Journalist becomes the story: Discover Magazine luvs teh denialists.

HT erv.

This is truly annoying because it is so patently wrong. It's wrong in lots of different ways, but I'll help point out some of the major flaws. What happens when journalist becomes the story, rather than reports it?

You see, there is this journalist, Celia Farber, who apparently has been following the HIV denialists since the beginning. From reading this interview with her in Discover Magazine, it would seem that she is suffering from some sort of Stockholm Syndrome. Not only that, but the journalist interviewing her shows a complete lack of suspicion, and seems to be one of those modern journalists who thinks that everything has two valid sides to report on. Not everything does.

Instead of chronicling the history of HIV denialism, she has truly drunk deep of the Flav-R-Ade. Ever wonder how to tell if a journalist has lost her objectivity? How about this?

It's changed in that so much of what the orthodoxy proclaimed has not come true. The paradigm has failed miserably on virtually all counts. So the orthodoxy right now is particularly venomous and vicious against anybody who is what they call an AIDS denialist.

Uh oh. I sense someone begging the question. The interviewer follows up with a WTF.

What are the failures of the paradigm?

Good question, but I would have also asked, "WTF is the 'HIV paradigm'?"

Response? Right out of the HIV denialist handbook: (all emphasis mine, --PalMD)

The chief one is what used to be called the heterosexual AIDS explosion, which was the model. It was the core of the HIV theory--that there was a virus that was lethal, that was transmissible via unprotected sexual intercourse, needles, and other methods of transmission--blood-to-blood transmission. What they actually said was that there was a model of tertiary transmission. So anybody who sleeps with anybody who sleeps with anybody who's ever slept with anybody who ever was a drug addict, et cetera. It was a very terrifying model.

Well, at least we can tell we're not dealing with a medical professional. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she isn't trying to lie.

No sane, competent medical organization has ever said that anyone who comes in contact with anyone, etc, ad infinitum is going to get HIV. That's just a lie (OK, someone lied; maybe she is just repeating it). Physicians and epidemiologists have always seen HIV like any other infectious disease---they have mapped it, found its transmission patterns, put together risk assessments. It's called science. Duh!

And as far as "heterosexual AIDS", um, ever been to Africa? Oh wait, I'm sure you'll have an excuse for that one. Nutrition? Toxins?

Wait, wait, there's more. After citing a single study about transmission, she bemoans the proliferation of panic-mongers, but at least there is a vigorous debate going on, right? Like in the New England Journal, or Lancet, or something?

Well, there's been a ruckus, a wild debate about this all over the Internet. At the very least, it means that the spread of HIV is extremely difficult, which is quite different than the terror, dread, bubonic-plague model we were given. That's just the first piece.

Once again, I have to wash the burning stoopid from mine eyes. I wouldn't think it would be so easy for a so-called journalist to ignore 25 years of some of the best medical and epidemiologic research ever done, but hey, I guess anything is possible.

Of course, no good HIV denialist could go anywhere without talking about AZT, the first HIV drug to actually show promise. It is not used as mono-therapy today (and hasn't been in years) because resistance develops too quickly. It still is a very important part of HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy), the treatment that has been responsible for saving so many lives. The science behind the therapy is interesting, but difficult. AZT inhibits one of the steps of viral replication. Thinks that's an oversimplification? Wait till you read this:

Here's what's strange about AZT's history. On a cellular level, AIDS is the opposite of cancer. Cancer is a proliferation of cells. And AIDS is a decimation of the cellular system. The first drug that was offered was a drug that decimates the cellular system. Why? Why treat an immune suppression with a powerful immunosuppressive drug? It makes sense in cancer. It does not make sense in AIDS. So that is a mystery I cannot answer. I do not think that they [the medical establishment] wanted to kill people. I chalk it down to the terror of the time. The terror of the virus has dissipated greatly. They basically used to say you'd fall down, bubonic-plague style, in the middle of the street. It was an irrational fear, and it was in advance of data. And it was drawing on cohorts of people who were very sick and were dying very fast.

The above reveals either a credulous misunderstanding of biology, or an outright lie. I hope it is the former (but this is in a science magazine, so...). I'm really starting to doubt she has ever spoken to real HIV researchers or doctors, or cracked open a biology text. I don't think she knows a reverse transcriptase from a typewriter ribbon.

Look, I'm not going to fisk the entire story, but I do want to point out just a couple more logical fallacies. We started up top with "begging the question". Why don't we move on to the argumentum ad ignorantium?

Interviewer: "So do you believe that it's impossible to transmit the disease through sexual contact?"

Idiot: "I have lived in New York City for the last 20-some years, and I don't know anybody who has acquired HIV through sexual contact. "

Well that says it all, doesn't it? She doesn't personally know anyone (as far as she knows) who has gotten HIV through sex. Well, let's see, if we're going that way---I'm an actual doctor, and I know hundreds of people who have. I win.

Look, there's no sense in going any further in this inane interview. The real issue isn't that there is another really stupid HIV denialist out there. The story is that a major science magazine is giving her an outlet to spread her lies. This story doesn't have two sides. HIV causes AIDS, and we know quite a bit about the whole thing. Areas of disagreement arise in deciding priorities and approaches to research, prevention, and treatment. Giving a big spread to a denialist adds nothing. If I tell Discover that I've been following the gravity controversy, and I want an interview ("inverse square my ass!!), will they give it to me? I think not.

Perhaps Discover needs a lesson in skepticism. Volunteers?

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I'm boggled by the source. I expect this kind of thing in Harpers and Spin, not Discover.

"And as far as "heterosexual AIDS", um, ever been to Africa? Oh wait, I'm sure you'll have an excuse for that one. Nutrition? Toxins?"

Not to give any credence to the loonies, but as we all know there are factors that make heterosexual transmission much more likely in Africa, especially higher rates co-infections like TB, syph, schisto, etc. that affect the immune system (not simply immunosuppression but shifts in type of prevailing response Th1 vs Th2 and so on) or result in genital lesions.

Other factors, not sure how important they are: traditional medicine that uses injections (and reused needles), Southern Africa dry vagina preference (use of astringents - changing vaginal ecology, making abrasion more likely).

Aside: I'm a proponent of male circumcision, both infant and adult, for purposes of reducing STD transmission.

The stupid doesn't just burn; it sears with a thermonuclear blast.

I can't resist, however, pointing out that Celia Farber has in fact referred to yours truly as "low rent riff-raff."

That honor was one of the highlights of my three years of blogging. ;-)

Damn, Orac, now I'm actually jealous!

Southern African dry vagina preference???!!! Yikes.

By Steve Bloom (not verified) on 09 May 2008 #permalink

LOL! Mike FTW!

Pop by a local library to check out the current Discover spread on Duesberg... Im at writing to Discover about it.

"HAART ... the treatment that has been responsible for saving so many lives."

Well that's a credulous statement. How can you possibly know how many lives it has saved?

You're assuming HIV infection generally progresses to AIDS, but you have no basis for assuming that. If you give an HIV patient HAART and they never get AIDS, you assume they were cured by HAART. But it's just as possible, or more possible, that they never would have gotten AIDS.

Lots of people are tested for HIV now. There is a great difference between noticing that all AIDS patients are HIV positive, and the fact that SOME HIV patients get AIDS.

No one knows if AZT works or if HAART works. The early AZT trials were cut short because of the assumption that AZT was working. AZT became the gold standard, even though no one knows if it helps more than it harms.

Now new AIDS drugs are compared against AZT. There are no trials of HAART versus no toxic drugs. We don't know how well, or if, the drugs help patients, and we don't know if some patients are killed by the drugs. They are extremely toxic. If they inhibit the reproduction of HIV it might be just because they inhibit life in general.

Because you never compare the new drugs to no drugs, or to alternative treatments, you cannot draw any conclusions about the safety or effectiveness of HAART.

If you say that HIV patients are surviving and staying healthier longer thanks to HAART, well that is completely unfounded. How can you know? You have no basis for assuming HIV generally progresses to AIDS.

