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The Flawed Elle Magazine Article

Christine Maggiore Challenges Dr. Peter FleggChristine Maggiore and Peter Flegg
 Dr Peter Flegg wrote a letter of comment to Elle magazine in reponse to Elle’s article on Christine Maggiore and the death of her 3 year old daughter, Eliza Jane Scovill (September 2006, “The Believer”). Dr Flegg’s letter, published in the November 2006 issue of Elle, suggested EJ died as result of Maggiore’s “denial.” After reading Flegg’s letter in Elle, Maggiore looked up and called Flegg to clarify and discuss his views. After a pleasant exchange, Flegg and Maggiore engaged in an email correspondence which ended with her questions to Flegg left unanswered and a promise by Flegg to send on a document he wrote in support of the LA County Coroner’s decision left unfulfilled.
Christine Maggiore’s Letter in ELLE MagazineChristine Maggiore
 After extensive negotiation ELLE magazine allowed a letter by Christine Maggiore to be published in the November, 2006 issue of the magazine. Also included is a short defense of the LA Country Coroner’s autopsy report by the magazine and a letter highly critical of Christine Maggiore by Peter Flegg, a British AIDS doctor.
I am appalled at the falsity of the ELLE magazine article…Jessica Fletcher
 I am appalled at the falsity of the ELLE magazine article. I must admit that the article is how I first discovered of your daughter's death. I am so thankful that you posted the facts behind the article…someone should be sued for slander.
Keep your chin up, lady. Your hard work is not in vain.
All my support,


Letter to ELLE MagazineDavid Fink, San Francisco
 My heart goes out to my friend, Christine Maggiore. She and her husband, Robin Scovill, have suffered the worst loss imaginable, the death of a child. To be accused of negligence in her death is horrific.
By all accounts, three-year-old Eliza Jane was healthy and vibrant as witnessed by neighbors, friends, teachers and doctors. Her parents showered her and her big brother with attentive, loving care. They were absolutely devoted to their children’s well being, far beyond what many parents have time for in this fast paced world.
Eliza Jane died twenty-four hours after being treated with an antibiotic, amoxicillin, for an ear infection of short duration. To attribute her death to AIDS, simply because of her mother’s HIV status and unconventional views, is preposterous. Eliza Jane exhibited no evidence of immune dysfunction indicative of AIDS throughout her short life, or in the weeks preceding her death. There is also no conclusive evidence that she suffered from pneumonia. The bottom line is that for her illness to be called AIDS, she would have to have tested HIV-positive. To date, the coroner’s office has not responded to her parents’ requests for proof of this status.
Was the coroner’s report politically motivated because of Christine’s activism in questioning HIV? In this age where we know that sometimes facts are fixed around policy, one has to seriously consider this possibility. At the very least, it’s easy to imagine that, had the coroner not known anything about Christine Maggiore, the report might have been entirely different.
Despite the controversy, it’s important to note that Christine’s point of view is very well grounded. Because it has a direct impact on her life, and her family’s life, she has immersed herself in learning as much as possible about HIV, AIDS, and AIDS drugs through scientific literature and professionals including scientists, doctors, journalists and other HIV-positives, both those who share her views, and those who do not.
I’m certain that many who looked at the same information for themselves would reach the same conclusions as Christine and Robin.
One thing Christine certainly learned was that AIDS drugs are primarily tested on adults, not on children. There are no long-term, clinically-controlled, scientific studies showing that someone taking AIDS drugs would live longer and with a better quality of life, than someone who does not. Although this is a popular and cherished belief, it is not supported by scientific evidence. Parents have a right to look at all of the available information and decide for themselves.
Of course, that discussion in Eliza Jane’s case is beside the point. If she wasn’t HIV positive, didn’t have an AIDS defining illness, and had a CD4 count above 200, she did not have AIDS. The case that she did has not been proven.
As for Elle readers, the main thing they should remember about this topic, especially now that federal officials are calling for widespread HIV testing outside of high risk groups, is that pregnancy itself could trigger a false positive on an HIV test. I wish Elle would publish an article about that!
One last word on all this – as someone who has actually taken AIDS drugs – I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy, let alone an innocent child.
Helen Lauer’s response to Elle magazine was dead on…Mark Bartlett Public Health Focus
 Helen Lauer’s response to Elle magazine was dead on – congratulations to her for her courage to challenge Elle and AIDS Inc. – one of the most nefarious organizations on the face of this planet today.
If one-tenth of the money that was being spent on this circus we call AIDS research, was focused on TB, malaria and parasitic medications; clean water, wholesome and sustainable food supplies and vaccines, then much of the syndrome we call “African AIDS” would go away in a few years…but that would not make the big pharmas much money then, would it!?
Letter to ELLE Magazine Vice-PresidentsDr. Helen Lauer University of Ghana
 …I was astonished to find the mess made by your writer Gretchen Reynolds. At this distance, it looks as if ELLE might be liable for misrepresentation of facts on a personal level about the case of Christine Maggiore’s child…[more]
Elle Magazine Article Annotated with Errors
 A scanned copy of the Elle magazine article on Christine Maggiore has been annotated with the errors identified by Christine Maggiore (pdf file (660k)).
Elle Magazine and the Believer: If a Story’s True, Why Lie to Tell it?Christine Maggiore
 Last fall, I met with Gretchen Reynolds, a freelance journalist on assignment from Elle, a fashion magazine that includes articles on health and current affairs. A self-described science writer, Reynolds said she was working on piece about AIDS that would explore unanswered questions about HIV, introduce some the individuals raising those questions, and include something on the controversy surrounding the death of my daughter. As it turns out, Reynolds’ dishonesty was not limited to her pitch. I am the sole focus of “The Believer,” a mendacious and sensationalistic article that abstains from any intelligent examination of science fact…[more]

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Last updated: July 18, 2008