Dec 1, 2006
I just watched this documentary about HIV and AIDS claiming that HIV is not in fact the cause of AIDS and we're being lied to by doctors and the government and AIDS researchers. Is this a new thing? I'm rather concerned because this kind of thing can really cause us to go backwards. What can you say about this kind of misinformation? http://opposingdigits.com/vlog/?p=64
Response from Dr. Frascino
No, this is not a new thing. AIDS denialists have been around since the start of the epidemic. I've addressed this topic many times in this forum. See below.
Already donated family question (AIDS DENIALISTS) Nov 11, 2006
This is not a safer sex hiv prevention question but need some help advising my mother. I am currently a senior away from home emails and phone calls are all I have to connect with my mother. We talk periodically and all we ever talk about is HIV and AIDS. This might be my fault but her anti-AIDS myths are driving me nuts. She says that some doctors have found that AIDS is not neccesarly caused by HIV. That really is ot news to me there are plently of other diseases out there that can cause your immune system to be comprimised and lead to AIDS at least that is my research? But, HIV is the the most common. What other disease primarily attacks the immune system? All she does is keep giving me all these absurb facts like some researchers have found that HIV is carried by everyone but has to be triggered? What? NO? What can I do to help her you think?
I did not even mention this I am a 23y/o HIV + male CD4's - 600 VL - undect... Thanks Dr. Bob
Get out there and vote on Nov. 7th WOOHOO for Democracy
Response from Dr. Frascino
Your mom desperately wants to believe that HIV does not cause AIDS, probably because she loves you so much that she'll do anything (or believe anything) to protect you from harm. Unfortunately her well-intentioned but clearly false beliefs are being bolstered by information from AIDS denialists. These theories have been definitively and repeatedly disproved. HIV causes AIDS. Period. I'd suggest you send her the PBS/Frontline documentary "The Age of AIDS." (You can purchase it on Amazon or perhaps Netflick it!) This PBS documentary discusses the social, political, economic and scientific factors that led to the rise and hindered the fall of the AIDS pandemic, looking back at its 25-year history. In addition you could pass on some of the information from the archives I'll repost below. If she still persists, next time you're home, take her with you to see an HIV/AIDS specialist physician. He/she should be able to dispel some of her AIDS myths and hopefully allow her to realize she is not helping you with her pseudo-science.
Good luck. (Just remember she means well, OK?)
Hiv denialists. CBC Aug 25, 2006
I have studied very carefully the claims of hiv denialists and their opponents. It is clear to me that the denialists are wrong. What puzzles me is that among the denialists one can find some very serious scientists. Really, what's going on? Another question. I understand that CBC cannot prove or disprove hiv infection. But, I believe, there is a fairly good chance CBC will show some abnormality during acute hiv infection. Is that right?
Response from Dr. Frascino
Even serious scientists can be seriously wrong, as in this case, for example. Read the archives for a thorough review of AIDS denialists and their repeatedly disproved cockeyed theories. I'll post a question from the archives below.
Question 2. Sorry, CBCs can neither suggest nor rule out HIV infection. For that you'll need an HIV test.
What you think about Peter Duesberg??Answer if you can, I know you are busy
Jul 19, 2006
Hi Doc? How are you?? I allways remenber you cause you help me about 2 years ago to pass trought.I Have been staying well and sometime I read again just to be inform. I tested negative and I behave well. I just read a few days ago some thing aboout some Doc Peter Duesberg I bet you have heard from him, HE SAYS THAT HIV DOES NOT CAUSE AIDS, I dont know how he can say that with all the information avaliable. What you think about him or his thinking?
Response from Dr. Frascino
Glad to hear you are behaving yourself.
Duesberg and his disproven theory is another QNTD (question that never dies). Check the archives! I'll repost one from the vaults! Nothing has changed on this topic.
Prove it. Mar 9, 2006
I assume you are familiar with Dr. Peter Duesbergs research. He provides strong evidence that HIV has absolutley nothing to do with AIDS. Not to mention that AIDS is just a new name for 25 old diseases with an HIV+ test...which could mean the virus is long gone and antibodies are present. He also shows evidence that it is nearly impossible to spread HIV sexually. He has documented cases of HIV infected people remaining healthy after 10 years of no treatment. He also documents the almost 5,000 HIV- AIDS patients. Do you think it is safe to provide treatments such as AZT etc to HIV+ patients when the HIV/AIDS hypothesis has still not been proven after 20 years?
