HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Archive for July, 2012

Rewriting the Histories of AIDS and HIV

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2012/07/31

Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) likes to advertise itself as “the most trusted” something or other. Yet in July 2012 its FRONTLINE series featured a drastic and misleading rewriting of history in the program, “ENDGAME: AIDS IN BLACK AMERICA”, billed as “A groundbreaking two-hour exploration of one of the country’s most urgent, preventable health crises”.  This was written, produced, and directed by Renata Simone, who has been covering HIV/AIDS since 1987 and therefore had every opportunity to know better than to get crucial facts so wrong.
The central misdirection:
is a labored attempt to rewrite how AIDS has affected black Americans. AIDS has become essentially an African-American disease after beginning as essentially a gay disease affecting blacks to only about the extent to which they are present in the population as a whole. There has been a dramatic quantitative change from that beginning, and the reasons for it are quite clear: the re-definition of AIDS as requiring a positive HIV test and the fact that the tests are racially biased. ENDGAME, however, alleges that from the very beginning black Americans were affected by AIDS about as severely as they are now. That is plainly, undeniably wrong. Official numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that blacks accounted for less than 30% of AIDS cases in the early 1980s, but 60% by the end of the 1990s (MMWR  50 #21), and by 2010 black Americans were being diagnosed with AIDS at the rate of 43/100,000 compared to 4.4 for white Americans, 13.7 for Hispanics,  9.7 for Pacific Islanders, 7.2 for mainland Native Americans, and 3.5 for Asians (CDC Surveillance Report #22).
The labored case, that African Americans had been severely affected from the earliest days, had Dr. Michael Gottlieb saying that there were appreciable numbers of black Americans among early AIDS cases, it was just that no one thought to mention it; the first 5 were white, #6 was a Haitian, but #7 was an African American. Exactly: one out of seven, just as in the population as a whole; not, as in 2012, diagnosed at ten times the rate of diagnosis of white Americans; in 2010, Gottlieb would have seen 3 black AIDS cases for every 2 white case, not 1 in 7. Dr. David Ho seconds the view that appreciable numbers of AIDS cases were among African Americans, it just happened not to have been noted or reported anywhere, especially not to the CDC, apparently. Phill Wilson, founder and Executive Director of the Black AIDS Institute, asserts that gay African-Americans in Chicago just presumed AIDS was a West-Coast phenomenon — but it’s not at all clear how AIDS could not have been noticed in black communities in Chicago if appreciable numbers had been exhibiting the blatant symptoms of Kaposi’s sarcoma, thrush, and Pneumocystis carinii (now jiroveci) pneumonia. A lady in Oakland explains that gay blacks there, which is 45% black, didn’t talk about “HIV” in the early days whereas everyone was talking about it in San Francisco which has only 4% African Americans; and others support her opinion that it wasn’t talked about in Oakland because of certain features of black culture: keeping secrets, especially about being gay. But no one was talking about “HIV” in the early days (~1980-84), because it hadn’t yet been discovered; and, again, had AIDS been rampant, it would have been obvious.
Much of the nonsense in this program illustrates the damage done by taking HIV and AIDS as synonymous.
Iatrogenic harm to African Americans:
HIV/AIDS theory has caused inestimable damage to untold black Americans by breaking up relationships (see examples cited at p. 247 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory). ENDGAME illustrates this vividly with the story of Nell, a middle-aged widow who re-married and later discovered a letter from a blood bank to her husband advising him to seek medical assistance because his blood had tested “HIV-positive”. This story is featured more than once in ENDGAME, yet nowhere are two vital points made:
1. For screening in blood banks, tests for any condition are made as sensitive as possible, at the cost of lower specificity: it is essential that no infected blood be used, so false positives do not matter, it’s better to discard some perfectly good blood than to infect someone. Therefore there is a high proportion of false positives on blood-bank screening tests.
2. Specifically for HIV, all the respectable mainstream sources stress the need for confirmatory tests after an initial positive.
Yet nowhere is the point made in ENDGAME that Nell’s husband’s “positive” test should not and could not be accepted on its face as a diagnosis of infection, in absence of further testing.
Other black women are shown who had similar experiences and immediately blamed their partners for infecting them. Yet copious data show that black women are about 20 times as likely to test “HIV-positive” as white women, no matter what the reason may be — and there are dozens of possible reasons for testing “HIV-positive” that have nothing to do with a sexually transmitted retrovirus. One young lady describes her foolishness in having intercourse with an older man who had charmed her, only to fall ill within weeks of a mysterious illness that brought her to death’s door before doctors realized it was AIDS. Nell, too, relates that she felt ill already during her honeymoon. Whatever happened to the average latent period of about 10 years between infection and illness? Has there ever been an officially described case of AIDS following so soon after infection? Did “HIV” in her case collapse the immune system almost instantaneously?
Other misinformation:
There are plenty of other aspects of ENDGAME that deserve censure. A stylistic one concerns the narration. You need to listen to it yourself, because I don’t quite know how to describe it: the voice is somewhat hushed, breathless, low-pitched — one might take it as coming from a severely depressed woman; at the same time it is portentous, rather like the lead-in to the punch line of a horror story.
In terms of substance, many dangerous shibboleths are disseminated, for instance that the epidemic in the black community could have been nipped in the bud, were it not for “silence”, “stigma”, lack of testing, lack of treatment.
Many of the comments from a range of individuals indicates that illness and death in the black community are almost routinely ascribed to HIV/AIDS.
Phill Wilson tells at least a whitish lie when he describes himself as “HIV-positive” for 32 years, given that there was no HIV and no HIV tests for the first five of those years. He also insinuates that antiretroviral drugs have kept him healthy all those years. If so, he must be a very rare survivor of AZT poisoning from 1987 to 1996, when about 150,000 individuals were killed by AZT.
The fact of the matter is that no amount of testing and no amount of safe sex and no amount of pre-exposure prophylaxis will alter the relative rates at which black, white, Asian and Hispanic Americans and Native Americans test “HIV-positive”. Those rates have remained the same for a quarter of a century, because the tests are racially biased; something in the tests responds to racially correlated genetics — see the copious official data collated in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory.
ENDGAME closes on a supposedly optimistic note by mentioning that the US government announced a new strategy in 2010, focusing on 12 cities most severely affected by AIDS. Washington DC leads, with “5-8%” of the adult population infected. Phill Wilson points out that if the African-American community were a country, it would rank 16th in the world for prevalence of HIV/AIDS and would qualify for assistance under the PEPFAR program.

