Wednesday, 31 December 2008

...the Spirit that always denies!

I'm sure we should never feel glad that a fellow human being has died. However, the death of Christine Maggiore, the renowned (or notorious) AIDS denier, almost certainly of AIDS, suggests poetic justice. It is difficult to defend a mother who would allow her three-year old daughter to die because of her misplaced beliefs.

What has this to do with Indonesia? Sadly, once again there are those here who are touting the idea that AIDS is not caused by HIV, and that AZT is a killer. A couple of recent postings on the Spiritia Forum, one quoting at length from " expert pathologist and toxicologist, Dr. Mohammed A. Al-Bayati", who also maintains that "HIV Does Not Cause AIDS." These threads have attracted many readers and a number of responses, some from folk taking ARVs who appear ready to be convinced.

Although not causing the same degree of furore in Indonesia as 'porous condoms', to me these statements are even more dangerous. Following the posting a year or so back on the Indonesian language AIDS mail list of links to the denialist web sites, our eminent epidemiologist defended this, on the grounds that we must be willing to accept all opinions. Opinions, my foot! If I was to publish the 'opinion' that avian flu was caused by aspirin, there would be hell to pay!

If people are persuaded that AIDS is not caused by HIV, but by malnutrition and AZT (as I understand the deniers maintain), why should they bother with condoms, porous or not? AZT is indeed a toxic drug (like many others), and it wouldn't need much to persuade some people using it (and surviving because of it) to stop taking it. The pseudo-scientific 'proof' presented by Maggiore and her mentor Prof (another one!) Duesberg is difficult to fight - but fight it we must!