Letter to the Center for HIV Law & Policy Regarding Errors in "Guinea Pig Kids" Video, British Broadcasting Corporation

Letters and Other Advocacy Documents

This letter describes British Broadcasting Corporation's (BBC) investigation of  complaints filed by the Center for HIV Law and Policy and AIDStruth.org that "Guinea Pig Kids," an independent video aired on the BBC in 2004, made false and misleading claims about pediatric clinical trials of AIDS medicines that included foster children with HIV/AIDS living at New York Citys Incarnation Childrens Center (ICC). In this 12-page letter, Fraser Steel, BBC's Head of Editorial Complaints affirmed that the "Guinea Pig Kids" wrongly implied that the HIV-related medications that were being studied were futile and dangerous, and intentionally ignored life-saving efficacy of the drugs. The BBC further acknowledged that the video was fundamentally biased towards the views of HIV denialists, who do not accept the scientific evidence that HIV exists and that it causes AIDS. The letter concludes that these are serious breaches of the standards set out in the BBC's Editorial Guidelines concerning accuracy and impartiality, and  extends an apology for the deficiencies in the program and the associated website material. The affirmation of the complaint is very important because the credibility of the BBC had lent undeserved legitimacy to false accusations against ICC and to the disinformation about HIV/AIDS, clinical trials, and antiretroviral treatments that is spread by HIV denialists. The drugs, which were already approved for adults or for non-AIDS pediatric uses, were being tested to determine the safest and most effective dosages for children living with HIV.