BREAKING NEWS: Water is wet, and HIV causes AIDS. If you tuned in to the nation’s No. 1 podcast on Spotify, The Joe Rogan Experience, on February 13, you might have thought you were listening to a conversation from the 1980s. The controversial host and his equally out-there guest that day, Bret Weinstein, an evolutionary biology professor, promoted long-disproven ideas that HIV does not cause AIDS and that in fact recreational drugs, such as poppers—popular among gay men—could be “a very important factor in AIDS.”

To be clear, HIV does cause AIDS. (Poppers do not.) Stating otherwise is known as AIDS denialism, various forms of which have been around as long as the epidemic itself. The idea that HIV does not cause AIDS has been discredited time and time again, including in numerous social media posts rebutting the dangerous claims made on Rogan’s show (several examples of which are posted here).

Perhaps it’s not surprising that Rogan and Weinstein dredged up this HIV misinformation. After all, as Forbes and Vice report, Weinstein has often advanced anti-vaccine theories and COVID-19 misinformation, including promoting ivermectin, the antiparasitic med, as a treatment for COVID.

What’s more, in contributing to AIDS denialism, Weinstein presented “evidence” from a book by anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy (yes, the one running for president). Weinstein also promoted now-debunked theories and took several swipes at Anthony Fauci, MD, who led the nation’s efforts against both HIV and COVID-19. (Fauci was director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from 1984 to 2022, when he retired, and he remains a popular target of right-wing conspiracy theorists.)

We’re not going to give Rogan and Weinstein’s dangerous crackpot theories any more space (Vice includes a solid roundup of the discussion). But if you need a primer on the science behind HIV, check out the POZ Basics, particularly the section “HIV Transmission and Risk.”

And be sure to read the Ask POZ column “How do we know that HIV causes AIDS?