Learn something. The stupid is burning my eyes.

Howzit Colugo (if you remember our discussion on this last year over at ERV on a similar thread that went insanely ridiculous).
I must say that here in South Africa, the government still seems to be determined to screw up the HIV policy. However, with a good bit of private sector initiatives, and some passionate dudes in the leagal sector, there are some serious efforts being made to change things.
The longer I am here, the more I am convinced it is about education (as expected).
When Jacob Zuma testified in his rape trial that it was part of his culture when he had unprotected sex with a woman with whom he knew was HIV+, I asked some Zulu peeps I worked with at the time if what he said was true, and they said only if you are a high profile politician on trial (OK not exactly what they said, but you get the point).
Again, I was speaking to EDUCATED Zulu people (Zuma is educated too, so I'm not saying it's everything), but like other educated people (Afikaans, Zulu, Xosa, Tswane, English, Coloured does not matter), only someone ignorant or misguided believes that that type of behaviour is rational, let alone normal.

By scienceteacher… (not verified) on 09 May 2008 #permalink

I forgot to mention, it seems that it will be worse here. While President Mbeki and his health minister Msimange are arguablly HIV/AIDS denialists, it seems that Zuma will be the next president.
The man who testified that he took a shower after the sex mentioned above to prevent HIV infection.
And on a side note, I still see you always get a troll on these things. Yeah Pec, are you kidding me with that same old crap?? The docs are only saying HIV causes AIDS so that they can claim victory for the treatments they come up with. How novel...

By scienceteacher… (not verified) on 09 May 2008 #permalink

pec, you're a friggin' idiot, as usual.
And generally, we don't welcome HIV denialists around here. If you have something productive to add (which is doubtful), then fine. Otherwise, take it elsewhere.

Damn, Orac, now I'm actually jealous!

Don't worry. You're still fairly new. It took me a couple of years of blogging to be noticed by people like Celia Farber. (Granted, it took me only around six months to be noticed by J.B. Handley.) I'm sure you'll manage to have a high profile loon like Farber insult you soon enough. The day that happens, you'll know you've truly arrived as a skeptical blogger.

scienceteacherinexile: "The longer I am here, the more I am convinced it is about education (as expected)."

I totally agree. Education to correct the myths surrounding sex and HIV would go a long way. And so would better governance, as the powerful HIV nuts in SA demonstrate.

Colugo said "I'm boggled by the source. I expect this kind of thing in Harpers and Spin, not Discover."

Nah, Discover has become a rag. I noticed it a couple of years ago with their stupid article on the dangers of mercury. The author had a short paragraph that mentioned the MMR vaccine. I wrote them and asked them why they included the MMR vaccine in an article about mercury without even mentioning that it is a live virus vaccine that has never contained thimerosal.

Absolutely no response. Plus, the next issues seemed to have very watered down criticisms to that article in the Letter to the Editor.

We had picked up a subscription to support son's school, but decided to not bother with renewing it after it expired.

If you give an HIV patient HAART and they never get AIDS, you assume they were cured by HAART. But it's just as possible, or more possible, that they never would have gotten AIDS.

By your idiot logic, which is based solely on your refusal to find out how anything works, not actual facts, if someone with the flue spits in my face and I failed to get the flue it would instantly disprove the flue virus, antiseptic treatments and flue shots, right? PalMD is right, you are an idiot.


there is no credible research to show that circumcision affects Transmission of STD's. It's simply Religious Mutilation that has become almost a common practice for no good reason.

Re: circumcision, this paper was published but heavily criticized - PLoS ONE permits ongoing discussions, so feel free to jump in.

I'm boggled by the source. I expect this kind of thing in Harpers and Spin, not Discover.

Discover underwent a change of ownership a couple years ago, and some turbulence since then.Guccione Jr. Out as Discover CEO

By Bayesian Bouff… (not verified) on 10 May 2008 #permalink

PalMD doesn't want me here because questioning AZT and HAART is very bad for business. He can't explain why he thinks these drugs are so wonderful, and he would rather not think too much about it. What if the drugs are not saving lives?

