medical theories. It seems every week there is another quack promoting a new "naturalistic" diet or treatment. By far, though, the brunt of a skeptic's time is dealing with denialism – groups of individuals denying that contemporary medical practices don't work or are even dangerous. In the last few years, the anti-vax denialists have been in the media spotlight due to their elaborate campaigns and the outspoken celebrities like Jenny McCarthy who have taken up the anti-vax fight. But there is another camp of deniers festering away in the underbelly of alternative medicine. These people are the AIDS deniers; people who claim that AIDS is not caused by the HIV virus, but rather that it is actually caused by drug use. Some even go so far as to claim that HIV does not exist! Given the horrifying prevalence of AIDS in third world nations and even its alarming proliferation in developed nations, increasing support for AIDS denialism is not simply worrying but outright dangerous.

AIDS denialism has been known to me for some time, having learned about it from reading about Nobel Prize winner Kary Mullis, who is one of AIDS denialism's best known proponents. Though, given Mullis' colorful personality I figured he was just a lone crank. It was not until this past week when a good friend of mine, SofiaRune, began to get comments on a Youtube video she produced about debunking the link between HIV infection rates and male circumcision. A user by the name of "mykoolaidtastesfunny" made a variety of claims about how AIDS and HIV are not linked, and how HIV has not been shown to exist. He also posted a video by a variety of AIDS "skeptics" repeating his points. Immediately we began to investigate these claims. In the following series of posts, I'll address the claims of the AIDS "skeptics". In Part I, I will focus on the video that started it all…
To read the entire post (and others), click here

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

BBC Horizon "Science Under Attack" seeks to understand denialism

Science Under Attack
BBC, January 2011
BBC has produced a great episode of Horizon focusing on Denialism. They have a short segment on AIDS Denialism that features well known AIDS skeptic (I am being respectful here) Tony Lance. The show is hosted by Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel Prize winning biochemist. The focus is mostly on global warming denialism and it does a fantastic job laying out the connections that all denialists share. I was interviewed for this piece, but they ended up not using me. Oh well. No hard feelings. Tony Lance made the point far better than I ever could. The BBC showed me a wonderful time - on a charter boat along the Hudson River at sunset! Views of Manhattan that I will never forget. It was amazing to talk with Dr. Nurse. Really thought provoking piece and well worth the time. Click here to watch.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Holocaust Denialists are only asking questions to encourage debate. Sound familiar?

E-Mail About Book Questioning the Holocaust Shakes a School
The e-mail list of the Public School 290 PTA is a useful source on matters like fund-raising, after-school programs and the rules for the talent show coming up. It is not known to provoke strong feelings
But the message that went out at the wee time of 2:18 a.m. on Jan. 16 disturbed many of the parents who bothered to read it. “You should read this book! It is rocking my world!” read the message, floating over a book’s cover. The cover had a dark Star of David at the bottom, the Nazi flag at top and the title in between: “Debating the Holocaust: A New Look at Both Sides.”

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why we should care about AIDS Denialsm: AIDS Denialist doctors group and Senator Rand Paul call for repeal of health care reform

Vocal Physicians Group Renews Health Law Fight

Barry Meier
New York Times
Published: January 18, 2011

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons is pursuing the repeal of the health care law, but some medical groups say the association, with 3,000 dues-paying members, doesn't represent most of the nation's physicians.
A small professional group of doctors involved in the effort to repeal the new health care law has a history of opposing government involvement in medicine, including challenging President Bill Clinton's attempts to overhaul health care in the 1990s.

Rand Paul made opposition to the health law central to his successful Senate bid in Kentucky.
The group, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, has exerted vocal influence in the country's health care debate, despite having just 3,000 dues-paying members. Other medical groups assert that the association's positions are unrepresentative of most of the nation's 800,000 physicians and that its scientific views often fall outside medicine's mainstream.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Junk Science Isn't a Victimless Crime

Vaccines don't cause autism-and there was never any proof that they do. Too bad kids had to die while we figured that out. 
The Wall Street Journal January 11, 2011

 In 1998, a British surgeon named Andrew Wakefield published a paper claiming that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine might cause autism. To support his case, Dr. Wakefield reported the stories of eight children who had developed symptoms of autism within one month of receiving MMR. He proposed that measles vaccine virus travels to the intestine, causes intestinal damage, and allows for brain-damaging proteins to enter children's blood streams.

 The problem with Dr. Wakefield's study-published in the Lancet, a leading medical journal-was that it didn't study the question. To prove his hypothesis, he should have examined the incidence of autism in hundreds of thousands of children who had or hadn't received MMR. This kind of study has now been performed 14 times on several continents by many investigators. The studies have shown that MMR doesn't cause autism.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

AIDS Denialists Plan Another Conference: Are AIDS Scientists Welcome?

AIDS Denialism Comes Back to Washington DC.
The non-profit scientific organization Rethinking AIDS has set Dec 1, 2011 for a worldwide conference to challenge the mainstream paradigm that AIDS is an infectious disease. The conference location will be Washington, D.C. Presenters will discuss possible causes for a lowered immune system apart from the single virus theory currently being imposed as a dogma. Medical specialists will discuss alternative treatments for the conditions that may be considered "AIDS" in HIV-antibody-positive people. 

The conference will call for a dramatic reduction in AIDS spending. In the context of the national budget crisis, spending on AIDS is disproportionate to the number of patients who have fallen ill particularly as the spending is killing people, not curing them. $25 billion was spent on AIDS in 2010, but the 'epidemic' has never expanded beyond small groups within the gay and drug user communities. 

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