Predicting is fraught with pitfalls, especially predicting the future, as Yogi Berra reminded us. But I make this prediction with utter confidence. Nothing will prevent blacks from testing “HIV-positive” at rates of between about 5 and about 20 (in the lower range for males and the upper ones for females). Administering prophylactic antiretroviral drugs will lead to increased rates of illness and death.
What I cannot predict is how long it will take for this genocide to become undeniably obvious.

ENDGAME is replete with well-meaning, well-intentioned, dedicated individuals spouting shibboleths that are factually wrong and whose consequences in action and in practice are bringing enormous harm to innumerable people.

Posted in experts, HIV and race, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV risk groups, HIV skepticism, HIV tests, HIV/AIDS numbers, uncritical media | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Déjà vu all over again

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2012/07/17

I started this blog nearly 5 years ago, with the immediate aim of applying to continuing “news” about HIV/AIDS the insights I had gained from collating HIV-test results, namely, that what these tests detect or measure is not an infectious entity, nor is it correlated with the published numbers for “AIDS” (The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory).
Comments from various quarters helped me to learn much more, especially about why gay men have been so much involved; and I was prompted to further analyses of official data, which revealed yet more flaws in HIV/AIDS theory:

  • Many confirmations have appeared from different countries and circumstances of the epidemiological regularities I had found in the largely USA data analyzed in my book, perhaps most strikingly the racial disparities and perhaps most mysteriously the correlation with population density.
  • I’ve noted a fine array of absurdities: pregnant women more likely to become “HIV-positive” than non-pregnant women; breast-feeding protective against becoming “HIV-positive” despite being a supposed avenue for transmission of HIV; mainstream activists urging that drug addicts be given fresh clean needles so that they could more safely kill themselves through drug abuse; assertions that HIV is transmitted in different ways in different parts of the world; and more.

