HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Archive for September, 2011

AIDS Rethinking presented in Mainstream Conferences

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2011/09/29

AIDS Rethinking was again disseminated to mainstream researchers, this time at the 65th Annual Congress of the Italian Society for Anatomy and Histology  in Padua, 27-29 September 2011.
An extensive poster presentation (authors: Ruggiero, Pacini, Punzi, Morucci, Gulisano, Köhnlein, Bauer) discussed “The Clinical Significance of Immune-System Laboratory Tests”. The poster makes the following salient points:
→   Scientists accept conclusions of experts in fields outside their own specialties. The resulting mainstream “consensus” can remain unchanged for a long time even after the experts have modified or discarded their earlier conclusions.
→    That is so with HIV/AIDS, where evidence has accumulated that the original hypothesis was wrong:

♦    Kaposi’s sarcoma is not caused by HIV.
♦    Many clinical AIDS cases were found to be HIV-negative
(and renamed — entirely ad  hoc — “idiopathic CD4-T-cell lymphopenia”).
♦    Anti-retroviral drugs often cause clinical deterioration instead of
helping patients recover (“immune restoration syndrome”).
Patients on Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART)
experience more adverse non-AIDS events than AIDS events.
♦    “HIV” tests are anything but specific; false-positives arise from a host of conditions
that are not necessarily health-threatening.
♦    CD4 counts are not a good biomarker of clinical condition, nor a criterion of illness,
still less a reason for instituting HAART.

→   Treating manifest illnesses has a better record of good patient outcomes than does antiretroviral treatment.
→   CD4 counts can be increased quickly and safely by means of probiotic dietary supplements.
[The poster is available for download but takes appreciable time because of its size, ~32 MB as jpg and ~50 MB as pdf]

Expanding on the question of CD4 counts and probiotics, Pacini, Punzi, Morucci, Ruggiero, & Cheney presented a study entitled “Macrophages of the Mucosa-Associated Lymphoid Tissue (MALT) as key elements of the immune response to vitamin D binding protein-macrophage activating factor (GcMAF)”:
→    Probiotic yogurt has been shown to increase CD4 counts in people living with HIV/AIDS.
→   The results were not replicated with encapsulated probiotics, suggesting the need for an additional factor. GcMAF has been found to act as such a factor.
→   Increased CD4 counts under such a regimen have been demonstrated recently in several control subjects, in an HIV-positive patient, and in two individuals affected by chronic fatigue syndrome.
→   Natural Killer (NK) cell counts increased as well as CD4 counts and CD4/CD8 ratio. The significance is that NK cells influence the quality of immune responses, are associated with the clinical prognosis for “HIV-positive” patients,  and play a major role in HIV elite controllers.
→   There were also favorable changes in hematological parameters indicative of bone-marrow function, and there was significant improvement in general health.

The substance of these posters is available in printed form in the Italian Journal of Anatomy & Embryology, 116 #1 (2011) respectively pages 157 and 136.

Posted in Alternative AIDS treatments, HIV risk groups, HIV skepticism | Tagged: , | 8 Comments »

Having it both ways

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2011/09/25

HIV/AIDS theory and practice force its adherents to commit absurd fundamental contradictions.

On the one hand, they say, the disease is acquired primarily through culpably risky behavior: promiscuous unprotected sex or injecting harmful drugs with second-hand needles. On the other hand, they urge us earnestly and perpetually not to stigmatize people who have acquired the virus through (in most cases) their own fault.

On the one hand, they say, breast feeding by “HIV-positive” mothers transmits HIV to their infants. On the other hand, they urge African mothers to breast-feed their infants to the exclusion of formula because the exclusively breast-fed infants become “HIV-positive” less frequently.

