Richard Wilson's blog

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Ben Goldacre on the death of Christine Maggiore

with 3 comments

From The Guardian

Maggiore’s views on HIV were driven by the work of Peter Duesberg, a well-known Aids denier. He was unable to persuade other scientists that his views on HIV were correct, but he did very well with journalists, most notably Neville Hodgkinson, former science correspondent of the Sunday Times.

Over two years in the early 1990s the paper published a series of lengthy articles rejecting the role of HIV in causing Aids, calling the African Aids epidemic a myth. It was all a scam to make money and defend reputations, they said.

Things got so bad that Nature, probably the world’s most important academic journal, published an editorial describing the Sunday Times coverage as “seriously mistaken, and probably disastrous”.

Duesberg went on to great things, including South Africa’s president Thabo Mbeki’s disastrous presidential advisory panel on Aids. It was here that the country’s Aids-denialist policies were set into play, with tragic consequences. One demographic modelling study estimates that if the South African government had used antiretroviral drugs for prevention and treatment at the same rate as the Western Cape, around 171,000 new HIV infections and 343,000 deaths could have been prevented between 1999 and 2007.

Aids is the opposite of anecdote: three million people died of it last year. Hundreds of thousands of lives, perhaps millions, have been lost because of a stupid idea, promoted by stupid people. To the best of my knowledge, not one has either apologised or clarified their stance. Just don’t let anyone tell you pseudoscience is harmless.

Written by Richard Wilson

January 4, 2009 at 8:17 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Helloooo…? Where are the denialists? Seriously, I am curious to see how they are framing this?

    Tyson Koska

    January 6, 2009 at 12:35 pm

  2. BSE

    January 6, 2009 at 2:13 pm

  3. Take out the researchers, etc that are making $$ off AIDS and the fraud becomes more visible. Take out the goofs who listen to researchers, etc who are making $$ off AIDS and the whole story dies. Ben Goldacre – one of the $$ makers – even for a journalist this seems to be a PC goldacre.


    July 7, 2010 at 5:49 pm

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