Bryan Fischer is an AIDS denier

Tweet from Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association:

“New pill stops HIV virus. But won’t stop AIDS since caused by extensive inhalant drug use, not HIV.”

So there it is. Bryan Fischer is an AIDS denier. The chief spokesman of the American Family Association is an AIDS denier.

Do you need to know anything, anything at all, else about Bryan Fischer?


Is there anything, anything at all, else that you could possibly learn about Bryan Fischer that would balance this out and make him a credible and/or decent human being?


So why is Bryan Fischer still treated as a respected, credible peer by his allies in the religious right? Why is Bryan Fischer invited or even allowed to speak at gatherings of the religious right and the Republican Party?

Bryan Fischer is an AIDS denier. The American Family Association is an AIDS-denying organization.

That’s really all you need to know about them.

And that’s really all you need to know about the decency and credibility of anyone who regards them as an ally or a source of support.

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  • Tonio

     Remember the good old days, when fundamentalists claimed that their god created AIDS to punish gays?

  • VMink

    what is this i don’t even MAN WHAT

    Seriously, what the heck?  ‘Inhalant drug use?’  Seriously?  Does he think asthma is the RESULT of people using inhalers and not because they’re taking asthma medicine that helps the BREATHE?

    It’s like we’re eternally spiraling towards some sort of ever-moving nadir of scientific knowledge in this culture.

    Please, someone tell me that someone called this guy out on his lack of understanding on twitter. Please.

  • Müntzer

    Why is this ‘gay rights’ and ‘homosexuality’?
    AIDS has long since lost its phase as ‘gay cancer’ and is a problem for, well, pretty much anybody not using condoms (and no, you cannot ‘sexually profile’ yourself ‘safe’ partners).

  •  Because fringe extremist groups have a long history of ignoring & lying about AIDS & HIV to suit their anti-homosexual agenda, to the tune of denying gay people medical care?  Because “inhalant drugs” is I’m guessing code for “poppers” is code for “gay people.”

  • Jay in Oregon

    Yeah, but a lot of hateful bigots still link AIDS and homosexuality, facts be damned. It’s a regular staple in the Westboro Baptist Church’s propoganda to this day.

  • This strikes me as less “apologetic denial” and more “unacceptable depths of ignorance on the part of someone claiming to speak with authority.”  

    He is repeating the kind of thing which might have, might have, been an urban legend that seemed plausible to non-expert people back in, say, the eighties.  But these days?  He is either living so deep in a bubble for the last three decades that no new information could reach him, or more plausibly, he is just sharing his own willful ignorance among those who wish to maintain their own willful ignorance.  

  • Albanaeon

    Am I reading this right?  Is Fischer really saying that using pot causes AIDS?  Because I really can’t think of many other extensively used inhalant drugs.  If so, that’s an ultra scary disconnect from reality for such a prominent figure.

  • Müntzer

     God, the American Christian (sigh) Right sure is complicated.

  • Müntzer

     Glue, anything you can smoke (Heroin, opium derivates), crystal meth, etc.
    There is much you can inhale…

  • The association of amyl nitrate with AIDS has some popularity as a right-wing pseduoscintific belief.

  • LouisDoench

    Politicians should not WANT this mans support.  An honest politician would not speak in front of a crowd unless this man was removed from the room.  Mitt Romney is not an honest politician. 

  • Donalbain

    Bryan Fischer thinks that the HIV link to AIDS was created by a conspiracy of evil cancer researchers. No. Really. He actually thinks that.

  • Wow. There’s conspiracy theories, and then there’s just plain not of this Earth at all. (O_o)

  • Tonio

    I won’t be able to read the whole thing without becoming furious, but these jumped out at me:

    instead of targeting males, as AIDS does

    That would be news to the 16 million women who have it worldwide.

    While the average heterosexual has somewhere between seven to 14 sexual partners in a lifetime, it is not uncommon for homosexuals to have hundreds, even thousands, of sexual partners.

    He goes into more detail after this. Could he be simply envious?

  • Emcee, cubed

    To decode the code words here (a couple of people have brought this up, but not directly):

    “Inhalant drugs” does not refer to smoked drugs (which have to be ignited to be inhaled), but drug whose vapors are inhaled without ignition. (This also excludes things like cocaine which are solids introduced through the nasal cavity, not actually inhaled.) Things like glue and “huffing” are likely part of this group (though I don’t know enough about them personally to be sure), but what Fischer is using it to mean is amyl nitrate (or various derivatives) commonly known as “poppers”.

