HIV/AIDS Skepticism

Pointing to evidence that HIV is not the necessary and sufficient cause of AIDS

Archive for September, 2009

Public Health Service of Italy accepts work of Ruggiero et al.

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/09/28

On 12 July 2009, this blog published a press release reporting the acceptance (on 3 June) by the journal Medical Hypotheses of an article by Professor Ruggiero and co-workers at the University of Florence pointing out that official policies of the Italian Ministry of Health implied a lack of necessary connection between HIV and AIDS [“Official Italian data: no causal connection between HIV and AIDS”, 12 July 2009].

Consternation ensued among HIV/AIDS vigilantes that so well established, indeed distinguished a research group had produced such a publication. AIDStruthers and other vigilantes organized a letter-writing campaign urging Elsevier — the current publisher of Medical Hypotheses — to withdraw this article which had already been posted on the journal’s website as “in press”. At the same time the letter-writing HIV/AIDS campaigners urged the withdrawal of an article by Duesberg et al. that had been accepted by Medical Hypotheses on 11 June, which pointed out that official South African statistics recorded AIDS deaths at about 12,000 annually while an article in JAIDS had alleged 25 times that number; Duesberg et al. noted too that JAIDS had refused to publish their rebuttal of the flawed article.

The HIV/AIDS vigilantes also sent letters to the National Library of Medicine urging that MEDLINE no longer abstract Medical Hypotheses.

Elsevier’s stated reasons why articles in press might nevertheless be withdrawn include “potentially libelous” content and “potential threat to global public health”. I invite anyone and everyone to judge for themselves whether either of those potentialities exists in those articles, and moreover to ponder what is common to those articles other than questioning HIV/AIDS theory on the basis of substantive evidence; and what about the articles warrants withdrawal after acceptance, by comparison to the 200+ articles still posted at the Medical Hypotheses website as “in press”.

Professor Ruggiero has now been able to point out that the Italian Ministry of Health has actually found helpful the work that he and his students have published, since they have revised some of their policies accordingly. Moreover, the Italian Public Health Service has officially recognized the work by making dissertations available from its website.

**********************

From Professor Ruggiero:

“The theses of Drs. Simone Scarpelli, Matteo Prayer Galletti, and Elda Muca, previously discussed and approved by the University of Firenze, Italy, received official recognition by the Italian Public Health Service and they are now available at the Center for Study and Research on Drug Abuse and AIDS, a Department of the Public Health Service.
It is worth noting that the thesis of Dr. Matteo P. Galletti (now available at request at http://www.cesda.net, in Italian with an English abstract) was the starting point of the article in Medical Hypotheses (M. Ruggiero, M. P. Galletti, S. Pacini, T. Punzi, G. Morucci, M. Gulisano, “Aids denialism at the ministry of health” (doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2009.06.002), as stated in the article.
We are grateful to the Region of Tuscany and the Department of drug abuse of the Public Health Service for providing official recognition to the results.”

Screen shots of the relevant Web pages are attached below: click them (or double-click, depends on browser) for a full-size image. There is at the end a downloadable pdf of this blog post.

PHS10SeptPHS14SeptGallettiURLGallettiText

PHS1PHS2PHS3

Here is a PDF of this blog post.

Public Health Service of Italy accepts work of Ruggiero et al.

On 12 July 2009, this blog published a press release reporting the acceptance (on 3 June) by the journal Medical Hypotheses of an article by Professor Ruggiero and co-workers at the University of Florence pointing out that official policies of the Italian Ministry of Health implied a lack of necessary connection between HIV and AIDS [“Official Italian data: no causal connection between HIV and AIDS”, 12 July 2009].

Consternation ensued among HIV/AIDS vigilantes that so well established, indeed distinguished a research group had produced such a publication. AIDStruthers and other vigilantes organized a letter-writing campaign urging Elsevier — the current publisher of Medical Hypotheses — to withdraw this article which had already been posted on the journal’s website as “in press”. At the same time the letter-writing HIV/AIDS campaigners urged the withdrawal of an article that had been accepted by Medical Hypotheses on 11 June, by Duesberg et al., which pointed out that official South African statistics recorded AIDS deaths at about 12,000 annually while an article in JAIDS had alleged 25 times that number; Duesberg et al. noted too that JAIDS had refused to publish their rebuttal of the flawed article.

The HIV/AIDS vigilantes also sent letters to the National Library of Medicine urging that MEDLINE no longer abstract Medical Hypotheses.

