Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy

Seeking Stories of AIDS Denialism

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Denialism and the Death of Christine Maggiore

It was unavoidable. Since the reporting of Christine Maggiore’s death from pneumonia, the expected barrage of explanations has flooded the internet.

For my own part, I have stated that when a person who tested HIV positive dies of pneumonia they have, by medical definition, died from complications of AIDS.

There is no controversy that Christine Maggiore tested HIV positive. Her HIV positive status was the very basis for her refusing AZT to prevent HIV transmission to her baby. David Crowe (or at least the person who poses as David Crowe) has said:“Christine was a beacon of hope for many people whose lives, like her own, had been turned upside-down by an HIV-positive diagnosis.” Christine Maggiore was HIV positive.

In the US, deaths from pneumonia under age 65 are exceedingly rare except in AIDS patients. Among people 65 and older, influenza and pneumonia combined account for less than 3% of all deaths. Across all age groups, including infants and the elderly, pneumonia ranks 67th among all causes of death in the US. In 2004, 58,564 people in the US died of pneumonia, of which 3,649 (6%) were under the age of 55. Given the number of deaths from HIV/AIDS, we can extrapolate to conclude that young people who die of pneumonia often have AIDS.

Given the psychology of denialism it is, of course, impossible for a denier to accept the realities of Christine Maggiore’s life and death. So how then do AIDS denialists explain the death of Christine Maggiore? Below is a sampling.
Brian Carter: As unfortunate as it may be people do die, plain and simple and in the case of Christine, merely testing positive on an antibody test 16 years ago and not being able to overcome a bout of double pneumonia proves nothing.

Liam Sheff: She was wane, tired, exhausted, worn out, worked too much, too often, alone, didn’t eat enough, was still grieving for her daughter, and never stopped to grieve, I think.
Celia Farber: She had apparently been on a radical cleansing and detox regimen that had sickened her and left her very weak, dehydrated, and unable to breathe. She was shortly thereafter diagnosed with pneumonia and placed on IV antibiotics and rehydration. But she didn’t make it.

She didn't have any pneumonia. It was only a problem of lack of water in her lungs. Then, she took antibiotics to treat her so called pneumonia. It could have evolved quite well, since it increases the cortisol level.

She made a de-toxe cleanse. During that cleanse, it seems that she took herbs in order to clean her colon. Maybe she also did a fast. This is those herbs which caused the problem. Those herbs first increase the cortisol level. But, when you stop to take them cold turkey, the cortisol level decrease to a level lower than the normal one.
So, suddenly, her cortisol level was too low. And all symptoms from a low cortisol level appeared. In fact, it is exactly the same thing which happens when you stop suddenly to take Haart, or to take cortisone. All those three meds act the same way, by manipulating the cortisol level.

Christine passed from the wear and tear of ever more stress. From one too many straws that breaks the camels back. Her life has been very intense and stress filled for the last few years and was getting even more so. From the grief of losing her daughter, to being heralded in the press as a lunatic denialist child murderer with nothing to look forward to but going up against the "monsters who crucified her" in court this week.

There are unusual circumstances in Christine's death. I say that because Christine was not even hospitalized at the time of her sudden death.
This is what killed her.But she died primarily because she believed in pneumonia.
This is why she took antibiotics to treat it. This is also why we need to reappraise toxoplasmosis, pneumonia, and tuberculosis (the three most diagnosed illnesses to hiv+ people). Until we do that, there will be other deaths of dissidents.


  1. "The “holistic cleanse” would have been an excellent opportunity for someone to have covertly introduced some extremely toxic substance into Christine’s body, wouldn’t it have?"

    Was my favourite.

  2. this is slightly unfair. You are mixing your nuts. Who cares about the comments of unknown people? You work way too hard to make whatever point it is you're trying to make.

    "For my own part, I have stated that when a person who tested HIV positive dies of pneumonia they have, by medical definition, died from complications of AIDS."

    Of course that is the medical definition of AIDS, we all know that. What is troublesome with this definition is that it pops out as nothing but a contrived definition. How do we know that HIV had any weakening effect on her immune system so as to call her pneumonia the result of HIV disease?

  3. Is it possible that someone who has been tested positive for HIV and never has any AIDS defining illnesses or sick at all their whole life, to suddenly die of what ever cause and they don't call it death from AIDS or HIV disease?

  4. Sure, people who are infected with HIV and are never tested die of many causes. But when they die of an AIDS-related illness they have died of AIDS whether they knew they had HIV or not.

    A person who has liver cancer but is never diagnosed and dies of liver cancer still dies of liver cancer.

    If they die in a car accident they did not die of liver cancer. But they still had liver cancer.

    Same for HIV/AIDS.

