Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy

Seeking Stories of AIDS Denialism

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In denial: The McGill Daily’s Stephanie Law exposes the dangers of ignoring the causal link between HIV and AIDS

Published in the McGill Daily
By Stephanie Law
Published: Nov 16, 2009

Christina Maggiore died of an AIDS-related illness on December 27, 2008. She was a successful businesswoman who started a multimillion-dollar import/export clothing company, and a freelance consultant for U.S. government export programs. Maggiore is most notorious for her role as an HIV-positive activist who promoted the idea that HIV is not the real cause of AIDS. She was an HIV-denialist.

Maggiore was diagnosed with HIV in 1992. In 1994, she met Peter Duesberg, a molecular biology professor at the University of California at Berkley. Duesberg convinced Maggiore that HIV does not lead to AIDS. A year later, Maggiore started one of the largest networks of HIV-denialists and skeptics, called Alive & Well AIDS Alternatives.

Maggiore refused antiretroviral treatment for HIV because she did not think HIV would lead to AIDS and AIDS-related illnesses. She did not take the recommended treatment for pregnant HIV-positive women to prevent mother-to-child transmission. Her child died at the age of three from Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia. The Los Angeles County coroner and various other independent pathology experts concluded that the death was a direct result of her untreated HIV that had progressed into AIDS.

When asked about Maggiore, Mark Wainberg, director of the McGill University AIDS Centre, becomes enraged: “Christina Maggiore and her daughter died because they didn’t get treated…. Their story is tragic, but the reality is, Christina Maggiore was so misguided in believing this concoction of bullshit, that it cost not only her life, which is her business, but also the life of her three-year-old kid, and that is everybody’s business.”

Maggiore and her daughter’s deaths are only two of many that result from denying the causal link between HIV and AIDS.

There is overwhelming scientific consensus that HIV, human immunodefiency virus, attacks the body’s immune system and leaves it vulnerable to opportunistic infections like tuberculosis, pneumonias, and the common cold. Left untreated, the immune system becomes severely compromised (often eight to 12 years after first exposure to the virus). When the CD4+ cells – those involved in a normal immune response – drop below 200 per µL of blood, or when there are AIDS-related diseases present (chronic dementia and certain cancers for example), the condition is known as Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

T his past June, an article titled “The X Factor” by Bruce Livesey appeared as the cover story in Maisonneuve, a well-established Montreal-based magazine. It profiled a 61-year-old Torontonian named John Scythes, and his arguments for why HIV might not be the only cause of AIDS.

Most people working in HIV and AIDS research and with HIV-affected communities have heard it all before. In fact, everything published in the article has already been said elsewhere, usually in less mainstream media, and each pseudo-scientific argument is easily deconstructed.

According to Jason Szabo, a medical doctor and historian involved in HIV care and clinical research at the Montreal General Hospital, the most concrete evidence that HIV is the sole cause of AIDS came in the nineties when an effective HIV treatment, using protease inhibitors (drugs that inhibit viral replication), became available and dramatically reduced AIDS-related deaths. As an example, Szabo cites a 1998 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which has been referenced over 4,000 times.

“It demonstrates the indisputable link between the introduction of protease inhibitors in late 1994 and the inverse correlation with death,” Szabo said.

Ken Monteith, director of the Quebec Coalition against AIDS (COCQ-SIDA), witnessed firsthand the effectiveness of these treatments both as a person living with HIV and through his roles in both COCQ-SIDA and the AIDS Community Care Montreal (ACCM).

“I don’t understand closing your eyes to that proof. It must be that people have not seen anyone come back from the brink of death due to treatment for HIV and not due to treatment for something else,” Monteith said. “Now tell me that HIV has nothing to do with the illnesses that they had before?”

Szabo also pointed to South Africa’s denialism disaster wherein former president Thabo Mbeki and his minister of health, Mantombazana Tshabalala-Msimang urged citizens to eat garlic rather than provide them with antiretroviral treatment. According to numerous studies, including one recently published by the Harvard School of Public Health, the Mbeki administration’s neglectful policies led to over 300,000 needless adult deaths due to AIDS and 30,000 infant HIV infections.

Scythes uses pseudo-scientific arguments to confuse readers. For example, he points to the excess of money and effort dedicated to HIV research and the failure of the scientific community thus far to find a cure for AIDS or a vaccine for HIV. In the article, Scythes is quoted saying, “If HIV were panning out the way you and I think it should, these vaccines should be working a little bit.”

Szabo explained, however, that HIV is an extremely versatile and fast-mutating virus.

“Within a population or a given individual, the virus is characterized by a stunning degree of diversity,” Szabo said. “And so it’s been proven to be, despite incredible investment of time, money, effort, and will, incredibly difficult to develop a vaccine – not because HIV isn’t the cause of AIDS, just that some problems are incredibly complicated.”

Another argument brought forward in the article was that some people infected with HIV can live very long and healthy lives, and do not develop AIDS. Ironically, HIV-positive basketball star Magic Johnson, who is currently following a strict antiretroviral regimen and has also advertised GlaxoSmithKline’s HIV medications, was cited in the article as an example of such a healthy individual. Nonetheless, it is true that some people with HIV do live long and healthy lives without treatment. Szabo explained how this could be.

“Some people’s immune function deteriorates very quickly and they die quickly, some average eight to 12 years, and at the other extreme, there are those…who [do] not progress clinically long-term. We are not designed [as a] species to all succumb to the same biopathogen,” Szabo said.

The article in Maisonneuve focused on whether syphilis could be another cause of AIDS. Scythes cited evidence that syphilis was very similar to AIDS, especially in the later stages of the infection. He found that those with untreated syphilis often died from illnesses similar to those who die from AIDS, like various pneumonias, tuberculosis, and cancers. He also explained how some research has shown that syphilis infections are often missed and left undiagnosed. He wonders if syphilis is in fact present in more AIDS cases than is known, and if it can it be a cause of AIDS.

