HIV/AIDS Skepticism

Pointing to evidence that HIV is not the necessary and sufficient cause of AIDS

How not to create a persona: Kalichman’s Komical Kaper #4

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/03/29

The publication of my HIV/AIDS book brought e-mails, phone calls, and even old-fashioned letters from a variety of individuals. A few of them smelled somehow wrong, for example, on 10th August 2007:

“FROM: “Joseph Newton” <>
I have been reading about AIDS online and your name keeps coming up. You seem to have views on alernative theories of AIDS. I am wondering if you could point me to some of your writings on AIDS. I am eager to learn more.
Thank you for your time.

If this guy has been reading about AIDS online, and my name kept popping up there, why didn’t he just go to the links to my writings? If where he saw my name didn’t have links, anyone going on-line for information would nowadays immediately Google and find those links; on-line searching would be easy, and much quicker than e-mailing a stranger whose receptivity is not known.
Funny coincidence, too, that he should have the family name of one of the world’s most famous scientists.
And I don’t like the carelessness, leaving that  typo, “alternative”. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but when I first approach someone from whom I’m asking a favor, I try to put my best foot forward and make an impression of being careful as well as literate.

But I gave “JCN” the benefit of doubt and responded substantively — with items that he would have known about if he really had seen my name popping up:

“The main thing I contribute that is new is an analysis of just about all the published HIV-test results for the USA. It shows that HIV is not a spreading infection and isn’t correlated with AIDS incidence. Therefore what HIV tests detect cannot be the cause of AIDS.
The most comprehensive discussion is in my book ‘The Origins, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory’ (McFarland 2007), more info at
The book also discusses how it is possible for medical science to go so wrong, and how it went wrong in this instance
I published the analysis of HIV-test data earlier in 3 articles, and abstracts and pdf’s of those are at
I appreciate your interest and welcome comments on what I’ve written.
Best wishes”

The response was immediate:

“Thank you
This is all very helpful.
I have ordered your book.
I appreciate your being open to my asking more questions as I try to understand this all. I am an advanced graduate student in public health interested in the whole AIDS issue.

What’s going on here?
“an advanced graduate student”?!?
Who ever described himself like that?
The graduate students I’ve known identify themselves as master’s students or as doctoral students. What on earth is an “advanced” graduate student?!
And that makes the earlier typo even more surprising, because one of the few things for which I’ve envied modern-day students is their typing facility. Then too, “try to understand this all” doesn’t seem like an English-speaking individual.
Still, as a life-long teacher at the college level, my natural inclination is to overlook such infelicities and to strive to educate. But I couldn’t shake the suspicion that this individual was not who he claimed to be, and didn’t want me to know too much about him  or her. What was almost certain, though, was that this was NOT a graduate student; apparently someone fishing for information of some sort — but what? All my writings about HIV/AIDS are publicly available. What else could s/he want to know? And why not ask it directly?


A few weeks later, I heard again from “Joe Newton”:

“Hello Dr. Bauer.
I am reading your book and I am just glued to it!
I have also been in conversation with David Crowe. Very smart man.
I do have a question. The link between race and HIV seems complicated and I think I understand what you are saying in your book. But I am unsure how that link happens. Do you mean dark skinned people have some genetic basis that attracts HIV?
Thanks again for all of your help.

Humph! — “. . . and I am just glued to it!”
With exclamation mark and all, a puerilism I might expect from perhaps an excitable middle-schooler, certainly not any graduate student I’ve ever encountered. No American graduate student ever tried to flatter me like this, neither in person nor by e-mail; they were never so obsequious. The occasional Asian student has been what I’ve regarded as overly respectful toward me, but that was a cultural norm; and “Joe Newton” didn’t seem Asian. S/he just didn’t ring true.

Still, I replied substantively, patiently, not pointing out that if s/he had really read those chapters in my book, then these questions were superfluous. My response was immediately appreciated:

“Thank you again Dr. Bauer
If I have other questions, do you mind if I write again?
Also, are you planning any lectures or seminars on AIDS or are you doing a book signing? It would be great to hear you speak!
Best regards

“It would be great to hear you speak!”
What sort of graduate students has this “Joe Newton” ever been in contact with? Evidently not any who have ever taken a good writing course and thereby learned to use those exclamation marks more sparingly.
More than somewhat peculiar, too, to be asking about book signings and talks without saying where in these vast United States s/he is located.

