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This Month in HIV: A Podcast of Critical News in HIV
  

This Month in HIV: The Truth About HIV/AIDS Denialism

An Interview With Clinical Psychologist Seth Kalichman, Ph.D.

June 2009

This podcast is a part of the series This Month in HIV. To subscribe to this series, click here.

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Could you talk a little bit about some of the people who are financing AIDS denialism? Who are these people and why would they finance such a thing?

Those are questions that a lot of people are asking and for which there aren't a lot of answers. It does cost money to do some of these things. Rethinking AIDS has employed a publicist. They travel. There's money that's involved in some of these things. It doesn't cost any money to set up a Web site. I did it over Christmas break, though it does take time to maintain a Web site. You don't see a lot of young, productive people in AIDS denialism. You see them blogging, but a lot of the people that are most visible are pretty old. A lot of them are retired or academic emeriti. You don't see non-tenured faculty at universities too involved in this. And when you do, they're not there for very long.

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Where is the money coming from? It's pretty clear that there are people that make donations. At the Alberta Reappraising AIDS Society and at Rethinking AIDS, you can donate. How much anyone donates, I've no idea. We know that there have been venture capitalists, particularly with political bents, interestingly enough from the libertarian party, who have financed some things.

For example, we know that the San Francisco-based venture capitalist Robert Leppo co-produced what was essentially a major motion picture [The Other Side of AIDS] directed by Christine Maggiore's husband, Robin Scovill, about basically her story. That's public knowledge. We know that because it's on there.

It's also true that Robert Leppo is financing Peter Duesberg's cancer lab. Now how do we know that? Well, because it's well-disclosed in the program for Peter Duesberg's cancer conference that I went to. And he was there. This didn't require any undercover investigative work.

There is money that is flowing through venture capitalists who have bought into this and who see maybe a way to make some money by selling, perhaps, herbal remedies or other products in place of antiretrovirals, or by selling books that are published by fringe publishers.

"Another thing that's happening in terms of money is that denialists are very involved in undermining charities and programs, particularly the (RED) campaign. They're very active in trying to get people to not buy (RED) products (Bono's venture that involves the Gap, etcetera), part of the proceeds of which go to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria."

Venture capitalists by definition want to make money. They don't just want to give money away. They're sort of betting on things. But that's all I know. And again, I only know that because it's in the public domain. You don't have to look very far to find this.

Another thing that's happening in terms of money is that denialists are very involved in undermining charities and programs, particularly the (RED) campaign. They're very active in trying to get people to not buy (RED) products (Bono's venture that involves the Gap, etcetera), part of the proceeds of which go to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The other thing that they're very involved in right now are lawsuits. They're trying to get individuals who were administered post-exposure prophylaxis (i.e., someone who was exposed to HIV and then given antiretrovirals to try to prevent the infection from happening) to sue those hospitals and doctors, as well as the pharmaceutical companies that produce the antiretrovirals, for supposedly exposing them to toxic drugs to prevent an infection that supposedly no one can prove would even happen.

They haven't won any cases that I know of. But among them are lawyers who are dedicating time to doing this. The testimony is provided by these "world-renowned" scientists like Peter Duesberg and David Rasnick.

The good news is, as far as I can tell, they haven't gotten any traction. I'm not even aware of cases being settled, but I know that there are still cases pending.

They're also pretty involved in creating defenses for people who are being prosecuted for exposing others to HIV, saying that their exposing people to HIV is harmless because there's no proof that HIV even causes AIDS. They're serving as expert witnesses in these cases, so there's money involved there.

There was a case like that in Australia that they lost.

That's right. The Parenzee case was the most celebrated case.29 American scientists flew out to Australia to rebut the denialists' testimonies, particularly that of the Perth Group, which was very involved in the case. You had the whole array of denialists testifying on Parenzee's behalf, and then you had some of the world's greatest AIDS scientists rebutting them.

The good news is the judge didn't accept most of the denialists as legitimate authorities, as legitimate scientists, and didn't accept their testimony.30 The bad news is they're distracting. They're spending a lot of people's time. They're wasting a lot of our resources. They're distracting a lot of scientists from their work. They're doing a lot of damage.

However, they aren't making great traction in places where it could count. They've been trying to persuade Congress; they've targeted specific Congressmen and women, trying to gain their attention and their time. They've done a lot of damage, but they don't have the credibility to really take a big leap.

A lot of people are aware that they were successful in stopping antiretroviral clinical trials with children in New York City.31,32 That's probably one of the most destructive things that they've actually been able to achieve in a long time.

