This past weekend the world was subjected to some serious lunacy when Samir Chachoua, the doctor who claimed he cured Charlie Sheen of HIV, was a guest on Real Time With Bill Maher (see it for yourself below).
Chachoua claimed that after searching Mexico for AIDS in places he claimed HIV should be, among drug users and protitutes, he found that some people were preventing themselves from getting HIV by drinking goat milk.
Chachoua then claimed that he wrote a paper on this cure for HIV, but hadn't been able to get it published because it had been buried by a medical establishment apparently intent on keeping the HIV epidemic alive.
Chachoua also believes that he has cured cancer by injecting patients with viruses. But he claims this work was also buried by big medical research institutes like Cedar-Senai Medical Center.
Maher, in all his generosity, throws "Western medicine" a bone by claiming it's done some remarkable things, but that he finds alternative medicine far more interesting. His leading questions gave Chachoua an opportunity to share his personal fantasy of being the Best Doctor Ever who can cure anything.
"Nothing great has ever happened from a medicine institute," Chachoua said with all the drama of a snake oil salesman.
Let's get one thing straight: alternative medicine is not medicine. If it could pass the scientific rigor required for that definition, it would be called medicine. Alternative therapies like massage and accupuncture may have proven themselves worthy of embracing, but far too many of these treatments are experimental.
Many actually rely on the placebo affect or components that make you think you are getting better when you aren't. At best, they work for short periods of time. At worst, these supposed "cures" can give people a false sense of hope (I'm looking at you, meme about injecting vitamin C to cure cancer). Hope's not a negative in its own right, but when false hope leads you to abandon real medicine in exchange for dreams of quick-fixes and miracles, it can end up being deadly.
Another thing to get straight: BIll Maher is, at heart a comedian, not a journalist. The sometimes-beloved liberal talk show host, who brags about his secular and scientific based views may assume that he was providing Chachoua the rope to hang himself. But there are dangerous consequences to giving a platform to a quack like Chachoua. Did we learn nothing from Jenny McCarthy?
Last thing to get straight: Chachoua takes Dr. Oz to task for not providing better treatment to Sheen. Oz is not Sheen's doctor, never claimed to be his doctor, never claimed expertise in HIV, and is in no way responsible for Sheen's treatment. Accusing Oz of not providing a better treatment is a sneaky tactic to make Oz look bad.
OK, now that that's out of the way, let's roll with this idiocy.