    Christine Maggiore died of a recurrent pneumonia AND she had tested HIV positive (I only know this because of postings by her family and others close to her)

    Getting tested for HIV will give people who are HIV infected options... they can prevent the spread of the disease to others including their babies when they are a pregnant women. They can also take medications that extend their lives and improve their health. They can also choose to meditate and take vitamins, neither of which will do anything about their HIV infection, but if they are properly informed it is their choice.

    The tragedy of AIDS denialism that people are misinformed and misinforming others. It is when people know they are infected or refuse to get tested and act as if they are not infected. Such was the case with Christine Maggiore. She and her baby suffered because of her denialism. She bought into the pseudoscientists and AIDS denialists because they offered what she wanted to hear. Even worse, she misled thousands of people.

    If you want accurate information about HIV and how it causes AIDS go to the links on this page marked 'Learn more about AIDS'

    If you wish to enter into a debate about these proven medical facts, that is fine. But not here. Go to the links below on AIDS denialism to find debaters.

  5. This is just one more thing about these "re-thinkers" (as I have found out the hard way how much they detest their well earned 'denialist' moniker) that I find amusing. They can not seem to agree on ANYTHING!!
    What killed CM?
    What killed EJ?
    Does HIV exist?
    Is HIV harmless?
    AIDS is caused by AZT, no Poppers, no malnutrition, no Party Drugs, no etc...
    If they could just come together on one topic, they might just be unstoppable!! (Naw, I doubt it!!)
    J. Todd DeShong
    P.S. My favorite that I read is someone said "CM died simply because she believed that pneumonia exists! If she had believed the truth, that it does not, she would be alive!!"
    Yes, I am serious!!

  6. To be exact, we can't say for certain that Christine Maggiore died of pneumonia because she had AIDS. We can only say that if no-one except people with AIDS died of pneumonia. What we can say on the basis of the statistics here is that she probably died of pneumonia because she had AIDS. Other statistics- for the number of people who caught pneumonia and recovered and for the number of people in both categories with AIDS- would mean we could say how probable (Very, I'd think) it was that she died because she had AIDS.

  7. To be exact...I think I agree.

    Christine Maggiore had tested HIV+ around 1992 and was therefore HIV infected for at least 16 years. Given the typical natural history of HIV, her immune system must have been shot… henceforth AIDS.

    She developed a pneumonia that the vast majority of 52 years recover from. According to Celia Farber, she did not respond very well to IV antibiotics. Sounds like advanced immune disease.

    She died.

    Now I for one am not invested in saying this woman died of AIDS.

    I guess you could say that this long term HIV infected woman died of a typically curable pneumonia. Because she had HIV infection it is the same as saying she died from complications of AIDS.

    What is tragic is that she refused to take preventive action with her children before, during, and after childbirth. That matters.

    And she led a disinformation campaign that is among the most destructive in the history of public health.

    She refused HIV treatment, and that was her choice. But it was not an informed choice. It was misinformed choice.

    So to be exact, I guess you could say she died of pneumonia as a complication of AIDS denialism.

  8. Some of you are just so sure that you have all the answers. You believe in HIV like a religious person believes in God. It is unusual for a 52 year old woman to die of pneumonia, however, Christine, even among HIV positive people, is not a usual case. She was extrememly stressed out, and had unfortunately undertaken a radical cleanse which no skinny vegetarian like herself should ever do. She was very weak prior to contracting the pneumonia. Furthmore, we dont yet know the exact cause of her death.

    It may be more related to the effects of the cleansing. Her death does nothing to answer the many questions she raised about HIV. Those electron micrographs of HIV would be a lot more impressive if they showed HIV that was actually isolated, and not just painted with color. I could go on and on. I am a dissident not becuase of some psychological issue, but because I care about the truth.

  9. HIV is pretty fragile, but of course can be isolated from blood samples and then used to infect other noninfected lymphocytes in culture. HIV/AIDS denialists are a lot like peasants denying that it's possible to land a man on the moon because they can't see how orbits of heavenly bodies can be figured out, being oblivious to the advances in celestial mechanics since the 16th century or so by the likes of Kepler, Copernicus and Newton that permit accurate calculation of trajectories of rockets and whatnot. It's just retarded. Molecular biology is sufficently advanced these days to provide rather good determination of whether or not one's lymphocytes harbor HIV sequences integrated into DNA, which then acts as a viral factory. HIV and HIV-infected lymphocytes have a very short halflife and are indeed hard but not impossible to isolate. So what? They still exist and cause AIDS over time. It is rather telling that few or no HIV/AIDS denialists actually do hands-on research on the subject, not even Duesberg or Mullis who presumably have the requisite skills.

