HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Posts Tagged ‘toxicity of antiretroviral drugs’

How antiretroviral drugs are approved

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/10/09

* FDA document says Selzentry “well tolerated” (“Pfizer HIV drug seems safe for new use — FDA staff”; Susan Heavey, 6 October 2009)

“Through 48 weeks, fewer participants discontinued maraviroc [generic name of Selzentry] because of toxicity (4.2%” [in a comparison against efavirenz; NIH Treatment Guidelines, 3 November 2008, pp. 36-7].

In the world of HIV/AIDS,
a medication that brings toxic effects
within 48 weeks in more than 4% of patients
is said to be “well tolerated”.

Here’s the fuller context:

“Pfizer Inc’s . . . HIV drug Selzentry appears to be safe for wider use in certain patients with the disease who have not yet begun taking any medications, U.S. Food and Drug Administration staff said in a document released on Tuesday. The drug, also know by its generic name maraviroc, is already FDA-approved in combination with similar drugs for HIV patients who have tried other antiretroviral medications. Pfizer is seeking FDA permission to market Selzentry for HIV patients who have a certain variation of HIV-1 — one of two strains of the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS — who have not yet tried any medications. It would be taken with other antiretroviral drugs. An FDA staff document said the drug appeared to be “well tolerated” in patients in a company-funded study [that in itself is cause for concern, of course]. A review of an FDA database also found no new reported safety concerns [apparently the 4.2% toxicity in less than a year is not a “NEW” safety concern] in HIV patients who have already been taking the drug. . . . The FDA released the document ahead of a public meeting on Thursday when the agency will ask its outside advisers for a recommendation on whether to approve the drug’s wider use. It usually follows their advice. [How can the conclusion “well tolerated” precede the advisory panel’s discussion?] Pfizer said its trial showed the drug is safe [to 95% of patients, provided they don’t take it for more than 48 weeks] and effective.”

NIH Treatment Guidelines, 3 November 2008, regarding Selzentry (generic is maraviroc, MVC)

Table 13 —
Hepatotoxicity (clinical hepatitis or asymptomatic serum transaminase elevation):
All NNRTIs; all PIs; most NRTIs; maraviroc

Appendix Table 6:
“Side” effects include — Abdominal pain, cough, dizziness, musculoskeletal symptoms, pyrexia, rash, upper respiratory tract infections, hepatotoxicity, orthostatic hypotension.

Pp. 36-7: Maraviroc-Based Regimen. The MERIT study compared the CCR5 antagonist maraviroc with efavirenz . . . . Only participants who had CCR5 virus and no evidence of resistance to any drugs used in the study were enrolled (n = 633). At 48 weeks, virologic suppression (defined as HIV RNA <400 copies/mL) was seen in 75.3% of maraviroc recipients and in 78.9% of efavirenz recipients, and HIV RNA <50 copies/mL was observed in 65.2% of maraviroc recipients and in 69.2% of efavirenz recipients. The HIV RNA <50 copies/mL results did not meet the criteria set by the investigators to demonstrate noninferiority for maraviroc in this study. CD4 counts increased by an average of 170 cells/mm3 in the maraviroc arm and by an average of 143 cells/mm3 in the efavirenz arm. Through 48 weeks, more participants discontinued maraviroc because of lack of efficacy (11.9% vs. 4.2%), whereas fewer participants discontinued maraviroc because of toxicity (4.2% vs. 13.6%).

Posted in antiretroviral drugs, clinical trials, experts, uncritical media | Tagged: , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Drug non-adherence, imaginary epidemics, and sexual nonsense

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/08/30

How many don’t take their antiretroviral drugs?
After I had commented on the decrease in “HIV” in Washington, DC, that had been described in the media as an alarming increase [STOP PRESS: 40% DECREASE in HIV in Washington DC, 18 March 2009], I received from Dr. Stephen S. Elgin, MD, a clipping from the Washington Times (Christopher A. Keys, “The need for electronic records”, 14 April 2009) containing this fascinating item:
“In any given month, about 40 percent of the approximately 1,900 clients actively enrolled in the D.C. AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) are not utilizing antiretroviral medications. . . . [although] almost all of these ‘nonutilizers’ have active prescriptions for antiretroviral drugs written by their physicians, nurse practitioners or physician’s assistants. . . . ADAP programs across the country report similar rates of ‘nonutilizers’ (about 40 percent).”

