AIDS Skeptic Dies

Jim Burroway

January 3rd, 2009

Christine Maggiore, a Van Nuys woman who was an outspoken skeptic of the science behind the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) as the cause of AIDS, has died of AIDS.

Maggiore, 52, was founder of Alive & Well AIDS Alternatives to challenge the “common assumptions” about AIDS. Her group advocated shunning AIDS medications for expectant HIV-positive mothers. She wrote the book, “What if Everything You Thought You Knew About AIDS Was Wrong?”

Maggiore had said that she did not take antiviral medications during her pregnancy and that she did not have her daughter, Eliza Jane Scovill, tested after birth. Eliza died in 2005 of AIDS-related pneumonia after Maggiore and her husband, Robin Scovill,  refused AIDS treatment. In 2006, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office decided not to file criminal charges against Maggiore.

neil h

January 3rd, 2009

What a sad case. The mother may not have wanted to take drugs herself, but what right did she have to kill her own daughter by denying her well proven treatments?


January 3rd, 2009

Does anyone know how she contracted AIDS?

Seth Kalichman

January 3rd, 2009

The death of Christine Maggiore is tragic just as her life was tragic.

She was mislead by fringe scientists Peter Duesberg and David Rasnick, quack vitamin healers like Matthias Rath, 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.

AIDS denialism is now a threat to global public health with denialists on every continent. Denialism grows within countries in proportion to HIV epidemics. Christine Maggiore certainly did her part to propagate denialism and she will now be martyred by the denialists. Her legacy of denialism will unfortunately last many years to come.

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


January 3rd, 2009

Very sad. Now her “friends” are arguing that it was “stress” that killed her. Oh, for heaven’s sake. It’s so incredibly rare for someone under 65 to die of pneumonia (absent HIV) that we can say with near certainty that she died from HIV infection which destroyed her immune system.

Regan DuCasse

January 3rd, 2009

She nursed her oldest child, a son…until he was THREE YEARS OLD.
In all that time putting him at risk for HIV. Breast feeding as a route of transmission.
And she refused to have him tested until the authorities got after her when her daughter turned up born with HIV.

Breastfeeding a child once they have teeth after the age of six months old is too weird.

Anyway, she can’t do any more harm in her twisted way.
I know a young woman now who deliberately had a baby after learning of her HIV status. She went on to have another baby by another man, never informing him that she was infected.

She is the niece of someone I know. And she traveled between states to avoid the wrath of the wife of the man she was first infected by.

Such irresponsible behavior SHOULD be prosecutable and I know it is when you deliberately pass along the virus.
Doing it to children is unforgivable.


January 3rd, 2009

Anyone who wants to blame someone with HIV/AIDS for giving the disease to another person because he/she was not responsible is not looking at the whole picture. Obviously lying about one’s HIV status with a potential sex partner while knowing full well you have the disease borders on criminal behavior; however that does not let the other partner off the hook. He or she must be responsible as well as opposed to naievely taking a potential sex partner’s word for it prior to having unprotected sex.


January 3rd, 2009

Eliza died in 2005 of AIDS-related pneumonia after Maggiore and her husband, Robin Scovill, refused AIDS treatment. In 2006, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office decided not to file criminal charges against Maggiore.

That was a HUGE mistake.

If the authorities in Los Angeles couldn’t stand up for Eliza’s human rights during her lifetime, the least they could do was go after her abusers when she had died.

The people of LA should have filed suit against the district attorney’s office for not enforcing the law.


January 3rd, 2009

I can feel for this poor woman who died of AIDS. There are some people who have lived healthy lives without drugs after being tested positive for the virus; however they most likely have an immunity to HIV. The drug cocktail has worked in many cases; however these drugs unfortunately still have side affects. People need to seriously ask themselves why these chemicals have side effects. When one balks and scoffs at herbal remedies one needs to know that our modern medical system with all of its pills and drugs is currently based on a monetary system that has wasted a lot of its efforts in creating a disease management system that gets the CEO’s and other investors stinking rich while never really curing many of the diseases.

I think one reason AIDS drugs have done as well as they have is because of the intense activism that has occurred for over two decades and the deep health consciousness of the gay community. We have a long way to go yet we have also come a long way.

