From NBC Evening News, February 28, 2001
The AIDS Controversy
“In her book What If Everything You Thought You Knew About
AIDS Was Wrong? Maggiore outlines her research: why she thinks HIV
tests are meaningless, and why she doesn’t buy into the HIV
equals AIDS equals death paradigm. Her theories are resonating among
Paul Moyer: What if everything you thought you
knew about AIDS was wrong? A Los Angeles woman who is HIV-positive
is using her own example to promote a theory that AIDS is not caused
by the HIV virus! Channel 4’s Anna Garcia has this woman’s
extraordinary and, yes, controversial story.
Anna Garcia: The sounds of a normal family, living
in a comfortable home in the suburbs of Los Angeles. Christine Maggiore
is packing lunch for her three-year-old. Her son Charlie, her husband,
her health, are things that she thought she would never have when
she was diagnosed HIV-positive.
Maggiore: I began living as though I were dying,
making preparations for my demise, which I was told would take place
in five to seven years. I started gearing my life around eventual
Garcia: That was nine years ago. Maggiore never
developed the devastating Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. She
does not take antiviral drugs. She is alive and well — and
that’s what she named her grass-roots organization, headquartered
in a garage office. Maggiore’s life had taken a dramatic turn.
She went from a spokesperson for a mainstream AIDS group to a rebel
crusader promoting an unconventional theory that HIV does not cause
Maggiore: I don’t see compelling, reasonable
scientific evidence to suggest that I need to be living as if I
Rock Singer [film clip]: I thought
I saw a raven/Sitting on a window sill/I thought I had a fever/But
it must have been a chill.
Garcia: Maggiore will take any opportunity to spread
her message. Earlier this month, she set up her information at a
benefit rock concert at the El Rey Theatre.
Audience Member: This is you here?
Maggiore: [Speaking to group gathered at book display]
Yeah, that’s a book I wrote. I was trying to write a brochure,
and I ended up accidentally writing that book.
Audience Member: Wow!
Garcia: Her book, What If Everything You Thought
You Knew About AIDS Was Wrong?, has sold 28,000 copies, including
editions in German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. In it, she
outlines her research: why she thinks HIV tests are meaningless,
and why she doesn’t buy into the HIV equals AIDS equals death
paradigm. Her theories are resonating among many in the audience
at this concert, called "Rock the AIDS Establishment."
Maggiore [speaking to audience at concert]: Nine
years later, I’m alive and well without any AIDS treatments.
[Audience applause] The reason I have everything I was told I no
longer had a right to expect is because I didn’t followed
doctors’ orders. I questioned them. And I urge all of you
to join us in questioning what we’re told about AIDS.
Garcia: The Centers for Disease Control call this
alternative AIDS viewpoint a "hoax" and a "rumor."
Its Web site devotes a page to address Maggiore’s claims,
and in a statement to NBC 4, the CDC says, "The scientific
evidence is overwhelming and compelling that HIV is the cause of
AIDS. The myth that HIV is not the primary cause of AIDS misleads
people living with HIV infection, and could cause them to reject
treatment critical for their own health."
Maggiore: We don’t tell them, "Take
the drugs,” or “Don’t take the drugs." We
don’t take any position on that at all. What we do is make
people aware of the other side of the story with regard to the drug
therapies, and people can make up their own minds about how they
want to live their lives.
Garcia: Maggiore lives the lifestyle she preaches.
Her son was conceived naturally, and she gave birth without drugs
routinely given to prevent transmission of the AIDS virus.
Maggiore: While I was pregnant, an AIDS activist
wanted to have me declared an unfit mother because I did not want
to take AZT during my pregnancy. I felt very strongly that I would
not expose myself to a toxic chemotherapy drug while pregnant.
Garcia: Her husband, Robin Scovill, supported Maggiore’s
decision 100 percent. Charlie was born healthy, at home, because
no hospital or birthing clinic would even deliver her baby. Charlie
has never been tested for HIV.
Maggiore: To give my son an inaccurate, non-specific
test seems wrong to me, because he could be falsely labeled ill
when in fact he’s gloriously healthy. It was a tough go, but
the decision that I made to have my son — thank goodness I
made that decision…he’s just the absolute light of my
Garcia: While this approach is considered controversial,
this family says it works for them.
Charlie Scovill: [Playing on floor with train set] I’m
missing a train car!
Garcia: Anna Garcia, Channel 4 News.
Newscaster: We contacted AIDS Project Los Angeles
and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation for a possible comment. Both
groups turned us down, saying they don’t want to give any
credibility to the woman’s claims.