A reasonable inference is that a considerable proportion of those who are placed on antiretroviral drugs have similar experiences of being unable to tolerate the drugs’ toxicities as, for example, Onnie Mary PhutheKarri Stokely, or Maria Papagiannidou.

Official: Antiretrovirals maybe not the best treatment
Updated HIV guidelines emphasise primary care need of patients
“While improvements in antiretroviral therapy have improved the prognosis for many HIV patients, data from recent studies suggest those living with HIV are at higher risk for developing common health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer”
— but those are not “common” for adults in prime middle age, which is the age at which HAART-treated individuals are dying from heart failure, kidney failure, liver failure, and certain cancers [“AIDS” deaths: owing to antiretroviral drugs or to lack of antiretroviral treatment?, 2 October 2008; NIH Treatment Guidelines, 3 November 2008].
“Baseline urinalysis and calculated creatinine clearance should be considered, especially in black patients, because of an increased risk of HIV-associated nephropathy”
“HIV-associated nephropathy” is actually iatrogenic, drug-induced nephropathy occurring in “HIV-positive” people who are on HAART; which is admitted, but only  indirectly:
“Urinalysis and calculated creatinine clearance should also be performed prior to initiating treatment with drugs such as tenofovir or indinavir, which have the potential for nephrotoxicity”
“potential” for nephrotoxicity sounds much less alarming than a straightforward description as nephrotoxic.
“Emphasis should be placed on the importance of adherence to care rather than focusing solely on adherence to medications”
because HAART itself can cause a variety of ailments.

Asian “epidemics”
There will never be epidemics of heterosexually transmitted “HIV” outside Africa, according to the head of the HIV/AIDS Division of the World Health Organization [WHO SAYS that WE’VE BEEN VERY WRONG about HIV and AIDS? (Clue: WHO = World Health Organization), 10 June 2008]. But of course that is no reason why UNAIDS should cease fearmongering over those imaginary epidemics, which have the added implausible feature that the greatest risk of acquiring “HIV” is through getting married [Abstinence-based HIV programs in Africa may put married women at risk, 25 September 2008; B***S*** about HIV from ACADEME via THE PRESS, 4 March 2008; HIV/AIDS ABSURDITIES AND WORSE, 9 DECEMBER 2007; TO AVOID HIV INFECTION, DON’T GET MARRIED, 18 November 2007]:

“In Cambodia, India and Thailand, the largest number of new HIV infections occur among married women, the study showed”. That’s from a UNAIDS report released in Bali at the 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific.
Here’s the “reasoning”:
“50 million women in Asia are either married or in long-term relationships with men who engage in high-risk sexual behaviours and are at risk of being infected with HIV from their partners. . . . Men who buy sex constitute the largest infected population group and most of them are either married or will get married . . . . ‘This puts a significant number of women, often perceived as “low-risk” because they only have sex with their husbands or long-term partners, at risk of HIV infection’. . . . UNAIDS estimated over 90 per cent of the 1.7 million women living with HIV in Asia became infected from their husbands or partners while in long-term relationships.”
But those “risk factors” are nothing new, yet more than two decades of “HIV/AIDS” have not resulted in any Asian epidemics. UNAIDS is speculating and making predictions that have already been disproved by the facts.

More marriage and “HIV” risk….
Since the greatest risk of being “HIV-positive” occurs among married women in Africa and Asia, it’s logical (HIV/AIDS logical) that  “Nigeria agency pushes marriage to control HIV spread” .
That’s actually not as absurd as it may seem, for “Both bride and groom are HIV-positive and marrying with the support of a local government program that encourages such ‘HIV-marriages’ in the hope of preventing the virus from spreading”.
Of course that’s a forlorn hope, because we know from James Chin, former epidemiologist for the World Health Organization, that the reason why “HIV” has spread so much in Africa is that 20-40% of the adult population — including, obviously, a lot of married people — is continually engaged in multiple concurrent sexual relationships with constant changing of partners (The AIDS Pandemic).
If married people are NOT so engaged, then the UNAIDS-certified African epidemic could not have happened. If married people ARE so engaged, then this new initiative is nonsense.
Not the first time that left and right hands of “HIV/AIDS” don’t jibe.