Szabo highlighted the non-logic of this argument: syphilis rates are currently rising, yet AIDS death rates are falling.

“Over the last 10 years, even though the death rates for AIDS have remained well below levels seen in the late eighties and early nineties in North America, the rates of other diseases like syphilis have gone up considerably. To say that there’s absolutely no evidence on one side, and overwhelming evidence on the other side is an understatement,” Szabo said.

Szabo also stressed that one must make the distinction between a virus leading to AIDS and a cofactor. He warned that although it is accepted that HIV is the only cause of AIDS, the presence of cofactors, like syphilis or other sexually transmitted infections, not only increases the likelihood of transmission of HIV (due to irritated mucosal membranes) but also has an effect on disease progression.

Many researchers and members of the HIV community-based organizations are fed up with the persistent and incessant sensationalism over whether HIV is the only cause of AIDS.

Wainberg notes that some HIV-denialists may have unethical and misguided motives.

“HIV causes AIDS. There is nothing to discuss…. One side has scientific credibility and the other side is completely full of shit,” Wainberg said. “These people, some of them are neo-Nazis. I mean that seriously…. Some of them want people to die because they’re black, or they’re gay, or they’re disadvantaged. Some of these people are motivated by the worst considerations that you can imagine.”

Monteith cited his experiences at ACCM wherein an HIV-denialist persistently contacted the organization to refute the causal link between HIV and AIDS.

“Community organizations [like ours] don’t treat people, but our staff and resources help build networks and make it possible for [people living with HIV to] rebuild social circles and societal lives,” Monteith said. “When those resources are being preoccupied with having to respond to things that are not proven, [resources are wasted].”

On a more fundamental note, one has to question whether it is at all useful or meaningful to publish an article that has the potential to mislead so many people. To be sure, Maisonneuve’s article attracted attention and may have earned them a few more advertising dollars, but what was achieved in giving a legitimate forum to an argument that has repeatedly been scientifically deconstructed?

For one thing, it misleads the general public into thinking this is a serious debate. In fact, when the idea of an anti-HIV-denialism piece was pitched to The Daily Features editor, Whitney Mallett immediately quoted the Maisonneuve article saying that she had been swayed to believe there may be other causes for AIDS.

It is undeniably difficult for readers to differentiate pseudo-science from legitimate scientific debate, and for editors without science backgrounds to represent this issue accurately. While the Maisonneuve article arguably presents “both sides,” it leaves readers with the overwhelming impression that further research into alternative causes of AIDS is warranted. The subtext, of course, is that if HIV is not the sole cause of AIDS, perhaps collusion exists between Big Pharma and greedy scientists and that treatment may be unnecessary. True, Scythes does not deny that HIV is one of the causes of AIDS, but nowhere in the article is he quoted saying that HIV-positive individuals should continue to take treatment.

What responsibility does a publication have to represent accurately a subject that could cost lives both through the diversion of money into unnecessary research and through refusal of treatment? In particular, to what extent did Maisonneuve represent the rigorous process of peer review that the science of HIV has been subjected to, and what amount of space was dedicated to propping up Scythes “scientific credentials?” (According to the article, he is on a first-name basis with “leading disease researchers” and has travelled extensively to present papers.)

André Picard, the Globe and Mail’s public health reporter, said that while journalists often have to try to present varying opinions, it is also important to figure out how much attention a debate should be given.

“We have to try to report responsibly, and the reality is that there are going to be varying opinions. [The article] took a certain approach that gave this [debate] more attention than I would have given it…. A lot of [these tough questions are] scientifically appropriate…but it’s not always useful to have it in the public forum…. It probably misleads people more than it informs them,” Picard said.

Carmine Starnino, editor-in-chief of Maisonneuve, defended the decision to publish the article.

“We shouldn’t shy away from educating the readers on a subgroup that exists. Their existence might be inconvenient and a lot of what they have to say might be crazy, but it shouldn’t stop us from publishing a well-written piece just because we might upset some of the public or our readers,” Starnino said. “[We’re] doing what I think magazines should be doing – not shying away from topics that may get us into trouble.”

“Trouble” seems like the inappropriate word to use for an article that could cost people their lives. If someone chooses to deny that HIV is the sole cause of AIDS and chooses not to take treatment, they have made a personal choice. But spending energy to convince others to follow can have harmful – even lethal – effects.

Wainberg is more direct: “One [side] is absolutely correct; that is my side. The other side is unfortunately completely misguided and ill-informed. One can rightly argue that their side is responsible for the additional deaths of at least hundreds of thousands of people.”


  1. The origins of the Maisonneuve article in the Public Relations department of "Rethinking AIDS" are obvious even before you note the promotion on the RA page appearing on its day of publication (22nd June 2009) and the prompt appearance of then RA Public Relations Chairperson Betsy Eli on the comments thread to hose down any criticism. The article rehashes the standard RA talking points, focusing on the contrast between the saintly Duesberg (painted as a cross between Galileo and Mother Theresa) and "vulpine, ethically blinkered glory-hound" Robert Gallo. *rolls eyes*

    The author, Bruce Livesey, has previously done some reasonable journalism about cults in the past. Unfortunately he has completely trashed his own reputation with this piece. As anyone familiar with the tactics of RA will realise, he checked his brains in at the door in uncritically reporting the bullshit he was fed by this particular cult.

    AIDS denialists have long ago given up any pretense of subjecting their idiot claims to informed scientific scrutiny, preferring to target the media and the general public, as per RA board member Henry Bauer's transparent elaboration of their strategy:

    "At any rate, AIDStruthers [ie the scientific mainstream] are not the audience to be courted. Their arguments must be countered with answers directed to the media and the general public in terms that are understandable by and clearly convincing for unengaged observers. That means the points cannot be too technical."

