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HIV and Aids: debate or denial?

24 October 2009

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Ben Goldacre writes in The Guardian:

A lot of strange stuff can fly in under the claim that you are "simply starting a debate". You may remember the Aids denialist documentary House of Numbers from three weeks ago. Since then, it has received many glowing outings. The London Raindance film festival explained that they were proud to show it, and a senior programmer appeared on YouTube saying they had gone through the film at 15-second intervals, finding no inaccuracies at all.

This is pretty good for a film which suggests that HIV doesn't cause Aids, but antiretroviral drugs, or poverty, or drug use do, or HIV probably doesn't exist, diagnostic tools don't work, and Aids is simply a spurious basket diagnosis invented to sell antiretroviral medication for a wide range of unrelated problems, and the treatments don't work either.

But now the film has received an even more prominent platform. Here is Fraser Nelson, political editor of the Spectator, promoting the Spectator event next Wednesday at which they will be screening this film: "Is it legitimate to discuss the strength of the link between HIV and Aids? It's one of these hugely emotive subjects, with a fairly strong and vociferous lobby saying that any open discussion is deplorable and tantamount to Aids denialism. Whenever any debate hits this level, I get deeply suspicious."

Of course people will have some concerns. Despite international outcry, from 2000 to 2005 South Africa implemented policies based on the belief that HIV does not cause Aids, and declined to roll out adequate antiretroviral therapy. It has been estimated in two separate studies that around 350,000 people died unnecessarily in South African during this period.

Read the full article.


House of Numbers

An AIDS denialist film "House of Numbers" is doing the rounds at film festivals and is being promoted to college campuses and similar venues. AT has published several items about the misinformation contained in the film. For comprehensive information on the lies and distortions in the film, visit Inside House of Numbers.


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