Prisons are hotbeds of men having sex with men and spreading “HIV”
Everyone knows that, even though the facts are otherwise [Recent HIV/AIDS tidbits in the “news”, 6 April 2009; AIDS activists spout b***s***; media pass it on, 3 April 2009; “HIV” IN PRISONS: REGULAR AS CLOCKWORK, 2 May 2008].
So the experience in Alabama prisons won’t change “what everyone knows” and what HIV/AIDS spokespeople will continue to blather about:
“in Alabama in-prison transmission is all but non-existent . . . . HIV is, of course, a serious health concern” [“Prisons' HIV decision shows progress”]
— and no one would dare mention the lack of spread in prisons publicly without paying obeisance to this belief about a serious health concern.
“However, as has gradually become widely understood, it [“HIV”] is not easily transmitted”
— gradually understood, that is, by officialdom; AIDS Rethinkers and HIV Skeptics knew it all along.
“Given that, the rules barring HIV-positive inmates from work-release programs ceased to make sense”
— but it’s probably asking too much to have all such senseless rules abandoned; say, “Don’t ask, don’t tell” . . . .
“As of last week, [Prison Commissioner Richard] Allen said, two of the 17 female HIV-positive inmates at Tutwiler Prison have passed the classification requirements, as have 47 of the 252 men in the HIV ward at Limestone Prison. ‘I don’t see it as a big deal,’ Allen said. . . . But it is a big deal . . . . By recognizing the medical realities of HIV and adjusting its policies accordingly, the department is making a significant statement.”
— a significant statement whose implications the HIV/AIDS bandwagon will continue to ignore assiduously.

CDC recommends mandatory HIV testing…without consent
In an effort to slow the spread of HIV, the CDC is recommending mandatory testing of emergency room patients without their consent”.
— which is GUARANTEED to result in some alarming statistics about the occult spread of “HIV” and the unexpectedly large proportion of people who are infected without knowing it, because from the very earliest days of sentinel surveying, it has been abundantly clear that emergency-room patients and people who have just died tend to test “HIV-positive” at very high rates [see sources cited at pp. 48 and 85 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory].

Posted in antiretroviral drugs, HIV absurdities, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV risk groups, HIV skepticism, HIV tests, HIV transmission, HIV/AIDS numbers, Legal aspects, sexual transmission, uncritical media | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

More clinical trials in Africa

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/07/31

AIDS prevention trial in Zimbabwe targets women
Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:25pm EDT

About 5,000 sexually active women are expected to enrol at sites in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and possibly Malawi as part of the study, conducted by the U.S-funded Microbicide Trials Network.
The study will determine whether some of the antiretroviral (ARV) medicines used to treat HIV can also be used to prevent the disease when given as a vaginal microbicide gel or as an oral tablet taken once daily.
In addition, the study, which will specifically test the ARV tablets tenofovir and Truvada, seeks to find out which of the two approaches women would prefer. Tenofovir was also the active ingredient in the vaginal gel.
‘We think its very unique because nobody has really tested the difference between an oral route of prevention compared to a vaginal route of prevention,’ Dr Mike Chirenje, protocol co-chair for the entire study, told Reuters on the sidelines of an AIDS conference. ‘Its not so much which was best, in so much as what would women prefer (to take),’ he said of a study expected to last three and a half years before first results in 2012.
Recent studies have shown that microbicides can protect women — who represent nearly 60 percent of adults living with HIV in the world’s worst affected sub-Saharan Africa region — from catching the virus.”

Those “recent studies” were not cited, however. For a summary of the failures of microbicide research, see “The Research Trough — where lack of progress brings more grants”, 10 September 2008.  Less than a year ago, it had been noted that “two decades of studying microbicides that would block HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases” had led to “several promising candidates that interfere with the process that allows HIV to replicate” — which is far from preventing “infection” in the first place, which is what microbicides or vaccines are intended to do.

