Now it’s official–Gary Null, HIV Denialist and Crank

Apparently, Gary is now a documentary filmmaker, and officially an HIV Denialist. What a pity. So many people like him. It’s a shame he has to go from being wrong to being wrong and dangerous.

Check out this beauty from his website (edited for space):

Documentary filmmaker (sic) and health expert Gary Null (sic-er), Ph.D.(sic trifecta!), features never before seen footage from around the world, especially in Africa, in his new film “AIDS, Inc.”. This is the first film on AIDS to bring together the most compelling arguments of dissident scientists, physicians and public health advocates.

In “AIDS, Inc.”, Dr. Null shows how greed and corruption have prevented any real progress in fighting the epidemic and its underlying causes. The film challenges the notion that AIDS or HIV is an African monkey virus that is spread sexually and can be “treated” with harmful drugs. It considers the common underlying conditions of the epidemic, such as malnutrition, unclean water, poverty, illness such as TB, malaria and dysentery, and poor lifestyle choices.

Help give a voice to over 4,000 dissident scientists, physicians and public health advocates, and redirect the war on AIDS. We offer letters which can be adapted and sent to your legislators. Please be sure to include your name and address on the letters.

Vey is meir! Gevalt, gevalt! I mean, the coffee enemas were kind of funny, the hydrogen peroxide was just plain stupid, and the chelation therapy was kind of sad. This is downright dangerous.

In “AIDS, Inc. Dr. (sic) Null shows how greed and corruption have prevented any real progress in fighting the epidemic and its underlying causes. The film challenges the notion that AIDS or HIV is an African monkey virus that is spread sexually and can be “treated” with harmful drugs.

HIV Denialism is a huge topic, which has been addressed at my old place a few times, and here quite often.

This should really be the final straw in the discrediting of Null. Any PBS station that still uses his infomercials during their pledge drives should stop. If they don’t, viewers should consider sending their money to some other worthy cause, and tell the station why.

JPANDS and HIV denialsim

This entry needed migrating from the old blog. Thank you for your indulgence. –PalMD

JPANDS, the mouthpiece of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, is a well-known organ or quackery, so it seemed like a good idea to see what they’ve been up to lately. It’s not good. The most recent issue publishes a screed on HIV denial that is so blindingly stupid, I developed a cluster headache on reading it. Now that I’ve recovered, let’s risk a closer look. Continue reading “JPANDS and HIV denialsim”

Malawi to curb fake AIDS healers

The Lancet (Vol 371:9615, March 8, 2008 p. 784) notes that the government of Malawi is working on legislation to prevent traditional and religious healers from deceiving people about AIDS. According to Mary Shaba, a Malawi health official, “when it [the proposed legislation] passes into law, all traditional healers claiming to cure AIDS will be dealt with…. The Act will regulate and protect people from healers who prescribe sex with albinos, the disabled or virgins as a cure for HIV and AIDS.”

According to the WHO, the HIV rate of about 14% in Malawi has helped reduce life-expectancy to 36 years.

Health officials say that traditional healers were involved in the drafting of the legislation.

This is huge. Really. If it works. There is so much bullshit out there about AIDS. The U.S. is full of HIV denialists, and their idiocy spreads to where it can do the most harm—Africa. Top African leaders, such as Thabo Mbeki have fallen prey to the denialists.

And let’s make no mistake—the “intellectual” home of HIV denialism is the U.S. where the impact is nothing near what it is in Africa. When folks like Peter Deusberg and Henry Bauer (post to follow) spread their nonsense and lies in North America, people have access to all manner of information resources and doctors. Not so much in Africa. If an African leader gets taken in, it can affect policy and have immediate repercussions.

While the fight against AIDS usually focuses (properly) on prevention and treatment, getting rid of the woos isn’t such a bad idea, and working to co-opt traditional healers is a great idea. The traditional healers could be a potentially powerful force in combating AIDS. The faith-healing churches are another problem altogether.

Good news on the HIV/AIDS front? Mbeki is out

While I can’t say for sure the new guy will be any better on HIV/AIDS denialism, it’s hard to image he’d be worse than South African President Thabo Mbeki, who just lost power.