So I don't want to say that they're not doing damage, that no one's paying attention to them. That wouldn't be true. But in terms of big policy issues and infiltrating the criminal justice system and having cases overturned, they haven't made that traction yet.

Let's talk about pharmaceutical company money. Did you receive money from pharmaceutical companies to write the book and to speak about this issue?

In the book, I disclose all of my potential involvement in "conspiracies" in the very front. I've never had any funding from pharmaceutical companies, but I do accept pens and notepads from them when I go to conferences. I've never been funded by the Gates Foundation, but I do use Microsoft products. I am funded by the NIH. All of my research is funded by the NIH and I suspect that makes me corrupt in the eyes of the denialists.

Pharmaceutical companies have no involvement in anything that I do. I've never taken money from them. The really cool thing about my book Denying AIDS is that all of the royalties are being donated to buy antiretroviral therapies in Africa. There's an organization called the Family Treatment Fund and they will get all of the royalties for the book.

Let's talk about the people who aren't able to make decisions from an educated point of view. I knew a young man who couldn't understand the discussion about HIV. He decided to listen to Gary Null who's a vitamin salesman in New York. Gary Null has a book and a movie about AIDS and he says that you shouldn't take HIV medications because they're toxic.

So this young man stopped his medications and he started seeing a healer for $60 a week who would lay hands on him and within two years, he was dead. What do we do about people like that, who can't make heads or tails about all of this noise and all this argument?

"'What mattered to me as [a] person living with HIV was to be told that HIV did not cause AIDS. That was nice. Of course, it was like printing money when the economy is not doing well. Or pissing in your pants when the weather is too cold. Comforting for a while but disastrous in the long run.'"

Winstone Zulu, a Zambian AIDS activist and former denialist

I'm very familiar with Gary Null. His book is impossible to read. It's not written in a known language. It's what psychiatrists would call a word salad. It's as if you took a bunch of words, put them in a blender and poured them on a page. It's an unreadable book. That's what makes it so criminal, because it's completely uninterpretable and looks scientific, and really persuades people to purchase his vitamins and foods. There aren't a whole lot of people that are profiting off of this, but Gary Null is one.

It's pretty destructive. He's another one of these charismatic, convincing people. So how do we take better care of the people that these guys, particularly people like Gary Null, get their hooks into? The best thing we can do for these people is to be supportive of them and direct them to good information to try to balance it out.

I think fighting with people, arguing with them, debating and going back and forth is not productive when they've really gotten involved in the denialism, and they go to the Rethinking AIDS site, and they've read Henry Bauer's book, which is almost readable, and they've read Celia Farber's articles.

When someone has really gotten into this, it's extremely easy to argue and debate; it'll just never get you anywhere. The best thing to do is to say that that's one perspective.

But if they're really serious about "rethinking," if they're really serious about being critical and not just accepting what's being spoon-fed to them from the medical establishment and the "orthodoxy," they shouldn't be doing that with Alive & Well either.

We need to present alternatives to broaden their thinking and have a conversation, not a debate, about all perspectives.

What we would really like is for someone to go to a doctor, not to give up their acupuncturist and their homeopathy, but to go to a doctor as well; to think about complementary treatment, as well as adjunct treatment, as well as alternative treatment.

That's what I think is most helpful. We would like for people to be proactive. We'd like for them to take antiretrovirals, but for a lot of people it's just not going to happen. What Elisabeth Kübler-Ross says is that, sometimes, you just have to be there for people, be able to be supportive of them, when they are shaken from their denial. Sometimes that's just the best that we can do.

You have an amazing quote at the beginning of Denying AIDS. It's from Winstone Zulu, a Zambian AIDS activist and former denialist. He says, "What mattered to me as [a] person living with HIV was to be told that HIV did not cause AIDS. That was nice. Of course, it was like printing money when the economy is not doing well. Or pissing in your pants when the weather is too cold. Comforting for a while but disastrous in the long run."

Yes, I think it really says it all. I have an author's blog for the book and I put it at the top. Whenever I go to the blog, I think about using that space for something different, but I won't remove it. I think it just says it all.

He was on President Mbeki's infamous 2000 AIDS panel as a consumer. He really was a denialist. He was a very vocal activist in Africa.

He got really sick. He got a number of fungal infections and it sort of shook him. He said, "What the hell am I doing? People are saying there are medications that can help me. This is going to kill me." Shaken, he completely reversed course and now he's one of the great vocal advocates for expanding HIV treatments in Africa.

Amazing.

Yes, it's a great quote. I think it says it all.

Yes. Thank you so much, Seth, for taking the time to talk with me. This is such a huge subject. There's so much to talk about. Hopefully people will get inspired to buy your book, to read the excerpt, to look at your Web site and to go to AIDSTruth.org in order to find out more about this. Thank you so much.