The reason he can't cite any clear evidence in favor of the drugs is that there is none. When there is no conclusive evidence for either side of a controversy, you believe whatever you want to be true. PalMD loves to believe that mainstream medicine has been making great progress against the major killers, including AIDS. He loves to think he's really smart and vastly superior to anyone who believes any aspect of non-materialist science.

What if the AIDS drugs don't work, or don't work very well, or harm more than they help? That would shake PalMDs world. So he prefers to ignore the fact that there is controversy, that the scientific consensus is based on fear and denial. No one wants to damage their career so they better just go along with the drug companies.

What if the AIDS drugs don't work, or don't work very well, or harm more than they help?

What if porcine aeronauts emanate from one of your bodily orifices?

By Bayesian Bouff… (not verified) on 10 May 2008 #permalink

pec, you fracking moron, Oh, for dog's sake, learn something!

Try for specific studies proving the efficacy of AZT and other ARVs.

Some highlights:

Jordan et al. (2002) Systematic review and meta-analysis of evidence for increasing numbers of drugs in antiretroviral combination therapy. BMJ 2002;324:757.

"Using one antiretroviral reduced progression to AIDS or death by 30% against placebo.
Using two antiretrovirals reduced progression to AIDS or death by 40% against one antiretroviral
Using three antiretrovirals reduced progression to AIDS or death by 40% against two antiretrovirals"

NIH (2006) International HIV/AIDS Trial Finds Continuous Antiretroviral Therapy Superior to Episodic Therapy.

This randomised trial compared patients who took HAART continuously to patients who took structured treatment breaks. The rate of progression to AIDS or death in the continuous treatment arm was half the structured treatment break arm.

Palella et al. (1998) Declining Morbidity and Mortality among Patients with Advanced Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection. New England Journal of Medicine. Volume 338:853-860.

"Mortality among the patients declined from 29.4 per 100 person-years in 1995 to 8.8 per 100 person-years in the second quarter of 1997. There were reductions in mortality regardless of sex, race, age, and risk factors for transmission of HIV. The incidence of any of three major opportunistic infections (Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, Mycobacterium avium complex disease, and cytomegalovirus retinitis) declined from 21.9 per 100 person-years in 1994 to 3.7 per 100 person-years by mid-1997. In a failure-rate model, increases in the intensity of antiretroviral therapy (classified as none, monotherapy, combination therapy without a protease inhibitor, and combination therapy with a protease inhibitor) were associated with stepwise reductions in morbidity and mortality. Combination antiretroviral therapy was associated with the most benefit ..."

Now, are you just repeating lies you have been told, or are you actively a liar? You've been shown the evidence. Are you man enough to modify your position? Or will you continue to deny the evidence?

I've got a bet placed on this one...

Ah, but see. We can't just wave a magic wand and "cure" it, like we do cancer (oh, wait no...), lupis? hmm, not that either, etc., etc., etc. And in Pec's insane world, if something is too complicated to "fix" with a bandaid, doctors a) don't know what they are doing, b) have ***all*** of their facts about it wrong, and c) some unproven, almost completely untested, and when used, failing, idea about how it works, which is based on bullshit is the *right* answer.

I don't want to feed the troll. However, everyone should know the AZT trial was stopped, early, not because of any "assumptions." It was stopped because AZT was so obviously effective that it was unethical to continue to administer placebo: Hirsch and Kaplan, ANTIMICROBIAL AGENTS AND CHEMOTHERAPY, June 1987, p. 839-843. Downloaded from (a PDF file).

New AIDS treatments are always compared against the earlier AZT-only treatments. They are never compared against no treatment, or non-toxic treatments. So if a newer drug combination is a little less toxic than high doses of AZT only, the newer treatment will appear to be effective.

But you have no way of knowing if the newer HAART treatments are better than nothing, because you have not tested that. Is medical science supposed to be evidence-based or faith-based?

The question has not been answered because it has not been asked. And everyone who wonders about any aspect of HIV and AIDS is labeled an HIV denier and becomes a target of rage.