Alternative therapies sometimes work. I’ve witnessed some alternative therapy work with cancer patients. The Medical Industry thinks they have all of the answers or potentially will have all the answers. Unfortunately allopathic medicine does not work in all cases. Holistic medicine can and has worked in many of those cases where allopathic/western medicine has fallen far short. The question a person needs to ask (regarding allopathic/western medicinal drugs) is did we as humans evolve with human made drugs (pills) or did we evolve in conjunction with plants/botanicals? It’s obvious that our systems are far more acquainted with botanicals than they are with the chemicals and chemical isolates found in drugs. There is a whole universe of information within plants. Scientists are still trying to unlock the universe of mysteries in the world of plant nutrition.

Even the founder of Western Medicine (Hippocrates) stated that food must be our medicine. He was very acquainted with herbs and herbology. I find it Ironic that Dr.’s take the Hippocratic oath and don’t have much of a clue what Hippocrates taught or his philosophy.

Alex H

January 4th, 2009

How sad.

According to ABC NEWS Maggiore died of Pneumonia, but an autopsy will be performed to determine whether or not it was AIDS related. I thought that anyone who was HIV + and died of any of the myriad of infections was classified as an “AIDS death” but maybe that’s been changed.

This is such a tricky disease, so I can understand why Maggiore was suspicious. But to continue having unprotected sex and nursing your children that’s pushing it.

Even though I believe that HIV Drug Cocktails work, they also do an extreme amount of damage to the person. Most notably is the wasting syndrome, which is a side effect of the cocktail.

So why does a combination of drugs create a side effect much like the AIDS syndrome itself? That’s what I don’t get.

Jason D

January 4th, 2009

Benjamin, if studies showed that herbal treatments had any consistent and observable effectiveness, there would be more support for them.

It’s ridiculous to suggest that pharmaceutical companies are keeping valuable treatments away.
Notice how much “organic” food there is out there now? It’s because the maintstream food industry decided to start making their own “organic” brands. Trader Joe’s is just the fancy organic version of ALDI, for example. If they haven’t created their own, they’ve bought out smaller organic farms.

What makes you think the pharmaceutical industry wouldn’t do the same thing? Merely start their own herbal and holistic line of medicines? They only stand to profit from it, if the treatments in and of themselves were as useful as the pharmaceuticals. I took echinacea for six years, now it’s been almost a year since I stopped, and guess what, I don’t get sick any more or any less now. The echinacea did nothing for me, as the studies showed, in fact, the multivitamins and supplements I was on were probably hurting me, as I had liver enzyme problems until I stopped taking supplements.
Certainly people with big-time illnesses need to look at as many options as they can, there’s rarely a silver bullet. Studies show that a person who has the best treatments and best doctors won’t do well unless they themselves have a positive attitude, but alternative medicines won’t ever replace the medical science we have now, since they have yet to prove they are anywhere close to being as effective.


January 4th, 2009

Two things:
1.) It’s a sad story all around. I can’t believe the LA DA didn’t prosecute. It seems like an open and shut case. Woman was delusional and condemned her daughter to die.

2.) Alternative medicine is great, but cannot replace Western traditional medicine. Yes herbs and plants evolved with us, but their biological purpose has always been to make more of themselves, not to cure humans from whatever humans have. I’m not saying herbs have no effect, they may, but I work in the nutritional supplement industry and let’s just say if we don’t know what makes an herb effective, we can’t control the consistency of that effective herbal component in the pills. Pharmaceuticals, on the other hand, know what chemical makes a pill active, and that can be controlled. Although I do take supplements, but I’d never do anything like not take antibiotics and just take vitamin C for strep throat.


January 4th, 2009

Jason D. you’re completely missing the point I made. I did not say that drugs don’t have their place because they do. You have not studied botany or herbal medicine much as I see that your very limited experience with them (the echinacea example) proves this. If you did you would know that you should never take echinacea over an extended period of time as a preventative measure. That’s where the American system (“more is better”) really brain washes us with fads and really is very unbalanced – all about the almighty dollar. Europe tends to be more advanced in their thinking about these things.