    Mind you, comments like Wainberg's do not help. He fails to grasp the fundamentally political nature of the HIV/AIDS denialist boondoggle.

    Claiming infallibilty for medical science is not going to work when the basic dynamic of denialism consists of two different groups of cranks (the Duesbergians and the Perthians) competing to exploit the sometimes understandable alienation of HIV positive people as they struggle to cope with stigma and a sometimes incomprehensible monolithic medical establishment.

  2. Snout
    The split camps in AIDS Denialism are interesting and once again remind us of Holocaust Deniers…

    Some Holocaust Deniers claim that the entire Nazi enterprise, especially the existence of concentration camps, never existed except in post-war propaganda (akin to the Perthians) versus those who do not dispute the history of the Nazi’s but claim that concentration camps never were used to systematically exterminate people (akin to Rethinking AIDS).

    The two views are not so much ends on a continuum as they are forms of the same psychopathology. One refutes all reality and the other distorts reality to fit a delusional system. It is common in mental illness to see these different forms of a single underlying psychoathology; catatonic and paranoid schizophrenia, phobias and generalized anxiety disorders, are just a couple examples.

    So I m not sure I would agree that the camps are as much political as they are pathological.

    The money in denialism is more obviously political. RA has serious financial backers. A weird blend of libertarianism (the comedians and pornographers), homophobes (both typical and internalized), and anti-establishment left as well as right wingers.

    Another interesting dimension is that not only are people with HIV, and those at risk for HIV, exploited by RA and Perthians, so too are the pathetic angry academics who join the cult to fulfill their ego needs at the end of sad and failed career. They get what they crave and give the movement its illusion of credibility.

    Finally, when it comes to Mark Wainberg, he is obviously at the end of his rope. He sees the damage and destruction that AIDS Deniers cause and has realized there is no reasoning with them. Wainberg seems to understand that you cannot argue with a sick mind and feels that social control is necessary. His perspective is understandable when you consider the criminal behavior of AIDS Deniers. From my own view, I take a different stand. I think they are guilty by reason of insanity and should be confined to institutions that ban their access to the Internet.

  3. I think Wainberg quite nicely sums up the beliefs of the Denialists when it called it a "concoction of bull~shit"!
    Succinct poetry!

  4. Seth, I think it’s important to distinguish between the psychopathology of the denialist leadership (which usually shows up as malignant narcissism sometimes bordering on frank paranoia) and the mechanisms at play in denialism as a movement. I think blogger “Caj” on The Daily Kos nailed it a few months ago:

    “A denial movement is not quite the same thing as a conspiracy theory, although there is significant overlap. They often imply one another: if you attempt to deny something well established, you need a conspiracy theory to explain it. But here is the crucial difference: a conspiracy theory is a belief system. A denial movement is an ideological effort to push an idea on the populace. It's not something you believe, but something you spread.”

    The Perthians vs RA split is interesting because it exposes not only the intellectual vacuousness of both positions but also the essential narcissism of HIV/AIDS denialism’s leaders. (The Clark Baker / Semmelweiss fiasco was another great example of this). But more importantly, it reveals the fundamentally political rather than scientific nature of their project. Defeating denialism or at least mitigating its impact involves far more than simply understanding the psychopathology of its leaders but also how they operate in practice.

    Both the Perthians and the RA mob garner their support by exploiting the alienation experienced by people with HIV and people at risk. That alienation is real, and has many roots: stigma, fear of a life-threatening disease, disappointment with a medical and scientific establishment that sometimes fails to communicate comprehensibly or deliver on its promises.

    While I can understand Wainberg’s frustration and anger at the denialist leadership’s activities which I consider frankly abusive, his words “One [side] is absolutely correct; that is my side. The other side is unfortunately completely misguided and ill-informed” could be heard by some as a denial of the very real alienation sometimes experienced by people with HIV/AIDS - for a whole variety of reasons, many of them legitimate. I think it’s important to make that distinction.

  5. Snout
    I agree. When I read that line from Mark Wainberg I just shook my head. I do not agree that there are 2 sides at all. No debate. No sides. I also agree that those who buy into denialism are meeting a need. Their vulnerability and how it feeds beliefs is important. Our research group has just started looking at false hope and unrealistic optimism in coping with HIV. The line between these normal protective beliefs and denialism is not always obvious.

    I also try very hard to make the distinction between the psychos and vulnerable. Not always clear you know... Maggiore is the classic. So too is her replacement Stokely. Still I do see them quite differently than the psychos, vitamin pushers, and pseudoscientists. I bet we fully agree on who the bad guys are.

  6. Uh, folks,

    Christine Maggiore's been in the ground for a year. Get over her. The obsession with her actually makes you less sympathetic.

    Frankly, although I think her ideas were nuts, I have to admire her commitment. If she had come to after her daughter's death, the opponents of AIDS denial would have welcomed her with open arms as a penitent sinner. She stuck to her beliefs, even at the price of her own life. That should attract a grudging admiration.

  7. No, Existentialist, not grudging admiration.

    Sympathy for the horrible trap she was in - yes.

    Deep anger at the sociopaths of the HIV/AIDS denialist leadership who put her there - definitely.

    Determination that they are held to account for their callous and narcissistic stupidity, and that they get as few opportunities as possible to exploit other individuals in this way - you bethcha.

    The problem with Christine is that she was not a once-off. She was simply a recent high profile example of a continuing pattern of exploitation of HIV positive individuals the denialist cognoscenti have used and abused for their own idiot self-promotion. They will simply move on to the next victim and continue on as if nothing has happened if allowed to.

    This has to stop.

