Wits University Press hosts a book launch of The AIDS Conspiracy: Science Fights Back by Nicoli Nattrass, Director of the AIDS and Society Research Unit at the University of Cape Town and visiting professor at Yale University. She will be in conversation with Mark Heywood, Executive Director of Section 27. Natrass is a recognized expert on the political economy of antiretroviral treatment.
Contemporary AIDS denialism, the belief that HIV is harmless and that antiretroviral drugs are the true cause of AIDS, is an insidious AIDS conspiracy theory. Advocates of this position make a “conspiratorial move” against HIV science by implying its methods cannot be trusted, and that untested, alternative therapies are safer than antiretrovirals. These claims are genuinely life-threatening, as tragically demonstrated in South Africa when the delay of antiretroviral treatment resulted in nearly 333,000 AIDS deaths and 180,000 HIV infections that could have been prevented – a tragedy of stunning proportion. In this book, Nattrass describes how pro-science activists have fought back by deploying empirical evidence and political credibility to resist AIDS conspiracy theories, which is part of the crucial project to defend evidence-based medicine.