Denial’s Due: Christine Maggiore, dead at 52

Christine Maggiore, the HIV-positive AIDS denialist whose daughter died from AIDS-related pneumonia, died last Saturday. According to the LA times:

On Saturday, Maggiore died at her Van Nuys home, leaving a husband, a son and many unanswered questions. She was 52.

According to officials at the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, she had been treated for pneumonia in the last six months. Because she had recently been under a doctor’s care, no autopsy will be performed unless requested by the family, they said. Her husband, Robin Scovill, could not be reached for comment.


Absent an autopsy, we will never know for sure, but it very much sounds like full-blown AIDS had finally caught up to her in the last months of her life. An immunocompetent person would not battle pneumonia for six months, even if they were to avoid antibiotics (they would either recover or succumb much faster).

Unfortunately, her legacy of denialism continues:

Her supporters expressed shock Monday over her death but were highly skeptical that it was caused by AIDS. And they said it would not stop them from questioning mainstream thinking.

“Why did she remain basically healthy from 1992 until just before her death?” asked David Crowe, who served with Maggiore for a number of years on the board of the nonprofit Rethinking AIDS. “I think it’s certain that people who promote the establishment view of AIDS will declare that she died of AIDS and will attempt to use this to bring people back in line. But you can only learn so much from an unfortunate death.”

Brian Carter, who facilitated local peer groups with Maggiore, said the movement would remain strong.

“Christine was only part of this. There is an outstanding number of prominent rethinkers, independent thinkers, doctors, scientists, lawyers who question AIDS causation.”

Let’s hope that despite the bravado, the death of their charismatic leader will give pause to at least some of her followers and help them realize her fate was avoidable.

How very sad for her husband and son…

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9 Responses

  1. The death of Christine Maggiore is tragic just as her life was tragic.
    She was mislead 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 http://denyingaids.blogspot.com/

  2. The level of delusion here is jaw-dropping. These close associates of Maggiore who are shocked kind of remind me of the Clay Aiken fans who were stunned to learn that he’s gay.

  3. “An immunocompetent person would not battle pneumonia for six months”

    She did not fight pneumonia for six months. The coroner said she had been treated for pneumonia in the last six months. This is technically true, but missleading. She only had it for a matter of weeks before she died.

    The pneumonia hit during an extreme alternative health “detox” “cleansing” treatment. This kind of stuff can cause abnormal body chemistry that results in rapid over growth of bacteria, resulting in extreme disease and death.

    I should know. I am a healthy HIV negative person that almost died of bacterial congestive heart failure after taking an over the counter supplement that contained a plant steriod. The steriod caused a common stomach bacteria to travel to my heart. I came very close to death.

    It sound like somthing similiar happend to Maggiore.

  4. Daniel,

    As Orac points out, chances are the fact that she went for a “radical detox” in the first place indicates she was feeling poorly even before the treatment. And PCP does indeed present the way Maggiore’s did, and can be the first sign of AIDS in a patient not already under medical scrutiny.

    But as we both know, it’s likely this will remain in the realm of speculation, though.

    I’m sorry you were harmed by a supplement. Was it 7-Keto, by any chance? I ask because a patient of mine is taking it for an autoimmune disease under the care of an alternative practitioner who is also an MD (and while I’m not pleased and the original idea was to get her off the steroids, I have to respect her wishes and just monitor her condition, in consult with her rheumatologist).

  5. LET’S STOP ALL THIS BULLSHIT !!! AM SHOCKED BY CHRISTINE DEATH, FOR A WHILE I BELEEVED THA EVERYTHING SHE SAID WAS TRUE. SHE WAS WRONG. AS A MATTER OF FACT HIV DOES LOWER CD4 COUNT OVER THE YEARS, AND ALL MAJOR DISSIDENTS HAVE NOW DIED. I EMBRACED THE DISSIDENTS’THEORIES SINCE 2005, BUT THEN IN LES THEN FEW YEARS I HAVE SEEN ALL THEM DYING, DAVID , KEN, ELIZA JANE, AND NOW CHRISTINE…ALL YOUNG PEOPLE….LET’S BE REAL GUYS, HIV IS NOT ONLY A COFACTOR, IT IS THE MAIN FACTOR WHICH LEADS TO AIDS. SORRY TO SAY THAT….NOW I AM FREAKING OUT MYSELF

  6. Meanwhile, the pediatrician who treated (or failed to treat) Maggiore’s daughter is still practicing and providing care to two families that I know in my neighborhood. ARGH.

  7. I am curious, Li, if you know why they chose to go with him. Is it the obvious ‘he supports their decisions about not vaccinating, etc’?

  8. I’ve never asked them but I know at least one of the families doesn’t vax, so I’m assuming that’s the reason. I live in a very crunchy area and the anti-vax movement is very strong here (which drives me crazy).

  9. From the EU-VAP/CAP Study Group. Our research is about Pneumonia in Patients requiring mechanical ventilation in European Intensive Care Units. Pneumonia is a global enemy. Our deepest condolences.
    Dr Despoina Kulenti (study coordinator)

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