The new guy sounds like a nutbag, but maybe we can see this issue, which negatively affects the lives of millions of South Africans, improve under new leadership. The LA Times coverage suggests Zuma will be more assertive on AIDS, but at the same time, there are serious criminal allegations against him and some really disgusting behaviors and actions which diminish enthusiasm.

Time will tell.

HIV/AIDS denialism is deadly – The sick bastards have another victim

If anyone has been deluded into thinking HIV/AIDS denialism isn’t dangerous or deadly, all one has to do is look at the fruits of their labor on the AIDS myth exposed message boards. Their latest monstrosity is to convince an HIV positive mother to refuse medical care and testing for her and her child. Momma2girls82 writes on their message board about becoming a denialist and asking for help from the denialist community:

So I’ve always been one to go ‘against the grain’. I firmly believe that one should question everything they are told ‘just is’ and determine their own beliefs based on their own research. And so here I am, questioning, learning everything I can because my life (or quality thereof) and that of my husband and children truly depends on it.

It seems so…. EASY to just believe HIV doesn’t really exist. I’ve just essentially been told that I have a fatal disease and that I will certainly die, quite possibly along with my beloved infant. Having that hanging over my head may likely cloud my judgment. I want desperately to really believe that this really is all a myth, but I’m afraid it’s just that I’m really seeking a feasible source for denial. Am I alone there – that this is all just too easy?

What I’ve come to understand is that the basic belief of a dissident is that HIV is in fact NOT the cause of an immune system debilitation that is killing people all around the world, but that HIV is just a form of antibodies found (naturally or otherwise) in some people but is not actually detrimental. The true cause of all the illness and immune deficiency is more likely caused by the toxins people are constantly bombarding their bodies with. So if everyone in the entire world ate healthful diets consisting of whole, raw foods, we would find that no one died of AIDS. Am I getting this right?

For those of you who are “positive” – do you ever question yourself and ask yourself “what if I’m wrong?” What if HIV really does exist, really does cause AIDS, and without medication, you might die? Are there some of you out there that truly believe, without any doubt, that you are right? Does just reading other people’s stories about ‘feeling better than ever before’ even with a t4 count of like, 25, convince you that this is all really true? What did it take to really convince you?

As for where I’m at right now… we are avoiding speaking to anyone except those from dissident groups until we can really get a good grasp on this incredible amount of information. I intend to learn quickly how to eat a truly healthful diet – my husband was raised on whole/raw foods so he’ll be a good resource – and I will make the necessary changes to ensure my family is getting the right foods. I have told my friend that was going to be tested tomorrow not to go, though I’m afraid she will anyway. I’ve ordered Stephen Allen’s video, I intend to speak with Christine [-ed Maggiore] as soon as possible, and order a copy of her book as well. I’m nursing my baby and have no plans to stop as of yet.

True to form, the denialists reassure her that her gross negligence is the correct course of action. They feed her the standard lies that they always do about the tests, safety of HAART, etc. Their replies are the same mixture of total nonsense and biological mumbo jumbo you always see from these cranks.

The truth is testing during pregnancy is perfectly accurate, antiretrovirals extend life and decrease the probability of maternal transmission to children, and since she got a confirmatory result this is no fluke.

The worst part is this woman is HIV positive and is breastfeeding her child which will increase the risk of the child acquiring HIV (studies have shown about 11% transmission, as high as 15% if breastfeeding is extended to the second year, and this is worsened by her refusal to take anti-retrovirals). It is not recommended for HIV + women to breastfeed children when viable alternatives exist, and the denialists are encouraging her to do so anyway – this is telling her to risk her child’s life for no good reason.

More below:
Continue reading “HIV/AIDS denialism is deadly – The sick bastards have another victim”

World AIDS day 2007 – Denialism is still a problem

Today is World AIDS day, and it’s important to take a minute to discuss HIV and AIDS since this blog addresses HIV/AIDS denialism.

While the the UN made a mistake overestimating world HIV/AIDS statistics (it is good news and not for the reasons cranks like) Estimates of new HIV transmission in the US are rising. This is bad news. At the same time you have HIV/AIDS denialists still persisting in spreading their nonsense, cranks like Michael Fumento spreading the misinformation that heterosexual transmission of HIV is a “myth”, and that the figures for Africa are a conspiracy by UNAIDS and WHO to get more money (he thinks 32 million is still too high and it’s more likely to be around 8 million).