  8. Who's obsessing?

    I also find nothing admirable in the inability to admit to being wrong.

    There is nothing admirable about a man sticking to his beliefs in alternative medicine and then letting his infected foot rot into a stinking mess and finally dying.

    There is nothing at all admirable about a homeopath stick to his pseudoscientific beliefs and watching his own daughter die from a treatable illness.

    And there is nothing admirable about a woman dying what must have been a slow and agonizing death in her own home because she was to cowardly to admit that she was wrong and take herself to a hospital with real doctors.

    These cases are incredibly tragic. I think most of the people here are trying to understand how and why this happens and how it can be avoided.

  9. Existentialist, AIDS Deniers would like for us to forget about Maggiore and how she died what must have been a horrific death from AIDS. Imagine untreated disseminated herpes, a life of denial shattered with every breath, unable to cry out for help, and desperately trying a string of failed magical cures. Her so called friends and supports would surely like to forget about these realities. They would like to pretend she still lives in the blogosphere. Maybe her death can do some good as her life certainly did harm.

    Still, what can we expect from denialists if not persistent denial? Maggiore is a sad case all around. AIDS Deniers can rationalize her suffering by saying that she lived her life her way. True. It is the untimely deaths of others that came with being Rasnick and Duesberg's poster girl and Leppo's backdrop for movies and mischief that is far more tragic than her own demise.

  10. Frankly, I still think she had more character than any of you. You, for example, Seth, took advantage of her death to promote your book on the blogs of her friends, even those who weren't denialists. (You probably thanked God for the timing.) I'm not even an AIDS denialist, and I find that sickening.

  11. I now firmly believe many of them are crazy with a capital K! Now we have Celia Farber claiming she has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and her "treatment" (in her own words) is to crawl inside a box and have light shone on her the frequency of 'pure love'!! Not only is that incredibly stupid but who defines that? And, not to be petty, Celia, but light is measured in wavelength, not frequency!

  12. J Todd:
    Wavelength and frequency are related by speed of travel of the waves. So light and other electromagnetic radiation can be expressed either as a frequency or a wavelength. Likewise for sound, although it travels at different rates in different media, water vs air for examples.

    Dr. Leonard Horowitz claims that 528 Hz is the frequency of pure love. Do a GOOGLE search or similar on [Horowitz love 528] and you can read all about it. Ironically, as far as treating Celia is concerned, Dr. Horowitz is not exactly a friend of Dr. Duesberg.

  13. Your blog now seems to be a target for concern trolling:

    Maggiore, like many other denialists, took advantage of her health to promote her book, website and, more broadly, the cult of AIDS denial and the cult leaders like Duesberg. She set herself against other members of the women & AIDS coalition who needed to start treatment in an era when it was meagerly effective, in order to suggest their deaths were caused by treatment and not by the same virus that eventually killed her. With a CD4 count of 1040 in 1993, no doctor would have recommended treatment, as Maggiore herself said at the time. She characterized the advice she received from her doctor as: "wait 'til you get sick, and then we'll give you AZT." (This quote also contradicts another denialist myth, that asymptomatic people with HIV were routinely offered antiretroviral treatment).

    The quote is at the 5:51 mark.

    You can't claim someone's life proves something and then turn around and say discussion of their death is off limits.

  14. thanks for posting my article here, its nice to see people talking about this issue.

  15. Hi Stephanie
    I am glad you found us.
    It is a really nice article. Captures the problem. And thanks for commenting here.

  16. I guess Clark Baker wants us to be contrite about not wanting more people to die from horrible opportunistic infections like disseminated herpes, disseminated MAC and PML. And he thinks the only motivation anyone would have for not wanting more people to get these OIs is financial.

    In the entire 90 minutes of House of Numbers, the term "opportunistic infection" occurs once (said by Anthony Fauci).

  17. "career criminal investigator" = traffic cop/complaints desk jockey.

    He did win a court case though. On Judge Judy.

  18. Clark Baker is an incompetent buffoon. If he didn't exist, AIDS science would have to invent him, as he's so helpful to our cause with his racist, sexist and homophobic rants. He's such an inept "private investigator" that he failed to track down two of the defendants in Celia Farber's silly (and soon to be dismissed libel suit). He even resorted to posting a bounty on the internet for the "wanted men", and that failed miserably too. What an expert, what an investigator, what an asset, what a MAN!

    So now Baker is combining his "investigative talents" with his sub-high school medical and scientific knowledge to "prove" that Christine Maggiore did not die of AIDS. The world awaits this investigative masterpiece with bated breath, the shudder of anticipation palpable. But why draw the line at Maggiore, Clark? Why not investigate the theory that John F Kennedy was secretly poisoned with AZT, with the shooting in Dallas merely an attempt to destroy the evidence and divert attention elsewhere. And wasn't Martin Luther King actually killed with a lethal virus, HIV, created by white supremacists to take out black people? Again, the rifle bullet was merely a diversion. We look forward to your insightful reports on these cases, as the underlying premises are as plausible as the idea that Maggiore died of a colonic enema that went wrong, or whatever is the prevailing theory in AIDS denialism right now.

  19. I love it when AIDS Denialists say that I am obsessed with Maggiore's death....that I am grave dancing...and we should let her rest in peace.
    Check out what AIDS Denialist Clark Baker posted on the comments for Stephanie Law's article in McGill Daily....
    Clark Baker wrote:
    As Christine's private investigator, I worked closely with her until she
    died. A soon-to-be-released forensic report will scientifically prove that
    Maggiore's death was clearly not AIDS-related.

    Like her daughter, Maggiore's death is vital to the pharmaceutical industry's ongoing marketing effort to promote the mythology that HIV is
    something more than a political disease. It is now clear that corrupt officials from within the LA County Department of Health have pressured
    officials into making false claims that Maggiore and her daughter died of HIV so that pharmaceutical marketers could induce useful media idiots to perpetuate the myth on their behalf.