    Poppers are common in the gay community, and in the early ’80s were considered a possible cause of AIDS (or GRID – Gay-Related Immune Deficiency – as it was known then). This was quickly discounted after the infection patterns made it obvious it was contagious, so not caused by an external source. Until this story broke (I’d heard about it somewhere else before Fred wrote about it), I honestly had no idea anyone was still stupid enough to think this.

  • The Westboro folks link all sorts of shit to homosexuality, military service most notably. Not saying bigots don’t still talk about the gay plague, but the inbred Phelps family probably isn’t your best example. 

  • pharoute

    I’m begining to wonder when he’ll start to argue that Native Americans don’t have souls. I’d like to think that that is extreme hyperbole but recent years have shown they’ll push any agenda they want.

  • Haven

    I’m sure Romney would love to distance himself from this, but he just needs that 50.1% and can’t afford to push anyone away.

    …I wish that sentence I just wrote was a parody or exaggeration.

  • MaryKaye

     I am sure that the friends and relatives of the 1.2 million people who have died of AIDS and AIDS-related causes in sub-Saharan Africa will be surprised to know that their sickness was due to poppers.  (Also that it was due to homosexuality, since the African epidemic affects women and men about equally.)

    Sigh.  The only cheery thing about this whole thread is that in doing the research for the statements above, I learned that prenatal and perinatal HIV transmission in the US is declining steeply due to good prophylactic treatments.  Of all the awful ways to get AIDs, being born with it has to be one of the worst.  I remember asking a technical question about the data from a certain patient at a conference and having the researcher unexpectedly shed several tears before being able to answer; the child had not lived very long.  So this at least is good news.

  • Kiba

     In the last few years I’ve had a fair number of bigots tell me that AIDS is a gay disease as well as the “it started with men screwing monkeys” bullshit.

  • reynard61

    “Because I really can’t think of many other extensively used inhalant drugs.”

    Meth. Rubber cement. Model cement. Paint cans. Hair spray. Crack. PCP. Hashish. And those are just the ones off the top of my oh-so-carefully coiffed head…

  • The association of AIDS with amyl nitrate “poppers” is part of the Duesberg Hypothesis, an alternative explanation of AIDS which was conclusively discredited back in the 1990’s.  Peter Duesberg continues to advocate it, but in order to do so he has to misinterpret some studies and pretend that many others do not exist at all.  It’s rather unfortunate, since Duesberg was at one time a competent scientist who did some valuable work on the role of viruses in causing cancer (unlike, say, Bryan Fischer, whose public life reveals no redeeming qualities or positive accomplishments whatsoever).

    I think Duesberg is trapped in an especially nasty state of Bad Jackie-style cognitive dissonance: if he admits that he’s wrong, he’d be admitting that he bears some responsibility for the hundreds of thousands of deaths that resulted from the South African government’s embrace of his conclusions under President Thabo Mbeki.

  • Meth, Crack, PCP and Hash are all smoked. An inhalant drug is not smoked, it is inhaled as-is. (Meth, Cocaine and PCP can also be insufflated (snorted), but that’s also not classified as an “inhalant drug”).

    Far and away the most common inhalant drugs are amyl nitrite (poppers) and nitrous oxide (laughing gas).

    EDIT: Should read “most common recreationally used inhalant drugs”.

  • Antigone10

    This is like half-remembered, bad answers on a high school Health test bad.  How do you even begin to explain how this is wrong?

    1) Some drugs, which use needles, can transmit the HIV virus.  But not inhalants (how would that even work?)
    2) Human immunodeficiency virus causes Aquired immunodeficiency syndrome.  It’s on Wikipedia, for FSM sake.   You can trace the names!

    3) If it’s Truvada that they are talking about, it is a preventative, not a cure.  It won’t “stop” HIV, it’ll help prevent the spread.  This may seem nitpicky, but they are actually different.  It has now taken me 359 (no spaces) characters to combat 144.

  • Tricksterson

    What makes you think those days are past?

  • Emcee, cubed

    Some drugs, which use needles, can transmit the HIV virus.

    I think I understand what you are saying here, but you are saying it badly. There is no drug that transmit HIV. What transmits the virus during intravenous drug use is infected blood on a shared needle.

