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Glip Book Kalichman

Glip Book Kalichman

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Published by: skalichman on Sep 07, 2009
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05/18/2012

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Gay
&
LesbianIssuesandPsychologyReview,Vol.5,No.2,2009
BOOKREVIEW
PETERB.
TODD
Kalichman,Seth.(2009).DenyingAIDS:Con- spiracytheories,PseudoscienceandHuman Tragedy.NewYork:CopernicusBooks, SpringerScienceImprint,pp.205, ISBN:9780387794754.
SethKalichman'stimelybookexposesthede- structiveshadowofAIDSdenialisminthe manifestguisesofpseudoscienceandpoliticswithcandourandludicidity.Thehomophobiaandracismimplicitinsuchdenialistpositions areunmaskedinconjunctionwithobfuscation ofsuchdistinctionsasthosebetweenneces- saryandsufficientconditionsindetermining thecausalityofHIVjAIDS.Likeholocaustden-iers,thosewhocreatedoubtaboutwhether HIVcausesAIDScanbeheldaccountableformuchofthemorbidityandmortality,espe- ciallyinthedevelopingworld.Asanaccount ofthehistoryoftheHIVjAIDSpandemicand forconsciousnessraising,thebookisanim- portantcontribution.Especiallyperhapsfor thosescientistsandpolicymakerswhosede- nialstillresultsinthewish-fulfillingfantasy thatHIVasoneofthefastingevolvingofall organismsisnolongeragloballysalient threat.AsKalichmanhimselfacknowledgesin hisbook,theadaptivemutationofHIV,to- getherwithmutantstrainsoftuberculosis,isa menacetothelivesofmillionsofpeople.The analogybetweenholocaustandAIDSdenial seemstometobeaparticularlyvalidone. Kalichmandearlydistinguishesbetweende- fensivedenialoftraumaticrealitiessuchas HIVseropositivestatusandmortalitywhich canbeconstruedasashorttermcopingstrat-egywhichismaladaptiveinthelongrunand
denialisrn,
Asapsychologicaldefence,denial resultsindelayinseekingavailabletreat- mentswhichareevidencebasedandother destructivebehaviourpatternssuchasengag- inginunprotectedsex.ExposingtheHIV seropositivepersontomorevirulentstrainsof thevirusandotherstoinfection.Denialismpromotesmythsandsuchmalignantmisinfor-mationasVirologistPeterDuesberg'srefuted daimthatHIVisa"harmless"passengervirus whichdoesnotcauseAIDS.Suchdenialism facilitatesindividualandcollectivedefensive denialinvulnerablepopulationsasdothespuriousnotionsofAIDScausationassociatedwithDuesbergandformerSouthAfricanPresi- dentThaboMbekiwhowasmetaphorically seducedbytheBerkeleyvirologistwho,inci- dentally,hadneverconductedHIVjAIDSre-searchhimself.Theseevents,conspiracy theories,pseudoscientificintrigueandthe needtodebunkAIDSmythsareexploredat lengthinthefirstthreechaptersofKa- lichman'sbook. Thesechaptersmayhelptodispelthemyth thatempiricalscientificinquiryisimmuneto contaminationbyextrascientificinfluences, indudingthoseofanideologicalandpersonal natureaswellashomophobiaandracismintheHIVjAIDSfield.Brieflyput,twogroups becametheproponentsandopponentsofthe DurbanDedarationpublishedinthejournal
Nature
inJuly2000.Thispaperwasare- sponsetoanargumentoriginallypublishedby PeterDuesbergin
Science
twelveyearsear-lier,provocativelytitled"HIVisNottheCause ofAIDS".BythetimeoftheXIIIAIDSConfer- enceinJuly2000,SouthAfricanPresident Mbekihadconvenedapanelindudingmany ofthemoreprominentAIDSdissidentstofuelthecontroversywithmassmediacoverage.In anattempttoputdowntherevolt,5,228emi- nentmedicalandscientificsignatories (indudinganumberofNobelLaureates)to
ISSN1833-4512
©
2009Author/Gay
&
LesbianIssues
&
PsychologyInterestGroupoftheAustralianPsychologicalSociety

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