  10. Hello Mr. Kalichman. You state, "Christine Maggiore had tested HIV+ around 1992 and was therefore HIV infected for at least 16 years." This statement is absurd, since the so-called "HIV tests" are looking for non-specific antibodies and not for virus. You are also failing to mention the number of times she tested Negative and Indeterminate in those years since. Why are the Positive results the ones that are taken seriously while all other results are ignored? The tests should be banned because they prove nothing and they ruin people's lives.

  11. Onecleverkid
    Thanks for your comment.
    You probably are a clever kid.
    But it sounds like you have been brain washed by failed math teacher Rebecca Culshaw and Loch Ness Monster expert Henry Bauer.
    It is Christine Maggiore herself who confirmed that she tested HIV positive. Let me ask, have those subsequent confusing tests ever been documented? If you need a good place to learn about the realities of HIV testing you should visit or

    The LA coroner documented that her baby died of AIDS and her death certificate documents that she died of AIDS (see more recent posting above).
    What else do you need?

    If you have tested HIV positive then you are better off facing it head on than head in sand.

    If you refuse testing based on pseudoscience you could be infecting others.

    There is a science of AIDS medicine and you will not find it at Rethinking AIDS. If you are in this just for the kicks and thrills of a conspiracy theory, please switch to alien abductions or big green monsters. It will be safer for everyone.

  12. Your attitude is condescending and rude, as usual. I have never heard of rebecca Culshaw, so I doubt she has brainwashed me. Christine's test results in every direction have been documented. You can see the documents with the results printed right on the in more than one film.

    The AIDS establishment cannot explain why some people test positive and then negative in the future. Did these people sero-revert? If that's the case, than HIV "infection" is curable. Did they instead have a false-positive to begin with or a false-negative in the follow-up? If that's the case, then the tests are unreliable an should not be used to ruin people's lives. Either way, you lose.

    Also, your comments about the LA coroner claiming Eliza Jane died of AIDS have been refuted and he would have been sued in court if Christine had not just suddenly died (a court date was set).

    Why do you throw someone in the category of "alien abductions or big green monsters" because they have serious, intellectual doubts about the information being fed them? Do we live in a free country or are we required to swallow everything the pharmaceutical industry feeds us? It's obvious where your money comes from.

  13. It's also interesting to note your technique of belittling people, using something they had done in their past, instead of arguing against something they are saying in the present. Dr. Henry Bauer has an extensive blog full of intellectual challenges that you are completely ignoring by referring to him as a "Loch Ness Monster expert." Is it because you cannot hold your own in a debate with him on the substance of his claims?

  14. Clever Kid
    You are right,my attitude sucked. I am sorry for being rude. I should be more patient. A couple years of back and forth with AIDS denialists has started to get to me.

    Let me respond to your comments.

    What you say about HIV tests sounds just like Culshaw. But I jumped the gun. She really had nothing new to say. The Perth People, Rasnick, Brink, Rath, Bialy, Duesberg, Bauer, and all the rest of the denialists say the same thing over and over. That is in fact why it sounds like brain washing.

    I am not aware of documents regarding Maggiore’s HIV testing and I frankly don’t care. There is no sense in debating Christine Maggiore. Enough.

    Have you ever known anyone personally (real name, not online) who received a Western Blot confirmed HIV positive test result and later tested HIV negative using a legitimate test? I am not saying it has never happened. But it is so rare it is unheard of. I had never heard of it until I read Rethinking AIDS. I have been working exclusively on HIV/AIDS since 1989. I have known hundreds if not thousands of people with HIV infection. Most every one of them retested because they felt they had to be sure. I have enrolled over 4000 HIV+ participants in my research studies. Never a single case of positive back to negative. Babies born to HIV positive mothers are a different story. And people may test negative and then positive very soon after. People may test positive on the initial sensitive screening or ELISA (that is ELISA, not ELIZA) test and then test‘non-conclusive’ on Western Blot. These people are usually seroncoverting and test positive later.

    False negative tests are rare and false positive tests are extremely rare. Are these people traumatized by their experience. I am sure. Just like with any medical test. Does that mean people should not get tested for HIV or any other medical condition? You would have to be crazy to think that. Actually I read that advise somewhere. Someone online from Alberta I think. Hmmm?

    No Kid, you lose when you are HIV positive and remain oblivious to it. When you infect others because you think HIV is harmless.

    About aliens. I may have again assumed too much. Did you know that Mullis, winner of a Nobel Prize and friend to Duesberg claims to have been abducted by aliens? A glowing raccoon I believe. And Henry Bauer claims to have proven that HIV cannot cause AIDS. He worked on f(HIV) between trips to Loch Ness. He is also a leading pseudo-scientist in the Society for Scientific Exploration. Yep, UFOs, Aura’s the whole bit. He is also a self disclosed recovering homophobe. His book contorts the most basic principles in epidemiology beyond repair.