As time has passed, fewer and fewer items appeared in the media that were both new and noteworthy and therefore worth blogging about. Microbicide and vaccine trials continue to fail — what more can be said about that except that it confirms over and over again the vacuity of HIV/AIDS theory? Official agencies continue to trumpet the danger of HIV/AIDS even as fewer and fewer people are affected by it — how often is that worth mentioning? Mainstream sources continue to applaud the lifesaving benefits of antiretroviral drugs even as the official Treatment Guidelines and primary literature continue to report the dangerous toxicity of antiretroviral treatment and the continual production of new drugs intended to be less toxic — how often is that worth writing about? And what more can be said about the continuing mis-direction by mainstream sources of labeling as “HIV-associated” ailments that are actually owing to antiretroviral drugs: lipodystrophy, kidney failure, heart failure, and much more (in addition to the re-labeling in Africa of well known diseases as “AIDS”: tuberculosis, malaria, and more).
So after a few years of blogging here, media coverage of HIV/AIDS has become for me déjà vu all over again (cr. Yogi Berra).
At the same time, I’ve become increasingly aware that what’s wrong with HIV/AIDS is no different in principle from what’s wrong with medical science as a whole. For example, the morphing of “AIDS” from a manifest clinical syndrome of Kaposi’s sarcoma and a couple of fungal infections into something defined by lab tests and numbers (“HIV-positive” and CD4 counts) is precisely what has happened in the last half century or so in medical practice as a whole: feelings of illness and diagnosis by a physician have been supplanted by lab tests and surrogate markers: blood sugar, clotting time, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, PSA, X-rays, CT scans, etc. (see e.g. Jeremy Greene, Prescribing by Numbers). The result has been over-testing and over-treatment and administering drugs to perfectly healthy people who don’t need them, don’t benefit from them, and may indeed be harmed by them, statins being a notable example of actual harm (see e.g. http://www.spacedoc.com).
Volumes could also be written about the mistakes made by medical science because of incompetent applications of statistics. Douglas Altman has been writing articles about it for a couple of decades, without apparent effect, for example, “The scandal of poor medical research” (British Medical Journal, 308 [1994] 283) or “Poor-quality medical research: what can journals do?” (JAMA, 287 [2002] 2765-7). John Ioannidis has even been featured in popular magazines for demonstrating the pervasive flaws in statistical analyses, for example that only 7 of the 35 most highly cited studies of drugs confirmed in use the favorable results claimed when the drugs were approved (Ioannidis and Panagiotou Ioannidis, JAMA, 305 [2011] 2200-10). Already 25 years ago, in Science magazine (242 [1988] 1257-63), Alvan Feinstein had discussed the rotten quality of epidemiologic studies relevant to matters of everyday life: “Despite peer-review approval, the current methods need substantial improvement to produce trustworthy scientific evidence”.
When articles like that in one of the leading scientific periodicals have made no difference, and incompetent statistics continues to be accepted for publication, what hope is there for improvement? No wonder that experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claimed a correlation between AIDS and HIV when their own cited data contradicted the claim (Curran et al., Science 239 [1988] 610-6; see p. 110 ff. in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory), or that those experts took a correlation as proving causation (Dondero and Curran, Lancet 343 [1994] 989–90; see p. 194 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory)?
The large lesson is that common sense should be applied whenever the media, or official press releases, or indeed the primary scientific literature asserts results that are patently absurd. This blog post was stimulated by this one:

Parents less likely to catch colds and flu,
New Scientist, 14 July 2012, Magazine issue 2873.
Children bring many things to their parents’ lives: happiness, sleepless nights… and viruses. But although parents do catch infections from their kids, it seems parents are also more resistant to colds and flu. Sheldon Cohen and colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, reviewed three studies in which researchers put either a flu virus or a rhinovirus, which causes colds, into people’s noses, then tracked who fell ill. Cohen’s team found that parents were only 48 per cent as likely to develop an infection as people with no kids. The more children there were in the family, the more parents were protected against illness. But the kids did not need to be present: parents whose children had already left home were only 27 per cent as likely as the childless adults to get sick (Psychosomatic Medicine, DOI: 10.1097/psy.0b013e31825941ff). Levels of antibody to the viruses used were the same in the parents as in the childless subjects. So what could explain the results? Cohen’s team speculates that parenthood brings happiness and reduces stress levels, which can boost the immune system.
That, or parents just don’t have time to get sick — so they don’t.

The media are very adept at making cute comments like that last sentence. But they report such BS as though it might mean something. Parents overall are less likely to become ill by 52%, but those whose children have left home are less likely by 73%?
I suppose parents’ stress levels are even lower, and happiness even greater, after children have left home? And happiness boosts the immune system without changing antibody levels?
Possible, of course; just as it’s possible that the Sphinx was built by extraterrestrials.
But plausible? NO. Worth promulgating as breaking news? NO.

Posted in HIV absurdities, HIV does not cause AIDS, uncritical media | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

 
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