Response from Dr. Frascino
You are correct: I am well aware of Peter Duesberg, but that's the only thing correct in your post.
Duesberg does not have "strong evidence," but rather half-baked theories that have been disproved over and over ad nauseum for many years. For instance, the tired old theory about the virus being long gone and only antibodies being left behind would not account for results seen with RNA PCR viral load tests. These tests have nothing to do with anti-HIV antibodies, but rather measure RNA, the genetic material of the HIV virus itself. As for "nearly impossible to spread HIV sexually," well, that would come as quite a surprise to the over 40,000,000 people infected worldwide today, considering that's how the vast majority contracted the virus! As for "documented cases of HIV-infected people remaining healthy after 10 years of no treatment," again, this is very old news. It is not at all uncommon for HIV-infected folks to remain essentially asymptomatic for a decade. Regarding antiretroviral therapies, there has been a dramatic drop in HIV-related morbidity and mortality since HAART came into wide use in mid-1996. These are facts. Whether you choose to believe them or not is totally up to you. And whether you or Duesberg choose to believe fact over fantasy does not change the validity of science. I'll reprint a few posts from the archives for your edification and enlightenment.
Opinion about Duesberg Oct 5, 2004
You can't imagine how stubborn can be a lot of people here in Italy. They always talk about Peter Duesberg, and they say that he has shown HIV does not cause AIDS. Sometimes it seems that people just want to say something original, without verifying if it is true! I think that what Duesberg says is really bullshit. What about you? How did he receive all this fame? Which newspaper helped him? Anyway, I suspect that just some Italians are so stupid to believe this nonsense. They talk about lobbies, about the "AIDS myth", created by corporations, and rubbish like that.. They would be able to call themselves "innovators" just because they think apples fall because they have to be eaten!
Response from Dr. Frascino
Peter Duesberg is not a medical doctor. He is a professor at the University of California at Berkeley. He is part of a larger group we refer to as "AIDS denialists." For the past 15 years, this group has claimed that HIV does not cause AIDS; that AIDS is not contagious; that HIV is either harmless or does not even exist; that the treatments for HIV/AIDS are poisons, which themselves are the cause of the disease; and that the AIDS epidemic is a medical fraud promoted by the pharmaceutical companies. How did such "bullshit" fantasy garner so much fame? This misinformation program has behind it hidden funding, and even some celebrity endorsements, who managed to get these myths publicized in the mainstream media. AIDS denialists do not conduct research or take care of patients, but rather spend their time and money merely propagating and rehashing issues that were settles years ago in the scientific and medical communities.
The problem is not just that of a lunatic fringe (which they are), but also their organized efforts to practice bizarre and dangerous medicine by telling people with a major illness to reject care entirely. Denialists have convinced some pregnant women or mothers of HIV-positive children to reject treatment universally recommended by their doctors. In the United States and other countries where treatment is available, the denialists have found few who are willing to sacrifice their own lives. However, in South Africa and elsewhere in the developing world, the denialists are seeking to deny medical care and medications to HIV-infected people who have no voice in the decision. They are also thwarting public health prevention campaigns to slow the spread of the epidemic. Duesberg and his colleague David Rasnick suggest AIDS is in fact several separate epidemics lumped together. However, even a cursory glance at the medical literature quickly dynamites all of Duesberg's claims. How the denialist can claim "AIDS is over" when someone's life is snuffed out every 10 seconds by HIV/AIDS is beyond belief, beyond logic, and clearly delusional.
No question: Comment on Eliza Jane Scovill death Dec 6, 2005 http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SafeSex/Current/Q169304.html More recent developments, Maggiore and Scovill hired a veterinary pathologist AIDS denialist Mohammed Al Bayati to read the coroner's report and make up alternative theories about what might have killed Eliza Jane. http://justiceforej.com/ej-chronology.html http://oracknows.blogspot.com/2005/11/hivaids-skeptic-questions-my-honesty.html It is likely that Christine and Robin will have a court date at some time, to answer for this. Brian HIV Databases http://www.hiv.lanl.gov
Response from Dr. Frascino
A "veterinary pathologist AIDS denialist???" Hmmm . . . and he's been hired to "make up alternative theories????" This case is becoming more and more tragic as it plays out. For our readers who don't know the story of AIDS denialists Christine Maggiore and Robin Scovill, their deceased three-year-old daughter Eliza Jane Scovill, or even what an "AIDS denialist" really is, I'll reprint a recent article from Project Inform below.
