Who Do ‘Rethinking AIDS’ Denialists Consider “Medical Professionals”?

Rethinking AIDS website

Within mainstream medicine, the causal connection between HIV and AIDS is one of the most well-studied connections between a pathogen and a clinical condition ever known. However, there are still those who think that HIV does not cause AIDS, or even more absurdly, that HIV does not even exist despite the fact that we have a massive amount of clinical, imaging and sequencing data from the virus.

One of the key organizations underlying modern HIV/AIDS denialism is called “Rethinking AIDS” and includes several of the most well-known HIV/AIDS denialists in history such as David Rasnick, David Crowe, Henry Bauer, Peter Duesberg and Marco Ruggiero. The pseudoscientific claims made by many of these individuals have been covered extensively on Debunking Denialism before. Recently, they posted a list of approved “medical professionals” that are “willing to work with HIV-positive people on their actual health problems and will not pressure their patients to take anti-retroviral medications”. Who are these alleged “medical professionals” and what makes them qualified to treat individuals with HIV/AIDS without antiretroviral medication?

Uta Santos-König: this person is listed as a psychotherapist and a classical homeopath. Although psychotherapists can offer effective treatments for many psychiatric conditions, they are not qualified to treat a viral infection like HIV. Being a classical homeopath does not help, since homeopathy is incompatible with almost everything we know about physics, chemistry and biology.

Claus Koehnlein: an internal medicine doctor from Germany, but he co-wrote a paper with Duesberg and Rasnik claiming that AIDS was caused by malnutrition, recreational drug use and antiretrovirals, despite the fact that very small proportion of everyone with HIV/AIDS historically have ever gotten antiretrovirals and that children with hemophilia who got AIDS did not use drugs.

Victor Andrade Sotomayor: a Mexican proponent of alternative and complementary medicine, claims to be associated with the University Tominaga Nakamoto International Advisory. Not a large Internet presence, but it is clear that recommending alternative medicine to individuals with HIV/AIDS does not exude medical credibility.

Jens Jerndal: is described as a retired Swedish medical doctor who has had not one, but two professor positions at the Open International University for Complementary Medicines (OIUCM) in Sri Lanka, one in philosophy and the other in principles of holistic medicine. It looks like that this “university” is actually an unaccredited diploma mill who sells degrees for money. If so, both “degrees” are false. According to his website, he has spent time “studying” parapsychology, been a diplomat and a real estate broker. His book “Parading Pulse” promotes antiscientific beliefs about UFOs and gravity.

Hugo Stenström: is a retired medical doctor who specialized in radiology. He wrote a letter to the editor that was published during 2006 in the Swedish scientific journal Läkartidningen (published Swedish Medical Association). He regurgitates many of the recycled denialist talking-points that have been debunked thousands of times about the validity of HIV tests, definition of HIV/AIDS, denies that HIV causes AIDS, claims that AIDS is just a new name for tuberculosis and malaria and compares medical doctors with religious zealots. His conspiracy-mongering is summarily dismissed as unscientific ranting by respondents.

Hor Shirdel: an Ukrainian neurosurgeon and “therapist” who authored a conspiracy-mongering book about AIDS. Claims that mainstream medicine has directly killed 60 million people and that long-term non-progressors (a tiny fraction of individuals with HIV that are able to control viral load and do not develop AIDS after the same time period as the average individual with HIV) refuted the notion that HIV caused AIDS. His website also promote “alternative” ideas about the cause of diabetes.

Frank Anders: described as a retired medical doctor who previously worked in the U. S. army medical corp. Not much of an Internet presence, but he was thanked in the acknowledgement of the latest pseudoscientific paper by Duesberg and friends that was debunked here.

Ronald M. Chase: is a psychiatrist who promote pseudoscientific ideas about HIV and PTSD, going so far as to claim that PTSD is not a psychiatric condition.

Len Saputo: is the Vice President of a group called “National Orthomolecular Health Medicine Society”. Orthomolecular medicine is the pseudoscience that believes that diseases are caused by an imbalance in nutrition, which borders on germ theory denialist. The notion that this person could be qualified to treat HIV/AIDS if he barely accepts the germ theory of disease is problematic.

Don Garrow, Matthew Irwin do not have much of an Internet presence.

So who are the medical experts touted by the “Rethinking AIDS” denialists? One of them is a homeopath, another has bought his “degrees” from a diploma mill, a third promotes anti-psychiatry, a fourth rejects the germ theory of disease and all of them promote scientific falsehoods about HIV/AIDS. These are not medical experts, but proponents of dangerous quackery.

Special thanks to Snout (Reckless Endangerment) for alerting me to this list.

Emil Karlsson

Debunker of pseudoscience.

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