But again I replied noncommittally but substantively. Sooner or later, I thought, I’d find out more about who this enquirer really was.

Occasionally there were clues that s/he was really looking for rather precise information:

“Hello again Dr. Bauer
I have now finished reading your book and I am amazed by it!! You must be famous by now given that it clearly proves Deusberg has been right all along.
I am now reading Ms. Farber’s book. So rich in history.
I have seen that Dr. Gallo is very critical of her book. That is no surpise. But the 56 errors they published did concern me. Until I found the Rethinking response to Gallo. I see you worked on that. Can you tell me which of the points addressed you specifically may have contributed to? It would be nice for me to be able to tie things together as I continue my quest to learn the realities of AIDS.
Thank you again

Uh-oh—DOUBLE exclamation marks.
And “You must be famous by now”, an obsequiousness quite worthy of Dickens’ Uriah Heep.
Why does s/he care what points I might have contributed, if her/his interest is substantive in “learning the realities of AIDS”?

I was noncommittal but seemingly responsive again: I couldn’t remember those details; and I freely gave some unasked-for information and tried a little needling by referring to “the not-unfavorable review in the International Journal of STD and AIDS” of my book. S/he was suitably impressed:

“WOW! I did not know that a review was published in the International j of STD and AIDS…do you have a pdf of that?? II now see it abstracted on your website..but would love the whole thing… THANKS and I will stay in touch.

Well, there’s a link in the abstract on my website to the whole thing as a pdf. Is s/he trying to present the impression of sub-par intelligence? And does s/he really believe that graduate students make a practice of mis-typing? Is this an attempt to convey excitement too great to be managed, revealed through typos and ?!?!
And, grad students and experienced Internet users do use lots of abbreviations, but if one writes “j” instead of Journal, wouldn’t you expect to see just “IntJSTDAIDS”?

One thing is clear about “Joe Newton”: s/he is trying to create an impression of lack of sophistication, of a certain carelessness — maybe someone with whom one could drop one’s guard? Or is it just that whoever is creating this persona doesn’t really know much about graduate students?


Enough already. I’ll be citing further tidbits from these exchanges, and “Newton’s” equally inept exchanges with several others, in future posts; with me they went on for months. But let me now jump ahead to the time, almost a year ago now, when a computer-savvy colleague took an interest and traced the origin of “Joe Newton’s” e-mails to the University of Connecticut. But that meant nothing to me at the time. Now it does, of course, since S. C. Kalichman, one-time “New-York-located” reviewer on [Introducing Seth Kalichman — Kalichman’s Komical Kaper #1, 8 March 2009], has revealed himself as Seth C Kalichman of the University of Connecticut. Now one understands why “Joe Newton’s” e-mails originated there.

My correspondence with “Joe Newton” enriches my understanding at several places in Kalichman’s book. For example, other readers might find it incongruous that “So I started corresponding, conversing, and visiting the insiders of HIV/AIDS denialism” is followed almost immediately by “Not really knowing who I am, they took me under their wing to enlighten me about the truth about AIDS” (xiv) — how could he converse with people who didn’t know who he was?

By pretending to be someone else, of course, but Kalichman doesn’t share that crucial item with his readers. Again, when he writes, “My relationships with denialists created some complicated arrangements” (xiv), Kalichman doesn’t explain what complications were created, or why, for the benefit of those readers who don’t know about “Joe Newton” and his ilk. Or, what could he be referring to when he writes (10), “Actual experiences have reinforced denialists’ beliefs that the establishment is conspiring against them” — What actual experiences? And “I am sure that some of my own actions in researching this book will be touted as evidence that the AIDS orthodoxy is out to get them”? Which of his actions? Uninformed readers can only remain puzzled, but those who “knew” SCK as “JCN” or some other of his aliases might quite possibly draw the inference of an unfriendly hidden agenda from the fact that he tried to mask his identity when communicating with us.