Elsevier’s stated reasons why articles in press might nevertheless be withdrawn include “potentially libelous” content and “potential threat to global public health”. Professor Ruggiero has now been able to point out that the Italian Ministry of Health has actually found helpful the work that he and his students have published, since they have revised some of their policies accordingly. Moreover, the Italian Public Health Service has officially recognized the work by making dissertations available from its website.

From Professor Ruggiero:

“The theses of Drs. Simone Scarpelli, Matteo Prayer Galletti, and Elda Muca, previously discussed and approved by the University of Firenze, Italy, received official recognition by the Italian Public Health Service and they are now available at the Center for Study and Research on Drug Abuse and AIDS (www.cesda.net), a Department of the Public Health Service.

It is worth noting that the thesis of Dr. Matteo P. Galletti (now available at request at http://www.cesda.net, in Italian with an English abstract) was the starting point of the article in Medical Hypotheses (M. Ruggiero, M. P. Galletti, S. Pacini, T. Punzi, G. Morucci, M. Gulisano, “Aids denialism at the ministry of health” (doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2009.06.002), as stated in the article.

We are grateful to the Region of Tuscany and the Department of drug abuse of the Public Health Service for providing official recognition to the results.”

Screen shots of the relevant Web pages are attached below. The difficulty of sizing these for the blog while retaining clarity made it desirable to extract screen shots of the relevant items. Reproductions of the full web pages follow, and finally there is a downloadable pdf of this blog post in which the full web pages are in legible form.


Here is a PDF of this blog post.

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Categories:  HIV does not cause AIDS,  HIV skepticism,  Legal aspects

Tags Italian Public Health Service, Marco Ruggiero, University of Florence, Italian Ministry of Health, Medical Hypotheses, Elsevier, Elsevier withdraws already accepted articles, HIV/AIDS vigilantes pressure Elsevier, HIV/AIDS vigilantes pressure National Library of Medicine, AID deaths in South Africa, Simone Scarpelli, Matteo Prayer Galletti, Elda Muca, S. Pacini, T. Punzi, G. Morucci, M. Gulisano, Joshua M. Nicholson, David Rasnick, Christian Fiala

Posted in HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV skepticism, Legal aspects | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

More MAINSTREAM ALTERNATIVE treatment for “HIV/AIDS”

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/09/28

“A nutritional formula . . . may help slow CD4 cell decline and reduce immune activation” [Liz Highleyman, reporting on  “Reduced CD4+ T cell decline and immune activation by NR100157, a specific multi-targeted nutritional intervention, in HIV-1 positive adults not on antiretroviral therapy (BITE)” by J. Lange et al., presented at the 49th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, San Francisco, 12-15 September 2009; Abstract H-1230b].
“Pedro Cahn and colleagues with the international BITE study aimed to determine whether a combination nutritional formula could reduce CD4 cells loss in people on ART. The randomized controlled trial was designed to include 800 HIV positive participants in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Italy, the Netherlands, Thailand, the U.K., and the U.S. Half were randomly assigned to take the nutritional formula, known as NR100157, for 1 year, while the other half received a control product containing the same amount of calories and protein, but without the active ingredients. NR100157 contains several components that individually have demonstrated beneficial effects on immune function in previous studies: Prebiotic oligosaccharides: chains of simple sugars that help maintain healthy flora, or balance of bacteria in the gut; N-acetyl cysteine: a modified amino acid that helps maintain the body’s supply of glutathione, a key antioxidant; Bovine colostrum: nutrient- and antibody-rich fluid produced prior to milk; Omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids: molecules shown to improve the integrity of the gut, which prevents bacteria from leaking out and triggering systemic immune activation; Micronutrients including vitamins and minerals.
The study was stopped early after a planned interim analysis showed significant immunological benefit in the NR100157 arm and no notable safety concerns. . . .
Participants in the NR100157 arm lost significantly fewer CD4 cells per year than those in the control arm (-28 vs -68 cells/mm3, respectively; expected loss for untreated people with HIV 50-70 cells/mm3 annually). There were no significant differences between the 2 arms with regard to CD4 percentage, CD8 cell count, or CD4/CD8 ratio. Plasma viral load remained stable, and similar, in both groups” [emphases added].