    If HIV was real as breast cancer, heart disease and diabetes, propagandists would not need to exploit, celebrate and promote non-AIDS-related deaths like Maggiore's as AIDS-related. The fact that this myth is so routinely promoted raises a red flag for career criminal investigators like me. If their SCIENTIFIC arguments are sound, why must they issue POLITICAL attacks like this one to defend it.

    Like HERESY, DENIALIST and DENIALISM are common epithets designed specifically to attack those who ask questions. Like Galileo and Ignaz
    Semmelweis, Maggiore was attacked for raising SCIENTIFIC questions about profitable POLITICAL myths.

    Clark Baker LAPD (retired)
    Nov 16, 2009 at 12:42 PM

    >>>> Hey Clark, take off your dancing shoes and give those fired flat feet a rest.

  20. I can not wait to see this forensic report (written by) Baker! Come on, you know he will have written it! You know how Baker loves to pretend to be things he is not. Like an attorney. A scientist. A human~being!
    I also love how Baker says that "heresy, denialist and denialism are commone epithets designed to attack..." and yet he consistently calls Moore et al "pharma sluts". Baker recently called me retarded and an apartheid sympathizer! These "lovely denialists" (is that better, Baker?) are such arrogant, hypocrites!

  21. I just visited McGill Daily and it looks like Baker's self aggrandizing comments are gone!
    Just for the record, I am not responsible for these comments being taken down. However, I AM responsible for Baker's comments being taken down elsewhere! Well, it seems that Baker either can never stick to the topic OR he likes to make baseless attacks on me, and we can't have that! Baker should see that his comments being taken down from all these public sites and realize that just because he insulates himself with people who do not question his lack of morals, integrity and intellect, only shows exactly that. That Baker is only surrounding himself with people who do not question him, probably because they are too afraid of his bullying retaliation tactics! However, when actual grown adults read his drivel, they simply brush it off and attribute those words to the caliber of person he proves himself to be time and again. His own words discredit him. No one else.

  22. Yeah, JTD, Baker's defamatory rants were also removed from the Spectator website, no doubt because the magazine realized they were untrue and libelous. Under British law, defamatory comments that obviously untrue could cause the magazine to lose a LOT of money in a court case.

    And let's not forget what else Baker does. He attacks the hard drives of people he doesn't like, destroying them with a computer virus. He makes threatening phone calls and sends lie-filled emails to the employers of people he doesn't like, trying to get them fired. He uses spyware and tracking software to try to gather information on people he doesn't like. He defames, abuses and libels people he doesn't like. He makes homophobic and sexist comments all over the internet, about minority groups he doesn't like, degrading himself in the process and shaming all those who associate with him.

    But hey, let's not forget his TRIUMPH!!! The court case he helped win on Judge Judy! What a MAN! Will we see him next on Dancing with the Stars, dressed up in a lovely, frilly party frock?

    This post is "Anonymous' because I'm not stupid. Baker is an ex-Marine, an ex-Cop and a man who boasts on the internet about his gun collection. I have a family. You think I want this lunatic coming round to see them the next time he goes postal? Oh, but I forgot, he was too incompetent to track down the Farber suit defendants, so he probably couldn't find me even if I added my address and social security number to my name......

  23. So interesting bit of news here that came out just recently. it isn't entirely HIV related but a resistance gene has been found against CJD, the human version of Mad Cow disease. The selection in this population of highly exposed people has resulted in a high frequency of a resistance gene which has resulted in people which would be the equivalent of HIV's Long Term Nonprogressors. Of course this may lead to the formation of CJD denialist groups using these people as examples of why CJD is just a myth ect...and why it isn't harmful (maybe these tribes have magical veggies that cure them?). Overall though, it illustrates how certain people have genetic backgrounds that protect them against certain diseases, be it CJD, HIV, the black plahue or whatnot.

  24. Poodles writes:

    Of course this may lead to the formation of CJD denialist groups using these people as examples of why CJD is just a myth

    This is a classic demonstration of why you are a moron.

    According to the CDC, a whopping total of 94 people have died from CJD over a 5 year span in the US.

    It's not a question of denying CJD, it's a question of clinical irrelevancy.

    Nobody cares about CJD, except Dr. Creutzfeld and Dr. Jacob -- and a few goofballs on the internet, like yourself.

  25. If Clark Baker ate some bad beef and acquired Mad Cow disease, an interesting question is whether anyone would be able to tell..... Oh, but I forget, it's a disease that only affects the brain, so Clark's already naturally resistant - the dear man's complement of neurons and axons lies somewhere between those of a daffodil and a slime mould. It explains why he's the RA group's ultimate Long Term Nonprogressor.

  26. I should correct myself. In the first post on this topic it should have stated "a resistance gene has been found against Kuru" not against CJD. Kuru is a CJD-like disease which had a very high death rate in the affected tribes. And Bill, I would think that if you came down with it you would probably care. Of course since you appear to fall into that small group of people who would be naturally immune due to the lack of an infectable organ, I may be wrong about that, too.

    I say this because you have clearly missed the point. The point is not that Bill, scientist extraordinaire and knower of all, is interested in the topic. The point is that whether Kuru, CJD, HIV, the Black Plague, rabies or any other disease, there will emerge people who have a genetic resistance to it. Holding out those people as the rule rather than the exception would be stupid. That was the point. Take a moment to consider it.

  27. Poodlestomper is correct, and "Bill" certainly did miss the point. Humans, and probably all mammals, although it's rare for non-humans are studied in cohorts, differ widely in their susceptibilities to many pathogens. Natural resistance to HIV-1 infection is being intensively studied. Homozygosity for the defective CCR5 delta-32 allele is the biggest single HIV resistance factor identified to date, and will probably remain so when the dust settles on the genetics. But other genetic (and perhaps other) factors surely exist, many of them probably clustered within the MHC genes.

