Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

A controversial research paper that argued “there is as yet no proof that HIV causes AIDS" and met with a storm of protest when it was published in 2009, leading to its withdrawal, has been republished in a revised form, this time in the peer-reviewed literature.

The reworked version of the paper, led by Peter Duesberg of the University of California, Berkeley, who is well known for denying the link between HIV and AIDS, was published in the Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology (IJAE) last month.

The manuscript was examined by two peer reviewers, one of them the journal's editor-in-chief, Paolo Romagnoli, an expert in cell anatomy at the University of Florence, Italy. But leading AIDS researchers and campaigners question how the paper could have passed peer review, and say that publishing it in a minor journal known to few does not give it scientific credibility or legitimacy.

"In my view this paper is scientific nonsense and should not have passed peer review. The thesis that HIV does not cause AIDS has no scientific credibility," says Nathan Geffen of the South Africa-based Treatment Action Campaign, who previously raised concerns about the article.

Romagnoli says he decided to review the revised paper because the original was withdrawn by Medical Hypotheses not for “flawed or falsified data” but for “highly controversial opinions” — which the IJAE's readers can make up their own minds about.

“Speculative conclusions are not a reason for rejection, provided they are correlated with the data presented,” he says.
Potentially damaging

The paper's initial publication in Medical Hypotheses caused a furore, with attention being drawn to the fact that the journal was not peer reviewed despite being listed in the MEDLINE citation database.

Retrospective peer review later led to the paper's permanent withdrawal from Medical Hypotheses. The grounds stipulated in the withdrawal notice were concerns over the paper's quality and that it contained opinions about the causes of AIDS “that could potentially be damaging to global public health.

The journal's publisher, Elsevier, revamped Medical Hypotheses to introduce peer review and fired editor Bruce Charlton, who resisted the changes. The University of California also bought charges of misconduct against Duesberg over the article's publication, but he was later cleared.

Duesberg says that the revised publication is a “new victory in our long quest for a scientific theory of AIDS”, adding that the new version of the paper was better documented and more up to date.

Although the revised version has been toned down, the article still makes many of the same points as the original — refuting the effectiveness of anti-retroviral drugs, as well as death-toll estimates from HIV and AIDS in South Africa put forward in a study led by AIDS epidemiologist Max Essex of Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts3. “We deduce ... that HIV is not a new killer virus,” Duesberg et al. write, proposing a “reevaluation of the HIV–AIDS hypothesis”.

But Geffen says the paper "contains no new arguments or evidence about the South African data, and these arguments have been rebutted before".

Duesberg admits submitting the revised paper to more than four other journals before it was accepted by theIJAE, and only alerted his co-authors to the publication after he was sure it wouldn't be aborted at the last minute.
Dangerous distraction

"It is just so far out that it is hard to respond in an intelligent way," says Essex, adding that it is "unfortunate" to see Duesberg continuing on a "dangerous track of distraction that has persuaded some people to avoid treatment or prevention of HIV infection".

Yet whether the publication will be officially challenged remains to be seen. John Moore, an HIV researcher at Cornell University in New York, who lodged a complaint with Elsevier when the original paper was published, believes that the movement to deny the link between HIV and AIDS is on its “last legs”. Geffen, meanwhile, thinks the likelihood the paper will have significant impact — and therefore warrant challenge — is small.

“Duesberg's views no longer have significant political support, like they did in South Africa in the 2000s,” Geffen says. ”No one of consequence in government is likely to take any notice.”


  1. I've never heard of the IJAE, but what does HIV have to do with anatomy? Even if the paper was legit, wouldn't a journal of virology be a better place for it. If I was the editor, I'd have rejected it out of hand.

  2. The Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology is published by FU Press, which I believe stands for F#@%ed Up Press.

    The paper is in the current issue... "AIDS since 1984: No evidence for a new, viral epidemic – not even in Africa" Peter H. Duesberg, Daniele Mandrioli, Amanda McCormack, Joshua M. Nicholson, David Rasnick, Christian Fiala,Claus Koehnlein, Henry H. Bauer, Marco Ruggiero

    Actually, FU stands for Firenze University Press.
    And guess what, our buddy Ruggiero is on Firenze's faculty.

    The 'journal' has a 2010 Impact Factor of 0.488!
    Yep, that really sucks. It means for every 2 papers they published 1 is cited - including self-citations.
    This website shows how bad it sucks...

    Good news is that no one will ever see it.
    Bad news is, The AIDS Deniers will use it as if it were a real publication.