You also have failed to explain the fact that drugs, not botanicals are patented, therefore the drug industry can make a huge profit off of them. They cannot make as much of a profit off of what they cannot patent. Therefore you don’t see much money going into these studies and research that you claim ha

Jason there is a growing plethora of excellent, peer reviewed literature out there from some great leaders in the field. Ever hear of Dr. Candice Pert who discovered the Opiate receptor in the brain? She wrote a marvelous book entitled Molecules of Emotion wherein she stated very emphatically that with pharmaceuticals “Less Is Best”.

I finally took my aging mother to a physician who is a pharmacist, wetern doctor and who also has an extensive career and degrees in Eastern medicinal practice. He got my mother off of the drugs that she was taking that were actually poisoning her and she has made a major turnaround. His approach is also “less is best” even with regard to the few drugs she actually needs for her blood pressure and Lexapro which he is going to ween her off of in the Spring. She is getting physical therapy and is making some major lifestyle changes. So there is far too much “western medicine” in many of our lives. Much of it needs to be replaced. Western medicine has it’s essential place but not to the extent that Americans have trusted in it. It’s gone too far.

Another incredible physician you might wish to enlighten you is Dr. Devra Davis who is the director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Environmental Oncology. Dr. Davis wrote a powerful book that is a powerful endictment of our medical industry entitled The Secret History of the War on Cancer. Read it and then come back and explain to me how you feel about our modern medical system. Aside from universal healthcare which is another important issue we need to totally rethink our medical system from the top down and the AMA and other major American Medical organizations need to think in a more “green” direction with regard to how the system is harming both humans and the environment. We cannot separate ourselves from the environment for too long otherwise the outcome is disease and disease management instead of health and a far greater quality of life.

With regard to organic food I have to tell you that you need to educate yourself about that issue. It has been proven in many studies that organic farming is not only far more healthy for us as humans (there are a lot of studies done on elementary kids who eat organic) and it is definitely without a doubt far more healthy for our environment which is in serious decline. I have been involved in the organic agricultural movement for over 6 years now and I know how strict the guidelines can be with regard to organic farming, especially if you wish to be certified by Oregon Tilth which is one of the strictest of all organic certifications. If you want to read some great literature regarding organic food and read The Omnivors Dillemma and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollen. You’re correct that your supplementation was not a healthy thing for you and yet again it’s because chemical isolates separate from the place where they occur in nature (i.e. an Orange as opposed to a Vitamin C tablet) is something that scientists are beginning to understand.


January 4th, 2009

Also Reblaw Western Medicine cannot replace “alternative” medicine which has been around thousands of years longer than Western medicine has been around. Yes a huge part of botanicals purpose is reproduction and survival but that is what all living things do whether plant or animal, etc. It’s far more complex than the simplistic examples here. Plants also get exposure to virus’s and thus they too produce anti-viral chemicals including the essential oils that come from many of these plants which have proven to be a powerful defense for botanicals. You keep hearing “there are cancer treatments in the rainforest” well it is important then to be humble in our approach to finding these cures through studying how ancient indigenous cultures may have used these rare plants for healing purposes. There are literally thousands of examples of this in ancient and indigenous cultures throughout the world. Ever hear of anthro-botany? This field of research encompasses the fields of anthropology and botany as it explores the countless ways humans employ plants for food and medicine. The problem is that many American scientists limit themselves by not bringing a great array of fields together in a whole in order to learn more about how we can not only heal disease but live far more productive lives.

We have become so far removed from nature/the environment that we have almost lost our intuitive trust in the most powerful medical machinery of all, the human senses. How else did the ancients figure these things out? Many of the ancient remedies worked and science is proving it out all the time. The ancient and indigenous people used all of their senses. Even Freud wrote about how we have almost lost our keen sense of smell we once had. My own Cherokee and Osage ancestors knew that making a tea of Arnica (a native American flower) worked in overcoming back aches and other muscle aches. They also used to make an Arnica poultice for sprains and bruises. Now scientists are proving that Arnica cordifolia is a powerful anti-inflammatory plant that reduces bruising dramatically and thus aid in healing wounds. My native ancestors knew with their senses what worked. Most of us have lost our interrelationship with the plants around us that many of our ancestors once had. It’s arrogant to think that we are more advanced and to treat these things as irrelevant. It’s incredibly stupid to be that way. There is a huge universe of information out there that science has barely scratched the surface of. We need to think of things as a whole for we are all connected.