If you were once a "dissident," or if you know someone who used to be one, please contact Seth Kalichman. E-mail him at aidsandbehavior@yahoo.com.

This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

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Resources: Countering AIDS Denialism

AIDStruth.org
In 2006, a group of activists and scientists launched a Web site to address some of the denialists' claims. AIDStruth.org receives no pharmaceutical company funding and is maintained through the hard work and volunteer efforts of dedicated researchers and activists.

AIDS Denialists: How to Respond (May 5, 2000)
This article was written by John James, a dedicated, early HIV/AIDS activist and one of the earliest disseminators of trustworthy HIV/AIDS research.
From AIDS Treatment News

Foo Fighters Front Man Dave Grohl Wants You to Forget What You Think You Know About AIDS (February 25, 2000)
A platinum-selling alt-rock group may be endangering its fans by promoting a dangerous myth.
From MotherJones.com

Quack Record: Best-Selling Health and Fitness Guru Gary Null Weighs in on AIDS (May 21, 2002)
Longtime HIV survivor Peter Kurth says that almost all of what Gary Null says is useless, dangerous and just plain wrong.
From Salon.com

AIDS Denialists Who Have Died
Tragically, there have been many men and women caught in the denialists' web of confusion. Most of their deaths are not documented; here are some that AIDStruth.org has documented.
From AIDStruth.org

Study Cites Toll of AIDS Policy in South Africa (November 25, 2008)
A Harvard study estimates that the S. African government could have prevented the premature deaths of 365,000 people if it had provided HIV medications. The former president of South Africa Thabo Mbeki was an AIDS denialist.
From The New York Times

The Controversy Over HIV and AIDS (December 9, 1994)
A thorough examination of the arguments of Peter Duesberg by respected journalist Jon Cohen.
From Science

For additional information about AIDS denialism, browse through our library of articles.

Learn the History of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic

Oral Histories on the AIDS Epidemic in San Francisco
To read or hear first-person accounts of the history of the HIV epidemic, check out this incredible resource.

The ACT UP Oral History Project
Watch video interviews about HIV from true heroes in the fight against HIV.

To read more about the history of HIV/AIDS, browse through our library of articles.