    My favorite part of the Nature piece is "Duesberg admits submitting the revised paper to more than four other journals before it was accepted by the IJAE..."

    Honestly, I think an article on my blog has more academic value than a paper in that journal.

    Duesberg is a sad old man. What a waste.

  3. Wait! Here's the best part:

    Clarkie Baker couldn't even make it as a co-author on this piece of toilet paper!

  4. It appears to me that it was only a matter of time before some second rate journal rolls the dice on a walking calamity like Duesberg. Why? Because when you consider how badly print media is doing these days financially, it makes perfect sense to interject some fringe person into the mix in hopes of attracting attention.

    Its pathetic to be sure, but I am betting that has much to do with their reasoning.

    Anyone who has passed Sophomore level Biology (I am not even talking 400 or 500 level stuff) with a grade higher than a C can identify immediately how ridiculous he is. If he was not tenured, I am guessing Berkley would have fed-exed him to the curb long ago.

    My problem with Duesberg is not the fact that he is useless scientifically, but the fact that his credentials alone have the power to influence. When you are dealing with HIV positive people who are desperate, they can latch onto anything that might give them hope (no matter how irrational).

    Laypeople can say to themselves "well he has a PhD so he much be credible" I have known tons of doctorate candidates who are more asinine than a welfare recipient at an Obama rally. I am not saying credentials do not matter, but they are also not an excuse to act as a proponent for what basically amounts to "sociopathic science".

    Great post BTW Seth.

  5. Yeah, Duesberg and Mullis worry me. Clark Baker is clearly delusional. Actually, they all are, but Nobel Prizes and National Academy of Science recognition go a long way.

  6. I say Good for Duesberg et al. Now let's see just how much influence this "legitimate" paper wields in the real world!

    I love the comments section of the article. Clark Baker is making himself look more and more ridiculous with each post. I wonder if he really thinks anyone takes him seriously?

  7. Clark Baker tried to infiltrate the comment section of ORAC's Respectful Insolence:

    He really got his ass handed to him! He actually tried a more shall we say, respectful tactic, but Orac's readers still were not having any of Mr. Baker's big bag of bullshit!

  8. Friends,

    Don't pick on poor Duesberg. It's not his fault that he doesn't have a brain. Just like the tinman, it isn't his fault that he doesn't have a heart. Like the lion, he can't find his courage.

    Hey! Duesberg is just like all of the characters from Oz! He can't find his way home. He followed the yellow brick road to South Africa, and got stuck in the poppy fields.

    Clark Baker leads the winged monkeys, but that can't help Duesberg as he melts when a pail of water is thrown on him!

    It is all one illusion. There is no place like good science.

  9. Truthy, at least we agree on one thing, being the comments on the article in Nature. I especially like the:

    "Meth Addicts and Fading Drag Queens" from Clark Baker, it's almost poetry.

    You all have a nice day now in Texicana .

  10. I just found why Clark Baker got into the Denialist movement- he was in highschool with Christine Maggiore. Later, he apparently played a role in Maggiore's arrest!

    22. Plaintiff Farber mentioned that a woman named Christine Maggiore was somehow involved in the controversy as well and that she lived in Van Nuys, California – about 20 minutes from my Los Angeles office. As it turned out, Maggiore and I concurrently attended the same high school in 1973/1974, although we didn’t meet one another back then. I learned that Maggiore had an HIV-related lawsuit against the LA County Coroner’s Office and I assisted in that case from June through December 2008. Maggiore significantly contributed to my understanding of “the controversy” by providing documentary evidence and by the tremendous retaliation she endured – including attempts by the LA County Health Department to get the LAPD to impound her son. I also read Maggiore’s book about the controversy.

  11. Whoah! Good find. I was too busy reading about Baker's heroic helicopter skills and trying to find where he lists his evidence to locate the relevant part of his affidavit.

    I wonder what he means by "Assisted".

  12. He means "assisted" in the same way he means "assisted" in his other fake cases. He writes an email that is ignored.

    Remember, Clarkie is uneducated but is a super-secret Steven Seagal with Top-Secret clearance!

  13. The gang at are actually dissing the Duesberg paper. Someone named JeremyB37 has this to say:

    Re: Paper refuting HIV–AIDS link secures publication
    "Unfortunately that paper is shot through with appalling errors in basic statistical mathematics, and serious epidemiological flaws, so much so that it's a bit of an embarrassment.
    And that is ignoring the fact that it is based on not even challenging the science for the existence of 'HIV', but the implied harmless nature of a real and existing retrovirus.
    If that is the 'best' that dissident scientists can do, then it's crap. And no wonder we still are no further forward now than 15+ years ago.