Comments:
1. Maintaining healthy gut flora benefits immune function: that’s what Tony Lance discussed in his intestinal dysbiosis hypothesis, including the aspect of gut leakage, systemic immune activation, and potentially testing “HIV-positive” [“What really caused AIDS: Slicing through the Gordian Knot”, 20 February 2008].

2. The “viral load” was stable while CD4 counts varied: in other words, once again, changes in CD4 counts do not correlate with “viral load” [Rodriguez et al., JAMA, 296 (2006) 1498-1506].

3. HIV/AIDS mainstreamers are much more critical of clinical trials of alternative remedies than they are of mainstream endeavors. When mainstreamers publish at “statistical significance” of p<0.05 — wrong once in 20 times —, that’s good; but when an alternative treatment is significant at p=0.03 —  wrong only once in 33 times — that’s cause for HAART enthusiasts and HIV/AIDS believers to be “stunned” that anyone would accept it (“Gut-shielding mix slows CD4 drop in people not taking antiretrovirals”) :
“The data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) recommended stopping BITE early because of a significant difference in CD4 decline between groups and lack of safety concerns. An intention-to-treat analysis at 52 weeks showed a significantly slower annual average CD4-cell drop in the NR100157 group, 28 versus 68 cells/mm(3) with placebo (P = 0.030). . . . In a question-and-answer session after Argentina’s Pedro Cahn presented these findings, Harvard’s Daniel Kuritzkes claimed to be ‘stunned’ that the DSMB would stop the trial of an apparently safe agent when the statistical difference between treatment arms reached only 0.03. He also questioned the investigators’ decision to take the DSMB’s advice. Kuritzkes felt stopping a trial at such a low level of significance leaves open the possibility of bias toward a positive finding” [emphases added].
I suppose Kuritzkes would have been even more astonished that researchers stopped trials of circumcision early on the basis of the usual “95% confidence interval” — i.e., wrong once in 20 times; or that they were ecstatic over the first apparent success of a vaccine trial after many failures, even though one would have expected such an APPARENT success sooner or later at that usual “p<0.05”, “wrong once every 20 times”, criterion.

To be quite clear:
I agree that a single clinical trial is inconclusive, no matter what level of statistical significance may be reached.
I agree that p=0.03 is not in itself a particularly convincing result; still less so, of course, are all the mainstream trials that accept the weaker p<0.05; not to speak of the statistical ignorance that allows researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  and elsewhere to confuse correlation with causation and to say such things as “nonsignificantly lower” [“Abuses of statistics in HIV/AIDS research”, 14 September 2009].
My point here is just that alternative treatments are criticized while even worse examples of mainstream contentions are given free passes or even praised.

Posted in Alternative AIDS treatments, clinical trials, HIV as stress, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV skepticism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

VACCINE WORKS!

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/09/24

“An experimental HIV vaccine has for the first time cut the risk of infection, researchers say. . . . The vaccine was a combination of two older vaccines that on their own had not cut infection rates. . . . The results found that the chances of catching HIV were 31.2% less for those who had taken the vaccine — with 74 people who did not get the vaccine infected and 51 of the vaccinated group infected. . . . ‘This result is tantalisingly encouraging. The numbers are small and the difference may have been due to chance, but this finding is the first positive news in the Aids vaccine field for a decade,’ said Dr Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet medical journal” [emphases added; “HIV vaccine 'reduces infection'”].

“’Before this study, it was thought vaccine for HIV is not possible,’ Col. Jerome Kim, who is the HIV vaccines product manager for the U.S. Army, told CNN. Kim emphasized that the level of efficacy was modest, but given the failures of previous HIV vaccine trials, ‘yesterday we would have thought an HIV vaccine wasn’t possible.’ He called the results from the trial an important first step that will help researchers work toward a more effective vaccine. . . . ‘This shows a statistically significant effect,’ Kim said. . . . Researchers will announce details of their initial findings in October at the AIDS Vaccine Conference in Paris, France. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. According to Kim, the U.S. military was involved in the study because U.S. service members are at risk and ‘there’s a national security threat from HIV’” [emphases added; “Combo vaccine reduces risk of HIV infection, researchers say”].
Rhetorical questions:

What makes “HIV” a “national security threat”?

Why did the news media broadcast something that has yet to be announced?

Why the difference between the BBC’s report that the results may be due to chance and CNN’s report that they are statistically significant?