Can you see why the effectiveness and safety of HAART is unknown?

I am NOT saying a treatment has to be a complete cure in order to be worthwhile. But a treatment should do more good than harm, and you really have no way to know if that is the case with HAART. Because you are comparing it to the early high-does AZT treatments, which may have been deadly.

Another major problem with AIDS/HIV research is that the number of patients diagnosed as HIV positive has increased. In the earlier days of AIDS people were not tested for HIV unless they had AIDS. As HIV testing increased, HIV diagnoses increased. So more people with HIV, but not necessarily AIDS, were treated. Since we have no reason to assume that HIV infection always, or often, progresses to AIDS, the data can be extremely biased.

For example, let's say in 1990 100 patients were found to be HIV infected and 50 of them died within 5 years. This outcome is, let's say, compared to another 100 HIV patients in 2000, where only 20 of the later group died within 5 years. The conclusion is that the later AIDS treatments are more effective at preventing death than the earlier treatments.

But you cannot draw that conclusion, since this outcome could result entirely from an increase in HIV testing. If an HIV infected patient is treated with HAART and survives longer than HIV patients survived in the 1980s or 1990s, it might have nothing to do with the treatment.

So the newer HAART treatments might be less toxic than high-does AZT-only treatments, resulting in comparatively lower mortality rates. And the newer patients might be over-diagnosed, because of the assumption that HIV always, or often, leads to AIDS.

I am NOT claiming that HAART doesn't work. I am just saying that most of the AIDS/HIV research is hard to interpret and misleading.

Pec, you're a liar. Read the links I cited above. Actually read, for once. HAART has been shown to be a vast improvement over no treatment, and a large improvement over AZT alone.

For pete's sake, read for comprehension.

"HAART has been shown to be a vast improvement over no treatment"

Well that has to be a lie, since depriving AIDS patients of conventional treatments is considered unethical. Experimental studies comparing HAART to placebo cannot have actually been done, can they? I read your links, and one of them claims to have made this comparison. But it's too vague to interpret. How exactly did they get permission to deprive AIDS patients of treatment?

"and a large improvement over AZT alone.and a large improvement over AZT alone."

Yes, but as I said high-dose AZT-only treatments were highly toxic. HAART might just be less toxic, less likely to cause liver failure, for example.

And, again, I am NOT saying I think HAART is harmful or worthless. I just don't know, and even though I have read a lot of the reports I have not found an answer.

pec, just curious - do you have any dissident or iconoclastic views on the following or any other topics?

9/11, free energy (entropy), JFK assassination, the Knights Templar / Illuminati, anthropogenic climate change, Intelligent Design

Gee, pec, I don't think we really need to study placebo effect in HIV/AIDS progression. We've got most of a continent where placebo is pretty much all they do. Any effect has to be better than none, right? Even your miniscule intellect should be able to wrap itself around that.

Reading for comprehension? Ur doin it rong!!1!!

Discover underwent a change of ownership a couple years ago, and some turbulence since then.
Guccione Jr. Out as Discover CEO

Ah. Google "Guccione Farber"

By Chris Noble (not verified) on 10 May 2008 #permalink

"We've got most of a continent where placebo is pretty much all they do."

If you compare American AIDS patients receiving HAART to African patients who are untreated there will be many confounding variables, such as extreme poverty and over-crowding.

And you can't draw definite conclusions without experimental comparisons anyway.


I am not at all into conspiracy theories. The 9/11 inside job theories are absurd.

And I don't think the AIDS drugs are a conspiracy either, just a possible mistake. A massive mistake. As "skeptics" are always saying, people can be good at fooling themselves.

Well, pec, if you had actually read the studies I linked to above, you would be able to see that AIDS drugs are effective, useful, and definitely *NOT* a mistake.

Reading for comprehension, remember?

Come back when you get out of the sixth grade.

OK, I'll stay above the fray and comment on a tangential point. You brought up the logical fallacy of begging the question--let's all commit to NOT saying "that begs the question ..." when we mean "that raises the question." Please?!?

