I have just learned that Christiane Maggiore died on December 27, at the age of 52. My condolences and sympathy go out to her only living child. She did not have to die so soon.
Maggiore’s friends and supporters say her six-month bout of fatal pneumonia was in no way related to her HIV/AIDS. They insist she could not have died from HIV/AIDS because HIV is not a disease, does not cause AIDS, and does not have to be medically treated. Despite the ongoing denial, it seems Maggiore met the same unnecessary, agonizing death to which she consigned her daughter in 2005.
Diagnosed as HIV+ in 1992 (along with a former boyfriend), Maggiore became a poster child for a small but vocal movement of people, most of them HIV+, who claim that the media spreads mininformation and propaganda about an imaginary AIDS-HIV connection, and that AZT is more harmful than AIDS. Maggiore established a foundation to spread this message.
She and her husband, Robin Scoville, had two children. While pregnant with daughter Eliza Jane, Maggiore appeared on the cover of Mothering magazine cover with “NO AZT” written on her pregnant stomach, and was cheered by rock concert crowds when she spoke out aginst the prevailing HIV/AIDS theories. She breastfed her kids and refused to have them tested for HIV/AIDS, insisting the diseases can’t be transferred from mother to child by any means. For herself she sought only alternative treatments.
It’s a curious fact that HIV+ people who don’t inform their sex partners of their staus are routinely charged criminally, while HIV+ moms are not.
In 2005, 3-year-old Eliza Jane Scoville developed a bad cold and an ear infection. Very reluctantly, Maggiore followed a pediatrician’s advice and gave her daughter amoxicillin. Within days, Eliza Jane became wan and listless, then suffered some sort of attack in the night. Her parents frantically called 911, and the toddler was rushed to hospital. She soon died.
Maggiore immediately blamed the amoxicillin, for it was the only drug Eliza Jane had ever ingested. Both parents maintained she had been perfectly healthy until then.
An autopsy revealed otherwise. Eliza Jane had full-blown AIDS and had died from related pneumonia. Even faced with copious medical evidence, Maggiore vehemently denied her child had AIDS. The coroner’s findings were politically motivated, she said. But she did have her son tested, for fear he’d be taken away if she didn’t (he is HIV/AIDS negative).
Like her mother, Eliza Jane Scoville did not have to die so young. She was sacrificed so that her parents could make a point.
Maggiore’s untimely death could serve as a hard lesson for HIV/AIDS denialists and people who reject the germ theory of disease. I hope they will benefit from that lesson before they, too, die preventable deaths.
Christine Maggiore was misled by Peter Duesberg and David Rasnick and other AIDS Denialists. Ultimately she promoted their pseudoscience at her own peril. Many others were harmed by her relentless promoting of false information that confused people about HIV testing and treatment. We should respect the decision of an informed person to refuse treatment for any serious medical condition. But the problem with AIDS denialism is that people are making testing and treatment decisions based on misinformation and disinformation spread by AIDS pseudoscientists and conspiracy theorists. The sad story of AIDS denialism that enmeshed Christine Maggiore is told in a new book Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy (all Royalties donated to buy HIV medications in Africa) for more information visit Seth Kalichmanhttp://denyingaids.blogspot.com/
I also don’t have an issue with informed adults refusing treatment. The problem with HIV/AIDS denialism is that it often endangers sexual partners and children, which is why we all need to confront the pseudoscience used to support it. Denying AIDS could be a valuable part of the campaign to re-educate people about HIV/AIDS.