    The topic is less well studied for other pathogens, but the Kuru-resistance factor highlighted by Stomper is a good example of a single gene with a significant effect.

    Stomper mentions the Black Death. There are mice strains naturally resistant to Yersinia Pestis, and there is ongoing research along the same lines using human cell systems. The same is probably true of most of the more interesting pathogens around.

    So, as usual, Stomper is right.

  28. CJD and kuru are both inventions by a sleazebag Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Carlton Gadjusek, a convicted pedophile, who went native with the cannibals of New Guinea in the 1970s.

    As for science, he argued the silly "slow virus" theory, a preposterous idea, which basicaly wrecked virology, because it lead a generation of virologists on unproductive snipe hunts, chasing viruses that didn't exist (Gallo's HLV-23) or caused no disease (HTLV-2).

    The problem with nitwits like "Poodle Stomper" is that he can't analyze the big picture.

    From 1900 to 1996, mortality from ALL INFECTIOUS DISEASE in America (that would viruses) decreased from 797 deaths/100,000 to 59/100,000.

    That's a 95% drop.

    In America, due to excellent public health services, anti-biotics, general wealth, general good hygiene, excellent nutrition and vaccines, most infectious diseases have been rendered CLINICALLY IRRELEVANT. This includes AIDS.

    Have a nice day!

  29. Thanks Bill
    Your visits from LaLa Land keep me going. You are right. The Rethinking AIDS crowd has become much more than just AIDS Denialism. You guys have morphed into a whole new Aneuploidy species. Infectious diseases are now clinically irrelevant? Really? That is about the dumbest thing I have heard since Henry Bauer's claim that Black people test HIV positive because of their Black immune systems.
    Crazy is as Crazy does.

  30. Hi Seth!

    As a premier scholar in the esteemed field of clinical psycho-babble, your aversion to concrete FACTS and simple statements of TRUTH is not unsurprising.

    But, I'll walk you thru the Armstrong paper again.

    In year 1900, about 797 people died in the U.S. from infectious disease per 100,000 people

    That was high.

    In year 1996, about 59 people died in the U.S. from infectious disease per 100,000 people.

    That is low.

    Do you see how that works? That's a 95% decline.

    Can you imagine if the homicide rate in Detroit dropped 95%?

    Can you imagine if the suicide rate dropped 95%?

    Same dynamic.

    The biggest killers in America are (1) heart disease, (2) cancer and (3) stoke. THESE ARE NOT INFECTIOUS DISEASES.

    Very simple, Sigmund Fraud.

    Please tell me you understand these simple, clear statements. Even an esoteric, abstract emotive professorial goof like you, should be able to understand cold, hard numbers. And, above all,......

    Have a nice day!

  31. November 21, 2009 9:49 PM: It's not a question of denying CJD, it's a question of clinical irrelevancy.

    November 22, 2009 11:23 PM: CJD and kuru are both inventions by a sleazebag Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Carlton Gadjusek, a convicted pedophile, who went native with the cannibals of New Guinea in the 1970s.

    No comment.

  32. Billy,
    You must truly enjoy making an ass of yourself! You cite the above article and say (and I quote) "From 1900 to 1996, mortality from ALL INFECTIOUS DISEASE in America (that would viruses) decreased from 797 deaths/100,000 to 59/100,000."

    Did you bother reading the article (or even the abstract? The study specifically states "Trends in age-specific infectious disease mortality were examined by using age-specific death rates for 9 common infectious causes of death." Nowhere does it say "INFECTIOUS DISEASE in America". In fact, it goes on to say (specifically about HIV):

    "Tuberculosis caused almost as many deaths as pneumonia and influenza early in the century, but tuberculosis mortality dropped off sharply after 1945. Infectious disease mortality increased in the 1980s and early 1990s in persons aged 25 years and older and was mainly due to the emergence of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in 25- to 64-year-olds and, to a lesser degree, to increases in pneumonia and influenza deaths among persons aged 65 years and older. "

    Guess you probably should have read more than the title, eh?

  33. It seems I copied and pasted one word too few. "Nowhere does it say "INFECTIOUS DISEASE in America" should have said "Nowhere does it say "ALL INFECTIOUS DISEASE in America".

  34. You gotta love Bill.

    AIDS Deniers, from Duesberg on down, rarely discuss the content of a study or full article. They talk about the abstract. That says a lot.

    So what if I agree with Bill, that infectious diseases have become clinically irrelevant. What should we conclude? Maybe the reduction has occurred mysteriously? Perhaps there has been some dramatic reduction in stress in American society over the past few decades?

    Of course, control of infectious diseases can have nothing to do with advances in anti-bacterial and and anti-viral medications. No way that could be true.

    Tell you what Bill, next time you notice some swelling and fever, give Dr. Duesberg a call. He can recommend someone for a good flushing of the anal toxins. Or better yet, call Dr. Rasnick. I hear his Matthias Rath discount is still available.

  35. Bill, you do your movement proud!
    You are just as much of an *EPIC FAIL* as any of 'em! I think they should have voted you into the Board of Directors at their RA Conference!

  36. I would have to disagree with you for once, Seth. I think that in this case, Bill didn't even bother to read the abstract. I would suspect that he maybe read the title and then partially skimmed the abstract for numbers. The kicker in all of this is his arrogant "But, I'll walk you thru the Armstrong paper again." I find it amazing that after all his previous misquoting of studies that he doesn't even think it would be a good idea to actually read this past one. I'm guessing he will either disappear for a while and then return with convenient memory loss of this incident or just change the topic. In any case I don't think he will be man enough to admit he was wrong.

