Friday, August 24, 2007

Foo Fighters Support Dubious AIDS Cause

I've always liked the Foo Fighters but, today, I'm presenting a totally nutty, off-the-wall bit of news about them.

Apparently, they support a website that doesn't think that HIV can make you sick and, more specifically, can cause AIDS.

Let's take this back a few years: This all started with a woman named Christine Maggiore, who was HIV positive. As a non-believer in the HIV/AIDS connection, she had a baby and breastfed her. Well, three years later, the little girl dies of HIV-related pneumonia. To this day, Maggiore denies that HIV was involved in her daughter's death and runs a website, Alive And Well, that encourages HIV positive people to have babies and not to seek medical treatment for the disease. The Foo Fighters link to her website on their community website.

Flash forward to now. Doubters of the HIV/AIDS link have a movie now, "The Other Side of AIDS." And somehow, the Foo Fighters decided that it would be stellar idea to attach their name to the project by doing the soundtrack. The film actually came out a couple years back, but because of a recent article in the Public Library of Science medical journal(linked below), the heat (in the scientific community, at least) is back on them for it.

I'm pretty sickened by the whole thing for a lot of reasons, chief among them that the HIV/AIDS link is very well-supported in research, and pseudo-scientific hand-waving that encourages people not to seek treatment will cost lives. And yet, there has been no real backlash against the Foo Fighters. With their new record, Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace prepping for release, it never hurts to remind you all that supporting them is not only supporting the generic KROQ BS the Foo Fighters have become, but supporting the growth of the HIV denial movement, a decision that will cost lives.

There's no MP3 download because they don't deserve to be supported.

Much of the information in this article comes from "HIV Denial in the Internet Era," an article about the consequences of not taking HIV seriously. It's a very good read. PLoS is an excellent, peer-reviewed resource. The best part is that you don't really have to be a science person to understand many of the articles posted to the site. Additional information on the HIV-AIDS link can be found here. While the site is a little dated, it is probably the most concise, complete record of evidence on the web. More support has uncovered added since this site last updated, but this is a very straightforward, easy-to-read digest.

(April Wright)

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Blogger MPLSFR said...

What's even worse is this: "While Africa is the frequent subject of dramatic media reports, actual numbers of diagnosed AIDS cases on the continent are relatively unremarkable. For example, 1981 through 1999 cumulative AIDS cases for South Africa, the new epicenter of AIDS, total just 12,825."

And to support this, the website cites 3 articles from 1998 (!). They're citing information that's a decade old and treating it as if it was the most current information out there! Unbelieveable...


1:23 PM  
Blogger MPLSFR said...

To be fair to the Foo Fighters, it seems that what they're supporting is alternative, drug-free, methods of treating AIDS, and not necessarily the author's other theories regarding the Africa-AIDS connection, or breastfeeding, etc.

After all, isn't it possible to support part of what an organization sets out to accomplish, and not necessarily all of it?

For example, I agree with's efforts to end the war, but I don't agree with everything they say. Do you think that analogy sticks?

Look forward to what you have to say.


1:58 PM  
Blogger April said...

My whole issue with the thing is that there aren't drug-free ways to stop HIV from progressing into AIDS. 1 in 10 people infected with HIV won't develop AIDS just because of their own personal body chemistry and immune system. But, if you aren't lucky enough to be that one, you're going to go into the lytic cycle and get AIDS. The only thing known to be effective is medication. Tea, marijuana and salves don't stop it. Yes, individual plants have can have curative properties for diseases, but there is no evidence that any of their purported remedies stop AIDS (which, do they even need to advocate HIV meds if HIV is harmless? Whatever.) If thats what they're supporting, that doesn't really help. Note that complementary treatments are different than swapping medicine for pot.

The whole website follows the standard denialist layout common to the anti-global warming crowd, the anti-evolution crowd and the anti-Big Bang crowd: Set up science as a faith (eg., you just believe that HIV causes AIDS because you worship Big Pharma), demand evidence that can't be had (eg., if HIV causes AIDS, show me a population where every HIV+ has come down with AIDS), setting up false dichotomies (eg., Drug users get AIDS from too much nitrogen. If you have HIV but don't do poppers, you're in the clear), get a scientific "authority" (Often Kary Mullis for AIDS denial. Sure, he invented PCR, but that doesn't make him an epidemiologist) and promise coming scientific recognition.

Whether or not the Foo Fighters all support AIDS denialism, by providing a link to a website that does deny the HIV/AIDS link and advocates ignoring medical advice (at the price of your own life, no less), they're giving support to the idea. I'm sure most people who follow the link will look, shudder and close the window, but people looking desperately for some kind of hope might not. So, the analogy holds, but if it is the case that they support going drug-free, that isn't much better.

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what I can find, its only one of them (Nate) who supports this. To be fair to the other three, they seem to have distanced themselves from it.

I have no idea why anyone would believe this though, i'm all for debate and medical research, but not denial.

Its just unfortunate that someone in the public eye who has a platform to spread this has been duped into thinking this is a worthy cause.

Hopefully with some more publicity like your blog they might take the link off and replace it with a more worthy hiv/aids charity.

3:39 AM  
Blogger shaneshiner said...

tevs. Still a great band.

1:30 PM  

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