For Profit HIV Forum Abuses, Threatens, and Bans HIV Positive Man Who Posts Naturopath Protocol

CENSORSHIP FROM POZ MAGAZINE – HIV STIGMA WITHIN THE HIV+ COMMUNITY

By John Strangis

After testing positive on an HIV antibody test, and taking medication for more than a year, I became aware of the dissident perspective on the matter. After carefully comparing the orthodox and dissident sides of the issue, I made the personal decision to stop medication.

At the time I thought this decision would be no different from a cancer patient choosing to follow an alternative treatment plan instead of following the classic options prescribed by oncologists. I never dreamed I would be subject to abuse, derision, and finally censorship.

I was naïve. I decided to comment on a thread posted on POZ.com, the website of POZ magazine–a magazine for HIV positive people. Well, what happened next left me in stunned disbelief and only reinforced the idea that the path I chose was the correct one. Something was definitely wrong.

What follows is a description of what happened the first time I tried to connect with others on POZ.com’s forums:

It began when I replied to a comment on POZ.com which described the alleged death of a person with AIDS after this person stopped taking HIV medications. Another member of the forum posted a reply to this comment claiming he had stopped medication because he was convinced that what was being told to everybody was not the complete truth. Considering that I made this same decision, I decided to post a reply of my own describing why I made this decision and the alternative plan I decided to follow.

In my post I included references which would help people understand why I did this, both to back up my claims and to spark a thought in people’s minds. I did however mention that I am not stupid; I was aware of what might happen if my decision was incorrect. This comment was deleted by the moderator and her questionable replies prompted me to document all that followed.

Just to clarify, Schedir81 was my screen name on the POZ forum:

After my first comment, the moderator wrote:

Schedir, I deleted your post. We do not allow denialist crap on this website and that’s exactly what your post was – denialist crap. Do it again and you risk being banned.
Consider yourself warned.

Ann.

I replied:

No problem, I expected my post to be deleted. I did not post denialist crap; I posted my own comment which was only meant to spark a thought in those who would read it. However, I will not mention it again. Like I said, I did not intend to offend anyone with what I wrote and it seems obvious I had a good reason to do so.

Schedir81

Ann wrote back:

I’ve been around long enough to recognize when someone is parroting denialist propaganda when I see it.
If you want to go down that road, that is your choice. Just don’t expect to use this forum as a means to temp others to follow you into a preventable death from eschewing necessary hiv treatment.
Again, consider yourself warned.

Ann

I wrote back:

Yes, I have been warned and just to inform you, I was not spouting propaganda. You read my post and I have been on this forum for a while you can see that clearly. However, I will not post anything like it again, don’t worry.

Schedir81

Incredible! Since when did discussing opposing scientific views become something that angers people so much? This censorship reinforced my belief that the dissident arguments may be correct and it was obvious that what I wrote was something these “moderators” do not want other members to be informed of.

What gets to me the most is that I have been on that forum for a while and the members there know I have been diagnosed HIV positive, so you can see I am not just some person randomly popping up on the website to lure people into following the “denialists.”

The replies to me from Ann made it appear as if I was on a political forum, not one where people are struggling with a medical condition.

I did not post anything offensive, I only described what I am attempting to do for my own health and why. I also emphasized that others who read my posts should not attempt to do the same, that this was just me speaking for myself.

These people always speak of stigma, and here they were stigmatizing and shunning me just for stating that I have stopped taking medication, treating me like a very bad child who had to be punished. I am a grown man for heaven’s sake. So is everybody on that forum–a grownup.

I thought this was the end of it. My ban lasted for several months until one day I noticed it had been lifted. I knew it was the software which lifted the ban automatically after an expiration period, something the forum moderators were happy to point out to me once I decided to post another message on their forums.

I thanked them for restoring my privileges but I did point out how they (moderator Ann) infringed upon my first amendment right by banning me for asking valid questions in regards to an alternative view on a medical condition.

The moderator who replied, arrogantly, explained to me that my first amendment rights “do not apply” on the forum–that I should learn more in regards to the constitution and that I should think twice about coming back to taunt Ann.

