In the news

These stories appearing in the mainstream media are considered relevant by the AIDSTruth team.

New book: Denying AIDS by Seth Kalichman

A new book on AIDS denialism by Seth Kalichman will become available in March 2009. AIDSTruth will post a review. The publisher's details:

Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy

Seth C. Kalichman, University of Connecticut

Paralleling the discovery of HIV and the rise of the AIDS pandemic, a flock of naysayers has dedicated itself to replacing genuine knowledge with destructive misinformation—and spreading from the fringe to the mainstream media and the think tank. Now, from the editor of the journal AIDS and Behavior, comes a bold exposé of the scientific and sociopolitical forces involved in this toxic evasion. Denying AIDS traces the origins of AIDS dissidents’ disclaimers during the earliest days of the epidemic and delves into the psychology and politics of the current denial movement in its various incarnations.

Widespread AIDS quackery in South Africa exposed

The South African Health-e news agency has exposed widespread preying on people with HIV by quacks who peddle fake AIDS cures. Their TV documentary “Quack Alert” was broadcast on popular current affairs programme "3rd Degree" on 25 November. The script of the documentary can be read here. Their article "Quacks do good business in SA" describes how fake doctors openly advertise AIDS cures and swindle desperate (and mostly poor) patients out of large amounts of money. Some even promise to solve financial and relationship problems or improve sexual performance. They also expose how the provincial Minister of Health in South Africa's worst-affected province supports quacks and wants the fake AIDS cure "Ubhejane" distributed in a state-funded hospice. AIDSTruth contributor Nathan Geffen writes about the humorous side of quackery in a piece titled "Why Ozone Rectal Therapy is not the next cure for AIDS".

The importance of epidemiology in the early days of the HIV epidemic

Harold Jaffe's new article "The early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the USA" emphasises the power of the epidemiological method to gain an understanding of disease pathogenesis by recounting some of the work done before the isolation of HIV. He says,

Although the importance of [the discovery of HIV] cannot be underestimated, it is also important to understand the epidemiological work that preceded the discovery. It was this work that established AIDS as being most likely caused by a transmissible agent, defined the transmission routes of the agent, suggested its natural history and also provided the basis for initial prevention guidelines.

Another fraudulent "AIDS treatment" advertisement banned in South Africa

The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASASA) has upheld a complaint by the Treatment Action Campaign against an advertisement for fraudulent treatment for HIV which appeared in the Sowetan newspaper on 6 June 2008.

Carter glad to see Mbeki go

The Daily Dispatch reports that former US President Jimmy Carter has said of former South African President and AIDS denialist Thabo Mbeki, “Frankly I am glad to see him gone.” Carter also reportedly said that the closest he had ever been to a fist fight was when Mbeki told him that anti-retrovirals for mothers infected with HIV/Aids was a plot of white people against black people.

Richard Wilson on the difference between doubt and dogmatism

Richard Wilson writes in the New Statesman about his new book "Don't get fooled again." From the piece:

In South Africa, at the beginning of this decade, Aids scepticism gained currency with a political class dismayed at the prices being charged for life-saving medicines. Under the influence of Duesberg and his fellow "dissidents", Thabo Mbeki's government chose to delay for several years public provision of anti-HIV drugs. The economist Nicoli Nattrass estimates that this decision - made amid one of the world's worst Aids epidemics - may already have cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

The Guardian investigates the Rath Foundation and the other nutritionists who prey on the vulnerable in South Africa

Chris McGreal investigates Matthias Rath and other charlatans in South Africa in No drugs, just take vitamins: the dangerous advice to cure HIV.

Last week the vitamin campaigner Matthias Rath abandoned a libel suit against the Guardian that had been prompted by articles in which he was accused of endangering thousands of lives by promoting his own pills while denouncing more conventional medicines. Rath focuses his business in eight countries across the world through his website, but it was in South Africa - where he gave them away for free - that his activities generated most concern. Here Chris McGreal investigates the Rath Foundation, and the highly controversial claims of other 'nutritionists' working in the country worst affected by the Aids epidemic, who insist their remedies are the solution to a crisis affecting millions of lives.

Matthias Rath drops libel action against Guardian - admits defeat

Matthias Rath, the notorious AIDS denialist and vitamin salesman who has campaigned against anti-retrovirals and peddled vitamins as AIDS cures has dropped his libel action against the Guardian newspaper. He sued over articles criticising his activities in South Africa where he conducted illegal clinical trials and persuaded countless people to stop taking anti-retroviral medication.

Read the Guardian's reports:

Canadian AIDS researcher and opponent of denialists honoured

Mark Wainberg, Canadian AIDS pioneer and outspoken critic of AIDS denialism has been named a Chevalier of France’s Légion d’Honneur.

See the Canadian Jewish News or the Montreal Gazette.

"Professor Billy" withdraws advertising of AIDS cure after complaint

Professor Billy advertised an AIDS "cure" in South Africa. The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa has often ruled against advertisements like these after complaints by the Treatment Action Campaign and others. In this case the company has agreed to withdraw the advertising. The ruling of the ASASA is attached.

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