Dr. Frank Spinelli offers another example. He is “is the former Clinical Director of HIV Services at New York City’s Cabrini Medical Center. Today, he serves the community in a more comprehensive capacity as a board certified internist, with a large HIV+ and gay men’s health private practice in Manhattan. Dr. Spinelli is also an Associate Clinical Professor of New York Medical College. Dr. Spinelli is the monthly healthcare columnist for The Advocate, the oldest continuing gay publication in the United States and the host of Ask the Doctor on Advocate.com” — evidently an eminently authoritative expert on HIV matters. He offers cosmetic Sculptra® treatment to hide the ravages of lipodystrophy inflicted by HAART:
“It’s not like other cosmetic procedures; it’s about restoring someone’s normal appearance. They shouldn’t be punished for having HIV by looking as though they have an illness” [emphasis added].

Right!
“HIV” is not an illness.
Why then administer lipodystrophy-inducing drugs in the first place?

Posted in experts, HIV absurdities | Tagged: , , | 8 Comments »

“I’m HIV-positive: What should I do?”

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2011/09/22

The queries I find most troubling are from people told they are HIV-positive who ask for advice.
The central problem is that HIV/AIDS dogma has so dominated research that no universally applicable answer can be given — there are too many possibilities and too many unknowns. Sometimes “HIV-positive” stems from a health-threatening condition, sometimes from a condition like pregnancy that does not threaten health, and there’s no quick sure way to distinguish between those possibilities.
Because “HIV-positive” sometimes reflects the presence of some sort of threat to health, on average the rate at which people test positive increases as general fitness declines or ill-health increases:



Note that having TB virtually guarantees testing “HIV-positive”, as does drug abuse. That gay men tend to test poz so frequently can be explained at least in part by the intestinal dysbiosis hypothesis, with its ironic corollary that commonsense “hygiene” — douching — may actually be harmful. Some vaccinations (flu, hepatitis, rabies, rubella, tetanus) have been reported to produce a false-positive “HIV” result, as have blood transfusions, dialysis (or kidney failure), organ transplants, and some other medical interventions, as well as a variety of infectious and non-infectious illnesses (Christine Johnson, 1996).
It follows that the best advice for people newly testing “HIV-positive” is to have an unbiased physician do as complete a physical examination as possible, in order to identify any health-threatening condition that might be present. In the earliest days of the AIDS era, Dr. Josef Sonnabend cared for AIDS patients by treating their manifest illnesses and urging them to adopt a generally healthy lifestyle; under such care, even someone who already suffered “full-blown AIDS”, like Michael Callen (Surviving AIDS, HarperCollins 1990), could live for more than a dozen years without resort to antiretroviral drugs. In the modern era, Dr. Juliane Sacher (AIDS as intestinal dysbiosis) and Dr. Claus Köhnlein (Duesberg et al., “The chemical bases of the various AIDS epidemics: recreational drugs, anti-viral chemotherapy and malnutrition”, Journal of Biosciences 28 [2003] 383-412) have attained excellent results by caring for “AIDS” or “HIV-positive” patients in similar fashion, treating the manifest illnesses; patients of Sacher and Köhnlein had far lower mortality than that reported in Germany overall for people treated in the conventional manner with antiretroviral drugs.