Well, I did explain to him that I was well aware that my first amendment right does not apply to private entities, but also that the American people do not take kindly this sort of thing, private entity or not and especially when it has something to do with a medical condition, civil rights etc.
I left it be, we said what we had to say and I promised never to speak of anything controversial again. It seemed as if the story was finally over with, based on his response:

“I’m all for moving on but let this be the last warning to indeed move on.

You broke the rules so your banning was warranted and for the record, no one had second thoughts and lifted your ban, the software was triggered that your ban was up. So sorry bud, no change of heart or even a thought was given about your being allowed to return.

I’m going to take you at your word that you don’t want to spend any more time on this and lock this thread, so let’s move along and talk no more of this.”

I looked up the forum’s rules, and lo and behold, there it was:

“Actions that may result in an immediate and permanent ban include the following:

1) HIV/AIDS denialists. Any member who posts denialists propaganda — including direct links to information produced by denialist entities or language encouraging members to research denialism — will be banned immediately. More benign questions or comments about denialism, especially when raised by a long-term member of the Forums, will be handled on a case-by-case basis.”

My question here is, why? Why are people banned for speaking of alternative views in regards to a medical condition? Are people banned from cancer forums for asking questions about alternative treatments? They might be told that those alternative views are not supported or to speak to their oncologist before considering such an option, but I have never seen anyone being banned.

Why are the people who speak of “HIV denialism” shunned and swept aside almost like a heretic being sentenced to die at the stake during the times of the inquisition? Are the FDA and Big Pharma God? Why do people have to believe everything they say without question?

I proceeded to create a new thread on the forum posting the link to a naturopathic protocol and telling people to consider a few options on it because it might help them while on HAART. WHILE ON HAART. [Highly Active Antiretroviral Medication.]

After posting this message, I was banned again. This time through an Ip address ban which would not allow me to access the forum itself–at all.

As funny or tragic as it may seem, the message displayed on my screen when attempting to access the forum read:

Sorry Schedir, you are banned from using this forum!
Go away you denialist.
This ban is not set to expire

What was the reason this time? What rules did I break? Is telling people “drink this juice” or “eat these vegetables” considered dangerous information, and a reason to ban an HIV positive person from the forum?

It seems to me that these people do not want their followers to hear about the other side of the argument, or even be permitted to enhance their health in any way other than through chemical medication. Is the HIV orthodoxy really this far gone, this out of touch?

People need to be made aware of this because POZ is the largest HIV magazine in existence, and many people who have been diagnosed turn to them for help and support. This is way different than a discussion group banning you for posting opposing religious or political views. This is a medical condition and people should feel free to speak about whatever they feel might be beneficial towards their health.

The time has come for people to wake up, and ask a simple question, one that perhaps a child would ask. It is one word:

WHY?

***

Editor’s Note:

The Truth Barrier obtained some additional information. “Ann” is Ann Smith, one of two listed staff moderators.

Posting at POZ.com is not free. All prices and rules are detailed below, cut and pasted from POZ.com.

Some things really stunned us. For example, this update indicates that members are only allowed to post 3 times for free on the Am I Infected? forum; This restriction only applies to this forum.

[There is no "dissident" or "rethinker"HIV forum that charges members any money for participating in discussions about HIV/AIDS.]

To wit:

IMPORTANT UPDATE
Posted Tuesday, August 28, 2012

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There will be no charge to continue reading threads in the “Am I Infected?” forum, nor will there be a charge for participating in any of the Main Forums; Meds, Mind, Body & Benefits; and Off Topic Forums. Similarly, all AIDSmeds pages, including our “How is HIV Transmitted?” and “Am I Infected? (A Guide to Testing for HIV)” lessons, will remain accessible to all.

NOTE: HIV testing questions will still need to be posted in the “Am I Infected?” forum; attempts to post HIV symptoms or testing questions in any other forums will be considered violations of our rules of membership and subject to time-outs and permanent bans.