    For anyone genuinely interested in the science, Claus Jensen has done a great analysis of that paper that not one of that paper's authors has the balls to reply to. They actually behave little different to many orthodox scientists."

    I'm not familiar with Claus Jensen, but he must be Perthian...unless there is now a third faction.

    They are also more than a little peeved at Clark Baker's homophobic rants! Too bad they seem more than happy with his libel, slander and defamation. But hey, it seems maybe they are not all bad. Gotta give credit where credit is due.

  14. Claus Jensen wrote a review of Seth's book, stating how much he hated it. He is allied with "Molecular Entry Claw" and "Tony", I think. They might be a third faction.

  15. No, there's no "third faction" unless you mean the "HIV was created in a US goverment lab as a bioweapon (by Robert Gallo and Peter Duesberg)" group, best exemplified by the deliciously batshit crazy Lenny Horowitz.

    DR. PETER DUESBERG on Boyd Graves' website. Graves was one of the main promoters of the "AIDS is a bioweapon" theory, as well as the belief that it could be cured by injecting the swimming pool disinfectant tetrasilver tetroxide. Not surprisingly, Graves died of AIDS a couple of years ago. However, it gets even stranger: the "AIDS is a US bioweapon" meme actually has its origins in a deliberate cold-war-era disinformation campaign by the Soviet KGB and the East German Stasi. Nicoli Nattrass, I gather, has a book coming out shortly which touches on this fascinating story.

    Claus, on the other hand, is a committed Perthian, as are Molecular Entry Claw and Ruairidh MacDonald - all three of whom one might say are of the same mind.

    1. Snout,you seem awful sure of yourself, are you a virolgist?
      Perhaps your some sort of expert on the SVCP that has read through all the SVCP progress reports countless times without finding anything odd, or even worth mentioning?
      Do you beyond any shadow of a doubt believe that the Soviet KGB and the East German Stasi were the ones who actually infilterated U.S. goverment files and somehow placed those offcial looking doccuments there? "YOU KNOW, THE ONES THAT YOU YOURSELF CAN OBTAIN THROUGH THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT, NO LESS."
      Do you think even think for a moment that the Russian's confesson could have been bought and paid for? After all, it did come right after the fall.

    2. Funny how no one has ever thought to post those revealing documents you mention on the web, isn't it?

      Must be a conspiracy to hide them from the web surfing public, even though anyone can access them through FOI.

    3. Funny how Kalichman won't allow my reply to his bitches post here.

    4. Lets try it again!
      You must first cut and paste this> SYNTHETIC BIOLOGICAL AGENTS into the below sites “Search in this text box”. Then at the top of the page that comes up you will see page 129 in orange at top of your search results, click on it!
      Lets see how many true denialists actually post here! LOL!!!!

  16. I think I now have proof that Henry Bauer has some form of dementia. At the comments of his latest post he claims to not know who Seth is or what Seth does..."just that he has a blog I never read."

    Bauer either has dementia or is just lying. Oh, when will they ever learn?

  17. The Soviets told people that Duesberg created HIV? I think my brain just exploded.

  18. Another resignation:

    1. Still hanging out with bgf are wee ? Or perhaps he is still hanging out of you !

  19. Looks like there's TROUBLE AT' MILL with the editorial board of the Italian Journal of Amateur Epidemiology.

    Editor-in-chief Paolo Romagnoli tells us that the peer reviewers for Duesenggiero's silly essay "were chosen on the basis of 'scientific competence' and 'impartiality of judgement'". Given that he himself was one of the two "reviewers" he chose, it's nice to know he has such a high opinion of himself.

    Unfortunately, other members of his editorial board beg to disagree.

  20. Andy Lindsay alive and well thanks to quitting the drugs that cause AIDS.

    Have a nice day denialists of the real world !

  21. PEER REVIEW = getting your buddies to back you up.
    No doctor is going to back you up if you are threatening their industry of profession by offering a cheaper, more effective alternative.
    That is where the peer review process fails the people.
    Andy Lindsay.

    1. Um, no. You have no concept of Peer Review or of scientists. You find a cheaper, more effective, alternative, you publish immediately because you will have thousands of people waiting to make millions off your hard work. And you will have no shortage of people willing to peer review, so they can say they were there when the breakthrough happened.

      As for these "Alternative Medicines", I know that the manufacturers all claim that he pharmaceutical industry hides knowledge of these astounding cure-alls, but I can't help notice that the snake oil salesmen themselves don't have trouble selling their stuff. You'd think we would all want a piece of the action, unless of course we know there is no action to be had and have qualms about scamming the desperate.