How many “HIV-positive” people are actually at some health risk?
If one tests “HIV-positive” in absence of any symptoms of illness, what are the chances that a health risk is actually present?
One answer comes in data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for incidence of “HIV”, diagnoses of “AIDS”, and mortality from “AIDS” or “HIV disease”: something like 50% of “HIV” diagnoses are false-positive in the sense of not reflecting any health-threatening condition; or, one might regard these as what the mainstream calls “long-term non-progressors” or “elite controllers” (What numbers mean: 50% of “HIV-positives” are long-term non-progressors).
Another answer was published last year by Sighem et al. (“Life expectancy of recently diagnosed asymptomatic HIV-infected patients approaches that of uninfected individuals”, AIDS 24 [2010] 1527-35): “The life expectancy of asymptomatic HIV-infected patients who are still treatment-naive and have not experienced a CDC-B or C event at 24 weeks after diagnosis approaches that of non-infected individuals”. “Asymptotic” of course already implies not having suffered a CDC-B or -C event, which are respectively “symptomatic conditions” and “AIDS-indicator conditions”. If there are no signs of any illness, in other words, no abnormal symptoms, then “HIV-positive” in itself is nothing to worry about. One great wickedness of HIV/AIDS dogma is that it instills great fear and inflicts great psychological harm on many people for no good reason; perhaps half of all those who test “HIV-positive” are worried needlessly.
Sighem et al. estimate that an asymptomatic 25-year-old “HIV-positive” individual not taking antiretroviral drugs can expect an additional more than 50 years of life: 52.7 for males, 57.8 for females. The numbers for the general population (the data are for the Netherlands) are 53.1 and 58.1 respectively. The deficit for “HIV-positive” people, 0.4 years in 53.1 and 0.3 years in 58.1, is meaningless given the assumptions and uncertainties in the calculations.
Sighem et al. — and a number of other articles on this and related topics — acknowledge the uncertainties inherent in comparing HIV-positive and HIV-negative people because there may be other characteristics that are not randomly distributed between those two groups; for example, smoking has been reported to be more frequent among “HIV-positive” people, as well as excessive use of alcohol. This sort of uncertainty underscores that differences like those estimated by Sighem et al. (between 52.7 and 53.1, or between 57.8 and 58.1) cannot be taken as significant.
Those of us who do not accept HIV/AIDS dogma will find more serious uncertainties in these articles. We would agree, of course, with the overall conclusion reached by Sighem et al., that an asymptomatic condition of “HIV-positive” predicts no significant shortening of life. But we might then go further, to extrapolate from this that deaths of symptomatic “HIV-positive” people are owing to a variety of causes other than “HIV”. Some of Sighem et al.’s data seems in accord with this. For supposed homosexual and heterosexual transmission respectively,  “HIV-positive” people died at rates of 4.6 and 7.2 per 1000, but those purportedly infected through injecting drugs died at 4 or 5 times that rate (32.7/1000); for alcohol abuse the ratio was about 2.5 (16.1 vs. 6.3). One might well argue that drug abuse, or alcohol abuse, were the salient reasons for those deaths, nothing to do with “HIV”.
Sighem et al.’s prognostication of no life-shortening for asymptomatic “HIV-positive” people not treated with antiretroviral drugs seems to be better than that for “HIV-positive” people treated with antiretroviral drugs. Lohse et al. (“Survival of persons with and without HIV infection in Denmark, 1995–2005”, Annals of Internal Medicine 146 [2007] 87-95) estimated that 25-year-olds diagnosed with HIV and undergoing HAART had a median survival of an additional 35 years, which is considerably less than the >50 years for asymptomatic untreated “HIV-positive” people.
AZT, of course, actively killed people in the years before monotherapy was replaced by HAART cocktails; the immediate drop in mortality when HAART was introduced indicates that AZT monotherapy treatment had been responsible for some 150,000 deaths  (HAART saves lives — but doesn’t prolong them!?). AZT (Retrovir, zidovudine) and other NRTIs (Nucleoside-analogue Reverse-Transcriptase Inhibitors) continue to be components of many HAART treatments; that the doses are smaller than with earlier monotherapy doesn’t make them non-toxic, it just means that they kill less rapidly or less surely or cause non-lethal damage. Indeed, the Treatment Guidelines issued by the National Institutes of Health acknowledge the toxicity of HAART in reporting that “In the era of combination antiretroviral therapy,  several large observational studies have indicated that  the risk of several non-AIDS-defining conditions,  including cardiovascular diseases, liver-related events,  renal disease, and certain non-AIDS malignancies . . . is greater than the risk for AIDS in persons with  CD4 T-cell counts >200 cells/mm3” (p. 13, 1 December 2007 version).
Incidentally, the universal resort to CD4 counts as a measure of the stage of “HIV disease” or “AIDS”  is not supported globally by the evidence. Some articles report a correlation between CD4 counts and clinical prognosis, others do not. Some report correlation of CD4 counts with “viral load”, others do not. Sighem et al., for instance, report that CD4 counts are “only associated with minor changes in mortality rates”.

