Bad science HIV-style

One of my favourite blogs is Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science, where he bangs on a bit about the pseudoscience of homeopathy. There’s no shortage of bullshit about HIV, either. Thousands of people died in South Africa when it was governed by AIDS denialist President Thabo Mbeki and a Health Minister who recommended beetroot, garlic and lemon juice instead of toxic Western antiretrovirals. Now the author of the Raw Top Blog has posted an anonymous AAP report about an eminent zoologist speculating that HIV may evolve to become less deadly to its human hosts, just as SIV seemingly has in monkeys. The zoologist, Roger Short, is the same guy who wrongly claimed a good squeeze of lemon juice in the vagina would kill HIV and – as an added bonus – work as a contraceptive, too. In the community sector one of our key roles is translating medical and scientific knowledge of HIV into everyday language and circulating the outputs through cultures and communities. This is a good example of the same process taking place independently – and erroneously. If you live in a country where you can access affordable anti-HIV medication, then HIV diagnosis is no longer an immediate medium-term death sentence. That’s completely different from the argument that HIV is evolving to become less deadly. In fact, HIV might evolve to become more infectious, or develop resistance quicker, as treatments apply selection pressure. Linked on the same page Raw Top mentioned: oh, look.