Who calculated “31.2%”? If the actual numbers had been 50 and 74 instead of 51 and 74, it would have been 32.4; if 52 and 74, 29.7%. Or — as anyone who ever learned about “significant figures” in math should know, or as common sense might also indicate, you can’t start with numbers that have only two digits in them, like 54 and 74, and calculate to an accuracy of 3 digits. The only proper description of the difference would be “about 30%”.

Might we expect some at least speculative discussion about how two vaccines that had no effect could have an effect when combined?

Perhaps, if this is published after the conference, some of those questions might become answerable. In  the meantime, the purpose has been served:
Unwarranted public kudos for the researchers and a further entrenchment of the notion that “HIV” is a threat to everyone.

An HIV Skeptic, on the other hand, might look at it rather differently:
125 people among 16,000 became “HIV-positive” over a period of 3 (CNN) or 7 (BBC) years: about 8 per thousand, so 1.1 (BBC) or 2.7 (CNN) per thousand per year.
“HIV-positive” rates of a few per thousand are common in many “low-risk” groups.
It is known that DOZENS of conditions — for example vaccinations, various infectious diseases (other than “HIV”!), pregnancy — can bring on an “HIV-positive” result.
The difference between 51 and 74 could very easily result from differences between vaccinated and placebo groups in rates of pregnancy, flu, anti-tetanus shots, abuse of steroids, or any number of other circumstances.

Posted in clinical trials, experts, HIV risk groups, HIV/AIDS numbers, uncritical media, vaccines | Tagged: , , , | 34 Comments »

Gardasil and Cervarix: Vaccination insanity

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/09/21

In my memoirs of deaning, I had written,
“I would find myself thinking, Now I’ve seen everything; nothing can surprise me anymore, only to experience a novel surprise the next day or the next week”.

HIV/AIDS matters are like that too, only more so, and increasingly other “medical-science” “news”. The absurdities, the self-contradictions in the mainstream portfolio of shibboleths is an endless source of wonderment. Plain common sense is notable by its absence. But still, used as I am to this by now, periodically my jaw still drops as the level of absurdity reaches a new nadir. So it was when I saw the headline,

FDA panel urges HPV vaccine be given to boys

Gardasil is a very expensive vaccine against human papilloma virus (HPV), some but not all of whose strains seem to be significantly correlated with genital warts and cervical cancers. As everyone should know, as all students of Statistics 101 are taught, correlation doesn’t signify causation. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the rate at which HPV-infected women actually develop an “HPV-associated” cancer is as low as about 1 in 300 [“CDC mongers fear and hawks deadly vaccine”, 13 March 2008]  or perhaps even lower, say 1.2 per 1000 (see below). By what stretch of the imagination could HPV then be indicated as the cause of those cancers?
Bear in mind that the clinical trials of the vaccine could only show its effect in preventing HPV infection, not in any reduction of the incidence of cervical cancer — it would be decades before evidence of that could possibly come to hand.
What’s worse, Gardasil is responsible for some severe “side” effects including deaths.

So my jaw did drop at the suggestion that this drugmakers’ boondoggle should now be foisted on males as well as females:

“ Committee says shots could prevent genital warts in males 9 to 26
Vaccine’s maker claims studies show 90 percent less HPV-caused disease
HPV common in both sexes, CDC says, but men develop fewer problems
Committee also favors Cervarix, new vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Boys may soon be able to get Gardasil . . . .”

“May soon be able to get” sounds as though something highly desirable is at last being shared with a group previously discriminated against. Yet there’s no earthly reason why boys should be inoculated with a vaccine that has potentially serious “side” effects, is very expensive, and supposedly protects — though imperfectly — against what is experienced by only a very small proportion of those who harbor a virus that in rare instance supposedly causes things that, in any case, are no serious threat to health even if they occur.

“A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted Wednesday to recommend that the vaccine be made available to boys and young men aged 9 to 26 for protection against genital warts caused by HPV. The vaccine protects against four types of HPV, and two of those are believed to be responsible for 70 percent of cervical and anal cancers, and HPV-associated penile and throat-and-neck cancers. The other two cause 90 percent of genital warts cases, researchers say. At Wednesday’s advisory committee meeting, pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., maker of Gardasil, presented data from three clinical trials that the company claims supports broadening the distribution of the vaccine to include males. The trials included more than 5,400 boys and men from six continents and 23 countries. According to Anna Giuliano, an independent scientist at Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, and the trials’ principal investigator, ‘The data clearly demonstrates that there was a benefit to men in receiving Gardasil. Overall, we saw a 90 percent reduction in disease — genital warts and pre-cancerous lesions — caused by HPV in men and an 89 percent reduction in genital warts incidence’. . . . Giuliano said there were no serious adverse events related to the vaccine. There were some minor side effects such as pain at the injection site and low-grade fever” [emphasis added: "believed to be" purely on grounds of an association, a correlation!].

