Christine Maggiore

Christine Joy Maggiore ( Chicago , July 25 , 1956 – Los Angeles , December 27, 2008) was an HIV positive activist who promoted the position that HIV is not the cause of AIDS . 1 2 She was the founder of the Alive & Well AIDS Alternatives organization that questions the relationship between HIV and AIDS and encourages HIV-positive pregnant women to avoid HIV drugs . 3 Maggiore wrote and self- published the book What If Everything You Thought You Knew about AIDS Was Wrong? (What if everything you believe about AIDS was false?)

The promotion by Maggiore of AIDS denialism has been controversial, especially since her 3 – year-old Eliza Jane Scovill , died of pneumonia by Pneumocystis jirovecii , considered a defining disease of AIDS . According to her belief that HIV is harmless, Maggiore had not taken medication to reduce the risk of HIV transmission to her daughter during her pregnancy, nor did she test Eliza Jane for HIV during her daughter’s life. 3 4 Maggiore hired a toxicologist veterinarian (and AIDS denialist) to review the autopsy report. The toxicologist drafted a report attributing the death of Eliza Jane to an allergic reaction to amoxicillin , rather than to AIDS. 4 Maggiore died on December 27, 2008, after suffering several AIDS-related illnesses. 5

Early years and career

Born in Chicago, Illinois , Maggiore grew up in Southern California. After graduating with honors from Reseda High School, he worked in advertising and marketing in Los Angeles until 1984. He traveled through Europe and North Africa in 1984 before settling in Florence , Italy , where he lived from 1985 to 1987. In 1986 , Maggiore began what became a multimillion-dollar clothing import / export company, Alessi International, based in Tuscany .

HIV diagnosis and activism

In 1992, as part of a routine medical examination, Maggiore had an HIV test that tested positive. An ex-boyfriend also tested positive. 1 Subsequently, Maggiore became involved in volunteer work for a number of charities, including the AIDS Project Los Angeles, LA Shanti, and Women at Risk. However, following an interaction with prominent AIDS denialist Peter Duesberg in 1994, he began to question whether HIV causes AIDS. Maggiore came to believe that his positive result may have been due to the flu shot , the pregnancy , or a common viral infection. 4

In 1995, Maggiore left the clothing business to work as an independent consultant for US government export programs. At the same time, she founded Alive & Well AIDS Alternatives, an organization that denies the connection between HIV and AIDS, and recommends HIV-positive pregnant women to avoid HIV medications for themselves and their children. 4 Maggiore was criticized for breastfeeding her children, 2 since it has been shown that breastfeeding increases the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. 6

In a 2002 article titled “My Bout of So-Called AIDS,” Maggiore wrote that she had had an abnormal pap smear (“a Pap smear 3 grade with cervical dysplasia”), which, she wrote, would qualify her for A diagnosis of AIDS. 7Maggiore’s doctors recommended a colposcopy ; Maggiore wrote that instead she followed a naturopathic program and underwent further tests under another name and another doctor, until she got what she describes as a normal result. Referring to Fig.

In a 2005 article in the Los Angeles Times , Maggiore claimed to be in excellent health, without taking antiretroviral medication . 4 Maggiore’s husband and partner, film director Robin Scovill, has repeatedly tested negative for HIV, despite what Maggiore describes as “a decade of normal, latex-free relationships.” His son Charlie, born in 1997, has also been negative for HIV. 2 4

Eliza Jane

Main article: Eliza Jane Scovill

Christine Maggiore decided not to take antiretroviral drugs or other measures that reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV during pregnancy. 3 9 Maggiore also breastfed her children, despite the evidence that breastfeeding can transmit HIV from mother to child. Her youngest daughter, Eliza Jane, was never screened for HIV, nor did she or her older brother Charlie receive the recommended vaccines during childhood. Maggiore later reported that Charlie had been HIV-negative on three occasions, and said both were in good health. 4

