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The AIDS Conspiracy - Science Fights Back


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In this compelling book, Nicoli Nattrass explores the social and political factors shaping AIDS conspiracy theories, particularly the erroneous belief that the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) was manufactured in the United States as a biological weapon. She argues that AIDS conspiracy theories and AIDS denialism (the belief that HIV is harmless) are dangerous because both make a "conspiratorial move" against HIV science, implying none of it can be trusted. This has undermined HIV prevention and antiretroviral treatment in the U.S. and South Africa. Nattrass identifies four symbolically powerful figures within the AIDS denialism movement and describes how pro-science activists have responded by challenging their credibility and defending evidence-based medicine.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 1. The Conspiratorial Move Against HIV Science and Its Consequences 2. AIDS Origin Conspiracy Theories in the United States and South Africa 3. Who Believes AIDS Conspiracy Theories and Why Leadership Matters 4. Science 5. Science 6. Hero Scientists 7. Defending the Imprimatur of Science: Duesberg and the Medical Hypotheses Saga 8. The Conspiratorial Move and the Struggle for Evidence-based Medicine Notes References Index

About the Author

Nicoli Nattrass is director of the AIDS and Society Research Unit at the University of Cape Town and visiting professor at Yale University. She has a doctorate in economics from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She is a recognized expert on the political economy of antiretroviral treatment. Her research helped change South African AIDS policy, and her current work on AIDS denialism and conspiracy theories-both of which undermine scientific approaches to HIV prevention and treatment-have informed the work of AIDS scientists and activists across the globe.


In this important book, Nattrass...deftly examines widespread misconceptions about the origin, transmission, and health effects of AIDS. Publishers Weekly A remarkably well argued case against unscientific approaches to AIDS and a brilliant defense of evidence-based medicine. Library Journal (starred review) The AIDS Conspiracy is essential reading for anyone who is curious about why some people will not accept scientific facts about the nature, origin and lethality of HIV. -- Robin A. Weiss Nature a highly accessible, impeccably referenced, scholarly work, which should be essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the role of conspiracy theories in the social and political history of the AIDS epidemic. -- Neil Bennet Lancet Nattrass lucidly examines the social and scientific stresses that confound the public when confronted with pseudoscientifc propaganda in life-threatening scenarios. Highly recommended. Choice

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