As to side effects, other sources paint a very different picture indeed:
Gardasil side effects prompt CDC study (August 13, 2008 by Christe Bruderlin-Nelson)
“Merck is likely quite displeased with the barrage of negative press about its cervical cancer vaccine’s side effects, especially after a public interest group, Judicial Watch, released a report at the end of last month saying there were 9,749 adverse reactions and 21 reported deaths related to Gardasil in the last two years. According to the report, there have been 78 severe outbreaks of genital warts, six cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome and at least 10 miscarriages reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) since the approval of Gardasil. However, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that clinicians, patients and drug companies report only about 10 percent of side effects to VAERS, so the actual number of Gardasil side effects could be much higher” [emphasis added].

A law firm is preparing a suit for damages:
“As of June 1, 2009, more than 25 million doses of Gardasil were distributed in the United States and there have been 14,072 reports of adverse events following Gardasil vaccination in the United States. Of these reports, 93% were reports of events considered to be non-serious, and 7% were reports of events considered to be serious. As of June 2009, there have been 43 U.S. reports of death among females who have received the Gardasil vaccine! . . . Among the fatalities reported to government officials were a 17-year-old girl in New York who collapsed and died of a suspected heart problem two days after getting the last in the series of three Gardasil injections. An 11-year-old girl suffered a heart attack three days after a Gardasil shot. And a 12-year-old girl with no prior medical problems died in her sleep three weeks after a Gardasil shot.”

Gardasil Side Effects: Should Women Get It? (19 August 2009)
“Published in today’s edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a study shows that of the 23 million doses of Gardasil administered to young women since it came on the market on June 1, 2006 to December 31, 2008, 12,424 adverse reactions have been reported. The data also show that 6.2%, or 772 of the young women, experienced serious side effects after taking the Gardasil vaccine, including anaphylaxis, a lethal allergic reaction, blood clots, pancreatic failure, and otor neuron disease.  There have also been 32 reports of death, and only 20 of the deaths could be verified, as the others were either provided by Merck & Co. without further information or unverifiable secondhand reports.
Despite the figures, the tone of the study was reassuring.
‘We feel confident recommending people get the vaccine; the benefits still outweigh the risks,’ said Dr. Barbara A. Slade, the study’s first author and medical officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which did the study together with the Food and Drug Administration.”

Infatuation is less evident in Europe with this expensive intervention, which carries serious risks, to ward off a very rare threat that can be avoided readily and with less risk:
“Now there is another side of the controversy: when inoculating a healthy population against a disease that can be prevented through screening, is any level of risk acceptable?
‘There are not a huge number of side effects here, that’s fairly certain,’ said the editorial writer, Dr. Charlotte Haug, an infectious disease expert from Norway, about the vaccine. ‘But you are giving this to perfectly healthy young girls, so even a rare thing may be too much of a risk. I wouldn’t accept much risk of side effects at all in an 11-year-old girl, because if she gets screened when she’s older, she’ll never get cervical cancer,’ Dr. Haug said in an interview.”

Deborah Kotz, blogging “On Women”, points to the difficulty of learning about cases of side effects:
“Gardasil Side Effects? Parents Seek Answers
. . . In response to my recent post about the government deciding to take a closer look at cases of paralysis that occurred after Gardasil vaccination, I received comments and E-mails from several devastated mothers whose daughters became ill for no apparent reason in the days and weeks after getting the vaccine . . . .
Here’s a sample:
‘My 21-year-old daughter, Chris, got her third shot of Gardasil on June 3, 2008,’ Emily Tarsell wrote me last week in an E-mail. ‘She was found dead in bed 18 days later. She was a healthy, bright, talented young lady who played on the tennis team at Bard College where she would have graduated with honors this year.’
‘My daughter developed epilepsy since being vaccinated, and when I share her experience with people, most doubt the connection,’ Nina Kenney wrote in an E-mail.
‘My daughter, in the middle of her series of injections of Gardasil, had a bout of Bell’s palsy that paralyzed the right side of her face,’ Della Smith wrote in this blog comment. ‘Two months after that, she was diagnosed with Graves’s disease. The doctor says an immune reaction to something he can’t determine is most likely responsible.’
No one knows if these girls were injured by Gardasil or just coincidentally got sick after the vaccination, but certainly their cases need to be thoroughly investigated. And after hearing the stories of several parents who contacted me, I find that one thing is glaringly clear: There is nowhere for them to turn for help besides one another. . . .
Some doctors refuse to file VAERS reports at all, and sometimes the reports contain incomplete or ambiguous information. Tarsell says she’s heard from a few parents via her website who said their doctors don’t believe Gardasil could have caused their daughters’ medical problems. In Tarsell’s case, the physician who filed the VAERS report wrote that the autopsy report found that her daughter died of an inflammation of the spleen caused by a life-threatening virus. While the autopsy did find some minor inflammation of the spleen, the report concluded that the death was due to ‘cardiac arrest, cause undetermined.’”

