Thursday, December 28, 2006

Australian HIV Denialists

EoR has been unable to determine whether this court case has been heard yet but, just as creationists have to resort to courts to air their "science", HIV denialists are doing something similar in Australia.

The Perth Group argues that AIDS cannot spread outside the original risk groups, and that antioxidants "will improve the outcome of AIDS patients".

This is proving useful to a man appealing a conviction of endangering the lives of three women who he had sex with without informing them he was HIV+. As The Australian reports:

AIDS experts have labelled claims by a Perth researcher that HIV does not exist as outrageous and dangerous nonsense. Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos, a medical engineer at Royal Perth Hospital, said on Wednesday that HIV was not a retrovirus and could not be transmitted by sexual intercourse. At a leave-to-appeal hearing on behalf of Andre Chad Parenzee - an HIV-positive man convicted of endangering the lives of three girlfriends and sentenced to 15 years in prison - Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos said the existence of HIV had yet to be proved. She is a founder of the Perth Group of researchers who argue AIDS is not linked to HIV. Andrew Grulich, associate professor in epidemiology at the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, described the group's claims as "insane". "They have a very long and convoluted argument that has been comprehensively disproved many times," he said. A spokeswoman for the Royal Perth Hospital said yesterday that the hospital did not share the views of Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos. She said Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos did not work in HIV research or with AIDS patients. provides further details of the "science":

Perth-based medical physicist Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos, who has a Bachelor of Science and works as a medical engineer at Royal Perth Hospital, told the court that HIV was mistakenly identified by a French scientific team in 1983, which was headed by Luc Montagnier. In a 50-page Powerpoint presentation, Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos said AIDS had nothing to do with HIV, which - if it existed at all - was not a retrovirus and not transmitted between people by sexual intercourse. Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos argued that HIV had never been isolated, and was only identified in 1983 by a process called "reverse transcription", which is said to create retroviruses. She said the reverse transcription observed by Dr Montagnier in 1983, the so-called "discovery of HIV", was not specific to HIV. She said the main risk factors for getting AIDS remained the passive role in anal intercourse, and intravenous drug use. Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos claimed AIDS was caused by prolonged exposure to semen, which oxidised cells, degrading them and led to numerous other serious illnesses - the AIDS-related illnesses - which end in death. Secondly, she cited numerous scientific papers that concluded that vaginal sex did not transmit HIV. Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos cited a 1997 published paper by University of California researcher Nancy Padian that the risk of a male transmitting HIV to a female at 0.0009 per cent, for each act of vaginal intercourse. According to the Padian paper, a man would have to have sex with his wife three times a week for 27.4 years to expose her to a 95 per cent risk of passing on HIV.

A 50 page powerpoint presentation! That's enough to dull anyone's mind. And those poor quality statistics are taken nicely to task at Good Math, Bad Math.

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