The HIV Disbelievers
Christine Maggiore is a different kind of AIDS activist—one who tells people to forget safe sex and stop taking their lifesaving drugs. Why?
One sweltering California afternoon a few weeks ago, Christine Maggiore was sitting in her cramped office, still jet-lagged from the long flight home from South Africa, where she’d attended the International AIDS Conference.
She hadn't yet found time to answer the “hundreds and hundreds, perhaps literally thousands” of e-mail messages she’d received from people she’d met there who were looking for AIDS literature or doctor referrals, or simply wanting to pat her on the back. “All your work and dedication is appreciated!!!” a typical message declared. She doesn’t know when she’ll find time to catch up—her whole life is behind schedule because of her AIDS work. “My fiancé and I have been trying to find time to get married for years!” she says.
But Maggiore, who heads Alive & Well AIDS Alternatives in Burbank, Calif., is not your typical AIDS activist. In South Africa, some scientists spit nasty epithets at her. Protesters marching outside the meeting hall threatened to plug her and her galvanized followers with bullets. Why? Because Maggiore takes the strange contrarian stance that HIV, which has been blamed in the deaths of 18.8 million people worldwide, doesn’t cause AIDS at all. She exhorts people to stop taking their medications and stop worrying about spreading their virus.
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for South African President Thabo Mbeki's speech at the
opening session of the 13th International Aids Conference,
Durban, 9 July