Other anecdotes come from Australia:
“Allie Harvey lined up along with 2.2 million other Australian women to be administered with Gardasil, the cervical cancer vaccine developed by former Australian of the Year Professor Ian Frazer. ‘I had a headache, I was dizzy, I was nauseous, my right side was weak, my right fist was clenched and I was hallucinating,’ Allie said. ‘It was absolutely terrifying because I didn’t know why it was happening. I felt absolutely terrified.’ . . . Far more frightening for the year 12 student — who received the first of three injections for the vaccine at school courtesy of a government sponsored initiative — was the response she received from the health professionals around her. ‘The nurses that had come in from the government told me that I didn’t have a rash, that it wasn’t a reaction to the immunisation, that I was pretty much making things up,’ Allie said. But Allie wasn’t alone. Jade Foreman, 15, is another of the 496 young women who have reported having adverse reactions to the vaccine. ‘I woke up one morning and tried to stand up and I couldn’t put pressure on my legs, I had funny feelings in my legs,’ Jade said. Since receiving the life saving injection at her school in June this year, Jade has been under intense physio to enable her to walk again. She is only able to cope with two hours of school per day. ‘I now have no social life,’ Jade said. ‘The pain is ruling my life. Apart from the lower back pain and the neck and the middle back pain, I’m having trouble with my arms dropping things and funny sensations in my arms. It’s just ruining my life.’
Scientist and health researcher Bronwyn Hancock believes the mass-distribution of Gardasil is simply unsafe. ‘The Gardasil vaccine has never been shown to be safe or effective in preventing cervical cancer,’ Bronwyn said. ‘There are so many limitations with the testing that they’ve done.’ As a member of the Vaccination Information Service, an anti-immunisation group, Bronwyn says the research behind Gardasil is too flimsy and that the 18 million women worldwide who’ve already had the vaccine could be setting themselves up for broader health and fertility issues. ‘They themselves admit they haven’t tested it to show that it doesn’t cause infertility or cancer,’ she said.”

Vaccine Watch: Gardasil Side-Effects? (8 July 2008; Sharyl Attkisson is an investigative correspondent for CBS News)
“Yesterday I spoke to the families of young women who believe the Gardasil HPV vaccine may have — or did in fact — cause their child’s serious illness. One of the cases involves a now 18-year old young woman named Amanda. Amanda’s parents say she developed a serious reaction to Gardasil after her first dose last summer. It began with soreness where she received the injection. The soreness eventually travelled down her arm, her legs, and led to a horrible autoimmune myofasciitis that is so painful Amanda had to go on morphine for the pain. She was transformed, through the illness, from a high school varsity sport athlete to a chronically ill person who takes a handful of pills a day just to keep her illness tolerable. When she goes off the medicine, the excruciating pain and other debilitating symptoms return. One thing that’s different about Amanda’s case than some of the others is that both of her parents [are] medical doctors who didn’t think twice about having their daughter get the shot — but are now second-guessing themselves. They call their daughter’s illness after Gardasil ‘a very sobering experience.’ Amanda’s dad says, ‘as the father of three girls, I’ve had to ask myself why I let my eldest one get an unproven vaccine against a few strains of a nonlethal virus that can be dealt with in many more effective ways. It’s not like they are at high risk. It was the regrettable acceptance of the vaccine party line that [mis]led me.’”

That last sad story illustrates the dilemma in which physicians find themselves when official sources combine with drug companies to tout interventions whose benefits are anything but obvious and which have been insufficiently tested, let alone proven.