A case such as this is in equal parts heartbreaking and infuriating.
A Denialist's Dilemma November 2005 Christine Maggiore is a name well known in the subculture of people who believe that HIV is a harmless virus that doesn't cause AIDS. Her short book,What if Everything You Thought You Knew about AIDS was Wrong? has been a relatively big seller. She and her partner, Robin Scovill, produced a DVD promoting their AIDS denialist beliefs and she has appeared widely in the media. Part of her story is her belief that AIDS is not a concern for her, despite testing positive for HIV, because she does not believe the virus causes harm and that the tests are inaccurate. She contends she can support this belief with research. She tells of how a meeting with discredited UC Berkeley professor Peter Duesberg, more or less the father of the HIV denialist movement, changed her life. Few begrudge her the right to believe whatever she'd like, even if she is apparently ignoring hundreds of scientific papers demonstrating the role of HIV in AIDS. AIDS educators, including Project Inform, have been less sanguine about her public promotion of such views. Whatever her intentions, promotion of these views increases the risks of unprotected sex and discourages people from seeking necessary medical care until it is too late to help them. While Ms. Maggiore certainly has a right to espouse and even profit off the spread of misinformation about HIV, how all of this might affect her two children is something many felt was of grave concern. Apparently because of her belief that HIV is harmless, Maggiore rejected anti-HIV drugs to reduce the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission and made a public display over her decision to breast feed, which has been shown to add another 10 to 15% risk of HIV transmission to a child. Whatever the parents might wish to believe, their children were in no position to make their own informed choices. Their mother's ill-founded beliefs, and only her beliefs, determined their fates. Since their birth, Ms. Maggiore has pointed to their apparent good health as evidence of her belief that HIV is harmless. Anyone aware of the natural history of HIV knew this proved nothing since only a relatively small percentage of children born to HIV-positive mothers acquired HIV even without the use of anti-HIV drugs to prevent transmission. Still, Maggiore persisted in promoting her children's health and her actions as a model for other HIV-positive women who sought to have children. By her own accounting, she convinced as many as 50 women to avoid the short course of anti-HIV therapy recommended during pregnancy and childbirth and a few subsequent weeks of treatment for the newborn. In the media and at public speaking engagements, Maggiore boasted of her refusal to employ common, proven methods for blocking mother-to-child transmission of HIV and of her refusal to have her children tested for HIV. She simply dismissed the fact that "apparent" good health for many years is the normal course of HIV infection and that most HIV-positive people remain symptom free for many years, even without treatment. Events of the year 2005 put an entirely new spotlight on Ms. Maggiore's beliefs and advice, and on the role of the medical establishment in dealing with parents who hold similar views. In May, three-year-old Eliza Jane Scovill, Christine's daughter, died from an apparently sudden and unexpected illness, just seven weeks after Maggiore reported that her children were in "excellent health" in a radio interview. Fast and furious seems an apt description of whatever happened to Eliza Jane. Though reports are sketchy, Maggiore was first concerned when her daughter came down with a runny nose. She brought Eliza Jane to a pediatrician who was filling in for one of her regular physicians, Dr. Paul Fleiss, best known as the father of "Hollywood Madam" Heidi Fleiss. Dr. Fleiss had been convicted of hiding profits of Heidi's enterprise from the IRS and served three years on probation. Like all of the physicians who examined Eliza Jane before her death, he had a reputation as a somewhat "unconventional" physician. Some say the children's physicians were chosen more for their acceptance of Maggiore's views than for their skill in treating children with HIV. No treatment was recommended that day, though the doctor claims that Eliza Jane's lungs were clear. Five days later, when the condition seemed to have worsened, she brought her daughter to another pediatrician, Dr. Jay Gordon, who had treated the child since birth. He diagnosed her with a self-limiting ear infection. Had Eliza Jane been known to be HIV-positive, a deeper approach to diagnostics might have been employed. Dr. Gordon apparently made no effort to have the child tested for HIV, not shortly after birth, nor then. According to a report in the LA Times, it is a decision he now regrets. Shortly afterward, Maggiore asked yet another doctor sympathetic to her views, Philip Incao, who was visiting from Denver, to look at her daughter. He recommended treatment for an ear infection with amoxicillin, a mild, first