Common Pseudoscientific Claims

Pseudoscience can be defined as claims that appear scientific even though they lack supporting evidence and plausibility. Pseudoscience does not advance, it does not move forward; there is no accumulation of knowledge.
Like denialism, pseudoscience evades, ignores, and avoids undeniable facts (Kalichman 57-58)

Pseudo-virology: HIV Does Not Exist
Virology is the scientific discipline that is concerned with the study of viruses and how they cause disease. Few AIDS pseudoscientists actually deny that HIV exists. Nonetheless, there are a few who doubt the very existence of HIV. 

Although there are unclear inconsistencies in their writings, the Perth Group most consistently denies the entire existence of the virus. The Perth Group had even gone so far as to offer a $20,000 prize to anyone who can prove that HIV does exist.

Amusingly, Peter Duesberg challenged the Perth Group, claiming that HIV actually has been isolated and proven to exist. However, he claims the virus does not cause AIDS. The Perth Group reproached Duesberg and denied him the cash prize.

The conclusion that HIV does not exist leads to the unsafe and equally irrational question as to why should a person get tested for HIV at all?


Pseudo-immunology I: HIV Exists but HIV Tests Are Invalid
Immunology is the branch of biomedical sciences that is concerned with all aspects of the immune system and its defenses against disease, including the production of antibodies. So, AIDS pseudoscientists who claim that "a person can test positive for HIV antibodies, but that does not mean that he or she has an HIV infection" have enquired into pseudo-immunology.

This claim is aimed at discouraging individuals from getting tested, and for people who have tested positive to disregard their diagnosis.

When done properly, HIV tests are among the most reliable tests in medicine, measuring in at 99.99% accurate!

Despite the proven reliability of these tests, pseudoscientists still argue that presence of HIV antibodies does not suggest AIDS. Their argument is that people with AIDS have an overabundance of antibodies because they have so many infections, therefore the HIV test is confusing other diseases with HIV. To someone who does not understand HIV testing, this may sound disturbing. However, in actuality, this is nonsense.

People like the Perth Group, Harvey Bialy, Rebecca Cushaw, and Henry Bauer rely on research that was conducted between 1985-1986 to show that it is possible to test HIV-positive when they in fact, the individual is HIV-negative.  When the test confuses the wrong antibody for the ones that the test is designed for, this is called a cross reaction. AIDS pseudoscientists use the most unlikely examples of cross reaction to distract attention away fro the accuracy of the tests.

Everyone Is HIV Positive
The most willful case of pseudo-immunology comes from Roberto Giraldo. HIV tests, like all antibody tests, require a standard protocol that involves diluting blood to reduce concentrations of blood serum to a constant level. To perform the test properly and get an accurate result, the blog sample must be properly prepared.

While working in a New York medical laboratory, Giraldo took it upon himself to answer the uncertain question "What makes HIV so unique that the test serum needs to be diluted 400 times? And what would happen if the individual's serum is not diluted?"

To answer these questions, Giraldo ran an experiment using the same test kit reagents that are normally used to run the ELISA test in most clinical laboratories around the world. First, he took samples of blood that, at 1:400 dilution, tested negative for HIV antibodies. At 1:1 (undiluted), all of the samples came back positive.

Pseudo-immunology II: HIV Does Not Cause AIDS
The majority of AIDS pseudoscience is rooted in Peter Duesberg's claim that HIV is a harmless virus that does not, and could not possibly cause AIDS. If one follows Duesber's view that HIV does not cause AIDS, surely they are asking what does?

Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos of the Perth Group says that AIDS is the result of lifestyle choices. Specifically, she is referring to promiscuity and/or homosexual intercourse, recreation drug use, or in the unfortunate case that a hemophiliac receive contaminated blood.

Pseudo-immunology III: HIV IS Necessary but Insufficient to Cause AIDS
Some pseudoscientists have stated that HIV contributes to the cause of AIDS but is too weak to cause AIDS itself. There are many other factors that can accelerate the progression of HIV, such as alcohol consumption, drug abuse, smoking, a number of infections, and some conditions of poverty.

These co-factors stimulate the immune system then activate CD4/T-Helper cells, which in turn trigger HIV replication, and therefore accelerate HIV disease progression.

Those who believe that HIV is insufficient to cause AIDS encourage people to make lifestyle changes in order to avoid the disease while also discouraging the use of antiretroviral medications.

Pseudo-pharmacology: HIV Treatments Are Toxic Poison
In the 1980s, the only treatment available for HIV infection  was the drug zidovudine (AZT). At the time, high doses of AZT causes serious side effects. Although it subjugated HIV replication and slower HIV disease, it only did so for a shirt period of time.

Fortunately, today's HIV treatments are much safer and more effective. Comparing treatment from then and now is like comparing the first cell phone to today's iPhone.

It is clear today, without a doubt, that people with AIDS today who receive treatment are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. During the 1980s and early 1990s, AIDS deaths climbed dramatically. Interestingly, since 1996, when combination therapies were introduced on a wide-scale, results have been stunning. Not only have AIDS deaths declined, the number of HIV/AIDS-related hospitalizations has plummeted.

Pseudo-epidemiology: HIV Is Not Sexually Transmitted
Epidemiology is the study of factors that influences illness and health in populations, including the spread of disease. Today, science leaves no doubt about the sexual transmission of HIV, specifically including its transmission through vaginal sex.

Pseudoscientists continually misquote the research of Nancy Padian and her studies of heterosexual couples. In one of her studies, Padian stated that IF safe sex is practiced, and there are no complicating factors, HIV transmission rates tend to be low. However, she does not deny that HIV can be transmitted through vaginal intercourse.

Despite the science, Stuart Brody, a sexologist at the University of Paisley, denies prevalence of HIV transmission via vaginal sex and actually goes as far as dissuading people from using condoms. Brody claims that the sexually transmitted HIV epidemic os due to anal  intercourse, not vaginal sex.

So, how do we explain the heterosexual HIV epidemic when more than 90% of heterosexuals with HIV/AIDS never report engaging in anal sex? According to Brody, it's simple- people just do not tell the truth about having anal sex.