The clumsiness of Kalichman’s attempt to masquerade as a graduate student is another anecdotal confirmation of what I’ve said often over the years, that good novelists have a much better understanding of human nature and human behavior than do so many professional psychologists. If a novelist — John Updike, say — rather than a professor of social (community/clinical) psychology had created the character, “Joseph Newton, graduate student”, I think he might have fooled me for a long time; certainly he wouldn’t have placed me on guard with the very first e-mail. Nor would Updike have chosen “Newton” as a name, he would have chosen something quite nondescript, not too common yet not too uncommon — “Johnston”, say. He would have avoided anything that would generate a pause for thought, even the coincidence of a name recalling one of science’s greats. Or, to the other extreme strategy, Updike might have generated a really intriguing name — Havercrombie, say — and would have had ready an elaborate genealogy together with ample information about lifestyle, including location. Anyway, I doubt that Updike would have chosen a graduate student’s persona, least of all one “in public health”, if he had wanted to draw me out about my views on HIV/AIDS: that could be done so much more plausibly and in so much more detail by posing as an interested lay person.

So I would advise Kalichman to stick with his academic last and to repress firmly any urges he might ever feel to try his hand as a novelist or playwright. And should he still feel the urge to hide behind a fake persona at some time, I would suggest avoiding all such whimsies as “Newton” or retaining his real middle initial. Coincidences do happen, of course, but they draw attention, and if you’re trying to pull wool over someone’s intellectual eyes, the last thing you want is to arouse attentiveness.

Kalichman would also do well to eschew any ambitions he might have to qualify as a private investigator. His techniques just aren’t up to it. Here’s a quite recent illustration:

On the 5th of February this year I received this e-mail:
“Subject: Lisa Eaton added you as a friend on Facebook
Lisa added you as a friend on Facebook. We need to confirm that you know Lisa in order for you to be friends on Facebook.
To confirm this friend request, follow the link below:
The Facebook Team”

Never heard of her, but I checked at Facebook to see whether we had mutual friends who might have suggested that we get together.
Nope, no mutual friends.
So I had a look at Lisa Eaton’s profile:

AHA — University of Connecticut again. And see p. xvii in Kalichman’s book for an appreciation of “Lisa Eaton the greatest graduate student anyone could work with”.


So Kalichman ought not to seek a career as a novelist, nor as a private investigator. But if he remains a psychologist, perhaps he ought to take more care to abide by the “ETHICAL PRINCIPLES OF PSYCHOLOGISTS AND CODE OF CONDUCT”, drawn up and published by the American Psychological Association. It states, for example (emphases added):

“Principle C: Integrity
Psychologists seek to promote accuracy, honesty, and truthfulness in the science, teaching, and practice of psychology. In these activities psychologists do not steal, cheat, or engage in fraud, subterfuge, or intentional misrepresentation of fact….

8.07 Deception in Research
(a) Psychologists do not conduct a study involving deception unless they have determined that the use of deceptive techniques is justified by the study’s significant prospective scientific, educational, or applied value and that effective nondeceptive alternative procedures are not feasible.
(b) Psychologists do not deceive prospective participants about research that is reasonably expected to cause physical pain or severe emotional distress.
(c) Psychologists explain any deception that is an integral feature of the design and conduct of an experiment to participants as early as is feasible, preferably at the conclusion of their participation, but no later than at the conclusion of the data collection, and permit participants to withdraw their data.”

Where a study would not be feasible without deception, the researcher is required to obtain approval for the research from the Human Subjects Committee or Institutional Review Board at his university or other place of employment. For example, the psychology profession’s Wiki states:
“Human subjects committees or Institutional Review Boards, which include researchers and lawyers that review and approve research at an institution must approve the use of deception to certify that it is both necessary and that a plan exists to debrief participants to remove and residual effects of the deception.”

One’s immediate reaction is that “Joe Newton” and his ilk violated rather clearly the accepted code of ethics of Kalichman’s professional association. Perhaps that explains Kalichman’s deployment of such euphemisms as “complicated arrangements” for his interactions with his research subjects.

20 Responses to “How not to create a persona: Kalichman’s Komical Kaper #4”

  1. Andy said

    Mr. Newton made my day, Henry!