  22. You mean like the fraudster who runs an hiv dating site and declares that hiv doesnt exist at the same time he's promoting his health drink . One of your mob i might add , Lawrence Prior.

    1. No idea who that is, but if says HIV does not exist and is selling snake oil for it, that he is certainly not one of my mob. My mob knows science exists.

      That guy? He sounds like a typical Perthian. But thanks for agreeing with me, Andy.

  23. Thanks, Seth. As always.

  24. Clues::
    Air France Concorde
    Christa McAuliffe, Concord, NH
    Carnaval's Costa Concordia
    Concord:::In the "eye of The Beast"
    Downey Savings
    90s:: "He gets 4 years.", "(His chance is OVER!!)":::2.1.03 (SS Columbia) & 11.26.03 (Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde).
    My miracle of Ocean Beach, witnessed by MILLIONS on the West Coast
    Mt. Zion:::Slowly being eaten away until one day paradise is gone forever
    Carry That Weight
    Unit 731::TSUSHOGO
    Zastava Koral

    "Something happened (which casued the market to fall to 6500.)" Told managers of CalPers funds to sell/manipulated CalPers' holdings?
    Allowed the hustlers who got out of the market at/near its peak 90s, into real estate, out at real eastate market peak 05-07 to buy stocks dirt cheap and get back into the market at 6500.

    In the course of decay and deterioration of the favor of the people the gods instructed their clone host tools in corporate to make changes to their products and subsequently in people's lives. The switch to plastic/disposable-based packaging is an outstanding example. Another is the extensive use/proliferation of disposable diapers. Whereas diaper services were the norm during the 20th cenutry a change occurred in the 70s/80s and parents began to incurr evil upon their children, and sadly in some cases think they were "earning" off their own infant children!!!

    Anyways, why I bring this up is I am watching the South PArk's rendition of Scientology's dogma. They mention Xena, ruler of the last planet.
    Recall I said only the true believers in JEsus will last to the end of the 1000 years and be used to colonize the next Planet Earth (with Lucifer, who will initiate disfavor on the new planet).
    Don't be surprised if the last Jesus's name WAS Xena. Maybe a stretch but nothing surprises me.
    Perhaps the volcano metaphor suggests destruction by subduction. I have mentioned massive, global subduction as a method of demise in the past.

    "Poisoning their brainwashed minds." xtainity brainwashed you. Liberalism is the poison.
    The gods used xtainity to demonize Lucifer, ensuring people refused to heed the teachings of THE SECOND COMING!!!. Lucifer is the Second Coming of Christ!!!
    xtianity is the product of the Apostle's books of the New Testiment and can't be trusted to contain the true teachings of Jesus Christ. Just like each one of you corrupt whores, the gods could have tempted them with immortality if they lied when writing the New Tesatiment. Then the gods dictated verbatim specifically to parlay into the destructive phenominah known as xtianity.
    We have seen the gods engage in similar behavior to keep people away from good religions, with the Jews in Palestine and Muslims recently post-9.11, demonizing both.
    This is another of the god's wicked curveballs, their reverse positioning tool extensively employed, utilizing positioning to prepare for the Apocalypse and your "consolation prize" of "1000 years with Jesus on Earth".

    "1000 years with Jesus" may start at different times for different people::::
    Medical advances I mention below may already be invented, courtesy of biotechnology, but reserved for the wealthy.
    Proof money is not favor:::Not only will they die before the masses, since their clock began sooner, but some of these individuals may have been "guinea pigs" in the perfection of these advances.
    Just clone host fakes who were sold they are the lucky ones anyways.

    And the gods wash their hands of us all.

  25. Dont flatter yourself , nobody here agrees with you notelton but notthatclevereither.

  26. Yes, Andy. Snout and Kralc and Seth and Truthy and pretty much everyone but you is a figment of my imagination.

    Go back to your padded room.

  27. Ive lived in places that have padded rooms to prevent those that are in them from smashing down the walls to get to people like you. Thats a fact by the way , ive seen them gouge the eyes out of people like you , Snout, Kralc, and Bovine Spongey Face . They think its normal and that bullies deserve this. Me , i think its just a fraction of the suffering others had to put up with at the hands of people in AIDS Inc. Maybe ill put them in touch with you all some day , theyd be glad to meet your aquaintance. They like the padded rooms , it gives them a chance to rest every now and then.

  28. OK... Someone forgot to take his lithium again.