No wonder Discover is looking more and more like Omni.

No wonder Discover is looking more and more like Omni.

I hadn't realised the full Bob Guccione Jr - Celia Farber - Anthony Liversidge - Spin - Omni- Discover connection before.

By Chris Noble (not verified) on 12 May 2008 #permalink

Its funny because of my set of pictures of denialists on flickr, two have been reported as "May offend" funnily enough both of them feature Celia Farber... considering that denialists are the first to scream censorship they sure do show themselves up as hypocrites by resorting to censorship as a first resort...

That aside. Excellent post which confirms that my dead grandmothers 1950s soft furnishings had more substance to them than Farber does... ; )

Oh, oh, oh - Guccione junior founded Spin and Gear - that means Celia Farber must have some "special standing" with him and that somehow facilitated the ability to "subvert" another journalist. Of course he is such a spectacular failure as a businessman that he allows his investigative journalists free rein with their slanderous muck because nepotism be damned - he bought Discover simply as an organ for Denialists. Oh Chris - you are a veritable genius.
BTW you really are a plonker - google "Guccione Farber" and you get 1 hit - your own inane comment.

By NobbleHead (not verified) on 15 May 2008 #permalink

"How exactly did they get permission to deprive AIDS patients of treatment?"

Because some smaller studies had suggested that intermittent treatment may be sufficient and have less side effects than continuous treatment. So they enrolled 5,472 people and randomized half to interrupt (or delay if they hadn't started) anti-HIV drugs while the other half continued (or started) anti-HIV drugs.

Most people in the study in both arms did fine but interrupting/delaying significantly increased the risk of death, serious illness and adverse events:

Studies of individuals not receiving treatment have been done, there were a bunch posted to the Aetiology blog ages ago.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2004 May 1;36(1):622-9.

The natural history of HIV-1 infection in young Thai men after seroconversion.

Rangsin R, Chiu J, Khamboonruang C, Sirisopana N, Eiumtrakul S, Brown AE, Robb M, Beyrer C, Ruangyuttikarn C, Markowitz LE, Nelson KE.

Department of Military and Community Medicine, Phramongkutklao College of Medicine, Bangkok, Thailand.

The natural history and progression of HIV-1 infection in Thailand and other developing countries in Asia and Africa have not been well defined. Nevertheless, valid data are needed to evaluate the effects of interventions, which are designed to delay progression. We evaluated the progression to AIDS and death in 235 men who seroconverted during their 2 years of service in the Royal Thai Army. The men were conscripted at age 21 and seroconverted within a 6-month window during follow-up while in the military. The seroconverters were matched with men who were seronegative when discharged. Of the HIV-positive men, 156 (66.4%) were alive, 77 (32.8%) had died, and 2 (0.8%) could not be located 5-7 years after their seroconversion and discharge from the military. The 5-year survival rate was 82.3%; the median times to clinical AIDS and a CD4 cell count of less than 200/microL was 7.4 years and 6.9 years, respectively. The mortality rate was 56.3 deaths per 1000 patient-years for HIV-positive men and 6.1 deaths per 1000 patient-years for HIV-negative men. Our data suggest a more rapid progression to AIDS and death after HIV-1 infection in young men in Thailand than has been reported for similarly aged cohorts in developed countries.

From the paper: "The medical records indicated that only 2 of the seroconverters had been treated with antiretroviral drugs; both had received zidovudine alone. Only 2 men had received isoniazid prophylaxis for tuberculosis, and 12 men had received trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole prophylaxis."

Scand J Infect Dis. 2004;36(6-7):466-73.

The natural course of disease following HIV-1 infection in dar es salaam, Tanzania: a study among hotel workers relating clinical events to CD4 T-lymphocyte counts.

Bakari M, Urassa W, Pallangyo K, Swai A, Mhalu F, Biberfeld G, Sandstrom E.