In April 2005, Eliza Jane became ill. She was seen by two doctors, one of whom was allegedly aware of Maggiore’s HIV-positive condition. Eliza Jane did not conduct studies to see if he had HIV and was diagnosed with pneumonia . 4 October As Eliza Jane did not improve, Maggiore took her to see Philip Incao, a practitioner of anthroposophic medicine and member of the board of the negationist AIDS organization Alive & Well AIDS Alternatives, who said Eliza Jane seemed only mildly ill, 2 and prescribed amoxicillin for an ear infection . On May 16, 2005, Eliza Jane collapsed and stopped breathing. 4 He was rushed to hospital Valley Presbyterian in Van Nuys, California , where, after several failed attempts to revive her , she was pronounced dead. 10

An autopsy revealed that Eliza Jane was significantly below normal weight and height , consonant with a chronic disease, showing pronounced atrophy of the thymus and other lymphoid organs , and that her lungs were infected with Pneumocystis jirovecii , an opportunistic pathogen. Which commonly affects people with AIDS and is the leading cause of AIDS deaths in pediatric patients 11 The post-mortem examination of Eliza Jane ‘s brain showed changes consistent with HIV encephalitis ; Protein components of HIV itself were identified in the brain tissue of Eliza Jane by means of immunohistochemical techniques . 10 The coroner came to the unequivocal conclusion that Eliza Jane died of pneumonia by Pneumocystis jirovecii because he had advanced AIDS. 2 10

Maggiore rejected the coroner’s finding, attributing it to political bias and attacked the personal credibility of top coroner James Ribe. 12 Maggiore had the autopsy done by AIDS denialist Mohammed Al-Bayati, who holds a doctorate in animal disease pathology, but is not a medical doctor , nor is he certified by a medical board in human pathology . 13 Al-Bayati concluded that Eliza Jane died from an allergic reaction to amoxicillin , 14 conclusion Maggiore accepted. 2

The Al-Bayati report has been dismissed both for being biased and for being medically wrong. 15 16 experts in independent pathology consistent with the conclusion of the coroner. 2 4

Criticism and controversy

Despite the controversy that followed Eliza Jane’s death, Maggiore held firm to her negationist beliefs and to the conclusion of Al-Bayati. 4 sent a letter to the newspaper Los Angeles Times alleging factual errors and omissions in his articles on Eliza Jane. The newspaper did not print the letter, stating that “if the facts in an article are erroneous, a correction is published. However, a correction in this case is not justified.” 17

Others point to evidence that Eliza Jane acquired AIDS through Maggiore perinatally or through breastfeeding, that Eliza’s HIV infection could have been prevented if Maggiore had taken antiretroviral drugs or prevented breast-feeding, than the death of Eliza Jane Was due to complications of AIDS, and that his death could have been avoided with adequate medical care. 2 4

John Moore, a leading HIV / AIDS researcher who spoke at the 16th International AIDS Conference, described the death of Eliza Jane as a concrete example of the human damage that can result from pseudo-scientific beliefs such as AIDS denial :

… children whose HIV-infected mothers listen to AIDS denialists never had the opportunity to make their own decisions. The Maggiore case was widely publicized. Christine Maggiore is a person who is proselytizing against the use of antiretrovirals to prevent HIV / AIDS. She is a classic AIDS denialist, and she gave birth to a girl who died three years after an AIDS-related infection at the end of last year. The coroner’s report clearly states that the girl died of AIDS. That was another unnecessary death. 18

The inclusion of Maggiore as an exhibitor at the 13th International AIDS Conference in Durban , South Africa has been criticized by advocates for the relationship between HIV and AIDS. 19

The influence of Maggiore in the decision of former President of South Africa , Thabo Mbeki , to block the funding of medical treatment for HIV – positive pregnant women was criticized after his death, where medical researchers said a Harvard study that found that “330,000 people Lost their lives because of new AIDS infections during the time that Mbeki blocked the government funding of AZT treatment for mothers. ” 20

AIDS journalist and denialist , Celia Farber, wrote an article in the June 2006 issue of the independent Los Angeles CityBeat newspaper, discussing the Maggiore case and alleging incompetence, conspiracy , and cover-ups by the coroner, AIDS community, Mass media and the medical community. In particular, Farber’s article said that the coroner’s office had not released the records of Eliza Jane’s HIV serological examination , and cited another denialist who said Eliza Jane’s total lymphocyte count was elevated at the time of her death 21