  2. Martin said

    That was one of the finest unmaskings I have read. It was done with subtlety and the finesse of a microtome. It would be Komical if Kalichman was brought up on professional ethics charges and demoted — firing from his position would be Komical as well. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Kalichman is regarded by his colleagues as a Kompetent Psychologist. What does that say about his academic peers? Well, we won’t go into that! To me the greatest psychologists were the major writers/playwrights like Shakespeare, Aristophanes, Sophocles, Moliere, Chekov, and even Larry David (of Seinfeld fame).

  3. MacDonald said

    Lol, So you really thought Kalichman pretended to be less sophisticated than he is?

    I take it you’ve been disabused of that notion by now.


    HAHA HAHA HA HA HA — I’m sorry, Henry, I can’t stop laughing.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Brian Carter:
      Words simply fail me. What’s “Newton” trying to do? Discredit himself even more?!?!

  5. Matt said

    This is certainly my favourite of your four KKK’s. It gave me more insight into who he is and the persona he created. The trouble is that after Kalichman’s book came out, you have been obsessed with him, almost as much as “snout” is obsessed with you. Almost all of your recent blog entries are about him. My advice is forget him and carry on with the data that supports the hard core of your hypothesis, which is the purpose of this blog.

    • Henry Bauer said

      I’ve worried about this myself, as I found so much in Kalichman’s book that deserves correction, as well as so much that is funny. I’ve been aiming to have about an equal number of blog posts about Kalichman/Newton and about other things, until I’ve finished with the main points that need to be corrected in Kalichman.

      I hope one useful consequence might be that others won’t feel the obligation to read Kalichman’s book. For me it was obviously a duty since I and my writings are mis-described in so many places and ways. I feel under no obligation to read what “Snout” et al. write about me on blogs or in Wikipedia or elsewhere in cyberspace, but a book published by Copernicus/Springer carries a presumption of reliability. So I’m going to continue to document at least the worst of its many gross failings.

      The good news is that sales of my book have gone up again since Kalichman’s appeared, and visits to my blog have also been up by a large percentage.

      As to continuing to demonstrate that HIV/AIDS theory is wrong, I haven’t been doing all that much of it on the blog, after all my book already proves it from the point of epidemiology, and others have pointed it out in terms of virology and immunology. Mainly the blog has critiqued continuing nonsense in the media, on the basis of proofs already in hand. Perhaps the matter of age has been discussed more on the blog than elsewhere. And Tony Lance brought something quite new and important.

      Anyway, I do appreciate your comment, and I’ll aim to keep Kalichman/Newton stuff at no more than about 50% and with as much levity as possible to make it less boring.

  6. Stefan R. said

    Sorry, but I can’t laugh. The fact that a person like Mr. Kalichman is a “Professor of Psychology” nowadays (and is thereby teaching hundreds of students!) shows how rotten not only the financial system but our entire Western society is. And that makes me cry, not laugh….

    • Henry Bauer said

      Stefan R.:

      My friends and I are agreed that we — aged now 70 plus or minus a decade or two — experienced a “golden age” in academe that none of our children or grandchildren have any chance to enjoy. Commercialism has taken over universities, quantity has superseded quality as a criterion, pandering to the lowest common denominator has replaced striving for excellence and high standards. The major “growth” in universities in the USA in the last several decades has been in administration and athletics and in for-profit research.

  7. MacDonald said

    Well, someone out there is definitely trying to disgrace himself, because Newton’s favourite professor has posted the very same video on his website.

    Kalichman is one of those people who likes repeating it as often as possible, in as many places as possible, if he thinks he has scored a point, which is apparently the case with the penguin video. That particular trait reveals all there is to know about him.

    BTW. The Seth Kalichman who is spending his time uploading penguin videos is the same guy who is too pressed for time to read what Prof. Bauer, his favourite professional research subject, posts about him, even when asked by his fan to do so.

    The obsession is not with Kalichman. Kalichman is a nobody. He becomes a target, if you will, because a host of leading HIVists have praised his scholarship and his book.

  8. Michael said

    I think MacDonald is completely right. Any connection to Kalichman could only discredit those who praised him.