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So, let’s by all means now extend the “benefits” of these injections to boys:
“The vaccine would be administered in boys and young men exactly as it’s been given to girls and young women: three doses over a period of six months. Merck spokeswoman Pam Eisele said the cost will be $130 per dose.”

Here are the risks being guarded against:
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 20 million Americans are infected with HPV. There are 6.2 million new infections each year. The CDC says that at least 50 percent of sexually active men and women get an HPV infection at some time in their life. The American Social Health Association says HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus and puts that number at 75 percent or more.”

Yet while these “infections” are so common as to be virtually routine, almost no one contracts the diseases that these infections supposedly cause:

“The CDC says that although HPV is very common in both sexes, most men won’t develop symptoms or serious health problems, and there is no test to detect the virus in men. The only approved HPV test on the market is for women, for use in cervical-cancer screening.”

By far the most serious claimed consequence of HPV is cervical cancer; but this is a very rare condition, and the incidence has in any case been declining for a couple of decades:

“in the past 40 years, the number of cases of cervical cancer and the number of deaths from cervical cancer have decreased significantly. This decline largely is the result of many women getting regular Pap tests, which can find cervical precancer before it turns into cancer.1 In 2005,* 11,999 women in the U.S. were told that they had cervical cancer, and 3,924 women died from the disease.2” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Let’s say half the infected are men and half women. So the incidence of cervical cancer was about 12,000 among 10 million, or 1.2 per thousand; and the death rate was one third of that and could be decreased to essentially none by better screening.

It seems that the serious “side” effects of the vaccine
are about as common
as what the vaccination is supposed to protect against
.

Nevertheless:
“The advisory committee also voted that Cervarix, a new HPV vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline, appeared to be safe and effective for girls and young women 10 to 25 years of age. Cervarix has been approved in Europe. ‘This is an important step in cancer prevention for the millions of girls and young women at risk for cervical cancer,’ said Barbara Howe, vice president and director of North American vaccine development for GlaxoSmithKline.”
— not to speak of an important step toward greater profits for GlaxoSmithKline. And, of course, there are those unfortunate “side” effects:

“Still, the panel recommended that Glaxo do more studies that would monitor miscarriages and other problems reported by patients” [emphasis added].

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Here’s a pdf of this post. Please distribute it widely.

Posted in clinical trials, experts, Legal aspects, uncritical media, vaccines | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments »

HIV/AIDS priorities and other flaws

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/09/20

The belief that babies can supposedly contract “HIV” through breastfeeding by “HIV-positive” mothers, as HIV/AIDS dogma insists, generates the well established, long recognized conundrum that babies of “HIV-positive” mothers become “HIV-positive” less often when they are breastfed than when fed on formula [sources cited at “More HIV, less infection: the breastfeeding conundrum”, 21 November 2007;  “HIV and breastfeeding again”, 13 February 2008].

Those facts are obvious disproof of the belief that “HIV-positive” means active infection by a contagious agent. They are confirmation of what many other lines of evidence indicate, that testing “HIV-positive” can result from a multitude of circumstances, a whole range of physiological conditions. Cognitive dissonance, however, prevents HIV/AIDS devotees from grasping this clear inference from unquestioned facts. So they continue to flounder, faced with a conundrum that cannot be resolved until HIV/AIDS theory is abandoned:

“Breast-feeding presents another challenge: While it can lead to infection of the infant of an HIV-positive mother, the mother’s milk also protects the child against many common infections of infancy, Palumbo says. [Paul E. Palumbo, M.D., is professor of medicine and pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School and executive director of the Dartmouth-affiliated DarDar Pediatric Program in Tanzania.] Also, formula feeding to prevent transmission of HIV — a common practice in the developed world — leaves infants prone to suffer from upper-respiratory infections, diarrhea, and other maladies. According to estimates of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), more than nine million children younger than 5 are expected to die each year — 17 percent from pneumonia, 17 percent from diarrhea, and 7 percent from malaria, as opposed to 1.5 percent from HIV/AIDS. At least 10 percent . . . already are or may be suffering from tuberculosis” [Weighing costs, benefits of HIV treatments --- public release from Dartmouth College, 15 September 2009].