Legal implications

The death of Eliza Jane was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Department of Child Protective Services as a possible case of medical malpractice or child maltreatment . 4 On September 15, 2006, the Los Angeles County prosecutor’s office announced that it would not file charges against Christine Maggiore, noting that Maggiore took her ill daughter to several doctors. 22

In September 2006, the California Medical Board filed negligence charges against Paul M. Fleiss, Eliza Jane ‘s pediatrician . The board noted that Fleiss had not conducted ELIZA Jane studies for HIV (or had not documented her parents’ refusal to carry out the studies), she did not advise Maggiore to avoid breastfeeding at any time during the three years In which Maggiore breastfed her daughter, due to the risk of HIV transmission, and other similar violations of standard medical practice in Fleiss’s care of a second HIV-positive child. 22

In September 2007, the California Medical Board issued its decision in the Fleiss case. 23 The Board revoked Fleiss’s medical license as of 8 October, but suspended this action in exchange for a 35-month probationary period during which Fleiss had to undergo regular follow-up, pay expenses, notify insurers, and Hospitals of the decision against them, and take Continuing Medical Education (CME) classes and records maintenance courses. He is not allowed to supervise attending physicians and should refer HIV-positive patients to a specialist.

In a warning letter dated September 13, 2007, a Panel of Inquiry from the State Board of Medical Examiners of Colorado, issued its conclusion that “the care and treatment and lack of timely documentation” by Philip Incao in the case Of Eliza Jane Scovill “falls below the standards of medical practice of general acceptance”. The Panel advised Incao that any additional instance of such behavior could result in “a formal disciplinary proceeding against his license to practice medicine” 24

Maggiore and her husband Robin Scovill sued the Los Angeles County in 2007 for allegedly violating her daughter’s civil rights and privacy by releasing her autopsy report indicating that she was HIV-positive. An agreement was reached in 2009 25


Maggiore died on December 27, 2008, at the age of 52 years. It was under the care of a doctor and was being treated for what was originally reported as a pneumonia . The coroner’s office in Los Angeles County said Maggiore also had been treated for pneumonia during the six months prior to his death. 26 A doctor acquaintance of the family said the anti-HIV medication could have prevented his death, but fellow Maggiore AIDS denialists argued that the pneumonia was not related to AIDS , and suggested, instead, that died of A “holistic” toxic cleaning of alternative medicine , or stress, or cold and flu. 20 26

The death certificate of Maggiore states that the cause of death was an infection of the virus disseminated herpes and pneumonia bilateral, with candidiasis oral as a contributory cause, all of which may be related to HIV infection. The death certificate also states that no autopsy or biopsy was performed 5