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Research credit: Mark Harris, Truth Barrier contributor

About Celia Farber

Celia Farber is a journalist, author, and editor based in New York City, who grew up in Sweden and New York City. Farber has written on a variety of subjects for SPIN, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Harper’s, Salon, New York Press, and many more. In 2008, Celia Farber won the Semmelweis International Society’s Clean Hands Award For Investigative Journalism.

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  8. anna kenny says:

    Yes , some have dramatic improvements and others have drastic reactions, and a great many tolerate the meds over time .. this seems an abusive way to handle your comment and question . One would think there would be a more professional worded response than what you got – I would complain directly.

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  12. Flahute says:

    Thx for posting the info John. A cursory view of the publications of the scientific board indicated a few things to me : 1)a fairly incestuous bunch pub-wise, 2)heavily invested in drug treatments & modeling to minimize/maximize their ‘epidemic’, 3)alternative therapies don’t appear to be part of the equation. So not surprising that your views are ‘considered propaganda’ – the thing that struck me was the ‘propaganda crap’ terminology.

    Posting there & expecting to get some cogent thoughtful responses is a little like trying to talk up race relations at a white supremacist convention.

  13. David (Lobishome Romasanta) says:

    ll this is an injustice and abuse of power

    Please, SIGN this petition for the European Parliament. Thank you.

    Asking Robert Gallo, Antony Fauci, Luc Montagnier and Francoise Barrè-Sinoussi to provide the gold standard to prove that Hiv exists.
    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/263/201/306/petition-hiv-aids/?fb_ac…

  14. Kim Cools says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us John Strangis.
    I know for over a decade that the HIV cult can not and will not tolorate the truth, as it will make their house of cards (fantasy construction) colapse. Keep pushing the buttons :) 1love

  15. I was intending to say it hadn’t yet gotten to assassinations, thank goodness. But then it has. Career and character assassinations for sure and literal death for those treated like baby Rico, or his mother, absent very serious intervention.

    But then look what the believers suffer: vast health problems and death by organ failure if not AIDS by prescription. And all the while real health and long and normal life is possible by rational action. Too bad it has to be so irrationally impeded.

    There is a new GcMAF.eu associated conference coming up, and I wonder if anyone will be following up on Nobuto Yamamoto’s 18 week “cure” for HIV+ with weekly injections of GcMAF. Anything that works like nagalase suppresses formation of GeMAF and thus creates a serious immune deficiency. That includes one protein thought to be an HIV coat protein which does appear to trigger an HIV+ test result.

  16. Stevie Berk says:
  17. Greg Baysans says:

    I, too, was banned from the online site, PozIAm, a site which purports to be for those of us who have been given that phony cattlebrand “poz” to share and educate one another, but is instead funded by the pharmaceutical industry and will allow no comments that disparage “meds” or advocate discontinuing them, which I’ve also done.

    I tested “poz” (on a faulty and inaccurate test, I’ve since learned) in 1998 and was on “meds” for nearly six years before I did my homework and learned what “dissidents” know and I know by firsthand experience, “HIV is not the cause of AIDS and has never been shown to be so.”

  18. Craig Weiler says:

    If you discussed parapsychology on the web, you wouldn’t have been surprised at all by the response you got. Irrational people behaving irrationally, but pretending to be rational. Same sh*t, different day.

    • Cheryl Nagel says:

      A few months ago, I might have found John’s story difficult to believe. I thought things would have loosened up a bit in the ol’ HIV=AIDS world, because over the twenty years I have been in this battle, a “dissident,” there have been many break-throughs.

      But what my daughter and grandson have gone through since December 19, is appalling. Our daughter and grandson, have faced horrific, inexcusable, sloppy, hateful people who do terrible things to other human beings. Is it because they are afraid of the virus, HIV? I don’t think so. Is it is because this paradigm attracts closed-minded people to believe and perpetrate the paradigm on others at any cost? I cannot figure out WHY.

      • One real and powerful reason WHY is that when you are severely suffering from opportunistic infections, the antiretrovirals CAN make a temporary but dramatic health improvement. This is impressive and quite wonderful for all your lovers and close friends, who are then likely to be incontrovertibly convinced of the value of HAART.

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