    But not inhalants (how would that even work?)

    Fischer is not claiming inhalants spread the HIV virus. He is claiming they cause AIDS, which he also claims is not caused by the HIV virus. While Fischer’s claim is ridiculous, unscientific and discredited, it doesn’t help to misrepresent the claim.

  • Tricksterson

    Probably not First Nations.  Illegal immigrants on the other hand…

  • Tricksterson

    Scary part is that Thabo Mbeki  former President of South Africa  believed pretty much that.  He was an adherent of Deusberg

  • Since nobody actually knows exactly when, where, and how HIV first crossed over from other primates to humans, the “men screwing monkeys” rumor cannot be conclusively disproven, but it’s pretty damned unlikely. While we can’t say with certainty that no human ever had sex with a monkey or ape, I don’t know of any documented cases of it happening, either (at least in recent times — I just recollected reading about some of the viler forms of “entertainment” featured in Imperial Roman circuses).

    What’s much more likely is that someone, somewhere in Africa slipped while cutting up an ape or monkey for “bushmeat,” allowing its blood to enter his or her body, along with a strain of the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus whose genome allowed it to adapt to a new host species. While humans having sex with other primates is a rumor (and anyone who thinks it’s common in Africa is probably a pretty virulent racist), humans eating other primates actually is a common enough phenomenon to contribute significantly to the decline in those primates’ populations.

  • Wing

     There have been cases. But then again we have cases of humans screwing horses, chickens, bicycles, and picnic tables, so I wouldn’t call it an epidemic or anything.

  • Since nobody actually knows exactly when, where, and how HIV first crossed over from other primates to humans, the “men screwing monkeys” rumor cannot be conclusively disproven, but it’s pretty damned unlikely.

    Only the same way that the “It was the product of a viral spcies-jumping experiment performed by aliens by abducting a human and a monkey and performing a blood transfusion with the alien biofilters tuned to 347 femtolisters,” can’t be disproven.

  • reynard61

    “Meth, Crack, PCP and Hash are all smoked(…)”

    Somehow I get the feeling that Fischer doesn’t make any distinction. I’d be willing to bet real money that, in whatever passes for his mind, anything that someone breathes in that isn’t air or tobacco smoke (I notice that he said nothing about the dangers of smoking) will cause AIDS; and they deserve what they get as a result.

  • TheDarkArtist

    Ugh, just when you thought this guy couldn’t be any scummier, there he goes. AIDS deniers are just the worst-of-the-worst, talk about heaping suffering upon suffering. 

    I can’t even listen to The Foo Fighters any more, because at one point they supported some idiotic AIDS denialist organization, and only took it off of their website when people complained about it.

  • purpleshoes

    What’s most interesting about this is that if you read down to the bottom of his essay, it’s really clear that what offends him isn’t the idea that AIDS is caused by HIV, it’s that he desperately wants AIDS to be caused by doing something he thinks is wrong. According to him, using amyl nitrate is wrong, using injectable drugs is wrong, and having sex with another man is wrong. If he could prove that AIDS is caused by some sort of bodily shock from touching another gentleman intimately, he would make that argument, but a virus is indirect and morally unsatisfying to him. A virus can be caught by anyone, under the right circumstances. A virus gets us into theodicy, which is not an area where Bryan Fischer treads comfortably, I would say.

  •  In that light, I can’t conclusively disprove the notion the AIDS deniers are agents of Satan, intending to weaken human society by convincing millions of people that one of the deadliest scourges in recent memory does not exist.

  • PJ Evans

     He also doesn’t seem to have heard about the kids who got HIV from blood used transfusions, usually during surgery.


     He also doesn’t seem to have heard about the kids who got HIV from blood used transfusions, usually during surgery.

    They might decide to lash out against those kids if they ever want an alliance with the Christian Scientists.

  • Joshua

    Aliens and Lister do not exist in the same universe.

  • Joshua

     I’d be willing to bet real money that, in whatever passes for his mind, anything that someone breathes in that isn’t air or tobacco smoke (I notice that he said nothing about the dangers of smoking) will cause AIDS; and they deserve what they get as a result.

    Nah, I disagree. I think it’s all about amyl nitrite, because of its popularity in some parts of the gay community and stereotypical association with same, and he just said “inhalant drugs” because he couldn’t remember the name or felt it read better or his brain overloaded or something.

