Denialism in science means rejecting statements and facts accepted by the scientific community. According to Diethelm and McKee, most forms of denialism share five common characteristics: conspiracy theories, fake experts, selectivity, impossible expectations of what research can deliver, and misrepresentation and logical fallacies. HIV/AIDS denialism is a public health concern as it misinforms both governments and lay people, thereby jeopardizing prevention and treatment for the infected individuals and creates confusion and distrust in the scientific community and among healthcare providers. HIV/AIDS denialism, a concept created in the late 1980s, holds that AIDS is not caused by HIV.


Music Therapy Spiritual Care Logical Fallacy Conspiracy Theory Black Individual 
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Suggested Reading

  1. Chigwedere, P., & Essex, M. (2010). AIDS denialism and public health practice. AIDS and Behavior, 14(2), 237–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cohen, S. (2001). States of denial: Knowing about atrocities and suffering. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  3. Diethelm, P., & McKee, M. (2009). Denialism: What is it and how should scientists respond? European Journal of Public Health, 19(1), 2–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Fourie, P., & Meyer, M. (2010). The politics of AIDS denialism. South Africa’s failure to respond. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Limited.Google Scholar
  5. Kalichman, S. (2009). Denying AIDS, conspiracy theories, pseudoscience, and human tragedy. New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
  6. McNeill, F. G. (2009). ‘Condoms cause AIDS’: Poison, prevention and denial in Venda, South Africa. African Affairs, 108(432), 353–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Suggested Resources

  1. Bergman, J. (2010). The cult of HIV denialism. The body: The complete HIV/AIDS resource. Retrieved February 6, 2012 from

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BioethicsCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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