Denialists Who Have Died

Ken Anderlini

Ken Anderlini was a co-moderator of the "AIDS Myth Exposed" message board on MSN. Anderlini died in April of 2007. Denialist David Crowe from the "Alberta Reappraising AIDS Society" wrote an announcement of his death, saying: "Over the past couple of years his health had declined rapidly with a strange neurological disease for which nobody could pinpoint the cause (except doctors who claimed it was HIV related, of course)."

Fela Anikulapo-Kuti

Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, the great Nigerian music star, "died in 1997 of a disease he claimed didn't exist, and certainly not in Africa: AIDS. No matter that Fela's older brother, Professor Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, had served as the country's health minister and launched Nigeria's much-lauded early AIDS program. . . . There was hardly an illness African herbs couldn't cure, Fela maintained, and he dismissed condoms as unnatural, unpleasurable, and a white plot to reduce the black birthrate. He believed, says Olikoye, that "all doctors were fabricating AIDS, including myself." Fela was 58.

Michael Bellefountaine

A member of the denialist ACT UP/San Francisco, Michael Bellafontaine died on May 10, 2007. He was 41. His Bay Area Reporter obituary said that "According to Andrea Lindsay, a friend and fellow activist, Mr. Bellefountaine died of a sudden systemic infection, though the exact cause has not been determined."

Sophie Brassard

Sophie Brassard, a Canadian, was the HIV-positive mother of two HIV-positive, perinatally-infected sons. Citing the influence of HEAL, Alive and Well, Duesberg and Mullis, she refused to allow her children access to medical care when the became ill and fled the country with them. She consequently lost custody and parental rights. She died of AIDS on September 16, 2002, at age 37.

Ronnie Burk

Ronnie Burke was a member of the dissident group ACT UP/San Francisco (which has been denounced by other legitimate ACT UP groups). He died from AIDS in March of 2003 at the age of 47.

Jerry Colinard

Jerry Colinard, a board member of San Diego HEAL, died on July 4, 2009, at the age of 55, of AIDS. His webpage recalls that “Jerry supported the HIV community and was honored by a San Diego agency, ‘Being Alive,’ for his commitment. However by 2001 he had rejected traditional Western drug centered HIV medicine. He referred to himself as an ‘AIDS dissident’ thereafter.”

Sylvie Cousseau

Sylvie Cousseau contributed to a list of testimonials from people who tested HIV positive but embraced AIDS denial and rejected HIV treatment. Sylvie Cousseau was the partner of Mark Griffiths. Sylvie died in 2001 at age 41.

Boyd Ed Graves

Boyd Graves was an HIV-positive lawyer who promoted the false view that HIV was developed by the US National Cancer Institute as part of a military programme to develop biological warfare agents for use against targeted communities. He found an NCI "flowchart" which he misinterpreted as demonstrating the existence of this programme, and initiated several unsuccessful lawsuits against the US government. While he believed that this manufactured HIV causes AIDS, he questioned the science of antiretroviral therapy and instead promoted as an "AIDS cure" a substance called "Tetracyl" or “Tetrasil” -- a silver compound with no known medical benefits and no evidence to support its use in HIV. According to an email circulated by his supporters, he died in June 2009, apparently of AIDS, after several "Tetracyl" injections failed to reverse his illness. As far what we are aware he never took antiretrovirals.

Mark Griffiths

Mark Griffiths ran a denialist website called Altheal, until he died in October 2004. AIDS denialist Liam Scheff ponders the cause of his death, suggesting Griffiths may have been using heroin; this is despite the fact that Griffiths had undergone successful recovery in the late 1980s. Scheff ultimately concluded that Griffiths died because he was abusing alcohol.

Robert Johnston

Robert Johnston was a co-founder of HEAL Toronto and a co-author of the self-described "rebuttal" of the Durban Declaration that was posted to HEAL Toronto's website in 2000. At the time, he wrote: "Robert Johnston is a co-founder of HEAL Toronto, and has been HIV-positive since 1985 yet has suffered no unusual illness since that time. He attributes his good health to not taking any anti-HIV medications and to not believing that his positive antibody test has much significance."

Johnston died three years later on April 3, 2003. As with all other similar cases, Johnston's colleagues claim his death was not caused by HIV infection. David Crowe wrote that he died of "liver failure completely unrelated to AIDS."

John Kirkham

John Kirkham, an HIV+ denialist who managed the altheal website, died of pneumonia in 2008. His friends attribute his death to having survived lymphoma, a difficult personal relationship, and a chilly, damp house.