Department of Internal Medicine and Microbiology/Immunology Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences (MUCHS), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Current HIV management guidelines are based on natural history studies from the developed world. Data on the similarity of the natural course of HIV-1 infection conflict with studies in the developing world. A cohort of 1887 hotel workers with no access to antiretroviral therapy was followed between 1990 and 1998 in Dar es Salaam through annual clinical evaluations and CD4+ T-lymphocyte (CD4 cell) count determinations. 196 (10.4%) were HIV-1 sero-prevalents; 133 (7.9%) were HIV-1 sero-incidents; and 1558 (82.6%) remained HIV seronegative. Follow-up duration was 13,719 and 82,742 months for HIV-1 seropositives and HIV seronegatives respectively. Clinical events occurred at median CD4 cell counts similar to those previously reported from the developed world, but death occurred at higher counts. Off-duty last 6 months, chronic diarrhoea and a faster CD4 cell count decline were associated with faster disease progression and death. In Tanzania HIV natural history is similar to that from the developed world and similar management guidelines could be employed.

Data summary (outcomes during 3-4 years of follow-up):

43/196 (21.9%) people that were HIV-positive at the time of entering the study died (median CD4 count at last sampling prior to death, 90 cells)

22/133 (16.5%) people that seroconverted during the study died (median CD4 count at last sampling prior to death, 186 cells)

20/1558 (1.2%) people that remained seronegative died (median CD4 count at last sampling prior to death 634 cells)

From the paper:

"The median follow up-duration was 39, 41 and 46 months among HIV-1 seroprevalents, HIV-1 sero-incidents and HIV seronegatives respectively."

"During the study period, none of the subjects was on antiretroviral therapy. Chemoprophylaxis against TB and other bacterial infections were not offered to the study subjects, as this was not the recommended practice at the time."

"google "Guccione Farber" and you get 1 hit - your own inane comment."

I got 3,530 hits, including bits like this: "During her time as a writer at Spin, Farber was romantically involved with the magazine's publisher, Bob Guccione, Jr."

Also came across this, where Farber states her political views more clearly than usual:…

"The HIV dissent "movement," has no particular political tint, but one can readily state that it has been attacked almost exclusively by the haute left--the Voice, Nation, CJR, etc.

The conservative media mostly haven't weighed in, while the Libertarian media have more or less joined in the drubbing of dissidents as "denialists." (Brian Doherty at REASON is one notable exception.)

The left love government and more or less love Pharma, as an extention of Nanny State. They love sick people because sick people allow them to pump indignation, moral superiority, and facile notions about how and why sickness occurs, which places blame squarely at the feet of Daddy (which is a fusion of State, Corporations, Politicians, etc--never the individual who might wish to heal him or herself.)

The left love genetic determinsim and the concept of Viral Plagues, a la Laurie Garrett's unending glut of never fulfilled Plague scenarios.

The left essentially created the AIDS PR zeppelin as we know it, and their hatred of dissidents reflects this.

The right, I would say, are more open to the anti-pharmaceutical movement as they realize how much Big Pharma is morphing into Big Brother, and desecrating human freedoms. Ferocious attacks on HIV Rethinkers from the right are limited to Michael Fumento, and a few others here and there.

The HIV Rethinking movement is steeped in humanist values: An opposition to state coersion, "science" that is rogue and unproven and limits personal freedom starting with the freedom not to be killed, the importance of parental rights in the face of pharma/state violence, the importance of open debate and a free media, and last but not least, a rejection of the lurid racism implicit in the HIV paradigm.

For this reason, you will find people of all political persuasions, colors, ages, stripes in the HIV Rethinkers ever expanding tent--from conservative writer Tom Bethell to radical Olympic gold medalist Lee Evans.

Anybody who hopes to use it for political gain will be disappointed; It is the intersection of Lysenkoist science and whole new freedom movement in the pharmaceutical age.

The media have failed the story catastrophically, and been the driving force in the 24 year pogrom of censorship, violence, shaming, and professional assassination that has been the plight of every single journalist who tried to approach this as a story to simply be reported.

It has all been documented.

This is the big story here--how media managed to keep an elephant of a story in the room, invisible, for a quarter of a century, inside western democracies.