References

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  3. Katzenstein DA, Hammer SM, Hughes MD, et al, for The AIDS Clinical Trials Group Study 175 Virology Study Team. The relation of virologic and immunologic markers to clinical outcomes after nucleoside therapy in HIV-infected adults with 200 to 500 CD4 cells per cubic millimeter. N Engl J Med. October 10, 1996;335(15):1091-1098.
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  9. The Perth Group Web site. Available at: http://www.theperthgroup.com/. Accessed June 8, 2009.
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  11. Questioning the test. Alive and Well Web site. Available at: http://www.aliveandwell.org/html/questioning/questioningthetests.html. Accessed June 8, 2009.
  12. Sidley P. Mbeki appoints team to look at cause of AIDS. BMJ. May 13, 2000;320(7245):1291.
  13. Watson J. Scientists, activists sue South Africa's AIDS 'denialists.' Nat Med. January 2006;12(1):6.
  14. Wainberg M, Moore J. AIDS and the dangers of denial. The Globe and Mail. July 4, 2007. Available at: http://www.aidstruth.org/AIDS-and-the-dangers-of-denial.pdf. Accessed June 8, 2009.
  15. Duesberg PH. Retroviruses as carcinogens and pathogens: expectations and reality. Cancer Res. March 1, 1987;47(5):1199-1220.
  16. A search in http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ found 100,420 studies using the word "HIV" and 166,371 studies using the word "AIDS."
  17. Duesberg PH. Chromosomal chaos and cancer. Sci Am. May 2007;296(5):52-59.
  18. Duesberg on Cancer Web site. Available at: http://mcb.berkeley.edu/labs/duesberg/. Accessed June 8, 2009.
  19. Lenzer J. AIDS "dissident" seeks redemption ... and a cure for cancer. Discover. June 2008. Available at: http://discovermagazine.com/2008/jun/15-aids-dissident-seeks-redemption-and-a-cure-for-cancer. Accessed June 8, 2009.
  20. Maggiore C, Mullis K, Piburn D. What If Everything You Thought You Knew About AIDS Was Wrong? 4th rev. ed. Studio City, Calif.: American Foundation for AIDS Alternative; 2007.
  21. Wade N. Scientist at work/Kary Mullis; after the 'Eureka,' a Nobelist drops out. New York Times. September 15, 1998:F1. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/1998/09/15/science/scientist-at-work-kary-mullis-after-the-eureka-a-nobelist-drops-out.html. Accessed June 8, 2009.
  22. Bauer HH. The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company; 2007.
  23. Tuskegee Syphilis Study Legacy Committee. Final report of the Tuskegee syphilis study legacy committee. [Unversity of Virginia Health System Web site]. May 20, 1996. Available at: http://www.hsl.virginia.edu/historical/medical_history/bad_blood/report.cfm. Accessed June 8, 2009.
  24. Kalichman SC, Benotsch EG, Weinhardt LS, Austin J, Luke W. Internet use among people living with HIV/AIDS: association of health information, health behaviors, and health status. AIDS Educ Prev. February 2002;14(1):51-61.
  25. Biroc SL, Gay S, Hummel K, et al. Cysteine protease activity is up-regulated in inflamed ankle joints of rats with adjuvant-induced arthritis and decreases with in vivo administration of a vinyl sulfone cysteine protease inhibitor. Arthritis Rheum. March 19, 2001;44(3):703-711.
  26. Altman LK. Long-term survivors may hold key clues to puzzle of AIDS. New York Times. January 24, 1995:C1. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/1995/01/24/science/long-term-survivors-may-hold-key-clues-to-puzzle-of-aids.html. Accessed June 8, 2009.
  27. Ornstein C, Costello D. A mother's denial, a daughter's death. Los Angeles Times. September 24, 2005:Local section. Available at: http://articles.latimes.com/2005/sep/24/local/me-eliza24. Accessed June 8, 2009.
  28. Gorski D. Christine Maggiore and Eliza Jane Scovill: living and dying with HIV/AIDS denialism [Science-Based Medicine Web site]. January 5, 2009. Available at: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=328. Accessed June 8, 2009.
  29. Pollard R. Shadow of doubters. Sydney Morning Herald. May 5, 2007:National section. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/shadow-of-doubters/2007/05/04/1177788403414.html. Accessed June 8, 2009.
  30. Times Online, AP. HIV sufferer jailed for unprotected sex. The Times. September 28, 2007. Available at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article2547647.ece. Accessed June 8, 2009.
  31. Mogul F, Rodriguez C. Report: city foster-care children weren't 'guinea pigs,' but weren't well-protected, either [WNYC Radio Web site]. January 28, 2009. Available at: http://www.wnyc.org/news/articles/122225. Accessed June 8, 2009.
  32. Ross T, Lifflander A, Trued S, et al. The experiences of New York City foster children in HIV/AIDS clinical trials [Vera Institute for Justice Web site]. January 1, 2009. Available at: http://www.vera.org/content/experiences-new-york-city-foster-children-hivaids-clinical-trials. Accessed June 8, 2009.
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See Also
More on AIDS Denialism

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Chad (Jonesboro, AR) Thu., Jan. 19, 2012 at 1:16 pm EST
AIDS/HIV should not receive tax money to be cured. It's 100% preventable. All you have to do is not take drugs and be abstinent until marriage. Why should my tax dollars go to some libtard who can't keep his/her legs closed?
Reply to this comment


Comment by: Sick Tomystomach (Reality, Earth) Wed., Jan. 11, 2012 at 3:46 pm EST
If HIV does not cause AIDS, I wonder if Duesberg and the rest of the denialists wouldn't mind being injected with it?
Reply to this comment


Comment by: Confounded Society (Portland, OR) Wed., Dec. 28, 2011 at 12:28 pm EST
Get to the point already. It sounded like an interesting article, but after reading the first page, I still have no clue who's denying that HIV exists or why. Started getting really preachy too. Not reading the rest.
Reply to this comment


Comment by: Drew (Sydney) Mon., Dec. 26, 2011 at 11:53 pm EST
I take offense to the term AIDS "Denialism". The term "Denialism" has always related to the horror of the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis under Adolf Hitler.

By using the term "Denialism" Capitalists/Drug Companies/AIDS Corp are trying to discredit ALTERNATIVE VIEWS.

