HIV / AIDS denialists: who they are and how dangerous they are

HIV / AIDS denialists – people who believe that the immunodeficiency virus does not exist, and therefore they refuse to take therapy and go to the doctor. This movement is almost as old as the HIV virus itself, discovered in 1981, and three years later psychiatrist Casper Schmidt published the first known critique of the link between AIDS and the new virus. Schmidt argued that "AIDS has a psychosocial origin, and the hypothesis of its infectious nature is generated by the stereotypical thinking of scientists who tend to look for viruses for unexplored diseases." Schmidt himself died of AIDS in 1994.

The views of these people, as well as those of any other pseudo-scientific theory, differ - some consider HIV and AIDS a scam and a hoax, while others say that AIDS exists but arises for other reasons. Some people believe that AIDS is curable, but antiretroviral therapy undermines the immune system. Some acknowledge the existence of HIV, but call it a safe virus.

Regarding treatment, in thematic communities of social networks, are discussed methods of treatment of AIDS and other diseases by starvation, vodka, living and dead water, cumin oil, homeopathic remedies, information and biowave therapy and acupuncture, etc. By the way, in the same communities quite seriously write about the harm of vaccinations, the treatment of cancer with apricot kernel oil and soda, the lack of evidence of hepatitis C.

There is a category of people who do not have a positive HIV status, but they spread information about the absence of the virus. One of the favorite arguments of such people is the "conspiracy of pharmaceutical companies." Another argument is the lack of consensus among physicians on HIV / AIDS. There are dozens of videos on YouTube where people who call themselves doctors claim that there is no immunodeficiency virus.

Until the early 2000s, the scientific community paid little attention to HIV denials: the fight against AIDS was carried out internationally, and funding for research and treatment was sufficient. The impact of AIDS deniers was minimal, despite the fact that they sought to publish their dubious ideas somewhere.

The situation changed when the new president Thabo Mbeki came to power in South Africa. One of his "achievements" was the declaration of AIDS as a hoax at the state level. Mbeki believed that 13 AIDS-associated infections were the result of the country's poverty, not HIV at all. Influenced by Dr. Matthias Rat, a manufacturer of multivitamins, the South African president, along with the country's health minister, called the only method of fighting the disease - the medicine of "tribal sorcerers." By preventing the spread of antiretroviral drugs, they have killed at least 365,000 people. The share of HIV-positive people in the population of South Africa has become the largest on the planet.

As a result of this catastrophe, a declaration was signed in Durban in 2005 confirming the link between HIV and AIDS. More than 5,000 scientists, Nobel laureates, doctors and biologists have signed this document. To exclude allegations of bias, the list of declarants did not include any doctor or researcher associated with pharmaceutical companies.

Of course, being diagnosed with HIV is always a shock. Therefore, having received terrible information for themselves, a person turns to Internet resources, looking for more data. And there are numerous forums where the existence of the virus is denied. There are reports that antiretroviral therapy is killing the liver, that acquaintances have been living with HIV for 15 years and are feeling well. This is a typical defensive reaction. A person seeks support, he cannot accept the diagnosis and understand how to live on.

However, it should be understood that the propaganda of HIV dissidents almost always leads to tragic consequences. The story of a family that killed their children by refusing to accept therapy is not an isolated one. But there are no legal levers of pressure on HIV dissidents. The fact is that the law does oblige parents to monitor their children's health, and refusing to take antiretroviral therapy violates it, but at the same time, Ukrainian law prohibits the disclosure of HIV. Accordingly, doctors who know that someone's children are not receiving treatment are not allowed to report to the police - otherwise, they will face a criminal case.

But there is one effective strategy of influence: the infectious disease doctor who observes HIV + child, in the absence of treatment, writes an official statement to social services, informing them that the child has an infectious chronic disease (without specifying which), which in the case failure to provide care can lead to loss of health and death. Social services have all the levers - from motivational talks to lawsuits to deprive parents of their rights. Pediatricians claim that they wrote such appeals and before reaching the court, the parents began to help the child in the treatment of HIV.

*Based on materials УП.Життя and GET.TEST



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