Tuesday, December 30, 2008


"Why did she remain basically healthy from 1992 until just before her death?" asked David Crowe,

Good question David. Perhaps because 16 years isn't too far outside the normal progression for untreated HIV infection. At 10-15 years (depending on the study) she might have been classified as a long-term non-progressor (about 10% of people with HIV do), but then only if her CD4 counts were normal, and we have no idea about that. In one long-term followup of so-called LTNP's at 10 years, by 18 years of being HIV+ 86% of those LTNP's had progressed to AIDS. The strongest individual predictor of progression rates has consisently been viral load and/or anti-HIV killer T cell responses, so even reaching one breakpoint (10 year survival) doesn't easily predict the chances of reaching another (15 year survival).

This is all hand-waving though - the only facts are that someone lost a mother and someone lost a wife, and that's terrible. My personal thoughts are that this is a tragedy that might well have been preventable. She lays the blame herself squarely at the feet of one man:

"All that changed in 1994, she said, when she spoke to UC Berkeley biology professor Peter Duesberg..."
And really, that's all I have to say on the matter. For what it's worth, I really, really hope that Robin and Charlie can find some kind of peace after this second loss. What a mess.


Blogger Seth Kalichman said...

The death of Christine Maggiore is tragic just as her life was tragic.
She was mislead by Peter Duesberg and David Rasnick and other AIDS Denialists. Ultimately she promoted their pseudoscience at her own peril. Many others were harmed by her relentless promoting of false information that confused people about HIV testing and treatment.
We should respect the decision of an informed person to refuse treatment for any serious medical condition. But the problem with AIDS denialism is that people are making testing and treatment decisions based on misinformation and disinformation spread by AIDS pseudoscientists and conspiracy theorists. The sad story of AIDS denialism that enmeshed Christine Maggiore is told in a new book Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy (all Royalties donated to buy HIV medications in Africa) for more information visit

10:58 AM  
Blogger etcetera said...

You've written int he past hat she wasn't even really HIV positive.

Now, because it suits your agenda, she was, and died of AIDS.

Why on earth would anybody believe you, especially now ?

You've always been a liar and a fraud.

3:00 AM  
Blogger Bennett said...

Maggoire was the only one who said she was negative. Also positive and intermediate on WB, and she was clear that this was a big part of her rethinking AIDS.

In the distant past I agreed that one explanation for her health was that the initial tests were wrong.

With the finding of HIV in her daughter's brain that changed everything. Unless we invoke some weird mechanism for a 3yo to pick up HIV it was got from her mother. At that point Christine's tests became a non-issue.

I don't think I've said anywhere what exactly Christine died from, but my bias (as judged by me blaming Duesberg for this) is based on my (current) certainty that she had HIV and the fact that 52 year olds don't tend to die from a simple pneumonia, stressed or not.

That's why you should believe me - not because I changed my mind, but because the odds changed - first with EJ's death and now her own.

You can believe al-Bayati's report that the HIV encephalopathy diagnosis was flawed, or you can read my rebuttal and understand that he basically lied about the coroner's report and the entire medical literature on HIV encephalopathy in order to make that conclusion. Lies and objuscation are the tools of AIDS denial, not AIDS science.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I guess this is halfway off topic, but not completely.
It doesn't concern Maggiore's death, but it is line with the genral theme of the blog, so here goes:

Can someone recommend me any books on HIV/AIDS for an interested layperson such as my self.
I have tried searching with those two words on Amazon, but the searchengine doesn't distinguish between denialist stuff and real knowledge.
Because of my searches Maggiore's book is in "Customers with Similar Searches Purchased", and it's not easy to figure out which other finds are the same kind of crap.

I'm not primarily interested in books which debunk denialism, either, I would prefer to go strait to the facts rather than the "why nonsense is nonsense" theme of most debunking books.

Any advice would be appreciated.

10:47 AM  
Blogger jtdeshong said...

You are right that it is a tragedy for her family.
However, what is worse is that the "re-thinking" group, instead of taking some time to consider the possibility that she died of AIDS, and therfore they could go the same way if they do not see this for what it probably is, they are getting more entrenched in their denialism. Unfortunately, this attitude will possibly take more innocent lives.
The tragedy for other families will deepen.
J. Todd DeShong

12:57 PM  
Blogger Artoo45 said...

I'm a former denialist. I have few regrets in life and very little to feel shame about, but I am deeply ashamed to admit my years of HIV denial. I'm not stupid either. I'm a very smart, educated professional, with a passion for the sciences, but that didn't stop my own existential fears from overwhelming me around holding a logical view of HIV/AIDS. I just wouldn't accept the reality of this awful virus once I found Duesberg's crackpot ideas. Tragically, the person who introduced me to these ideas died from AIDS in 1996. Most awfully he died with a bag of protease inhibitors, unopened on his bedside table. He died believing the lie that killed him. After his passing, I began to question my thinking, but denial doesn't let go easily, being primarily an emotional issue. Then I met Ms. Maggiore at a new-age expo back in 1999. She and her husband were really wonderful people. Warm, funny and engaging. They seemed like they were really smart and reassuring, so I was slowly pulled back into the denialist camp. I read her book and then I began a kind of selective scanning of news and media related to HIV. Of course, I only read what I wanted to hear. The science seemed plausible, but there was the whole conspiracy issue. I just avoided it, tried to make it go away, but my native skepticism would keep chiming in: "sure the science could be true, but what about all the doctors, scientists and researchers around the world? Are they all completely insane? That crack in my denialism slowly widened. It was actually the deaths of my sister and my father that really cured me of the engine of my denialism, a very basic fear of death. Going through the very sad, but very natural passings of my loved ones, the fear fell away. Somehow, I was deeply humbled and awakened and all my magical-thinking was revealed for what it was: wishful thinking. I never thought I would be on this side of the issue, but here I am. To all those who are enmeshed in this lie, ask yourself what it would take to change your mind if EJ and Christine's deaths won't. You are stronger than your fears.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Artoo45 said...


Christine Maggiore's death certificate states that the immediate cause or condition result resulting in her death was disseminated herpes viral infection. Bilateral bronchial pneumonia is given as the underlying cause, and oral candidiasis is given as a significant condition contributing to death. Based on her statements and her career, Maggiore was HIV-positive (see her book, and note that Alive and Well, the group she started, is described on its website as having been "founded in 1995 by a group of HIV positive diagnosed men and women"). In HIV-infected people, all of the above conditions are AIDS-defining opportunistic infections, and in combination they are hauntingly typical of AIDS in the years before ARVs. Many people who have died of AIDS shared the same constellation of opportunistic infections that killed Ms Maggiore. HIV-negative individuals almost never have all of these opportunistic infections simultaneously.

3:27 AM  

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