Homeopaths, particularly the non-medically qualified such as Sue Young, claim that their opponents either do not understand homeopathy or are in the pay of Big Pharma.
I think my previous posts demonstrate that I do indeed understand homeopathy. I cannot prove thast I am not receiving brown envelopes full of twenties from the pharmaceutical corporations but let me explain why the homeopaths’ healing fantasies anger me.
I have seen what AIDS is doing to the townships in South Africa. My sister-in-law died of it. I have seen what ignorance and lack of proper medication have achieved. The South Africans have a problem in that their President and Health Minister are both HIV denialists. Their likely next President believes having a shower will prevent infection. In such circumstances the witch-doctors and charlatans prosper.
I have known homeopathy to be nonsense for three decades but while they were just taking money from the wealthy worried well I did not concern myself about it. Last year, however, it was revealed that homeopaths were claiming their sugar pills and magic water could prevent malaria. The Society of Homeopaths refused to condemn this dangerous nonsense so I began taking an interest in their activities.
I discovered that Sue Young was claiming that homeopathy could be used to treat AIDS. I complained to the SoH about it and as you can see from “The Society of Homeopaths Investigates!!” on this blog, they did bugger-all about it.
Then I discovered the Maun Homeopathy project as outlined in “AIDS, Malaria, Homeopathy and Southern Africa”. The thought of these people indulging their healing fantasies in Southern Africa chilled my blood. I alerted a doctor in Botswana about them. I do not know if this action had any effect but if you look at their site now they have added a line saying that homeopathy does not cure HIV and AIDS but they also make numerous claims as to the value of homeopathic nostrums:-
1. They claim that homeopathy is two and a half times as effective as placebo. They give journal references but as there are no internet links and I do not subscribe to the journals in question I cannot comment on the papers cited. I will say that I have never seen this claim anywhere else.
2. They claim that homeopathy can treat the opportunistic infections that afflict the HIV positive. There is no evidence to support this assertion.
3. They claim that homeopathy heals the trauma of rape or sexual assault and furthermore “It will also boost the immune system to help strengthen the individual response to any HIV infection contracted by the individual.” This is absolute rubbish. There is not one experimental result anywhere that can be interpreted to say that homeopathy boosts the immune system. The only treatment that has a chance of preventing HIV taking hold after infection is an immediate course of antiretrovirals. The assertion that homeopathy can prevent HIV infection is at best a deluded fantasy.
However, since non-medically qualified homeopaths (particularly Society of Homeopaths members) are apparantly so utterly convinced that homeopathy cures all ills and that conventional medicine is useless, I have a challenge for them:-
Produce a “living will” that states in straight-forward language that in no circumstances must you ever be given conventional medical assistance then I will believe that you believe your healing fantasies. To balance things up, if you do this, I will produce one to say that in no circumstances must I be given homeopathic remedies. Particularly not by an SoH member.