What's your reaction to this statement? (GLBT community, especially)

This is a direct quote, made by somebody in an anti-vaccine forum. I can give you other background, if you want, but I’d like to find out if my response was appropriate, at least as compared to others’ reactions.

“AIDS is acquired immune deficiency…vaccines suppress the
immune system. Everyone who has been vaccinated has AIDS.”

Along with a signature, that was the entire message.
Dopers, how would you have reacted? For the record, this person later defended her statement–this wasn’t a troll, she really, truly believes this.

First thing that comes to mind is “What a loon.” It also shows that the person is a dumb ass, and does not know, or understand what HIV and AIDS is nor how the immune system works.

IANAD, but from what I know, she doesn’t have the faintest idea what she’s talking about.

  1. Vaccines don’t suppress the immune system; they sensitize it by introducing it to organisms it hasn’t encountered yet, in order to make it ready to fight off those organisms should it encounter them in a less benign context.

(She may be thinking of immunosuppressant drugs which are used, for example, to prevent the body from rejecting a transplanted organ; those have nothing to do with vaccines.)

  1. AIDS is the name of a specific syndrome, not for any disease which is acquired and which suppresses the immune system. It’s like saying that a person with pneumonia has SARS because they have a severe, acute respiratory disease. It’s playing with words.

  2. What was her point, anyway?

People can really truly believe anything, doesn’t mean they are worth even talking to. Ask her for her definition of AIDS if you want, maybe she thinks AIDS means has once been vaccinated. Don’t think this has any direct link to GLBT community. She doesn’t seem to be worth looking up statistics for, but I am sure the amount of vaccinations in UK is high enough that the apparent low number of AIDS cases there would show her how wrong she is.

matt_mcl the anti-vaccine crowd feels that vaccination is an assault on the immune system that suppresses its full capabilities, partly because the vaccine itself is contaminated, usually with bovine serum, and partly because vaccines are generally given in series, several diseases at one time, which is the “assault on the immune system” and given to infants. Thus, a vaccinated person or animal would get sick more easily and not be as capable of fighting off disease. I’m not saying that this is what I believe, necessarily, but that’s where she’s coming from with the first part of her statement. As for point two, that was part of my response to her.

Out of curiosity, what was your response, Mixie?

I pointed out that, while she may believe that vaccines supress immune system response, any “vaccine damage” is nowhere near comparable to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, the defined medical term, and that I thought it was a horrific insult to those who have suffered from HIV/AIDS, or have loved ones who have, to say the two are equal.
I also told her that hyperbolic statements like that are the kind of thing that gets them labled fanatics, and that she might want to be careful about the information she puts out.
The reason I’m curious as to others’ reactions, is that a whole bunch of people posted in support of what I’d said, and I was later chastized by a moderator for publically correcting another person’s statements, and she basically called me a troll for doing so. Was my reaction wrong?

Another reason to only stick with SDMB.

Screw that moderator…allowing stupidity like that to be posted as fact is dangerous…someone might read it and actually believe that crap. Lordknows we have enough urban legends floating around the internet - we don’t need idiots posting BS about getting AIDS from a flu shot.

Besides, you took our oath “to fight ignorance”, and I will contact Cecil about having you knighted.

How exactly did she defend her statement?

IANAD, but:

This proves that when you know nothing about a certain subject, you shouldn’t comment on it, especially if that subject is medicine.

“AIDS is acquired immune deficiency”
Yes, AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

“vaccines suppress the immune system”
No, they don’t. Vaccines are weakened bacteria or parts of bacteria (antigens [foreign macromolecules that elicit an immune response from the host organism]). Antibodies, immunoglobins produced by B cells that bind to the antigens, are then produced. The antibodies are specific in their binding–that is, you need an antibody of a particular shape and structure to be able to bind to a particular antigen. By inducing an immune response, the vaccine familiarizes the body with that antigen and, as a result, with the type of organism that those antigens came from. So, later on, when the person gets sick with that germ, he will already have some antibodies which his body would make more of, allowing it to start fighting the pathogen earlier and faster.

“Everyone who has been vaccinated has AIDS.”
Um, no. I’ve heard of an AIDS vaccine and the debate over it–that it’s bad because the host usually ends up developing full-blown AIDS and that it hasn’t helped anyone. But that’s a place for a cite.

Reminder: I can’t promise everything above is true. That’s only as much as I know. Perhaps Qadgop will arrive shortly to set the matter straight.

I shouldn’t have said she defended her statement, she didn’t offer any sort of factual support. She did not reply publically, but privately emailed a couple of the other people who responded in support of what I had said (not me). She essentially repeated her statement and said something to the effect that any level of immune system supression was equal to AIDS, and that if they didn’t believe her, they could just ignore her messages. So she didn’t “defend” her statement, per se, basically just repeated it with a bit more nonsense thrown in.

What a goofball. AIDS is acquired immune deficiency syndrome with specific symptoms required for diagnosis. More specifically, AIDS is believed by most people (though not everyone) to result from HIV infection.

You can have an immune deficiency or be immuno-suppressed without having AIDS.

Basically, this woman sounds like a really idiotic dork.

I wish she would win a free 6 months local food sampling explorational visit to Central Africa and India. It would be interseting to see how her immune system survives without taking any vaccines before the trip.

Key question: if vaccines suppress the immune system, why don’t you immediately get the disease you’ve being vaccinated against?

There are exceptions (cowpox, for example), but usually you do not get the disease after getting a vaccination. So how is the immune system depressed? Seems to me, it’s strengthened.

I have to agree with Matt and Booklover here.

That women is a loon.

  1. “AIDS is acquired immune deficiency”

Ok this sounds fine.

  1. “…vaccines suppress the immune system.”

This is just nutty. Sleeping defined it well.

  1. “Everyone who has been vaccinated has AIDS.”

And this is completely wrong.

Why don’t you ask her to cite her findings. Make sure they come from reputable sources like the CDC or such. She won’t find anything outside of the fringe kook movements (I know it is redundant but she deserves more).

Another vote for “loon” here…

What an ass.

15 years ago I was part of a small HIV-vaccine research study run by the NIH. In our local area it was administered by Vanderbilt Medical Center. In our study they were looking for HIV negative people who hadn’t previously been vaccinated for smallpox. Because my mother didn’t have us vaccinated, both my sister and I were eligible and volunteered. The vaccine took a small part of the HIV virus (the part that allows the virus to attack other cells, not the part that caused the disease) and combined it with the smallpox vaccine, because that has a well-documented medical history. The required the vaccine participents had to agree not to have sex outside of an already established long-term commited relationship for one year. In fact, at first they didn’t want to accept women in the trial because they’re at greater risk for rape. However, they had such a difficult time finding people both willing and eligible for the trial that they changed that rule.

I’d heard about the study from a friend of mine who was a participent. He’s a priest, so the celibacy thing wasn’t a hardship for him. From my parish we had at least 6 volunteers, a large part of the study volunteers. We all thought, we were told, that there whould be a vaccine in 7-10 years. Now it sometimes feels like I did it all for nothing. But for all of us, we were willing to do something considered very radical because we thought we could help people that, at the time, no one else seemed to care about. To finally have a vaccine would be a marvelous thing. To have someone denigrate it is beyond thought.

BTW - out of all the people throughout the country who were in the study, I had the strongest immune response to the vaccine. I hadn’t had an antibiotic for 15 years before the study and my body’s immune system was used to fight things.


Wow-that’s really BRAVE, StGermain! There is no way I would be willing to try something like that!

Good for you!

That woman is a moron. Besides, couldn’t one argue that vaccines actually STRENGTHEN our immune system?