Sydney, Australia
Reply to this comment


Comment by: Dave B. (London) Tue., Dec. 20, 2011 at 6:21 pm EST
I am living with the illness and i find your attack on one man disturbing. Just put up the facts we are not stupid. Lets make an informed choice. We just want to be sure. Remember the Iraq war?
Reply to this comment


Comment by: marissa (canada) Sun., Dec. 4, 2011 at 6:50 pm EST
I think part of the reason ppl buy into denialism is that they don't want to admit they have a life altering disease. That happens with every illness. HIV, MS, cancer every disease. Denialism is dangerous
Reply to this comment


Comment by: M J Brady (Pennsylvania) Thu., Oct. 27, 2011 at 2:24 pm EDT
Brilliant!! The total lack of logic and paranoia that is rampant in conspiracy theory world views is laughable and would be comic if they didn't also cause so much damage. What scares me is how many so called "educated" people become proponents of these hidden "truths"and that if only the rest of the misled world would follow their version of reality. The Internet is a great democratizer and a good place to try and track down information, but it is such a double edged sword. Now, many feel they are the "experts" and that any academy or established authority figure is always suspect or corrupt!! Should we blame the 1960's for the prevalence of this conspiracy world view that is prevalent in so many areas today? The author also pointed out the impossibility of debating adherents of these beliefs. The 9/11 conspiracy theorist people, holocaust denial groups, Area 52 people, the Zionist conspiracy,no childhood immunization people, etc.--- it's scary how a technical computer literate world is filled with so many such groups. I guess it's comforting to cloak yourself in the mantle of a crusader for truth and assume the rebel (underdog) role. Facts and reality don't compute for a rebel without a clue or an ideologue. Perhaps it's the fact that being human we have such little control over future events that cause the proliferation of so many of these groups. Any other ideas on this? Keep up the good work and keep people informed. I really liked your example of whether some one actually has the credentials to to back up their claims, especially in a scientific debate, and how the denialists often cherry pick their data.
Reply to this comment


Comment by: Maxx (Seattle) Thu., Nov. 4, 2010 at 6:05 pm EDT
Why should anyone care about the words of some behavioral researcher? The denialist movement was started by nobel prize virologists. How about we give them the spotlight for a change?
Reply to this comment


Comment by: Simon (Edinburgh) Tue., Nov. 2, 2010 at 4:57 am EDT

Howard Temin, the father of modern retrovirology: “when an experiment is challenged no matter who it is challenged by, it’s your responsibility to check. That is an ironclad rule of science, that when you publish something you are responsible for it…even the most senior professor, if challenged by the lowliest technician or graduate student, is required to treat them seriously and consider their criticisms. It is one of the most fundamental aspects of science"
Reply to this comment


Comment by: Simon (Edinburgh) Tue., Nov. 2, 2010 at 3:24 am EDT
I dont have a particularly strong view on this, but I can not understand how you can compare them to holocaust deniers. That is so wrong. From what I read they are not denying HIV, but want more research into things like co factors. Science has always had this banter and thats how it develops. It should be good for HIV research. From a general public point of view, unless you can answer their questions fully, then areas are not going to get researched. Aids is not fully understood, and a lot is just theory, so it is important to instead of disregard all view points, and compare them to the holocaust denialists, disprove the theories. That is what it is all about. You cant accuse and insult people and fellow scientists in a childish manner, and refuse to debate, or even acknowledge anyones view point unless it fits your own criteria on research. That is not how science works, and if we still worked like this then the majority of this planet would have no medicine and think the world was still flat.
Reply to this comment


Comment by: Snout (Melbourne AUS) Tue., Oct. 5, 2010 at 8:06 pm EDT
"Notborn yesterday" poses the pseudo-question, " how about enlightening readers about the German court case in which it was found that HIV had not been isolated". This is a good example of the kind of complete nonsense that denialists repeatedly copy-paste over the net without bothering to check if it's actually true or not.

The case was the criminal trial of a follower of prominent AIDS denialist Stefan Lanka, who was convicted of making threats of physical violence against public health officials. The person was fined and sentenced to 8 months prison.

Part of the summary of the case included an overview of the defendant's delusions. Lanka and his followers have then gone on to try to to claim this was the judgment of the court.

http://www.justiz.nrw.de/nrwe/lgs/dortmund/lg_dortmund/j2001/14__XVII__K_11_00urteil20010117.html

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Comment by: Fubara (Port harcourt. Nigeria) Tue., Dec. 29, 2009 at 11:05 am EST
What i believe is that the disease is real and if not treated quickly, it might develop into AIDS. Just simply accept it if your are diagnosed positive or negative.
Reply to this comment


Comment by: Mark Goldberg (New York, NY) Wed., Dec. 23, 2009 at 7:01 am EST
Science requires ALL points of view, perspective and analysis. Your article is chilling as it is determined to take a side in this highly political and socio-economic issue. Why do you demonized critical thinking? Can no one speak out against the status quo? I question anyone who wants to silence or marginalize historical events like Tuskegee. This was one study. One. Can you deny how many scientists were involved throughout the '30's, '40's, '50's, '60's and into the '70's before humanity finally surfaced? There is plenty of evidence today of the frailty of this humanity in the name of many things, the least common denominator being science.
Reply to this comment


Comment by: Notborn Yesterday (Australia) Wed., Nov. 11, 2009 at 3:09 am EST
John, your comments are typical of the approach of adherents of mainstream philosophies and doctrines: malign, silence and persecute those who disagree, and who are often, decades later honoured for their brave stand that has finally been recognised as truth.

