Duesberg et al. (“HIV-AIDS hypothesis out of touch with South African AIDS – A new perspective”) had debunked the claim by Chigwedere, Essex, et al. (“Estimating the lost benefits of antiretroviral
drug use in South Africa”, JAIDS 49  410-5) that antiretroviral treatment could have saved about 330,000 lives in South Africa between 2000 and 2005 — or 2.2 million person-years — were it not for the misguided theories of Peter Duesberg taken seriously by President Mbeki.
So threatening to the HIV/AIDS Establishment was the Duesberg refutation of Chigwedere et al. that Nobelist Barre-Sinoussi was enlisted to lead-sign a protest against the Duesberg publication, which led eventually to the demise of Medical Hypotheses as a credible vehicle for innovative ideas (“Elsevier-Gate”): the journal’s new editor claimed it possible both to “publish radical new ideas” and at the same time “not . . . get into controversial subjects” (Martin Enserink, “New Medical Hypotheses editor promises not to stir up controversy”, ScienceInsider, 25 June 2010).
Duesberg et al. had resorted to Medical Hypotheses only after JAIDS — the journal that had published the Chigwedere article — had refused, counter to all standard practice not to say common decency, to allow a response in its own pages.
Despite Elsevier’s withdrawal of the Duesberg article, it has been freely available on the Internet, but it seemed proper and useful to have it in the mainstream literature indexed as other than “withdrawn”. Independent peer review led to the recent publication of the Duesberg arguments in the Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology , and the abstract is now in PubMed:
Of course the HIV/AIDS vigilantes were beside themselves at this turn of events, and even more that it was brought to widespread attention by a piece on the Nature website. Subsequent fury was expressed in comments to that piece, leading to rather comical machinations by Nature editors attempting to cleanse its site by “losing” those comments owing to an alleged software glitch, see “NATURE and science journalism”.
That blog posting brought a highly informative comment from Jean Umber: Dr. Willy Rozenbaum, who had given Montagnier the first samples in which “HIV” was supposedly found, had published in 2007 a presentation which showed projections by the US Census Bureau of how the population of South Africa would grow if AIDS were present or if AIDS had not been present:
This is precisely one of the arguments made by Duesberg et al., that the actual population growth in South Africa is what had been projected to happen if AIDS were not present:
According to the official doomsayers of the HIV/AIDS faith, AIDS should have capped the South African population at about 45 million around the year 2000; instead the population has continued to grow in steady fashion.
The defenders of HIV/AIDS theory had ventured a couple of substantive criticisms of the original Duesberg article, among them that this comparison of actual with projected population growth is not convincing. Yet it is the US Census Bureau that published the projections with and without AIDS, and what actually happened is precisely what the Bureau projected if AIDS were not decimating the population.
Rozenbaum’s slide does not give details (other than the date of 2004) for the actual Census Bureau documents from which he extracted these projections. It may well have been The AIDS Pandemic in the 21st Century, issued March 2004, tagged WP/02-2, described as an International Population Report by Karen A. Stanecki, and given the imprimatur not only of the US Census Bureau but also of the Office of HIV/AIDS, Bureau for Global Health, U.S. Agency for International Development. That document does give copious details of projections with and without AIDS, in numbers and histograms and graphs. It also provides even further support for the validity of the case made by Duesberg et al.:
One of the persistent criticisms made by HIV/AIDS vigilantes is that numbers for the prevalence of “HIV-positive” used by Duesberg et al. came from pre-natal clinics and that data on pregnant women was not a valid proxy for the rate of “HIV-positive” in the general population of South Africa. To the contrary, the Census Bureau points out that it is a very good proxy, and why that is the case:
Although this particular figure refers to data from Zambia, the Census Bureau describes it as representative for all of sub-Saharan Africa:
“In Sub-Saharan Africa, More Women Than Men Are HIV Positive
At the end of 2001, UNAIDS estimated that 58 percent of all HIV infections in Sub-Saharan Africa were among women. Peak HIV prevalence among women occurs at a younger age than among men: around age 25 compared to age 35-40. As Figures 3 and 4 show for Rwanda and Zambia, younger women tend to have higher levels of HIV infection than men of their same age. Several studies have shown that HIV prevalence among pregnant women attending antenatal clinics provides a reasonable overall estimate of HIV prevalence in the general adult population, although it underestimates the rate among all women while overestimating it among men. This is shown for Zambia in Figure 4.”
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Note that the Census Bureau Figure 4 above is also yet another illustration of the demographic fact that, in all populations for which data have been published, prevalence of “HIV-positive” rises from the mid-teens and falls again at higher ages, and that females test “HIV-positive” more than males at the younger ages while the opposite is seen at higher ages. The exact ages at which the ratio reverses, and at which “HIV-positive” reaches a maximum, varies not only with sex but also with race; African genes are associated with a longer age-span during which females test positive more than males. For details see a number of earlier blog posts confirming all the trends pointed to in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory.