AIDS denialism is a controversial set of claims that cast doubt on the mainstream scientific views around HIV and AIDS. Generally, the claim is that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is not the cause of AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). Some claim that the major HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa is not as prevalent as many make it out to be. Others have claimed that the anti-retroviral treatments used in AIDS treatment - AZT specifically - actually cause AIDS rather than prevent it. In the West, AIDS deniers are widely considered to be cranks, charlatans and often pushers of alternative treatments for AIDS. AIDS denialism has, in recent years, spread to Africa, and Thabo Mbeki has adopted many of the claims of the AIDS denialist movement with tragic consequences.
AIDS denialism has often been used to promote treatments widely considered to be without evidential backing for AIDS including herbal treatments, vitamin supplements, homeopathy, electrical wands and 'zapping' devices, faith healing and even the myth that AIDS can be cured by having sex with a virgin.