    Thinking about glue or solvents is more thinking than I expect he’s prepared to do.

  • Tonio

    Oh, that horrid idea is still out there, it just seems to be less common than a generation ago.

  • Emcee, cubed

     Joshua completely beat me to it. He definitely wants it specifically about something only gay men do (supposedly).

  • RichardJ

    Fischer interviewed Duesberg back in January:

    The AIDS deniers are still working away to convince people with HIV that the virus is harmless or does not exist, they funded a faux “documentary” called House of Numbers to promote their BS (it resembles a film version of Duesberg’s Regnery Press book “Inventing the AIDS Virus”). The people who made the film lied to interviewees about their intentions, and the AIDS deniers who funded it tried to pretend they had nothing to do with it and it was objective. I suspect it was always intended as tool to use on the internet, which has given them a new opportunity to propagandize (the full length film is now on youtube). If you want to witness the depressing spectacle HIV positive people embracing denial and abandoning treatment in favor of crackpot medical advice, check out the Rethinking AIDS Facebook page:

  • Lori


      In the last few years I’ve had a fair number of bigots tell me that
    AIDS is a gay disease as well as the “it started with men screwing
    monkeys” bullshit. 

    It didn’t spread because people were screwing monkeys. Why is everything sex with these people? I hate to be reductive, but I really think that if they were doing it more/better they’d have far fewer weird, nonsensical discussions about it.

    Something else these folks doubtless don’t want to hear—-one of the ways AIDS spread into the human population was via increased contact with the area in which it began. That increase came to a significant degree because of road-building done to further commerce.

    I wrote a paper about this for a human geography class I took many years ago.

    It was both incredibly interesting and really heartbreaking and depressing.

  • “While the average heterosexual has somewhere between seven to 14 sexual partners in a lifetime, it is not uncommon for homosexuals to have hundreds, even thousands, of sexual partners.”

    That would be news to my best friend who married her high school sweetheart, her one and only. Though maybe lesbians don’t count?

    Also, the number of partners he claims “the average heterosexual” has looks a bit high. I’m curious as to where this guy’s finding his statistics. 

  • I’m not sure this is a decency issue re: Bryan Fischer. It feels to me more like Time Cube-level… stuff. I don’t know whether to be outraged with him or to simply pity him. 

  • Kiba

    Yeah, I don’t get it either. 

    I read something awhile ago about tracing the spread of HIV/AIDS that had the earliest outbreak of the disease all the way back in the early 1900s when Belgium (I think) was in charge of the area. Basically the argument was that the disease spread from monkey to humans via hunting (infected blood getting into cuts, etc.) and then passed into the general populace through rampant prostitution in the European towns. It then went to trace the spread of the disease through the years from the Congo to Haiti and, eventually, the U.S.

    I want to say I read it about a year or so ago, but for the life of me I can’t remember right now. Maybe once my insomnia goes away and I can think straight again I’ll be able to remember where I read it and look it up again. 

  • LoneWolf343

    “Inhalant” drug use?  Not intravenous drug use, but “inhalant” drug use? Does Fischer think that AIDS is caused by asthma medication?

    This is literally mind-boggling. These are the kinds of statements that make other people wonder if one is mentally ill.

  • What really freaks me out is what if HIV had been an epidemic in the 1950s? The biochemistry and microbiology techniques we have today didn’t exist back then, and even with 1980s/1990s technology it still took about 20 years to really get to the point where anti-HIV drugs could be considered effective.

    Also, the Cold War – what if the USA and USSR had started accusing each other of committing biological warfare? (O_O)

  • If there was any doubt that he wasn’t speaking in bad faith, it leaps out at me that he’s not comparing like with like there – on the one hand, the “average” heterosexual (as meaningful as the average of any category containing both Sir Cliff Richard and Russell Brand can be); on the other, not the “average homosexual”, but what is “not uncommon” for homosexuals. So not even “most homosexuals” – as long as it’s “more than a few” he’s technically not wrong. 

    The figure he has for average isn’t impossible, but nor is it particularly meaningful, like the statistic that the Vatican has six popes per square mile. No one can have fewer than zero sexual partners, but the relatively small number of people who have a great many indeed are going to drag the mean way up.  The modal average would probably be more useful for studying such a thing. 

  • Müntzer

    Well, you DO have a higher chance of contracting HIV if you are an excessive recreational drug user… only for very different reason.