What if Everything You Thought You Knew About AIDS Was Wrong? is a book by Christine Maggiore which attempts to disprove the connection between HIV and AIDS. To quote Ms. Maggiore's website, aliveandwell.org, "This revised fourth edition contains ... more than 30 first person accounts from naturally healthy HIV positives whose lives defy the HIV = AIDS = Death paradigm."

Forgive my skeptical editorial laugh. I'd like to take a few pieces of the website in depth now.

"The following factors are widely recognized causes of immune supression." The site then lists: physical risk factors (Malnutrition, chronic lack of sleep), chemical risk factors (AZT, antibiotics, recreational drug use), biological risk factors (exposure to venereal diseases and other STDs), psychological risk factors (stress). Quote: "In fact, there is no case of AIDS described in the medical literature without one or more of these health risk factors." Besides the fact that the whole point of this book is "popular consensus is wrong" (viz. the use of "widely recognized"), the last set is pure rubbish. Firstly, apparently the author has read every medical document dealing with AIDS ever published. But even if she hasn't... I think you'd have trouble finding an AIDS sufferer who didn't suffer from such conditions as oh, say ... stress.

Regarding biological risk factors, here's a Comparative Metaphor: People with gonorrhea also often suffer from herpes. And stress! The symptoms of herpes are caused by gonorrhea.

Now, in of itself, this isn't that bad. It's when the book starts getting into territory where it could hurt people that makes it unacceptable. AZT is portrayed as a "drug that costs lives"; instead, the author frequently advises using no medical treatment whatsoever, opting instead for homeopathy and herbs. No matter how strong the much-touted healing properties of herbs, I don't think they've dealt with AIDS too well in the past.

I respect Christine Maggiore's right to be wrong, but not to the point where she advocates denial of medical care. Sorry.

Conclusion. This is a bad book; complete denial of medical knowledge is not a solution to anything, and essentially just harms everybody.

Today is World AIDS Day. Nobody even told me.

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