The 30min film Positive Hell is now available to rent or purchase via the front page of the IRF site.
Following VICE’s interview of Joan Shenton by Gareth May, the magazine’s senior editor, Eleanor Morgan, has written a piece rebuffing “AIDS denialism”. While there are plenty of comments on it from dissidents I will add my own here.
Morgan says that Shenton’s argument can be boiled down to: “AIDS is a Big Pharma conspiracy and the drugs companies manufacturing the antiviral medications are, along with compliant governments, cooking up a big, stinking, witches-around-the-cauldron plot to keep themselves swimming in cash.” – This is incorrect. Shenton alleges scientific misconduct by Robert Gallo and a world fearful of criticising a bankrupt theory because of sexual and racial sensitivities associated with it.
Morgan believes that the appropriate label for Shenton is “denialist”. But Shenton does not deny the illnesses defined as AIDS. Her positions have been sympathetic to Peter Duesberg (HIV exists but is harmless) and the Perth Group (HIV does not exist, what is measured is an unreliable non-causative marker of AIDS). On that basis, the apt word is indeed “dissident”, because, by dictionary definition, she opposes the official policy on AIDS. Not AIDS itself.
Morgan does not believe AZT (a DNA-chain terminator) is toxic when its mechanism is nothing other than cytotoxic (cell killing). Because AZT can kill anything and everything, it is not surprising that it can help against many microbial insults that are the result rather than the cause of immunodeficiency, for example TB. In the end, the same mechanism that is useful to a patient will be detrimental in the long run. The dissident position opposes bombing the immune system over a phantom and instead supports buttressing it in a way that is pertinent to the affected.
Editor of Beyond Positive, Tom Hayes, makes a false association between faith healers and AIDS dissidents. While there are dissidents who support emotional strength as one aspect of immunity, it takes away to divorce it from the diverse picture that dissidents present to deal with various causes of immunodeficiency.
Though possibly a typo, Morgan suggests “Shenton’s idea that HIV can be contracted through amyl nitrate (poppers) is also laughable”. Shenton has never said that HIV can be contracted through poppers, only that poppers can be attributable to AIDS, and thus capable of flagging as HIV. Another, forgivable, typo, because of widespread usage, is referring to the ‘HIV virus’ when you should either refer to HIV or HI virus.
On the subject of Mbeki’s tenure: “the result was 300,000 unnecessary deaths and over 35,000 infants infected with HIV. . . . These stats aren’t conjecture – they’re death counts.” Actually, this is conjecture. The estimates in the Chidgwedere et al. paper were found to have no echo in real outcome according to statistics unearthed by the Duesberg et al. paper that was removed from Medical Hypotheses with no good reason [reprinted in Positively False reprint]. Morgan evidently did not read the papers, just the news article.
Morgan and Hayes are not so much challenging “AIDS denialism” than throwing darts at a caricature of us.