The HIV/AIDS research literature
accords with the Rethinking AIDS position
that “HIV-positive” does not in itself define or detect a state of disease.

“HIV” doesn’t kill.

Antiretroviral drugs, on the other hand, may kill, and they certainly decrease the quality of life in a number of ways — lipodystrophy (“buffalo hump” and other distortions), premature aging, and more.

The best advice for people newly testing “HIV-positive”
is to have an unbiased physician do as complete a physical examination as possible,
in order to identify any health-threatening condition that might be present.

Posted in Alternative AIDS treatments, antiretroviral drugs, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV risk groups, HIV skepticism, HIV tests, HIV/AIDS numbers | Tagged: , | 13 Comments »

Platinum Fleecing and the HIV/AIDS Industry

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2011/09/08

The late Senator Proxmire was infamous in the scientific community for his Golden Fleece Awards to the most obviously absurd research grants awarded by federal agencies. He was not always right where really fundamental science was concerned, but mostly he hit nails right on their heads, as for example  over “an $84,000 study on why people fall in love . . . [or] a study on why prisoners wanted to get out of jail”. (It’s a bitter-sweet pleasure to cite a Wikipedia entry that appears to be sound.)
I was reminded of Proxmire by a just published study which concludes that poor quality of sleep is associated with poor adherence to antiretroviral treatment ( Saberi, Neilands & Johnson, “Quality of sleep: associations with antiretroviral nonadherence”, AIDS Patient Care and STDs, 25 [9, September 2011]: 517-524; doi:10.1089/apc.2010.0375; 18 August 2011; online ahead of print 19 July 2011).
As Platinum has replaced Gold in prestige-status credit cards, it seems appropriate to supersede Proxmire’s Golden Fleece Awards with Platinum Fleece Awards (though I regret that the phrase lacks the classical punning reference).
The Quality-of-Sleep article qualifies for the highest possible Fleecing Award because it illustrates so many aspects of today’s academic and research-community scams:
— There is no substantive reason to carry out such a study — no reason that potentially advances useful human understanding — but it does serve a number of vested interests.
— The authors benefit by adding to the list of publications on their CVs.
— Their Center for AIDS Prevention Studies benefits by demonstrating its ability to obtain grants and turn them into publications.
— The Center’s parent institution, the University of California at San Francisco, adds to its luster as a Research member of the University of California system, remaining in the forefront of medical science in particular.
— The University of California System adds to its stock of Research Excellence with which to impress politicians and patrons.
— Not least by any means, this publication benefits those who are charged with disbursing funds to fight the good fight against HIV/AIDS, in this case grants F32MH086323, K24MH087220, P30MH62246, and U10MH057616 from the National Institutes of Health. As every bureaucrat knows, it is vital that every penny of available money be spent so that more can be asked for by showing that worthy ventures went unfunded; without ever-increasing budgets, administrative empires cannot expand and their leaders cannot gain promotions and salary raises.
— And all this benefits the publishers of the Journal, who make their living by disseminating material whose costs are paid by research libraries and by grants provided to the researchers.
The lack of worthwhile substantive content is illustrated by the Abstract, which reflects faithfully the article’s numerous shortcomings:
“Poor quality of sleep (QOS) is frequently reported in HIV-positive individuals”
and also, of course, by innumerable HIV-negative ones
“however, despite its clinical and public health significance”
“significance”? Really?
“few studies have examined the correlation between QOS and antiretroviral (ARV) adherence”
Perhaps because there is no point in doing so?
“The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of sleep disturbances, determine the characteristics of those with poor QOS, and establish the relationship between QOS and ARV nonadherence among HIV-positive individuals. We conducted a cross-sectional secondary data analysis of 2845 HIV-positive adults taking ARV therapy from the Healthy Living Project baseline cohort. Mean self-reported ARV non- adherence was estimated using a 3-day measure.”
“Self-reported” is, as every competent sociologist knows, a warning that the conclusions cannot be relied on. The idiocy of using a 3-day measure should be self-evident.
“QOS was assessed using three questions regarding sleep pattern changes, amount of bother from difficulty falling/staying asleep, and amount of bother from vivid dreams.  Over 68%  of  individuals  reported  sleep  pattern changes,  50.3%  reported  difficulty  falling/staying asleep, and 20.5% reported bother from vivid dreams. Depression, suicidal ideation, unemployment, use of illicit substances, history of incarceration, and HIV viral load were all independently associated with poor QOS.”
WORRYING is likely to disturb restful sleeping. Being depressed, thinking about suicide, having no job, whatever brought on being in jail let alone having spent time there, and being told that you are HIV-infected are all good reasons for being worried. This conclusion satisfies the common generalization about sociological research, that it seeks to re-discover “scientifically” what everyone always knew anyway because it’s so trivially obvious.
Note too the innumeracy to which HIV/AIDS researchers seem so prone: reporting “50,3%” when the many assumptions and uncertainties suggest that an honest reporting would say “perhaps half”.
Bear in mind that “amount of bother” is self-reported on a 4-point scale, quantifying the unquantifiable and then using the numbers as though they meant something.
“Individuals reporting feeling bothered about difficulty falling/staying asleep had a 1.66 higher odds of non-adherence (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.18, 2.33; p = 0.004). Those reporting the highest degree of bother from difficulty falling/staying asleep and from vivid dreams had a 1.42 (95% CI = 1.13, 1.78; p = 0.002) and 1.31 (95% CI = 0.98, 1.75; p = 0.07) higher odds of nonadherence, respectively.”
Huh? Those feeling SOME degree of bother had HIGHER ODDS OF NONADHERENCE (1.66) than those who felt MOST bothered (odds 1.42)? This is a NEGATIVE dose-response effect. the very opposite trend to what would happen if being bothered were causative toward nonadherence.
In any case, odds ratios of less than 2, at 95% probability level, are so small as not to be worth paying attention to — particularly given the imprecision that’s inherent in self-reporting by means of 4-point scales. When my urologist gives me at every consultation the standard 7-question 5-point scale and I truly use every effort to be accurate, the replicability is no better than 5%. In the Quality-of-Sleep article I found no mention of replicability — asking the same person to complete the same questionnaire at intervals to gauge reliability.
“With higher incremental reports of poor QOS there were considerable increases in ARV nonadherence. Recognition and timely treatment of sleep difficulties may result in reduced ARV nonadherence with beneficial clinical and public health implications.”
Or then again it might NOT result in reduced nonadherence and associated benefits.
How, in any case, could these sleep difficulties be moderated? With sleep-inducing drugs and their known and worrying side-effects?

