It’s been awhile since I’ve written about HIV/AIDS denial on here. To be honest, the whole area has just burned me out a bit; it gets tiresome to even discuss issues with people who so fundamentally deny the basic tenets of microbiology and infectious disease epidemiology. But in my absence, there’s been quite a bit going on, much of it collected here at the AIDStruth website. However, I have to draw your attention to a notable story today.
The first is like something out of “Law and Order.” An HIV-positive man is appealing his conviction in Australia of endangering the lives of three women via unprotected sex:
South African-born Andre Chad Parenzee, 34, infected one of the women, a mother of two, but the other two tested negative to the virus. He had told the three of them that he had cancer.
He was convicted in 2004; he’s appealing the case, and HIV deniers are playing a role in the defense, by denying the existence of HIV itself, and saying it’s just fine to have unprotected sex with someone who tests positive for HIV:
A MEDICAL physicist at Royal Perth Hospital has declared that she would have unprotected sex with an HIV-positive man, believing she would not be at risk of infection.
Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos was giving testimony at the Supreme Court of South Australia during an appeal by a man convicted of exposing three women to HIV.
She was asked by prosecutor Sandi McDonald whether “you would have unprotected vaginal sex with a HIV-positive man”.
“Any time,” replied Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos.
For those unfamiliar with the Perth group, this includes Papadopulos-Eleopulos and Valendar Turner (you can read interviews with them here for Papadopulos-Eleopulos and here for Turner), both of whom are listed as witnesses for the defense.
The group’s key claim is that HIV has never been isolated and identified as a retrovirus. HIV is the result of the misinterpretation of laboratory phenomena and experiments, the group says.
So, what does then cause AIDS? Anal sex and sperm. No, I’m not joking:
Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos says AIDS is a disease that results from the oxidising of the inside of the body from repeated exposure to semen resulting from passive anal intercourse. It is not a “virus” and cannot be “transmitted” from one person to another during sex.
[Turner and Papadopulos-Eleopulos' testimony] has spurred at least seven eminent Australian HIV-AIDS researchers to give evidence for the prosecution.
That evidence starts today with a video link-up from the South Australian Supreme Court in Adelaide to David Cooper, director of the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research at the University ofNSW.
Immunologist Gustav Nossal is expected to give either written or oral evidence next week, along with renowned HIV-AIDS researcher and University of Melbourne associate professor Elizabeth Dax.
[HIV researcher] Professor Peter McDonald will also take the stand, but yesterday he expanded on claims made in court by the prosecution that The Perth Group was misrepresenting published scientific papers to support its claims about HIV and AIDS.
Royal Perth Hospital, where both Turner and Papadopulos-Eleopulos are employed, seems suitably embarrassed by their employees’ side research:
RPH executive director Philip Montgomery said: “Royal Perth Hospital does not support The Perth Group’s views on HIV, and group members have been instructed that they will not use any hospital resources for work related to their private research.
“Furthermore, the staff have also been instructed that their private research should not be linked in any way to Royal Perth Hospital.”
An interesting circus, it seems, but it’s sad that time and money are being wasted on this nonsensical claptrap. I haven’t heard any estimates on how much longer the trial will run for, but I’ll update when the decision comes back.