I've read the first couple pages in detail and scanned the rest. All I find is unsupported assertions, character assassination and psychobabble.

Nothing in the article appears to actually address and refute the SPECIFIC statements of so-called "denyers". Just for starters, how about enlightening readers about the German court case in which it was found that HIV had not been isolated, and otherwise healthy people who had been found "positive" through a flawed, non-specific test were put on a regime of a deadly drug which induced AIDS and killed them (Google "HIV_Never_Isolated.htm"). This one's all over the 'net, so if its a hoax why don't you say so (and prove it conclusively)?

I'm open to both sides of the debate, but this article only serves to strengthen my belief that the ruling opinion of the day has insufficient evidence to support it.

Open debate - and I mean properly open and uncensored - can only serve to arrive at the truth.

Reply to this comment


Comment by: steve (uk) Fri., Sep. 18, 2009 at 2:06 am EDT
this page is just another a platform for promoting the AIDS propaganda that has so far washed the minds of millions of people into believing thre is a vicious virus on the rampage. Where are the scarily predicted deaths in the western world? Where are the HIV deaths in Africa? Just like the swine flu BS, the deaths that are reported always show the person was suffering from other conditions at point of death - TB, malaria, malnutrition etc., etc.. AIDS/HIV is a grotesque, money-spinning circus and anybody believing the establishment nonsense that 'millions are living on a knife-edge' should go get themselves educated and start by reading the credence book 'the truth about HIV'
Reply to this comment


Comment by: Amdani Juma (African Institute AISD, Eastmidlands UK) Sun., Aug. 9, 2009 at 8:26 pm EDT
What a fantastic piece of work. I too have met a lot of people who deny HIV in my everyday work in the communty and sadly these are my african brothers and sisters. I am sure your excellent work will bring more awareess to those and it seems to me that we are getting there and what needed at the moment is more debate in our community settings. HIV can progress to develop AIDS and it doesn't help to deny scientific facts. We have best treatments for HIV in the UK and doctors will only help people who turn up for test ing and accepting to face the reality of HIV/AIDS. Your work does start the debate and we must sustain it as much as we can. African HIV policy Network in the UK can also play a role in this debate.
Thanks alot
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Comment by: gloria (nigeria) Fri., Aug. 7, 2009 at 9:35 am EDT
hmmmm HIV is real, and u can be heal again with God if you beleave it. In Jer 30 Vs 17 God promised us health again "He said i'll restore health back to you again" so you see if you beleav you will be well again
Reply to this comment


Comment by: kotilingaswar (prakasam) Mon., Jul. 20, 2009 at 12:56 pm EDT
first of all thanks for scientists. please immediately discover the drug so many peoples are suffering from hiv-aids.
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Comment by: David (New Jersey) Mon., Jul. 20, 2009 at 12:16 am EDT
Regarding Arthur Gittleman statement about prednisolone. This drug supresses/prevents cell mediated responses which is the very problem HIV causes in the body. To me, it seems counterintuitive that this drug would "slow the progression of HIV." Further, while it is obvious that drug manufacturers invest and also make huge amount of money by marketing so-called anti-HIV drugs, why would some scientists who are not biased or motivated by profit, unwilling to test this drug and demonstrate its' efficacy utilizing scientific method. Further, the author discusses IMMU-25, used in India which demonstrated "positive results." What were the so-called positive results CHIEVED IN THESE PATIENTS. I would certainly like to know the citation in a scientific journal which published this information.
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Comment by: Cory (Sacramento, CA) Sun., Jul. 5, 2009 at 4:30 am EDT
This article upsets me so much because I was infected by a guy who doesn't believe HIV exists and that HIV doesn't kill people but rather HIV medication. It's so hard to believe that there are people out there who believe this.
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Comment by: Seth Kalichman (Connecticut) Fri., Jun. 26, 2009 at 2:11 pm EDT
John,
I met Peter Duesberg and spent a couple days at a conference with him to research my book Denying AIDS. Duesberg is married. His wife, Siggi Duesberg is very close to him. I think they must have met in Germany in the early 1960s before coming here. I don't know that but I think so. I do not know if they have kids, but I think not. Duesberg is actually a very engaging man. He is personable and in some ways actually charming.
So in those ways, you are bit off mark. But you are right on spot otherwise. He is narcissistic and self-absorbed. He definitely makes the case against lifetime tenure without review. He has no place in higher education. He ignores the rules of science. He has no regard for the consequences of his actions. I felt he was sexually inappropriate in his comments to young women, although I am sure he thought he was being funny. Just as I am sure he thinks he is being funny when he refers to gay men as “homos". I can say that those couple days at his conference were so valuable to me. I feel I got some insight into Peter Duesberg. I now hope to never see him again.
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Replies to this comment:
Comment by: abdul (berkeley, ca) Fri., Oct. 7, 2011 at 2:53 am EDT
hey Seth, you psycho nut-job, why don't you tell everyone how you used some ridiculous fake name to gain entry into the inner sanctum of the AIDS deniers. LOL! Everyone knew who you were ya idiot, even if you used some fake name. There is an urban myth that many people go into psychology to figure out their own warped mind. Obviously, this is your case. Concentrate on your diet and exercise program and stop bothering people with your mental illness.