An increasingly common part of the publish-or-perish research atmosphere is the proliferation of periodicals that make money by having the authors pay “processing fees” while publishing very cheaply purely on the Internet. Journals are started not (as in the good old days) because there’s a substantive need to disseminate useful information but because publishing entrepreneurs can make money. I continue to get invitations every few weeks or months to suggest  a new journal title and act as editor; or to guest edit a special issue of some journal. Hindawi, for example, charges $500 per article; that might not seem much compared to page charges for traditional journals, but Hindawi’s are “open access”, published only on-line, which is very cheap. By happy coincidence, just as I was writing this, I got another invitation from Hindawi, this time to submit an article to AIDS Research and Treatment; and if I do it before the end of September, there will be no processing or page charges (e-mail from Lina Afify, received 5 September).
Bentham invites us to write e-books as well as to start new journals; their promiscuity in issuing invitations is illustrated by their invitation to me (15 June 2011) to edit for Current HIV Research a “Hot Topic” thematic issue: “thematic issues . . . are guest-edited by leading scientists in their areas of research emphasis” and include writing by “only very eminent contributing authors”. I contemplated offering an issue with contributions from, among others, Peter Duesberg, Marco Ruggiero, and Gordon Stewart; but decided against it given that all proposals are “peer reviewed”, undoubtedly by the same sort of people as those who achieved the demise of Medical Hypotheses. The money-grubbing nature of these ventures is quite unashamedly open, for instance my invitation had a P.S., “Please could you also refer the journal to your colleagues and other contacts in the field, including your librarian, for promotional purposes, submissions and subscriptions?”
The competition from these upstart publishers is causing some established institutions to join in the money-grubbing. Thus “Short Reports”, published by the Royal Society of Medicine: “we are holding the current low rate of £350 (+ VAT) per published manuscript for all submissions we receive until September 2011 . . . [and] offering a 10% discount on advance payments for 10 manuscripts” (e-mail invite to me dated 1 June 2011).
The Quality-of-Sleep article is in one of the journals founded by “Mary Ann Liebert, who launched new journals at every opportunity” (p. 156 in Harvey Bialy’s 2004 Oncogenes, aneuploidy and AIDS: a scientific life and times of Peter H. Duesberg). Her stable now includes almost 100 journal titles.