What to say about a trial that will feed antiretroviral drugs for 3½ years to 5000 women who are not even “infected”?

For tenofovir (TDF) it is known, for example, that “Renal impairment, manifested by increases in serum creatinine, glycosuria, hypophosphatemia, and acute tubular necrosis, has been reported . . . . In patients who have some degree of pre-existing renal insufficiency . . . tenofovir dosage adjustment is required. However, because no safety and efficacy data that use the dosage adjustment guidelines for renal dysfunction are available, the use of alternative NRTIs (especially abacavir) may be preferred over dose-adjusted tenofovir in this setting” [p. 33, NIH Treatment Guidelines, 3 November 2008]. In addition to renal damage, “adverse events” of TDF include “asthenia [loss of energy], headache, diarrhea, vomiting, flatulence, Fanconi syndrome [a specific form of renal dysfunction], osteopenia [bone loss not yet as severe as osteoporosis]”. Truvada combines TDF with FTC (emtricitabine) which adds the risk of skin discoloration (p. 131).

The popular paraphrase of the Hippocratic Oath, “First, do no harm”, would seem difficult to reconcile with feeding dangerous drugs to healthy human beings when the only conceivable purpose is to find a means of protection that might be an alternative to the entirely non-dangerous use of condoms — leaving aside the fact that there’s not even a sexually transmitted “HIV” to be protected against.

Posted in antiretroviral drugs, clinical trials, HIV transmission, sexual transmission, vaccines | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

“AIDS” deaths: owing to antiretroviral drugs or to lack of antiretroviral treatment?

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/10/02

HIV/AIDS vigilantes have accused HIV Skeptics and AIDS Rethinkers of contributing to the death toll by influencing some people to resist antiretroviral treatment. The enumeration of names of people who refused antiretroviral treatment and died is among the unsavory tactics of the vigilantes at “AIDSTruth” (see, for example, “Questioning HIV/AIDS: Morally Reprehensible or Scientifically Warranted?”, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, 12 [#4, Winter 2007] 116-120).

The “AIDSTruth” list of people who died lacks necessary information about the health risks that had affected the named individuals. Yet the death of any given  “HIV-positive” person who was not taking antiretroviral drugs might have resulted from any one of a large number of possible causes. Some of those on the list had taken AIDS medications for many years before quitting because of adverse effects, or because of a change of perspective; others had a history of compromised health caused by long-term drug or alcohol addiction, or health challenges not related to AIDS.

A direct response to the AIDSTruthers’ exploitation of people’s deaths is the appended list of high-profile AIDS activists, treatment advocates, and celebrities who followed doctors’ orders to consume AIDS drugs and died anyway — often in the prime of their lives — from the very AIDS illnesses they believed the drugs would prevent, or from heart attacks, organ failures, cancers, or other conditions characteristic of chronic exposure to toxic anti-HIV chemicals. Notice that some of these deaths of AIDS activists are attributed to “AIDS-related conditions” or “AIDS complications” — terms that fail to disclose whether the death resulted from a heart attack, a stroke, diabetes, lactic acidosis, cancer, liver failure, or some other adverse effect of AIDS drugs. As I’ve pointed out on several earlier occasions, the official Treatment Guidelines acknowledge that such “side” effects of HAART are responsible for more mortality than the “disease” supposedly being treated:
“In the era of combination antiretroviral therapy, . . . the risk of several non-AIDS-defining conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, liver-related events, renal disease, and certain non-AIDS malignancies [97-102] is greater than the risk for AIDS in persons with CD4 T-cell counts >200 cells/mm3; the risk for these events increases progressively as the CD4 T-cell count decreases from 350 to 200 cells/mm3” (p. 13, 28 January 2008 version).

Despite this acknowledgment, the numbers of “AIDS” or “HIV disease” deaths reported each year in the US are actually the numbers of people who tested “HIV antibody positive” or were living with an official AIDS diagnosis when they died of any cause at all, be it an accident, a homicide or suicide, or a non-AIDS illness like diabetes that may be a “side” effect of antiretroviral drugs [Walensky et al., cited in HIV/AIDS SCAM: Have antiretroviral drugs saved 3 million life-years?, 6 July 2008 ].