    And furthermore, anyone looking into this at all very soon becomes aware that Kalichman’s web blog and his book have absolutely no discussions of substance, neither in science nor psychology, other than what was written by the dissidents themselves. The blog just comes across as a juvenile rant session by kiddies who are being threatened with the imminent removal of their toys.

    And with his ridiculous blog and book, Kalichman, the Klass Klown of HIV/AIDSdom, is quickly turning into the dissidents’ very best friend.

    With “enemies” like Kalichman, who needs more friends? At the moment, he is bringing nothing but more shame and evidence of a lack of integrity or honesty down on the orthodoxy. And he is presented (by himself and the fools that praised him) as the best they have at attempting to dismantle the dissidents.

    Yes, it is a moment of Klear Kalichman Komedic relief after the horrendous loss of Christine Maggiore in December. And please do note, that while attempting to blame Christine’s death on HIV, and while ignoring the increasing stress she was under after two years of being attacked by the HIV orthodoxy, including by Kalichman himself, directly found in one of Kalichman’s own works on HIV psychology, is the following noteworthy quote, and one of the few sensible things that Kalichman has ever written:

    Words of Seth Kalichman:

    “In either case, HIV diagnosis can present added problems and stress for you that can effect your health.”

    Wow! Who ever knew that stress could affect the immune system and impact one’s health??? Thanks for your enlightening words of wisdom, Seth!

  9. pat said

    “To me the greatest psychologists were the major writers/playwrights like Shakespeare, Aristophanes, Sophocles, Moliere, Chekov, and even Larry David (of Seinfeld fame).”

    To me they are still to be found amongst cab drivers.

  10. Joe said

    I had a look at the youtube video. What a berk. [Moderator: “Noun. An idiot, objectionable person. Derived from the rhyming slang Berkshire Hunt or Berkeley Hunt, meaning ‘cunt’. Normally Berkshire and Berkeley would be pronounced Barkshire and Barkeley. This expression is generally accepted as inoffensive despite its source. Also ‘burk’.”— credit Dictionary of Slang].

    He seems to have no idea that right next to his childish ‘refutation’ of AIDS dissidence are lots of links to substantial critiques. He obviously has such disdain for the intellect of the general public that he thinks youtube users will find his puerile humour satisfying. Instead they are just as likely to follow the links to find out why there are any AIDS dissidents.

    What he fails to realize is that the general public form their own tacit interpretations concerning the risks highlighted in public-health campaigns. The general public know that AIDS is still confined to risk groups, and that most of them don’t fit into those risk groups. The fear of the pandemic probably worked until the mid-’90s. But after years of those generalized threats, people realize that the only people they know with AIDS are IV drug users and gay men, or that they don’t know anyone at all with AIDS. Consequently, many people are actually primed to consider alternative views to the health campaigns, especially if those views are put in front of them. The only thing that has kept the threat alive has been the false and/or exaggerated reports of AIDS in Africa.

    For a decade or so here in the UK, parents have been avoiding giving their children measles jabs because the jab came rolled up with innoculations for other diseases, and the parents came to believe there was a risk of children innoculated in this way developing autism. The government, medical authorities and the media have insisted there is no link to autism, but all to no avail. The public makes up its own mind about health issues and is perfectly capable of dismissing the Establishment’s claims. Similar things have been seen with campaigns concerning smoking and alcohol abuse — the public makes up its own mind.

    So it is no surprise to me that sales of Henry’s book have gone up, and that there are more visitors to this site. Nature abhors a vacuum, and it seems that empty intellectual space is all that Kalichman can provide.

    • Henry Bauer said

      I largely agree. However, the campaign against smoking has been very effective in the United States among middle-to-upper-class adults. The less educated and their children, and women overall, seem to have been largely impervious. For about two decades until recently, I spent some weeks each year in Britain, occasionally also other parts of Europe, and my wife and I agreed it was quite obvious that smoking had become much less commonly encountered in the USA than in Europe. Smoke-free places in restaurants started to appear in Scotland many years after they were already common here. I think it was in large part because of the successful prosecutions of tobacco companies here in highly publicized cases.

  11. sadunkal said

    This is just pathetic. It’s incredibly funny and depressing at the same time. Humankind is at a very bizarre stage right now. I mean what the hell is going on!?

    Does it really take a “denialist” to be able to see how tragic all this is?