Kelly Jon Landis

We regret to report that Kelly Jon Landis died December 3, 2007 in Santa Monica, CA, at age 39 after suffering for several months with lymphoma and other AIDS symptoms. Self-described as the "dissident saint," he was a health food fanatic and avid bicycle rider who avoided standard medical care and sought alternative therapies. He felt that simply leading a drug-free healthy lifestyle would protect him from disease.

    Sandi Lenfestey

    Sandi Lenfestey, a member of HEAL San Diego, died on January 11, 2009. She was 47, and had two children. To understand the real cost of denialism, see her young son’s shattering message to his mother.

    Jack Levine

    Jack Levine was a regular poster to the "Virusmyth" message board. When he became sick and began to question denialism, the other board members turned on him, which eventually led to the Virusmyth message board being taken permanently offline in order to hide the appalling record of what happened. Levine died from AIDS in March of 2002 at the age of 47.

    Raphael Lombardo

    Raphael Lombardo was a gay man who believed Peter Duesberg's claims that HIV was harmless. Lombardo wrote to Duesberg on May 30, 1995, noting that he had never used any recreational drugs or pharmaceuticals and was not sick, despite testing HIV positive. Duesberg published the entire letter in his book "Inventing the AIDS Virus" and wrote of Lombardo: "His letter proves that true science does not depend on institutional authority."

    Raphael Lombardo died of AIDS a little over a year later, on June 11, 1996.

    Peter Mokaba

    Peter Makoba, a senior politician in South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress, and a prominent denialist, died in 2002 at the age of 43 from AIDS-related pneumonia after a "long illness." He denied that he had AIDS and rejected antiretroviral drugs as poison.

    Christine Maggiore

    Christine Maggiore was an HIV-positive denialist who founded the "Alive&Well AIDS Alternatives" denialist organisation. She wrote and self-published the book What If Everything You Thought You Knew about AIDS Was Wrong? Her 3-year old daughter Eliza Jane Scovill died of AIDS-related pneumonia after Maggiore had refused to take medication to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV or to have the child tested for HIV. Christine Maggiore died at the age of 52 in December 2008 due to complications of AIDS.

      Marietta Ndziba

      Marietta Ndziba was used by the vitamin salesman Matthias Rath to market multivitamins as an alternative to antiretroviral treatment. In a pamphlet distributed by Rath and his agents in Cape Town, South Africa in September 2005, she was quoted as saying that her CD4 count rose from 365 to 841 due to Rath's vitamins. She implied that these vitamins treated boils on her arm, her grey skin, diarrhoea and vomiting. She said "I just thank God that he brings vitamins here to South Africa to help our lives." As far as the South African AIDS activist organisation Treatment Action Campaign could ascertain Ndziba never took antiretrovirals. She died in about October 2005. One family member reportedly claimed that she died of a stress headache. Rath's vitamins clearly did not help Ndziba. She should have been treated by qualified doctors in the public health system, not Rath or his agents.

      David Pasquarelli

      David Pasquarelli, a leader of the denialist group "ACT UP San Francisco" developed PCP, anemia, thrush, meningitis, mycobacterium and disseminated CMV before he died in March of 2004. He was 37.

      Casper G. Schmidt

      Casper G. Schmidt was a psychiatrist who published "The Group-Fantasy Origins of AIDS" in the Journal of Psychohistory in 1984. The article, which claimed that AIDS was not a real disease but a product of "epidemic hysteria," is still regularly cited by AIDS denialists. Schmidt died from AIDS in 1994.

      Karri Stokely

      Karri Stokely was a prominent denialist, member of Rethinking AIDS and active on a number of denialist websites. She was diagnosed HIV-positive in 1996 and died on April 28, 2011 after receiving hospice care, apparently for a serious pneumonia infection. 

      Tony Tompsett

      Tony Tompsett wrote for the denialist newsletter Continuum from 1993 until just before his death in 1998 at age 39 from Kaposi's sarcoma, toxoplasmosis and possible pneumonia.

      Huw Christie Williams

      Huw Christie (Huw Christie Harry Williams) was an editor of Continuum, a long-running AIDS denialist newsletter from the UK that folded when all the editors died. Huw Christie developed Kaposi's sarcoma and died in August of 2001. He was 41.

      Jody Wells

      Jody Wells was the founder of the U.K. denialist newsletter Continuum. He had multiple bouts of PCP before he died in August of 1995.

      Scott Zanetti

      Scott Zanetti, Morristown NJ, died October 6, 2002 at age 52. Scott Zanetti is another contributor to the list of testimonials mentioned in the entry on Sylvie Cousseau, above. Zanetti also wrote to POZ magazine about being inspired by the writings of Celia Farber, and contributed to the "personal stories" on the HEAL San Diego website.