[There was a video here]
Maher hosted—and seemed to take seriously—Dr. Samir Chachoua, who famously injected himself with Charlie Sheen’s blood while treating the HIV-positive actor in Mexico, as revealed on an episode of Dr. Oz that ran earlier this month. Chachoua is not licensed to practice medicine in the U.S., a fact glossed over by Maher, who repeatedly gave the “doctor” the benefit of the doubt as a beacon of hope in the fight against AIDS. Maher furthermore denigrated the usefulness of the antiretroviral drugs that are proven life-savers to promote Chachoua’s supposed miracle cure.
Chachoua claims his cure comes from the CAEV virus, which he says is present in the milk of arthritic goats. “This virus destroys HIV and protects people who drink it for life,” he claimed to Bill Maher. While he didn’t get into the exact science, what he’s offering is a cure not a therapy, which means that after Chachoua’s services, Sheen should be HIV free. Sheen is not HIV negative, which means that Bill Maher should not be taking this quack seriously, much less giving him ten minutes of airtime to spout his nonsense, which is full of evident contradictions. Chachoua, for example, claimed to Dr. Oz that Sheen was “the first adult in history to go HIV negative.”
[There was a video here]
That is untrue, but also it contradicts what he told Maher, which is that he eradicated HIV (as well as chikungunya) in Comoros in 2006.
“I’ve cured countries!” Chachoua claimed, sounding like a televangelist.
[There was a video here]
“[The Dr. Oz episode] just kind of [leaves] it hanging there…If he says, as he did, that it was undetectable and it stayed then why did he go back on the traditional cocktail?” said Maher, and never pressed when this went unexplained. Nor did he show any skepticism when Chachoua claimed that when Sheen was on “the incredibly powerful medical cocktails, he still showed virus.” In fact, to this, Maher said, “Right,” which it isn’t according to Sheen’s account of being undetectable on antiretroviral therapy and, oh you know, science. “As soon as he started my treatment he became undetectable,” claimed Chachoua.
Maher played a clip of Sheen complaining to Dr. Oz about migraines and “poo poo pants” as side effects of his antiretroviral therapy. “Poo poo pants, I don’t think, is a normal life,” said Maher. “It’s a horrible way to live, all these side effects disappeared the minute he started my therapy and the minute he started my therapy, his liver went to normal levels,” claimed Chachoua, uncontested. “Even the charts they held up on our show, all the great tests they showed, they were during my treatment, not theirs.”
Maher praised Chachoua for injecting himself with Sheen’s blood. (Read that surreal sentence again.) Said Maher: “You took Charlie’s blood when he was HIV positive and injected it into yourself, and Dr. Oz says, ‘That is very inappropriate.’ What I thought was, ‘That is confident.’”
Chachoua claims that in the ‘90s, he was courted by UCLA and Cedars-Sinai, who then stole his AIDS cure and buried it. HIV activist Peter Staley (How To Survive a Plague) did some digging to expose the truth behind Chachoua’s $10 million lawsuit regarding his “cure,” which Chachoua has often referenced in the name of self-promotion (it’s mentioned on his website, for example). From Staley’s Facebook:
The $10 million case that “Doctor” Sam Chachoua claims he won from L.A.’s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center was another lie he told to Bill Maher. The court immediately reduced the “breach of contract” damages to $11,250 (in 2001). Cedars then successfully sued for recovery of their own court costs, in excess of that amount, and Chachoua started missing court dates after that. His own lawyer quit the case at that point. Cedars never paid him a dime.
I paid small amounts to look at the case reports, which are endless, starting in 1997, and ending in 2004. One of the court’s orders called it “the longest case in this court’s history.” If any of my legal friends want to provide a fuller account of these record, which are accessible with a PACER account, you can find them all here.
Staley’s several Facebook posts on the Real Time segment are worth perusing to get a sense of the potential danger in giving someone like Chachoua this kind of platform—these supposed miracle cures have existed for decades (and yet, HIV persists!), they conjure paranoia about a conspiracy to withhold the cure, they dissuade people from seeking therapy that actually works. It’s one thing to put a self-appointed messiah who serves goat milk and has two thirds of Yanni’s hairdo on TV—the medium thrives on eccentrics. But to do this without any hard questioning or reference to Chachoua’s blatant contradictions was incredibly irresponsible of Maher. He did a terrible job on this one.
Chachoua is shady down to the website. Earlier this month, DrSamChachoua.com was presented as a sort of fan site “created by a Group representing all the very ill and terminal patients successfully treated and cured by Dr. Sam Chachoua and the Group that actively promotes his work.”
Hello, my name is Dr. Sam Chachoua. I am an Australian Medical Doctor registered around the world. England, Australia, Mexico, China, India and Comoros are among the places where my medical qualifications are honored and have kept me sufficiently busy over the past three decades.
In Australia and England, doctors have the qualification M. B. B. S., which is the same as the MD qualification enjoyed by American doctors. Doctors from America need to apply for a reciprocation exam to work in England and Australia and vice versa. I may one day choose to do that for America but the events of the past twenty years did not even allow that as a consideration...
Yet another inconsistency from someone who’s asking sick people to give him their money so that he can cure them. And it all took to discover that was just a few keystrokes that the Real Time team either didn’t do, or ignored for the sake of making television. (Note that in the footer of the front page, the “site owner” still reads as, as it did earlier this month: Jeunesse Institute MRF Corporation, 5Ta Avenida 5-55 Ciudad de Guatemala, 01014, Guatemala, Centro America, Contact: Dr. E. Alves – Director.)
I reached out to Chachoua, through his site, regarding the changing of his site’s contents and will update this post if/when I hear back.