    I’ve yet to see a single “normal” person tell Kalichman that there might be something wrong with what he has been doing. Where is Where are the AIDS activists? Where are all the glorious AIDS experts? Is the orthodoxy admitting with its silence that unethical deceptive behavior and giving outright false information is the norm within their field?

    And people still wonder how so many “experts” can be so wrong…

    • Henry Bauer said

      Without cynicism — humankind has always been like this. Intellectuals tend to be persistently naive in thinking that empirical rationality determines human affairs. Andw e tend to be niave about that most of all when it comes to matters of “science”. But science and medicine are practiced by human beings, and the institutions of science and medicine are managed by human beings, so individual failings and bureaucratic deficiencies are not hard to find, neither in history nor in present day.

  12. Tony Lance said

    I can personally identify with Dr. Bauer’s experience. In late 2007 I was contacted by Joseph Newton and had a month-long exchange of emails with him. At the time I lived in NYC and ran an Alive and Well-affiliated support group for “HIV positives” interested in exploring alternative points of view about “HIV/AIDS.” Looking back on my correspondence with Newton, now that I know who he really is, I see someone with a complete lack of integrity. That this man is a professor of psychology is very troubling. His behavior violates the ethical standards for research in his field and is deceptive by any measure.

    My correspondence with Newton is now in Dr. Bauer’s hands for use in future posts so Kalichman can be exposed for what he is.

  13. Dave said

    The hell with Kalichman — check out this trailer for House of Numbers.

    These “experts” don’t know what the hell they are talking about!

  14. Joe said


    You are right that the public’s attitude towards health issues changes, but not necessarily following ‘health information campaigns’. What has brought the change in the number of people smoking in the UK has actually been the gradual reduction of the places where it is legal to smoke. Until 25 years ago, smoking was permitted in cinemas, tube trains, buses, offices, restaurants, bars.

    Gradually reducing the number of places where it was permitted made more people stop smoking and made more non-smokers think smoking in public was unacceptable. Considering the dirty smell accompanying stale smoke and the fire risks of soft-furnishings and embers, it’s amazing that it was ever permitted in cinemas, buses, tube trains, etc.

    I still maintain that the public’s attitude to health threats is not directly related to ‘health information campaigns’. The measles inoculation issue is a good example. For a generation, children were routinely given the MMR jab, with no noticeable opposition from parents. But a story/rumor/urban myth turned that around. The UK government is now very concerned that there may be a measles epidemic because of the number of children who have not been vaccinated because of parent concern over the denied links to autism. Many of the parents who chose not to allow their child to have the MMR jab went to some cost and considerable efforts to get their children inoculated, whilst refusing the easy and free path provided by the government in school inoculation programs. (One couple I knew both take a day off work, drive a 60 mile round trip, and pay for separate jabs). The government and the media are predicting a measles epidemic (, because of the number of children who have not been vaccinated since this fear of the MMR jab began. (Mind you, the media have been predicting this epidemic for almost a decade: ).

    Something similar is happening with STDs and AIDS. STD rates keep rising ( especially among young adults, so clearly many straight people do not regard themselves at risk from HIV, despite twenty-five years of public-nformation campaigns. My free local newspaper (delivered to every house in my area) carries an advert every week about the risks of HIV and offering free HIV testing. Considering that my local area is overwhelmingly orthodox Muslims, it is a very wasteful way to reach anyone who would test HIV positive. Ironically, the main grassroots gay male HIV-prevention organizations here (Gay Men Fighting AIDS) are spending their money carrying anti-smoking ads in the gay press!

    • Henry Bauer said

      I don’t disagree about the general ineffectiveness of “public health-information” campaigns. I think in the USA the enormous publicity of tobacco trials, and the well-publicized demonstration that the tobaccco-company executives lied, was likely a reason why smoking declined here more and earlier than elsewhere. Politicians also got the message and, State by State, outlawed smoking in public places. Huge increases in taxes on tobacco products will also have helped — maybe! — cigarettes have long been MUCH more expensive in Britain than in the USA.
      Sociology isn’t a science, and we can only point to plausible and likely factors, can’t prove them. For one thing, too many variables. For another, can’t control the variables!

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