Rand Paul Belonged To Fringe Medical Group That Promoted AIDS Denialism


U.S. Senator Rand Paul until recently was a longtime member of a fringe medical groups whose beliefs include AIDS denialism and autism is caused by vaccines.

For two decades, and as recently as 2010, Senator Rand Paul, a medical doctor specializing in ophthalmology, was a member of a fringe medical group created in response to the American Medical Association. Among that group's beliefs, at least during the time Paul was a member, are that HIV may not be the cause of AIDS, vaccines can cause autism, and women who have abortions are at a higher risk for breast cancer. All three medical claims run contrary to settled medical science, but the group insists there is no such thing.

Senator Paul came under attack this week after claiming that vaccines should be "voluntary," and promoting the idea that vaccines cause autism. "I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines," the Kentucky Senator told CNBC in an interview during which he also told the reporter to "sssh."

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), was founded in the early 1940's "fight socialized medicine and to fight the government takeover of medicine."

A 2007 press release stated the group "promised to do everything it can to support parents who refuse to immunize their children." Its website features articles with titles like "If You Want to Live, Ignore the CDC," and "U.S. Must Learn from Nazi Doctor."

A 2010 article in Kentucky's Courier-Journal reveals the AAPS suggested President Obama won the 2008 election by hypnotizing audiences, and that in 2003 the group published a report claiming the World Trade Center's twin towers fell in the terror attacks because the government stopped using asbestos. 

Buzzfeed reports an advisor to Senator Paul "told BuzzFeed News he didn't know if Paul was still a member of the group but that he joined because it was a group of pro-life doctors. He said Paul does not endorse all the group's views."

The group, according to Buzzfeed, also believes doctors participating in the government's Medicare program are guilty of being "evil" and "immoral."

Salon reports today that Senator Paul's "membership expired upon being elected to Congress," but also noted "he has spoken at a number of AAPS conferences (most recently in 2012), and also received campaign contributions as recently as 2010."

Rachel Maddow reported on the story in the above video from February 2.


Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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