Let’s go over some of the current data on HIV transmission, who is most at risk, why HIV/AIDS is still a problem in the US and worldwide, and why people like Fumento should keep their crank nonsense to themselves. As an added incentive, I’ll include a little email Fumento sent me a couple weeks ago at the bottom of the post. Before looking, guess which adjectives I receive, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Continue reading “World AIDS day 2007 – Denialism is still a problem”

The Short Memory of HIV/AIDS denialism

Greta Christina has sent me this link to her wonderful essay discussing the short memory required for HIV/AIDS denialism.

It is really a fantastic essay, personal and well-researched, and it covers a very important point. A lot of the anti-science attitudes we see are from people have no memory of what things were like before some medical intervention like vaccines, antibiotics, or in this case HAART. It’s easy to think there’s no problem with avoiding vaccination, or denying germ theory once the problem of these diseases are so well-controlled that there doesn’t seem to be a tangible benefit from the interventions anymore. Similar with HAART, HIV/AIDS denialists who for whatever reason have bought into the crankery, probably didn’t experience or can’t remember what a dramatic effect HAART had on survival rates of AIDS, or the sheer terror of the disease in the early days when no one knew the cause, or how it was transmitted. HAART and public health have been highly successful, and as a result AIDS awareness now occupies the back-burner. This will likely make HIV/AIDS denialism ripe for a resurgence as people ignorant of the history of the disease will have no personal experience to counter the lies of the cranks.

Unless, of course, people go read Greta’s essay, and spread it around the web.

HIV/AIDS crankery from a Catholic Archbishop

This is seriously disturbing. Archbishop Francisco Chimoio, who is head of the Catholic Church in Mozambique, is telling people that condoms are laced with HIV and HAART therapy is designed to finish you off. This is in a country with double-digit HIV infection rates.

Archbishop Chimoio told our reporter that abstention, not condoms, was the best way to fight HIV/Aids.

“Condoms are not sure because I know that there are two countries in Europe, they are making condoms with the virus on purpose,” he alleged, refusing to name the countries.

“They want to finish with the African people. This is the programme. They want to colonise until up to now. If we are not careful we will finish in one century’s time.”

This abstinence/anti-condom nonsense from the Catholic Church has got to stop. It doesn’t work. They are killing people with this message. And worse, Chimoio telling people that one of the truly effective methods of preventing infection is a cause of infection is one of the more despicable things I’ve ever heard. However, since they are opposed to condoms for any reason, I doubt that he will experience any kind of censure for spreading such obvious lies and distortions about condoms and HIV/AIDS treatments.

This “every sperm is sacred” nonsense isn’t just a joke anymore.

This policy of the church actually has the potential to kill people.

I knew it was just a matter of time

I knew eventually some crank would find John Ioaniddis’ work and manage to misrepresent it against science, well, the first to bat are the HIV/AIDS cranks. Fresh off this bizarre declaration from Harvey Bialey that he’d won the war against HIV science and is now going home, they’re back on the horse and using Ioannidis to hint all science is bunk (via selective bolding, wink wink, nudge nudge).

I’ve written previously about the importance of understanding Ioannidis’ work, it emphasizes the critical role of replication in biological science, not that biological science doesn’t work.

Continue reading “I knew it was just a matter of time”

HIV/AIDS denialism covered in PLoS!

Our very own Tara Smith and Steven Novella have teamed up to write an excellent paper covering the state of HIV/AIDS denialism in the Public Library of Science.

I love the article, and Tara and Steve do a great job covering all the critical aspects of denialism inherent in the HIV/AIDS denialist movement. Starting with prominent deniers who are largely responsible for the movement, they go on to cover the basic conspiracy theories that really are inseparable from any denialist argument, the classic goalpost moving technique, fake experts, anti-consensus nonsense (also known as the Galileo gambit – a critical component of being a crank) and the basic logical fallacies underlying the denialist opinion. The only thing that seems to be missing is cherry-picking, but hey, 4 out of 5 ain’t bad.

It really is a remarkable and concise summary of HIV/AIDS denial, its history, and the classic tactics of a denialist movement exposed. It’s at PLoS so it’s free, so check it out. Great job Tara and Steve!