A University of Iowa professor says the Internet is being used by "H-I-V denialists" to spread false ideas about HIV/AIDS, which could have terrible public health consequences. Tara Smith, an assistant professor of epidemiology, says it has been 23 years since H-I-V was identified as the virus that causes AIDS, but some still deny it. She says it’s surprising that there’s still denial, but there are still people who deny that cigarettes cause cancer, and that germs are responsible for disease.
Smith says the spread of false information could lead people to mistakenly do dangerous things, such as have unprotected sex. Smith says those who’re H-I-V positive could stop taking their medication, and women who’re infected might not take medication to prevent the transmission to their unborn children.
Smith says there is plenty of good information available for people to know the truth about H-I-V and AIDS. She says the National Institute of Health has a fact sheet on the issue, and there’s also a website called "aidstruth.org" run by scientists and AIDS activist to respond to those who deny H-I-V causes AIDS. Smith says with all the information out there, it can be hard to know the truth.
Smith says the thing you want to do is to check trusted websites on health information, such as the N-I-H or Cancer Society. She says you can also check with your personal doctor. Smith and a researcher from Yale wrote an article on the H-I-V issue for a medical journal.