Monday, November 21, 2005

A herd of Zebras

AIDS "dissidents" are the creationists of the medical world.... in the early 80's when there were a host of competing theories on the cause of AIDS swirling about, they had their place, but now that we have mountains of evidence that a little retrovirus called HIV is the cause of AIDS, you would think they would accept that they were incorrect and focus on the real issue of how to deal with this virus. Instead, unable to convince the scientific and medical community, they started a PR campaign designed to convince credulous politicians and desperate patients that HIV was just an innocent virus in the wrong person at the wrong time, and that the real cause of AIDS was AZT, or 'toxins', or 'lifestyle'....

This would all be well and good if usenet discussions and online blogging were all that mattered, but these people convince patients to forgo treatment, and have even convinced governments to hold off on prescribing anti-HIV drugs! Again, actions driven by ideology with very real and painful consequences for real people.

Orac over at respectiful insolence discusses one example of this, where a child died because her mother was adamant that HIV did not cause AIDS, and where those with ideological axes to grind are fighting to relabel what is very clearly death by HIV infection as something else.

Highly recommended reading.