Conspiracy theorists are now pushing AIDS-denialism


Conspiracy theorists are now pushing AIDS denialism

The conspiracy alleges that Fauci hid the true cause of AIDS because it didn’t go along with his agenda.


Mikael Thalen


Posted on Feb 20, 2024   Updated on Feb 20, 2024, 3:43 pm CST

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Popular podcaster Joe Rogan is helping push a ridiculous conspiracy theory to his millions of listeners that “party drugs” are what cause AIDS.

During an episode of his podcast last week, Rogan spoke with former professor of evolutionary biology turned podcaster Bret Weinstein.

Known best for promoting ivermectin during the COVID pandemic, Weinstein told Rogan that the “evidence” linking AIDS to poppers, a popular party drug in the gay community, was “surprisingly compelling.”

In other words, HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, the gay lifestyle does, the conspiracy theory concludes.

In reality, there is no evidence of such a link. And such claims, which have been around for decades, have been repeatedly debunked. So where did Weinstein gain this so-called evidence? From anti-vaccine presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy.

Weinstein says he heard the idea from a book written by Kennedy that criticizes Dr. Anthony Fauci, the immunologist who served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from 1984 to 2022.

Basically, the conspiracy alleges that Fauci hid the true cause of AIDS because it didn’t go along with his agenda, whatever that means.

The podcast episode received widespread pushback online, with many calling on Spotify, which hosts Rogan’s podcast, to take action.

“Hello @spotify it’s me again,” epidemiologist Katrine Wallace wrote on X. “You’re now allowing Joe Rogan to platform AIDS denialism to his huge audience? This man is a menace to public health and we called for moderation of his lies two years ago.”

Unsurprisingly, conspiracy theorists were quick to latch onto the theory.

“Rogan and Weinstein are spot on,” one user said.

Another took the debunked claim one step further by suggesting that both HIV and AIDS weren’t even real.

While many outlandish theories circulated during the AIDS panic of the 1980s, science has shown unequivocally that the virus is caused by HIV.

Why it matters

Conspiracy theories surrounding AIDS have been around for decades, but science was able to debunk them one by one. Yet in the wake of the COVID pandemic, which saw an explosion in conspiracy theories, debunked claims from the past are being accepted once again.

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*First Published: Feb 20, 2024, 6:00 am CST