The scientific evidence for HIV/AIDS

Health24 on Christine Maggiore

Christine Maggiore with Thabo MbekiChristine Maggiore with Thabo MbekiMarcus Low of has published an insightful piece on Christine Maggiore's death, including her impact in South Africa. He writes:

Like Maggiore, denialists often claim they are exercising freedom of speech and that mainstream medicine is silencing dissent – Maggiore herself at times claimed only to be presenting an alternative – there is clear evidence of the impact that pseudoscience and Aids denial has had on the health of South Africans. Last year Harvard researchers said it was a conservative estimate that more than 330 000 lives had been lost to HIV/Aids in South Africa between 2000 and 2005 simply because the government failed to implement a feasible and timely antiretroviral treatment programme.

In addition, an estimated 35 000 babies were born with HIV during that same period because of government's reluctance to introduce a mother-to-child transmission prophylaxis programme using nevirapine (an anti-Aids drug).

Not implementing such programmes is of course exactly what Maggiore was campaigning for.

According to [AIDSTruth contributor Nathan] Geffen, Aids denialism is declining, partly because Mbeki and Tshabalala-Msimang are no longer controlling South Africa's health system. New Health Minister Barbara Hogan was quick to go on record stating that "we know that HIV causes Aids."

Nevertheless, Geffen points out, there are still thousands of fake Aids cures being sold in South Africa, and getting rid of this kind of quackery will not be easy. For example, Peggy Nkonyeni, Kwazulu-Natal MEC for Health, has been reported to have close ties with a number of people selling untested cures. She also made headlines for suspending a doctor who had provided antiretroviral drugs to HIV-positive pregnant women attending an antenatal clinic in the province.

Geffen says we have our own Maggiores here ‘and they are far more deadly than her’. ‘Her (Maggiore's) book was featured on Criselda Kananda's radio show (on MetroFM). Kananda, like Maggiore, continues to try to convince people to take medical decisions that will likely result in their avoidable death,’ said Geffen.

Kananda, who has tested HIV positive herself, told the Citizen newspaper she will never take antiretrovirals because ‘they are a deadly and easy way out’. Like Maggiore she insists HIV does not cause Aids, and that Aids is instead the result of a compromised immune system, of living an unhealthy lifestyle and being attacked by infectious diseases.

Read the full article.