Fortunately, mass media is itself the shot and sagging elephant Orwell gave us to depict Colonialism in his famous essay. Going down slowly, unable to comprehend why."

"Southern Africa dry vagina preference"

This must be THE blanket statement of the century. Can anyone back this up?

Wow! This pec guy IS an idiot! Does he seriously deny all the people that are said to have died of AIDS before drugs like AZT or HAART were invented?

Dale Husband said "Wow! This pec guy IS an idiot! Does he seriously deny all the people that are said to have died of AIDS before drugs like AZT or HAART were invented?"

Observe pec in her glory here:

(and, okay, I admit my contribution was pitiful!)

Nobblehead writes:

Oh, oh, oh - Guccione junior founded Spin and Gear - that means Celia Farber must have some "special standing" with him and that somehow facilitated the ability to "subvert" another journalist. Of course he is such a spectacular failure as a businessman that he allows his investigative journalists free rein with their slanderous muck because nepotism be damned - he bought Discover simply as an organ for Denialists. Oh Chris - you are a veritable genius.
BTW you really are a plonker - google "Guccione Farber" and you get 1 hit - your own inane comment.

Guccione was instrumental in getting Celia Farber's early HIV denial pieces published. There was resistance from other people at Spin but Guccione got them through. Guccione is on the list of scientists (and journalists, engineers, conspiracy theorists and quacks) who deny that HIV causes AIDS. He seems to also be reponsible for Anthony "Tony Baloney" Liversidge's HIV denialist articles getting published in Omni while he was the editor. After Guccione took over Discover we start getting articles by Celia Farber and articles about Peter Duesberg.

All I am doing is noting a pattern here. (I don't think Guccione was sleeping with Liversidge though)

By Chris Noble (not verified) on 16 May 2008 #permalink

"He seems to also be reponsible for Anthony "Tony Baloney" Liversidge's HIV denialist articles getting published in Omni while he was the editor."

Childish disrespect and baloneous misinformation, gentlemen. No articles on "HIV denialism" (ie news about the very qualified people who have written peer reviewed articles in the best journal literature rejecting Chris Noble's favorite paradigm) were published by me in OMNI, except for one which included Peter Duesberg's mistreatment (ie the grossly political and unscientific response to his well reasoned, peer reviewed, copiously footnoted - ie based on mainstream claims and data - and evidently irrefutable pieces rejecting HIV=AIDS in Cancer Research, Proceedings of the National Academy etc) as one of three "Modern Galileos" (the others being Linus Pauling and Thomas Gold, not bad company).

Bob Guccione Jr the founder/editor of SPIN was never the editor or an editor of OMNI, and the editors of OMNI never had any favorable attitude towards HIV critics. In fact they had the standard mainstream media attitude, which was not to cover it responsibly in case they alienated their usual sources, ie the leaders of the field and of the career-and-funding profitable if grossly improbable paradigm, Anthony Fauci, Robert Gallo, David Baltimore, etc.

One year and two days later Anthony Liversedge corrects me.

He is totally correct. He only got one HIV Denialist piece published in Omni where he vainly compares Duesberg to Galileo. (Galileo Gambit).

Bob Guccione Sr not Jr was responsible for Omni. Neither father nor son were ever editors of the magazine. A stupid error on my part.

Happy now?

By Chris Noble (not verified) on 21 May 2009 #permalink

Excellent site, guys. I understand that you are jealous that Farber has noticed some of you, and not others. But, I can top you. She claims to have sued me- I'm not sure if she has or not. The suit even misspells the name of her purported lawfirm!

This must be one of the most bizarre chapters in the denialist history. I saw that a number of true scientists blogged her site today and drove Clark Baker nuts. If you get a chance, take a look, and leave a comment. But save your comment, because Clark will likely delete anything he doesn't like.

By the way, the New York Post fraudulently reported on this lawsuit- and they refuse to answer my request to set the record straight.

Here is the Farber site:…

By the way, Clark has it in for some poor woman named Maria Angus. He keeps deleting her blogs all over the internet. She may need some help. Show some support if you can.