HIV/AIDS denialism is the view held by a loosely connected group of people and organizations who deny that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the cause of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Some denialists reject the existence of HIV, while others accept that HIV exists but say that it is a harmless passenger virus and not the cause of AIDS. Insofar as denialists acknowledge AIDS as a real disease, they attribute it to some combination of sexual behavior, recreational drugs, malnutrition, poor sanitation, hemophilia, or the effects of the drugs used to treat HIV infection.
The scientific community considers the evidence that HIV causes AIDS to be conclusive and rejects AIDS-denialist claims as pseudoscience based on conspiracy theories, faulty reasoning, cherry picking, and misrepresentation of mainly outdated scientific data. With the rejection of these arguments by the scientific community, AIDS-denialist material is now targeted at less scientifically sophisticated audiences and spread mainly through the Internet.
Despite its lack of scientific acceptance, HIV/AIDS denialism has had a significant political impact, especially in South Africa under the presidency of Thabo Mbeki. Scientists and physicians have raised alarm at the human cost of HIV/AIDS denialism, which discourages HIV-positive people from using proven treatments. Public health researchers have attributed 330,000 to 340,000 AIDS deaths, along with 171,000 other HIV infections and 35,000 infant HIV infections, to the South African government's former embrace of HIV/AIDS denialism.
Read more about HIV/AIDS Denialism: History, HIV/AIDS Denialists' Claims and Scientific Evidence, The HIV/AIDS Denialist Community, Impact Beyond The Scientific Community
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