January 4th, 2009

Ironically, there are so many other mothers all over the world who would do anything not to pass this horrible disease on to their child. There are so many mothers who have no hope of living long enough for their children to grow to adulthood. These mothers know their children will become orphans in a world where they are far more likely to be exploited than helped and protected.

These mothers don’t have the luxury of debating the pros and cons of anti-retrovirals. This is a very sad, pathetic case all around.

Jim Burroway

January 4th, 2009

I think the debate between traditional vs. Modern medicine misses the point. Maggiore and her daughter didn’t die because she preferred alternate treatments over conventional anti-HIV medication. She and her daughter died because she didn’t believe what medical science has know about AIDS now for more than 25 years — that HIV causes AIDS. In her tin hat world where HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, there is no need to undergo testing, prevention (in the case of her then-unborn daughter) or treatment against the virus which ended up killing her and her daughter.

Her rejection wasn’t over what kinds of pills to take; it was over the very nature of the disease itself. She was wrong, and not only did she pay with her life, but she took her suffering daughter along for the ride.


January 4th, 2009

Jim, you’re right on. She was in denial about HIV and AIDS which is kind of crazy when you think about it but again I don’t know her whole story either.

David G

January 5th, 2009

She was an IGNORANT Bitch, ..why is her passing sad?!?

You REAP what you SOW!!


January 5th, 2009

David, that’s incredibly mean spirited and non-productive to say those kinds of things about a woman you don’t even know. Also (as a side note) she was not anti-gay she was in denial about a disease that finally took her life which is a tragedy.

A Fan

April 10th, 2009

She never had AIDS, helloooooooo?

No one diagnosed AIDS in her ever. She had some problems with health when she was in her teens for years finally finding out that some medications she was given were causing it. Then in a routine exam she tested positive for HIV, then tested negative, then tested indeterminate, and round and round as testing goes and finally got off the medical-merry-go-round and lived many good healthy years until she got on a holistic colon cleansing procedure during an extreme cold snap in Los Angeles, something I would have told her not to do, and she got pneumonia and couldn’t regain her strength. She was also emotionally exhausted from the loss of her daughter, and fighting the constant bashing from those who hail HIV/AIDS and it’s NAZI regimes that some people use as weapons telling people who get tested with inaccurate tests that they are sinners and they will die unless they accept AIDS drugs as their savior.

I knew Christine and she was a very caring person, she loved her daughter, and was positively helping the gay community. She was a peacemaker, and as such the contrast to those in the gay community and medical communities that trash her and make false accusations about her and are even so rude they are “glad she is dead” which is the most disgusting thing I have ever read and heard spewed out of the mouths of those who try to force their views on the world when disease conditions are complex, varied, and AIDS treatments are all experimental.

She died of pneumonia, not AIDS, which developed after an extreme colonic that left her in a weakened vulnerable state.

Her daughter died of amoxicillin poisoning not AIDS. The amoxicillin was prescribed by doctors.



October 4th, 2014

“fighting the constant bashing from those who hail HIV/AIDS and it’s NAZI regimes that some people use as weapons telling people who get tested with inaccurate tests that they are sinners and they will die unless they accept AIDS drugs as their savior.”

> Actually no, you are the one (and probably her as well) with that crazy concept of sinner/savior mentality.

Doctors promote the only treatment that has been found effective against HIV, the virus constantly proved the source of AIDS – no one says you’re a sinner who will die. People say you have a virus causing a disease that we can now fight against (not cure, but treat or event prevent in fetuses).

Eric Payne

October 4th, 2014

And with the response from “A Fan” comes simplicity: an AiDS disgnosis is given when a person tests positive for HIV and has one.of the opportunistic infections of HIV, as classified by the CDC.

Even should testing reveal the pnuemonia which killed her was pnuemocystis carnii, the pnuemonia associated with AIDS, since her last HIV test was “indeterminate,” then she did not, technically, die of AIDS. Since the daughter died as a result of a bad reaction to antibiotics, it doesn’t matter what the infection was the antibiotics were attempting to fight.

It’s a lot like the NRA’s “argument” that easy access to guns and ammo didn’t kill the Sandy Hook schoolchildren, just one deranged madman. Technically, they’re correct, but, in the larger scheme… does the differentiation really matter?

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