How monstrous and monstrously expensive the HIV/AIDS “research” industry has become is illustrated by a search of Bowker’s Global Books in Print: In 2005 that returned 10,000 hits for books concerning “AIDS” plus another 2700 for “HIV”. For journals, Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory listed 130 titles containing “AIDS”; half-a-dozen years later, the PubMed catalog  returned more than 190 hits for periodicals having something to do with “AIDS”. The titles include Current Opinion on HIV and AIDS, Current HIV/AIDS Reports, Current HIV Research, AIDS Weekly, and also AIDS Weekly Plus; researchers are obviously well served with up-to-date information — though if they were to read about the up-to-date stuff they wouldn’t have time to do anything else. There’s also the Journal of HIV/AIDS Prevention in Children & Youth (ISSN:1553-8346), not to be confused with and presumably in competition with the Journal of HIV/AIDS Prevention & Education for Adolescents & Children (ISSN:1069-837X) as well as the apparently over-riding AIDS Education and Prevention as well as  HIV Prevention Plus!. The social side of things is covered by such emissions as AIDS and Behavior, HIV/AIDS Policy & Law Review, Journal of HIV/AIDS & Social Services; and there are super-specialties like the Journal of Neuro-AIDS. Browse those 190-odd titles for yourself.

Say there are just the 130 journals listed in Ulrich, publishing — to be conservative — on average only 6 times year, with only 10 articles per issue; that’s still >7500 articles per year. We’ve had three decades of HIV/AIDS. Assume that the numbers of journals started at zero and increased only linearly. Then by now we’d have well over 100,000 articles about it. But what do we know as a result of all this effort? Not how HIV kills CD4 cells. Not why long-term non-progressors or elite controllers do their health-preserving stuff. Not why every attempt to find a vaccine has failed. Not why you can apparently conquer the virus with ARVs (decrease “viral load”) without increasing CD4 counts (“immunologic failure”) let alone keeping patients healthy (“clinical failure”). It’s far easier to list what’s not understood about HIV and AIDS than what is understood (in the mainstream, that is; dissidents understand quite a lot).
Years ago, in my specialty of electrochemistry that was not nearly as heavily populated as HIV/AIDS is today, it was already very time-consuming to try to keep up with the research literature, even with the help of Chemical Abstracts which made it possible to become aware of the contents of all the major journals in one place, a twice-monthly publication. Most researchers pay attention to newly published research only about what is most directly relevant to their own highly specialized experiments. For broader awareness of what’s happening, they sometimes look at “Review” journals that assess the research literature periodically in various specialties. HIV/AIDS lacks such periodic re-assessing, and that together with the unmanageable bulk of the research literature may explain why so much continues to be published that takes as basis something that has already been disproved earlier, like the purported correlations among CD4 counts, viral load, and patient health. All too many researchers publish but don’t read what others have published.
The avalanche of printed and on-line stuff illustrates that the purpose of grant-getting and publishing is individual and institutional self-promotion and profit-making. (Disclaimer: There continue to be many idealistic researchers who struggle to preserve their integrity under circumstances of pervasive corruption. I feel for them.)
Consider again the Quality-of-Sleep article. Perpetrate a thought experiment. Imagine that you would very much like to know why so many “HIV-positive” individuals do not adhere to their antiretroviral-drug regimen. What research would you propose to answer that question?
I personally wouldn’t propose anything. “Nonadherence” stems quite obviously from the well-known fact that patients find the drugs doing them too much immediate tangible intolerable harm. That’s why the matter of nonadherence became salient in the first place. Perhaps the drugs are so unpleasant that they even disturb the patients’ sleep, and that’s why there’s a correlation between nonadherence and sleep disturbances?