level antibiotic. Pediatricians questioned by the LA Times said that, had a physician known the child might be HIV-positive, a much stronger antibiotic would have been called for. A day later, her conditioned worsened as she began vomiting and was turning pale. The next morning, Eliza Jane Scovill was pronounced dead at Van Nuys Hospital. The grief of parents who have lost a child is enormous, whatever the cause, whatever the history. This does not, however, make it possible to simply overlook the situation surrounding the child's death. Little information was available about the cause of death for months afterward and all parties respectfully avoided public speculation and accusations. The period of silence, however, ended in late September when the LA Medical Examiner declared the cause of death to be "AIDS-related pneumonia". The implications of the diagnosis were explosive. To our knowledge, the medical examiners report has not been made public. Thus we can only base comments on what has been reported in the LA Times. The Medical Examiner needs to declare how evidence of HIV infection was determined and what kind of pneumonia they are talking about it. Some types, such as Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), are all but unique to HIV since they occur only in the presence of a severely weakened immune system. In the years before HIV testing became available, a case of PCP was the signature event that announced the presence of advanced AIDS. Prior to the appearance of HIV disease in the late 1970s, PCP was so rare as to be virtually unknown to most physicians and the drugs used to treat it so rare as to be available only by special request from the Centers for Disease Control. The appearance of clustered cases of PCP was in fact key to the realization that a new disease had appeared in the population. If PCP was truly found in Eliza Jane Scovill, the medical examiner's report might easily end there as a proven case of AIDS. However, if it was another form of pneumonia, other tests would be needed to confirm that death was due to AIDS. For now, we simply lack the specifics on the cause of death and can only presume that the Medical Examiner's office knows what it is talking about. And if it does, the diagnosis raises devastating questions about child endangerment, improper medical care by physicians, and a failure of child welfare agencies to protect a child who need not have died. Moreoever, it makes a profound statement that HIV denialism is more than a misguided opinion; it is deadly and dangerous misinformation. Using today's tools, blocking mother-to-child transmission of HIV is all but fool proof. Moreover, treatment of HIV in those infected has an extremely high success rate. So the question that must be answered is "What went so tragically wrong as to result in the death of this innocent child?" Maggiore says of herself "I am a devastated, broken, grieving mother, but I am not second-guessing or questioning my understanding of the issue." No one questions the first half of her statement. Her pain is no doubt real and she has surely suffered. But when the first half of her statement is placed back to back with the second half, it causes one's jaw to drop. She has paid the ultimate price for her ill-founded beliefs and for spreading life-threatening misinformation to thousands -- she has paid with the life of her own child. Yet she clings to her beliefs, beliefs that contradict the universal conclusions of the world's most knowledgeable scientists and physicians. Perhaps it's easier to cling to these misguided beliefs than to face one's culpability. She continued in the LA Times: "Would I redo anything based on what happened? I don't think I would. I think I acted with the best information and the best of intentions with all my heart." Leaving her intentions aside, unless she knows something about the Medical Examiner's report that is shielded from everyone else, the statement speaks of an astonishing intellectual arrogance. How can anyone conclude that the tiny smattering of claims made by denialists, almost none of whom are experts in the field or people who have actually conducted any AIDS research, constitutes "the best information" She is convinced that her personal reading of a field of science, in which she has no training or credentials, is right and thousands of the best trained scientists on the planet are wrong. She remains so convinced of her own "rightness" perhaps because to do otherwise now would force her to acknowledge that her beliefs and stubbornness may have played a role in the death of her daughter. Given that she also achieved a degree of fame and financial gain from these beliefs, it will be interesting to see what the L.A. Country District Attorney has to say about the death of her daughter. We have read her book, studied her website and followed the lines of thinking proposed by the scientists she claims to respect. We find nothing new, nothing deep, nothing challenging. We see only a restatement of claims made mostly in the 1980's by Peter Duesberg and long since repeatedly refuted and rejected by the scientific