  1. ↑ Jump to:a b France, David (August 28, 2000). «The HIV Disbeliever». Newsweek .
  2. ↑ Jump to:a b c d e f g h «Did HIV-Positive Mom’s Beliefs Put Her Children at Risk?» . ABC Primetime Live. 8 December 2005 . Consulted the 23 of December of 2008 .
  3. ↑ Jump to:a b c Borger, Julian (September 26, 2005). ‘Mother who denied Aids link faces police investigation after death of daughter’ . The Guardian . Accessed March 28, 2007 .
  4. ↑ Jump to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m Ornstein, Charles; Daniel Costello (September 24, 2005). “Mother’s Denial, Daughter’s Death .” Los Angeles Times . Retrieved on December 29, 2008 . ( Broken link available in Internet Archive , see history and latest version ).
  5. ↑ Jump to:a b «Christine Maggiore died of AIDS» . March 9, 2009. Archived from the original on November 30, 2015 . Retrieved on February 1, 2011 . Death certificate .
  6. Back to top↑ For examples, see:
    • Nduati R, John G, Mbori-Ngacha D, Richardson B, Overbaugh J, Mwatha A, Ndinya-Achola J, Bwayo J, Onyango F, Hughes J, Kreiss J (2000). Effect of breastfeeding and formula feeding on HIV-1: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA 283 (9): 1167-74. doi : 10.1001 / jama.283.9.1167 . PMID  10703779 .
    • Tess B, Rodrigues L, Newell M, Dunn D, Lake T (1998). «Infant feeding and risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1 in São Paulo State, Brazil. São Paulo Collaborative Study for Vertical Transmission of HIV-1. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Hum Retrovirole 19 (2): 189-94. PMID  9768630 .
    • Watts D; Watts, D. Heather (2002). “Management of human immunodeficiency virus infection in pregnancy”. N Engl J Med 346 (24): 1879-91. doi : 10.1056 / NEJMra013338 . PMID  12063373 .
  7. Back to top↑ In fact, although cervical cancer is a defining disease of AIDS, a result of anabnormal Pap test has never been a defining condition of AIDS
  8. Back to top↑ Maggiore, Christine. “My Bout of So-Called AIDS .” From the Alive & Well AIDS Alternatives website . Accessed December 6, 2006 .
  9. Back to top↑ Given the known and unknown risks of using antiretrovirals in pregnancy, the guidelines of the National Institute of Health of the United States establish that the final decision regarding its use “should be taken by the woman after a talk With your health care provider about the known and unknown benefits and risks of treatment “in a” non-coercive environment “, see ” Recommendations on HIV therapy during pregnancy ” . National Institutes of Health . Accessed December 4, 2006 .
  10. ↑ Jump to:a b c d Autopsy Report on Eliza Jane Scovill – PDF (2.29 MiB )
  11. Back to top↑ HIV Infection in Infants and Children;; July 2004 Accessed 20 July 2007.
  12. Back to top↑ Justice For EJ , website maintained by David Crowe of the Alberta Reappraising AIDS Society, accessed September 5, 2006.
  13. Back to top↑ Costello, Daniel; Charles Ornstein (9 December 2005). «HIV Skeptic Takes Her Case to TV Audience» . Los Angeles Times . Retrieved on December 29, 2008 .
  14. Back to top↑ Mohammed Al-Bayati’s review of Eliza Jane Scovill’s autopsy , accessed September 5, 2006.
  15. Back to top↑ Christine Maggiore: AIDS naysayer , accessed September 5, 2006.
  16. Back to top↑ Rebuttal to Dr. Mohammed Al-Bayati’s report, by Nicholas Bennett , accessed September 5, 2006, Incorrect use of broken link template ( broken link available on Internet Archive ; see history and latest version ).
  17. Back to top↑ Maggiore’s view of the LA Times article , accessed September 5, 2006.
  18. Back to top↑ HIV and Responsible Journalism , presented at the 16th Annual International AIDS Conference, accessed September 5, 2006.
  19. Back to top↑ Criticism of Maggiore’s inclusion in the 13th International AIDS Conference
  20. ↑ Jump to:a b «Death of an AIDS Skeptic; Friends Say Christine Maggiore Endured Media Stress; Doctors Say She Caused Misery . ” ABCNews. January 1, 2009 . Consulted on January 2, 2009 .
  21. Back to top↑ Celia Farber, A Daughter’s Death, A Mother’s Survival, Los Angeles City Beat .
  22. ↑ Jump to:a b “LA County DA Will not Act in Girl’s AIDS-Related Death” , article in the LA Times, published 16 September 2006. Accessed 5 October 2006.
  23. Back to top↑ Attorney General; Medical Board of California (September 10, 2007). “Decision in the Matter of the Accusation Against: Paul Fleiss, MD – MBC Case # 17-2005-169843” (PDF) . Medical Board of California. P. 14 . Accessed October 21, 2007 . ( Broken link available in Internet Archive , see history and latest version ).
  24. Back to top↑ State of Colorado State Board of Medical Examiners letter to Dr. Philip F. Incao, MD Accessed 21 June 2010.
  25. Back to top↑ Hennessy-Fiske, Molly (March 6, 2009). ‘LA County settles suit on autopsy of HIV skeptics’ daughter . Los Angeles Times . Retrieved on March 16, 2009 . ( Broken link available in Internet Archive , see history and latest version ).
  26. ↑ Jump to:a b «Christine Maggiore, vocal skeptic of AIDS research, dies at 52» . Los Angeles Times . December 30, 2008 . Accessed December 30, 2008 .