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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Red Herring: HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, Dave Grohl says

By Orion Archibald

Editor’s Note: This article, “HIV doesn’t cause AIDS,” listed as “The Red Herring” in Oct. 18’s Redux section, is satire. The information included in this article does not purport to represent actual fact.

Dave Grohl of the alt-rock band Foo Fighters has joined the ranks of musicians using their fame to support environmental and social causes, but his cause isn’t third-world poverty or saving the whales. Grohl is interested in saving humans and his ire is directed at what he calls a “conscious medical and pharmaceutical conspiracy” to convince people that HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, doesn’t actually cause AIDS.

“My bassist read a book about this stuff and he passed it on to me after he was finished with it, and I was just convinced that there is something wrong here,” Grohl said in an interview last week. “I’ve always believed that AIDS is God’s punishment to gays and drug users for doing things that are just morally wrong and completely against his wishes, but this book really provided the scientific basis for what I already felt was true. I’m very grateful to it in that respect.”

The book in question, What If Everything You Thought You Knew About AIDS Was Wrong?, is published by an AIDS denial organization called Alive and Well and has been soundly rebuked by medical professionals in several peer-reviewed journals.

“The link between HIV and AIDS is about as solid a medical fact as we know,” said Dr. Daniel Fenworth of the University Medical Center. “AIDS denial is not only ignorant but dangerous, as people with HIV might not seek treatment if they don’t think they’re at risk for AIDS.”

The book says, among other things, that certain behaviors, including using dirty needles and engaging in gay activities, are the reasons for the spread of AIDS and that drug companies and physicians are in collusion to sell drugs and keep the truth from the public.

Fans of the Foo Fighters aren’t so much intrigued by the messy medical details as by Grohl’s scandalous claim that AIDS results largely from gay behavior. “I had no idea he was a fundie,” posted one anonymous fan on the Foo Fighters’ message board. Others expressed anger or disappointment in the band’s stance and many music journalists expressed disbelief. Others reveled in the absurdity of such a statement.

“We rarely hear about the political alignment of most musicians, but when we do, it’s almost always a hilarious surprise. Mr. Grohl’s overtures are no exception,” wrote Robert Christgau of the Village Voice.

The Foo Fighters are not backing down. In fact, the band is stepping up its efforts to make the message reach a broader audience. In the works is a benefit EP, which the Foo Fighters said in a recent press release would be produced “wholly for the cause; we’re not taking a cent of profit.” The EP, tentatively titled Exit Only, is allegedly composed of all-new material, making it the first since 2005’s In Your Honor. The album’s first single “Sick?” goes into radio circulation next week. The upbeat, poppy song encourages those diagnosed with HIV to stand up and reject conventional wisdom. The track also contains several digs at the behavior the band sees as responsible for AIDS. “If you don’t want to get sick, I’ll tell you what to do/Don’t share needles or have sex with dudes” is a prominent part of the chorus.

The whole controversy hardly seems to have impacted the Foo Fighters’ popularity — its booking agency claims that ticket sales for upcoming concerts have remained strong and their label, Capitol Records, has shown no indication of dropping them from the lineup. For now it seems, Grohl and his politics are center stage.

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