    So tell me Bill, just how much do you enjoy making an ass of yourself?


  37. "he will either disappear for a while and then return with convenient memory loss of this incident or just change the topic."

    And that's why they call it Denial.

  38. Bill must have walked through the Armstrong paper with his eyes closed, his fingers in his ears and his brain switched off into complete denial mode.

    "In the United States, mortality due to infectious diseases increased 58% from 1980 to 1992,[7] a trend that was unforeseen."

    I think Bill is an example of the Dunning-Kruger effect. "But I wore the juice!"

  39. Great blog from Clark Baker:

    Useful Idiots: Like Dr. Kuritzkes, when PharmaSluts receive awards and recognition, the drug industry isn’t far behind. So when Seth Kalichman PhD received an “Outstanding Research Article Award” from the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care in 2006, their corporate sponsors included Abbott Laboratories, Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Ortho Biotech Products, L.P., Tibotec Therapeutic Clinical Affairs, Virco Lab, Inc.,
    Schering-Plough Corporation, Pfizer, Inc., GlaxoSmithKline, Solvay Pharmaceuticals and Tibotec.

    Like his South African cohorts at, Kalichman blogs to promote his unreadable books and justify his pharmaceutical grant funding. Although I tracked my email to him last June, I don’t expect a reply. PharmaSluts share the same natural aversion toward experienced criminal investigators as felons I've busted.

  40. Chris "Keno Kid" Noble,

    Boy, are you one dense computer geek.

    Look at the graph from 1900 - 1980 -- that's the major decline.

    Your tiny, wittle 59% increase is classic way to lie thru statistics. 59% of what? Mortality had already dropped from 797 deaths/100,000 to 36 deaths/100,000, then a slight uptick to 63 deaths/100,000.

    Try to be honest for once.

  41. Bill
    Thanks for bringing Clark's rant. For readers who do not know who Clark Baker is, visit JTD's blog
    You can learn how Clark was fired from the LAPD for brutality. Seems he is an internalized homophobe acting out his self-hatred as an AIDS Denier. Anyway, Clark is in some sort of Big Pharma conspiracy delusion. Funny how he brings up the article award as if it connected me to Big Pharma. Is that the best he can do?

    What about that pen I received from Phizer at the Mexico AIDS Conference? Baker reminds me of when AIDS Denier David Crowe told Joe Newton (not knowing I was Joe Newton) that I am corrupted by Big Pharma because my research partnered with an AIDS service provider that received charitable contributions from drug companies. Pretty sad really.

    Bill, I think your brain may be swelling again. Take 3 Megagrams of vitamin C and call Dr. Bauer in the morning.

  42. Bill,
    I seen you've chosen the "ignore being wrong" route. Tell me, can you be man enough to admit you made up your claim that the paper said "From 1900 to 1996, mortality from ALL INFECTIOUS DISEASE in America (that would viruses) decreased from 797 deaths/100,000 to 59/100,000"? can you be man enough to admit you were flat out wrong, that the paper specifically studied only 9 common pathogens? If you accept this paper as being reliable science, do you realize it also stated that there was an increase in TB due to AIDS? Will you simply pretend you didn't make up your "ALL INFECTIOUS DISEASE" claim and keep going on with your many mistakes? Yes? Then, as Seth stated, that is why it is called denialism.

  43. Seth,
    Baker and Bauer are just jealous of you. You have published six books, I believe, as well as over 200 peer reviewed articles! All of the reviews I have read of "Denying AIDS" have been spectacular. If you are such a "PharmaSlut" (God, Baker is about as classy as Ely), then why would you donate the immense royalties from "Denying AIDS" to buy HIV Meds for Africa?
    Seems pretty self~less to me. But I am a supposed Pharma Slut myself. Of course according to Baker I am also "retarded" and an "Apartheid Sympathizer"!

  44. Thanks JTD
    Of course the royalties from Denying AIDS will buy HIV meds in Africa, making my stock in the drug companies that much more profitable, not to mention the consulting I do for Big Pharma and the funds they pump into my research.

    I mean, if I owned stock in drug companies. And if I consulted with drug companies. That is if I ever did receive research funds from drug companies. All of which are not so.

    Baker is an idiot. The problem is not Baker/Bauer/Duesberg/Rasnick..the concern lies with those poor souls like Bill that buy their cart of crap.

    By the way, have you seen that new HIV infections have declined worldwide since the increased access to HIV meds? Good news, and very much welcomed.

  45. a slight uptick to 63 deaths/100,000.

    That slight uptick amounts to an extra 70,000 deaths per year in the US alone.


  46. Keno Boy,

    And the DECREASE from 797 deaths/100,000 to 36 deaths/100,000 amounts to how extra lives saved per year?

    Lying to others is one of your specialties, but now you're lying to yourself! Pathetic.

  47. Bill
    I've told you before I'm not the person who wrote that article involving Keno. I'm not exactly sure why you insist on continuing with what I gather is supposed to be an ad hominem smear. Before you accuse me of lying you should look at yourself first.

    Nobody is denying that the death toll from infectious diseases was much higher in 1900 than it is now. However, your argument that 70,000 deaths are not significant because many more died in the past is quite bizarre. How many mothers would have to die from puerperal fever before it became significant? How many children would have to die from polio? Setting the 18th century as your benchmark is plain stupid.

  48. Chris,
    You need to repeat things to Bill very, very often before they sink in. Eventually, in about 20 or so years he will realize what "I'm not the person who wrote that article involving Keno" means. Perhaps if he continues with the "Keno Kid" I will start addressing him as Brave Sir Robin (from Monty Python's Holy Grail) since brave Sir Robin would "bravely run away" from battles as Billy does from a topic rather than admitting when he is wrong.