Comment by: john (chicago) Tue., Jun. 23, 2009 at 10:48 pm EDT
Duesberg is a moron and he should be fired from the university of california. If he had to work for a living (like the rest of us!) and risked being fired, he wouldn't be so self indulgent and continue to spout such nonsense. i would love to hear about his personal life. I imagine that Duesberg is a compete narcissist...no marriage, no relationship cause he's unable to relate, unable to really hear others or care about others. Just repeats odd bits from long ago. He's happy just to get attention even though it's because he's a complete disaster. Why doesn't someone try him for murder? he's truly responsible for so many deaths...sad pathetic man, with sad pathetic followers. This is an important interview. Only a psychologist can understand these people. There is something so wrong with people who deny what is obvious.
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Comment by: Sergio (Brazil) Tue., Jun. 16, 2009 at 8:08 am EDT
An answer to T. Rex:

I was diagnosed in 1991 and became a denialist until my life was almost taken by HIV in 2001. By that time, my CD4 count dropped to 44 and I got Pneumocistosis (a common AIDS-related disease). After 21 days in the hospital, I was discharged and immediately started HIV meds, gaining 40 pounds in two months... my CD4 load is now 660 and I am healthier than never. The toxicity of HIV pills is decreasing day by day...actually after 3 months taking them (back in 2001) I never experienced side efects. I have a three years old daughter and a fulfilling and great life. So, I just want to warn you: Beware to not recognize the HIV reality too late...After the grave there is no further step!!!
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Comment by: mazy (Trinidad & Tobago) Mon., Jun. 15, 2009 at 5:55 pm EDT
Every time I hear or see someone die of this disease, I wonder about the denialists, how do they explain the suffering and destructive nature of this disease. Such intelligent people should do better things with their time and efforts! How do they explain the deaths of Christine Maggiore, her daughter and the mothers who died, and infected their babies in Africa? I came across a website (can't remember the name) on denialists, seems to me quite a lot of them died from the very disease they were denying.
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Comment by: T.rex (Los Angeles) Mon., Jun. 15, 2009 at 5:07 pm EDT
Plain and simple, i don't take the meds, and me and people like me are healthier than those who do.

One can look at a person on meds, and know that that person is sick. First of all, that person believes they are sick, so really, it can't be any other way. They are fulfilling their own prophecy. And in addition to that morbid belief, they are ingesting admittedly very toxic pills.

This whole article is misguided. It acts as if dissidents are trying to peddle some crazy idea for financial gain. Nothing can be further from the truth. All the dissidents i know are simply people who were deemed by doctors to be poz, and they don't accept this diagnosis. The movement is no longer Duesberg. The movement is by people who experience the truth, first hand. People like me have nothing to gain other than hoping others see the light. The dissident movement is about helping fellow man.