The hysteria over HIV/AIDS has meant that for nigh on two decades the world has been duped into considering the need for antiretroviral drugs to be the most urgent health issue in Africa, when even by official estimates HIV/AIDS takes only 1.5% of the African babies who die before the age of 5. On the other hand, it’s been shown that the simple and inexpensive act of providing mosquito nets can reduce drastically the incidence of malaria, which kills 5 times as many babies as HIV/AIDS is supposed to. Better sanitation, cleaner drinking water, and vitamin supplements to combat malnutrition could save an even larger number of babies than would the providing of mosquito nets.

But the world has been oblivious to these African needs, which have been evident for half a century or more, while working itself into a frenzy over the purported need to get more and cheaper antiretroviral drugs. Neville Hodgkinson — among others — described in detail long ago how Africans themselves have learned to label every illness and every death “AIDS”, and every child being cared for temporarily by grandparents an “AIDS orphan”, because that brings all sorts of assistance while malaria, tuberculosis, malnutrition, etc., do not [Hodgkinson, AIDS: The Failure of Contemporary Science, 1996].

Add to that misguided sense of priorities the fact that the highly touted prevention of mother-to-child transmission turns out not to be not even the panacea that activists have long claimed it to be:

“We have a simple approach that is cost-effective, and reduces transmission [of HIV] by 50 percent. The Achilles heel of that approach is that in the mother and in any infant who does become infected, the virus learns to become drug-resistant” [emphasis added, because HIV/AIDS propagandists more typically claim that transmission from mother to child can be reduced to a negligible amount, and they typically fail to mention that evidently well-established phenomenon of subsequent drug resistance].

“Palumbo is co-leading a clinical study of anti-HIV medicines in Africa and India for the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Group (IMPAACT). [I wonder whether medical schools teach special courses on how to construct project titles that lend themselves to PR-valuable acronyms like IMPAACT, SMART, etc.? Or perhaps they get help from the Pentagon, which names its wars and missions so enticingly.] The randomized trial found that a cohort of 82 HIV-infected children ages 6 to 35 months responded better to treatment with the protease-inhibiting drug lopinavir (LPV/r) than did a cohort of 82 children in the same age group who received the anti-retroviral drug nevirapine (NVP). The infants all had previously received a single dose of NVP in liquid form at birth, and their mothers each had taken NVP in the form of a single pill during labor in an attempt to prevent HIV transmission” — an attempt that had evidently failed in 50% of cases.

“Findings also revealed that the LPV/r arm of the trial showed results so much better that in the spring of 2009, an independent data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) halted the NVP arm and gave the go-ahead for IMPAACT to enroll children who did not receive NVP at birth. ‘These findings,’ NIAID stated in a recent bulletin, ‘provide clear evidence in support of the current World Health Organization recommendation that HIV-infected infants who have received NVP at birth should be started on an LPV/r-based treatment regimen whenever possible.’
But here’s the rub: LPV/r is a relatively expensive drug more available in the developed than the developing world, and it must be kept cold — a challenge in sub-Saharan Africa and much of India. On the other hand, NVP is relatively cheap and accessible in developing nations.”

As usual there’s no mention here of the “side” effects of these treatments. For nevirapine (NVP) [Table 7, NIH Treatment Guidelines, 3 November 2008]:
·    Higher incidence of rash than with other NNRTIs, including rare but serious hypersensitivity reactions (Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis) [in 0.3 to 1% of patients, especially in blacks and women, Table 13]
·    Higher incidence of hepatotoxicity [in 2.5% to 11% of patients, Table 13] than with other NNRTIs, including serious and even fatal cases of hepatic necrosis
·    Contraindicated in patients with moderate or severe (Child Pugh B or C) hepatic impairment
·    Treatment-naïve patients with high pre-NVP CD4 counts (>250 cells/mm3 females, >400 cells/mm3 males) are at higher risk for symptomatic hepatic events. NVP not recommended in these patients unless benefit clearly outweighs risk
There are also dangerous interactions with a host of other medications [Tables 15b, 16b].

Lopinavir (LPV/r) has the usual effect of stomach upsets and hyperlipidemia found with all protease inhibitors, as well as Stevens-Johnson syndrome (toxic epidermal necrosis) [Table 13]  and hyperglycemia and fat maldistribution [Appendix Table 4], plus interaction with antifungals and some other drugs including some antibiotics[Table 15a].

Posted in antiretroviral drugs, clinical trials, experts, Funds for HIV/AIDS, HIV in children, HIV tests, HIV transmission, HIV/AIDS numbers | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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