community. We find her arguments against the role of HIV in AIDS to be facile, easily answered and overcome. They are views and conclusions that only make sense if you know little or nothing of the actual science of AIDS. Once you become familiar with great bulk of the research on AIDS, it is easy to see why so many scientists consider the beliefs of the denialists to be "pseudo-science." Similar cults of pseudo-science exist in most fields. Seldom, however, do people bet their own lives and the lives of their children on such beliefs. Is it right, is it fair, for a child to pay with her life for this level of arrogance on the part of a parent? There should be no surprise that child welfare officers are investigating the case. And what of the three doctors who stood by and saw only a minor illness as this child slipped from life to death? The only thing that can be said in their defense is that apparently none had much, if any experience, with the diagnosis or treatment of HIV disease. The blame for the selection of such physicians must also fall upon the parents. Doctors were apparently selected based on their willingness to accept the parent's unconventional views, rather than on their competence in treating two children who may have been exposed to HIV through birth. Still, physicians take an oath to do no harm. These three must answer to that oath. Surely, the word denial has seldom had a more clear definition that what is seen here. Ms. Maggiore and her partner face a terrible dilemma in their grief. They are faced with acknowledging the possibility they have been horribly wrong but so far have not done so. By definition, every honest respecter of science acknowledges the possibility, even the likelihood of error. What could motivate Maggiore and Scovill to close off all possible admission of error? Just one thing: if they acknowledge error, they must accept responsibility for the loss of their daughter. A denialist dilemma indeed. Yet perhaps nothing is more disturbing than the final comment made by Ms. Maggiore herself on a website she posted about the loss of her child: "Why our child -- so appreciated, so held, so carefully nurtured -- and not one ignored, abused or abandoned?" she wrote. "How come what we offered was not enough to keep her here when children with far less -- impatient distracted parents, a small apartment on a busy street, extended day care, Oscar Mayer Lunchables -- will happily stay?" What to make of that final sentence, wondering why this happened to her daughter, who, we learn repeatedly, was cherished and given the finer things of life, when it didn't happen to "impatient distracted parents," people who put their children in "a small apartment on a busy street" and used "extended day care" and gave them "Oscar Mayer Lunchables" (instead of organic meals?). What is she saying, perhaps that it would have been more appropriate for a poorer family to lose their child? Maybe that poorer family had the wisdom to listen to their doctor. Who, indeed, were the wiser parents?
Donation and Question !! Aug 31, 2006
Dear Dr. Frascino!
Firstly, i decided to make a donation, but please tll write) me what is the best way to pay and WHERE ( conto?). And than, i have a big request, dear doc.
Eleni Papadopulos and some other researchers say HIV has neevr been isolated. Is this true? If not, why? Please , Doc, if you can and if you have enough time, refute this, that HIV has never been isolated... Are there any documented evidences about hiv isolation?
And what about Duesburg and ELISA-Test? He said, i think, Elisa is always HIV-positive?
With my best wishes and regards for Austria,
Response from Dr. Frascino
Eleni Papadopoulos is not a physician. She is a professor of physics in Australia. She is an AIDS denialist with views similar to those of Peter Duesberg. You can read about the AIDS denialists' bizarre theories, all of which have been disproved repeatedly by numerous scientific studies, in the archives of this forum.
HIV is a germ, a retrovirus, to be more exact. Claims it has not been isolated are pure nonsense. We can grow HIV in culture, just like any other retrovirus or microorganism.
Duesberg's comments about the ELISA testing are just the latest in his pseudo-science beliefs, which have been clearly discounted by the hard scientific facts.
Duesberg and Papadopoulos have a right to "believe" whatever they wish, including that Bush is the greatest president this country has ever had, that the Earth is flat, that Cheney and Karl Rove are men of veracity and integrity, that Mel Gibson is going to star as Tevya in the next production of Fiddler on the Roof, that HIV doesn't cause AIDS, that ELISA tests can't distinguish between who is HIV positive and who is negative and that Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs to church every Sunday. However what they happen to believe doesn't change reality or scientific facts.
Roby, don't waste a moment of your time worrying about the denialists' claims, unless you really enjoy completely unbelievable science fiction fantasy stories.
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