The only reason I can think of to propose a research study like the Quality-of-Sleep one is to find some topic that no one has yet published about and that might qualify for a grant. That gets harder all the time, of course, and acolytes of Senator Proxmire will have no shortage of candidates for Platinum Awards in HIV/AIDS. There may even come a need for Iridium Awards.
It’s not only hard to think of some original research topic within HIV/AIDS, it’s by no means easy to think up a new journal title having to do with HIV or AIDS.

Posted in antiretroviral drugs, experts, Funds for HIV/AIDS, HIV absurdities, HIV/AIDS numbers, uncritical media | Tagged: , , | 10 Comments »

Why come to a Rethinking AIDS Conference?

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2011/09/01

Those of us who have belonged to professional organizations or academic associations or recreational groups featuring competitions like bridge or chess know how rewarding as well as enjoyable conferences can be —not so much because of the formal program or competition, but because of the opportunity to make new friends and to learn informally and person-to-person about all sorts of things that we didn’t even know existed to be learned about.
The first Rethinking AIDS Conference in Oakland in 2009  exemplified those delights. Over the years (>50!!) I’ve attended innumerable conferences of various sorts: academic, professional, or scholarly conferences in electrochemistry and in science & technology studies (STS); tournaments of bridge and chess; meetings of the National Association of Scholars, and of the Society for Scientific Exploration; International Science Conferences sponsored by the Unification Church; get-togethers of very specialized fan clubs interested in Loch Ness monsters or UFOs. No doubt others as well. A general conclusion, which is shared by all the people with whom I’ve talked about this, is that the most rewarding and enjoyable meetings are those that bring together people with the greatest diversity of backgrounds who happen nevertheless to share a passionate interest in the meeting’s particular focus. That’s exactly what I experienced at Rethinking AIDS 2009 in Oakland, and it’s why I wrote that somewhat over-the-top paean to the Conference  on my blog.
The Science and AIDS Conference in Vienna in 2010 was equally rewarding and enjoyable, yet very different in physical ambience; and most of the participants and observers had not been at Oakland, giving me the opportunity to make new friends.

All this is to say that anyone with the slightest interest in HIV Skepticism and AIDS Rethinking will do themselves an enormous favor by attending the forthcoming Rethinking AIDS Conference this December in Washington DC. For that matter, anyone with any concerns over the contemporary state of medical science and practice will find much of interest at this Conference, and, above all, will have the opportunity to meet and chat with and learn from a range of welcoming and interesting people from every sector of society and from many different parts of the country and of the world. If you have never been to a meeting of this sort, you will be very pleasantly surprised at how quickly you will feel accepted and an integral part of the gathering and its activities. I’ve been looking forward to the Conference with the keenest anticipation ever since it was first mooted, and I know that it will meet, indeed exceed my best expectations.

Do join us in Washington in December. You will be welcomed heartily and have a uniquely interesting and enjoyable experience.

Posted in Alternative AIDS treatments, antiretroviral drugs, experts, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV skepticism, HIV tests, Legal aspects, uncritical media | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

 
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