    On a different note, does anyone other than I find it paradoxical that Billy would rant about the evils of Big Pharma and their HIV medications, making it seem like they practically invented AIDS to make a profit yet is perfectly willing to credit their vaccines and antibiotics for a decrease in other diseases?
    Here I half expected he would have gone completely anti-pharmaceutical and become an anti-vaxxer or deny the benefits of antibiotics just because some people do experience negative side effects from them. Perhaps even Bill's silliness has limits. Then again...

  49. Chris and Poodle Stomper...

    AIDS Denialism is a mental health problem. I am talking about those who become enmeshed in the false hope offered by believing HIV does not cause AIDS - or even questioning whether HIV causes AIDS [the psychos who propagate the myths are a different story]. These inconsistencies and self-contradictions we see are typical of delusions. Rules of logic cannot apply when reality is ignored.

    The saddest part of this is that we can never help pull them out. I do not know of a single case of AIDS Denialism where someone was talked down to reality. When people do get out it seems only failing health brings them about... often too late. Our best hope is to keep people from buying into the sack of crap.... the whole point of this blog and Denying AIDS.

    So none of the paradoxical thinking and inconsistencies in Bill's comments surprise me. They are to be expected.

  50. Ahh, the loser known as "Poodle Stomper" continues to peddle bold-faced lies --even on a Thanksgiving holiday.

    Lemme correct the record:

    1. can you be man enough to admit you were flat out wrong, that the paper specifically studied only 9 common pathogens?


    Page 62: Overall infectious disease mortality

    They analyzed 252 - 282 causes, and specifically identified them, including typhoid, measles, smallpox, scarlet fever, flu, plague, yellow fever and AIDS.

    2. On a different note, does anyone other than I find it paradoxical that Billy would rant about the evils of Big Pharma and their HIV medications, making it seem like they practically invented AIDS to make a profit ..

    Big Pharma didn't invent AIDS, Stupid. They exploited it to sell billions worth of worthless, toxic drugs based on a flawed paradigm. We cured polio with 2 vaccines; we failed to cure AIDS with 29 toxic drug regimens.

    3. yet is perfectly willing to credit their vaccines and antibiotics for a decrease in other diseases?

    God, you are dense! Of course, I credit Penecillin with curing many bacterial infections--who wouldn't? Of course, some vaccines have worked. Who disputes this?

    The main thrust of the 95% decline in mortality from infectious diseases in the US, however, has nothing to do with drugs or vaccines. It's general sanitation, nutrition and public health.

    3. Here I half expected he would have gone completely anti-pharmaceutical and become an anti-vaxxer or deny the benefits of antibiotics just because some people do experience negative side effects from them.

    Even HIV medications provide SOME benefit to SOME AIDS patients -- as a general anti-biotic or simple placebo. On the whole, though, the drugs are terrible for your liver, cause cancer in the long run and are certainly not specifically targeted to the elusive human retrovirus, discovered in Gallo's fraudulent lab.

    Gobble, gobble!

  51. Chris, Poodle Stomper, Snout...
    This is the last from Bill on this thread. It will just go on forever and clog my blog. So unless you have something to add this is it on the JAMA article... If any of you want the last word just comment.... Bill need not apply.

  52. Actually Seth I would like to say one final thing to those reading in regards to this topic (although Bill will obviously not understand this). The paper Bill cites not not, in fact show a steady decrease in "ALL INFECTIOUS DISEASES IN AMERICA". It looks a certain diseases (certainly not ALL) but more interesting is what the paper Bill cites (and thus apparently accepts as a valid paper) says about AIDS specifically.

    There is a dramatic increase in deaths due to AIDS in the early 1980s (see figure 3). The authors state explicitly:

    Trends in the 9-cause aggregate varied by age group (see FIGURE 3). The decline in the mortality rate in the first 8 decades of the century was seen in all age groups. The increase after 1981 was seen only in persons aged 25 years and older. In the 25- to 44-year-olds and 45- to 64-year-olds, the increase after 1981 was primarily due to deaths from AIDS, while in the oldest age group (65 years), the increase was primarily due to increased deaths from pneumonia and influenza."

    Figure 4 likewise shows that while syphilis had decreased dramatically, AIDS deaths increased. Apparently the "general sanitation, nutrition and public health" had no effect on AIDS (no big surprise).

    Finally, most telling in this paper that Bill accepts as valid science, is found in the conclusion:

    During the first 8 decades of the 20th century, the infectious disease mortality rate in the United States declined substantially, consistent with the concept of epidemiologic transition. Improvements in living conditions, sanitation, and medical care probably accounted for this trend. But over a 15-year period starting in 1981, this trend reversed, with infectious disease deaths consistently increasing from year to year for the first time since the federal government began tracking mortality statistics. Now, as the end of the century nears, infectious disease deaths may again be declining; a 7% drop was registered in 1996, largely because of a substantial decline in AIDS

    And therein lies the message of this story. Overall, infectious disease mortality decreased, mainly due to novel medical interventions, hygiene, ect... However, all of these were for naught on introduction of AIDS, at which point deaths once again spiked. Nutrition, antibiotics, hygiene, ect... did not resolve the problem. The spike in deaths continued until 1995ish with the introduction of HAARTs.

    So in conclusion, not ALL INFECTIOUS DISEASES (as Bill claimed) experienced a steady decline. AIDS deaths spiked for 15 years until the introduction of HAARTs. Until HAARTs, all the nutrition in the world didn't do squat to stop AIDS deaths. Neither sanitation. As for the placebo effect, one needs only look at the denialists who fooled themselves into thinking HIV is harmless and died of it anyway to see how much that helps.

  53. AIDS cases are also increasing here in the Philippines. So far there are more or less 5,000 cases since 1984.