    Finally, I have never taken Big Pharma money for my research. I can tell you that when I am diagnosed with cancer I will want an oncologist or two to tell me what to do. I will take chemotherapy over a coffee enema any day.

    There is nothing wrong with having intellectual doubts and questioning things. But when you ask the same questions over and over and refuse to believe the science and medicine, that is denialism.

  15. Well, I am new to all this, so I was unaware you have been debating the same points for years. I can imagine that it would be annoying.

    But I still don't agree. Modern science is too mechanistic in its approach to health and the human body. Doctors today get an idea in their heads and run with it and plug their ears if you try to ask important questions. Finally after forty years of nonsense about how cholesterol clogs arteries (therefore we need to "lower" our cholesterol) some doctors are finally waking up and trying to find the real reason the cholesterol was STICKING to the arteries in the first place. So it has been proven that even when the evidence SEEMS impossible to refute (there is cholesterol clogging an artery, therefore cholesterol is bad) there is ALWAYS another way to look at a health issue. And keep in mind, cholesterol can actually be seen. HIV is always deduced from some complicated genetic footprint and we are always supposed to just take the scientist's word for it. No thanks.

  16. Kid, I do not fundamentally disagree with most of what you are saying.

    But when you launch into the denialist wacky stuff about HIV not existing and being deduced from a genetic footprint, that is when you lose me.

    I won’t make the same mistake I made before by saying you sound like Deharven. If you are a kid you surely are not experiencing senility. So where do you get this stuff? Why do you believe the Perth People, not a scientist among them? I understand the anger at Big Pharma. I really do. And I know plenty of doctors who have f#&ked up royally. But that does not explain seeking out pseudoscience? Where does that come from?

  17. onecleverkid

    Regarding your comment on Henry Bauer.

    The point is Bauer has no credibility. No one has ever taken him seriously in his career. Check out this review of his 1984 book Beyond Velikovsky: The History of a Public Controversy,where Bobby Matherne wrote:

    “Bauer completely ignores the intuitive nature of Velikovsky's works, treating them as defective scientific endeavors, and then dismissing them as crackpot gamesmanship by Velikovsky. And now, for something completely different, Bauer, for his next book, runs off to Scotland to investigate the people who are studying the Loch Ness Monster. Think I'll read my old Submariner comic books instead."

    Ask his colleagues at Virgina Tech.

    Check out his years with Scientific Exploration.

    He has no training in HIV/AIDS, no training in epidemiology, and no background in public health. His blog is filled with twists and turns and convoluted nonsense.

    I use several examples of his strange thinking and point out the most basic problems in Denying AIDS.

    If you want to see someone who has taken on Bauer as a hobby visit the blog Reckless Endangerment. The link is to the right under Henry, I mean Nessie, I mean the alien…

  18. Let's stick to the words being written and not hurl petty insults. The fact is, you are looking for "footprints" of a sort with the HIV tests, since they do not look for the virus itself. That's not me exhibiting senility or conspiratorial notions or wearing a tinfoil hat. I am stating a pretty simple fact. You also skipped right over everything I said about cholesterol. Are you able to have your views shaken, even if someone were to present the perfect argument? Or are you going to stay the course, no matter what?

    I don't care if Henry Bauer or Mullis believe in glowing raccoons and monsters. What I care about is if they say something intelligent. Bauer shows charts and graphs and made an argument, based on observation, that HIV's spread does not follow the pathway of an infectious disease. Whether he goes home to a mothership to sleep every night will not change the fact that his observation is interesting.

  19. Kid, what really depresses me is the number of seemingly intelligent people who are impressed with the mere fact that Henry Bauer puts charts and graphs in his work, irrespective of the fact that they are utter nonsense when you actually look at them.

    Are people that intimidated by charts and graphs that they don't bother to check if they make any sense or if they support the claims being made?

    Do you know enough about the "pathways of an infectious disease" to assess whether Henry's claim holds up? Or do you accept it because it sounds good, irrespective of the fact that Henry has never studied the basics of epidemiology (or any other scientific field relevant to HIV and AIDS) - and it shows.

    Henry Bauer's work is a triumph of form over content. I still hold a small secret hope that one day he will announce that it was all a hoax designed to demonstrate how easy it is to get people to agree to arrant nonsense if you write well and insert a few impressive looking graphs and tables.

    But this hope is fading...

  20. I will say it here too. Michael, I am waiting for a single reason to give Henry Bauer any credibility for anything he says about anything? Nessies, aliens, auras or AIDS? One thing? A student he mentored into a science career? A paper published in a legitimate scientific journal, a colleague with a respected reputation who will vouch for him? Anything?