How presumptuous of Western Medicine to claim that there is absolutely no way to battle hiv, except for triple cocktails. There is no single method for anything in this world. If it works for you... good for you... But don't deny that dissident are doing something that works for them.
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Comment by: nora (s.carolina) Mon., Jun. 15, 2009 at 12:55 pm EDT
Richard, at the beginning scientists are often mistaken...scientific discoveries are slow...they still don't fully understand HIV...but now they really do understand that HIV can take over someone's immune system and if you don't suppress the virus, the person will die of opportunistic infections. This has been shown millions of times...So Duesberg is a quack. He's not some hidden genius or anything. Just a really self-absorbed guy who is only employed at the university of california cause he has tenure. He's astonishingly narcissistic and irresponsible. He is no longer a "scientist" cause he dismisses the scientific process...and he makes up stuff. It's not based on data. There is no clinical data for any of his nonsense. He's a science fiction kind of guy now...The truth about HIV is empirical at this point. Go to an inner city emergency room and watch all the undiagnosed HIV positive people with opportunisitic infections. When they get antiretroviral treatment they get better. Empirical. Talk to people who get HIV medications from AIDSforaids.org -- they are getting a chance to live because of the medications. Stop talking and go look.
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Comment by: Seth C. Kalichman (Hartford, CT) Sun., Jun. 14, 2009 at 4:04 am EDT
Thank you all for your interest.
Seekyah’s comment made me think to let you know that I am very interested in hearing the stories of people living with HIV who had been lured into believing Christine Maggiore, Peter Duesberg and other AIDS Denialists. If you or someone you know had been a ‘dissident’ and no longer is, please contact me. Thanks again!
Seth Kalichman
http://denyingaids.blogspot.com
email aidsandbehavior@yahoo.com
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Comment by: Richard (Melbourne) Sat., Jun. 13, 2009 at 7:38 am EDT
Doctors once thought scurvy, beri-beri, rickets etc were infectious diseases. Those who argued against this were considered quacks too.
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Comment by: Seekyah (Las Vegas) Fri., Jun. 12, 2009 at 1:34 am EDT
My husband was in denial. When I had ask him before we became involved he said he didn't have the virus. He use to shoot up and there were rumors. I remember clearly stating to him I really need to know because I want to live to raise my daughter. That was 1998 in 2007 I was diagnosed with AIDS. The only reason I got tested was because he became sick. I never drank, smoke or did drugs. I trusted him because I knew him since childhood. I pray every day for a cure.
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Comment by: Eddy (United Kingdom) Thu., Jun. 11, 2009 at 7:10 pm EDT
Thank you very much for this excellent long interview. May it stay on the internet as long as HIV exists and may it be very visible and much visited! I have encountered AIDS denialists on the internet myself and the ones I encountered were bright, articulate, and very aggressive. They told me, a person who is an educated postgraduate, that I am a fool. They made me FEEL like a fool. They succeeded in making me feel stupid and actually pausing to consider that maybe they were right. Well, being as educated as I am I immediately did a MASSIVE amount of research and discovered that the denialists are all as portrayed in the interview above: delusional. But what then absolutely outraged me was the realization that they are succeeding in making contact with vulnerable people, those HIV+ people who WILL be taken in by them and whose lives will therefore be placed in jeopardy. AIDS denialism kills. AIDS denialism should be made a criminal offence.
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Comment by: Arthur Gittleman (Bella Vista, AR) Thu., Jun. 11, 2009 at 4:34 pm EDT
This psychologist does not seem very scientic. You may say he is using Voodoo. I have followed the denalists and do not think they are stupid. Why they are denalists I would not know from this psychologists information. Don't really care but I do find some of the information they quote helpful.

Latest has been on lymph node fibrosis. Interesting is that this can be caused by other virus besides HIV. It can caused CD4 cell depletion.

The comment on herbal remedes have never been proven to work against HIV. I assume the author means not approved by FDA. Since herbal remedes have been around 3 to 5 thousand years and the FDA around 100 years I would think alot of them are unproven. But what do we mean by unproven. Well in the case of HIV which uses HAART that means billion of dollars were not spent on herbal medicine in the area of HIV and not that it is not proven only that medicine is big business.

One could point to small trials given to Prednisolone 5mg that show to slow the progression of HIV. But there is no patent anylonger on this drug. So what the author means unauthorized by FDA and not unproven. There is also IMMU-25 created in India used at hospital for 18 months that showed positive results. Was created for poor people. As what most people in thw world use poor people medicine and not the medicine used in the United States that is rich people's medicine. Poor people medicine does not need to be approved by the FDA. As matter of fact only a small number of large megacorporations could possible use the FDA three phase method. So when people loosely say unproven they mean the process by which a few large corporations get there FDA approval, so most things are unproven.

Looking at the latest politics in health care we see that it will be very difficult to control costs since that are only a few drug manufacturers allowed to play in this game of competition. And these corporations limit the game that is being played. All they want is more profit.
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Comment by: John Boucher (West Hollywood, CA) Thu., Jun. 11, 2009 at 4:03 pm EDT
I would like to thank The Body and Dr. Kalichman for this important podcast. My late Partner, Rex Poindexter, was a follower of Christine Maggiore's, he did change his mind at the end of his life but it was too late. I took an HIV+ Writing Workshop at The LA Gay & Lesbian Center, there I wrote an essay entitled "Speaking in Tongues" it was published by Washburn University and won the 2009 award for best Creative nonfiction. http://inscapewashburn.wordpress.com/latest/ It is gratifying but I wish Rex were still alive and I had written about his recovery instead of his death.
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