A recent post [HAART saves lives--- but doesn’t prolong them!?, 17 September 2008]  noted that the dramatic drop in deaths between 1996 and 1997, by about half, had not been accompanied by any dramatic increase in the median age at which HIV-positive people were dying: that median age had been increasing at about the same rate — ~0.4 years per year — since 1982. A nitpicker might point out that the rate was only ~0.3 years per year up to 1993 and about twice that thereafter — predictably, because since 1993 the definition of “AIDS” had included people with low CD4 counts but who are asymptomatic — i.e., people who are not ill —, a definition not adopted in such other regions as Australia,  Britain, Canada, or Europe. “Side” effects of antiretroviral drugs would naturally take longer to kill people who had been initially healthy than those who had presented with some sort of illness at diagnosis.

Eleven of the people named below died before the HAART era, and 26 died after the introduction of HAART in 1996.

AZT medication from 1987 to 1996 can be blamed for at least 150,000 deaths [HAART saves lives--- but doesn’t prolong them!?]: the immediate 50% decline in deaths from 1996 to 1997 seems the direct result of desisting from the administration of high doses of AZT. But HAART typically includes appreciable amounts of AZT or a similar drug, so HAART remains toxic, even if somewhat less so than pure high-dose AZT.

The latest published claims for HAART include that life expectancy for 20-year-old HIV-positives had increased by 13 years between 1996 and 2005 to an additional 49 years, and for 35-year-olds the life expectancy in 1996-99 was said to be another 25 years (Antiretroviral Therapy Collaboration, Lancet 372 [2008] 293-99). But the death statistics show that the median age of death from “HIV disease” was still only 45 in 2004 [HAART saves lives--- but doesn’t prolong them!?]; and, indeed, the 26 people listed below who died after 1996 averaged 44 years of age at death. The activists’ refrain that AIDS is now a chronic, manageable condition is contradicted by the facts — at least for those “HIV-positive” people who accept antiretroviral treatment.

——————

Researching and preparing this post has been no pleasant task. Death comes to all of us sooner or later, and most of us summon sympathy and empathy over any human death. Not many people are willing to use deaths of named individuals as talking points in an argument, as the AIDSTruthers do. Unfortunately, the only answer that might be heard by these vigilantes is to cite deaths that directly contradict their claim, for the AIDSTruthers have explicitly refused to engage in reasoned, evidence-based discussion, and they have shown themselves impervious to more general argument. So, while regretting the need to do so, we present these data to correct the one-sided story put forth by the AIDSTruth vigilantes.

We even understand — apparently, unlike the AIDSTruth Team — that anecdotes or lists cannot serve to establish reliable generalizations. Nevertheless, because these prominent AIDS “activists” and proponents of HAART were as well placed as anyone could be, to know about and to receive the very best antiretroviral treatment, their premature deaths do seem probative of the claims made for HAART. Moreover, their average age of death is consistent with the statistical data from death certificates reported by the Center for Health Statistics [Table 2 in HAART saves lives--- but doesn’t prolong them!?].

Deceased AIDS Activists, Treatment Advocates and Celebrities
who died owing to or despite taking AIDS medications

(This information is from various published obituaries;
some are quoted direct, others have been shortened or copy-edited)

I — Pre-HAART

Hollywood Icon Rock Hudson Dies of AIDS
On 2 October 1985, actor Rock Hudson, 59, became the first major U.S. celebrity to die of AIDS. Hudson’s death raised public awareness of the epidemic, which until that time had been ignored by many in the mainstream as a “gay plague”. It’s of interest that Hudson’s partner, Marc Christian,  with whom he lived and from whom he withheld the serious nature of his condition, never tested HIV positive as a result of their unprotected, intimate contact.

Liberace Dies at 67 from AIDS
On 4 February 1987, Walter Valentino Liberace, world-renowned pianist and entertainer, died after falling into a coma. The official cause of death was complications of AIDS, though those close to him refused to acknowledge that he ever had AIDS.

Barry Gingell, Medical Director of Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Dies at 34
Dr. Barry Gingell, 34, who became medical director of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis organization in New York and a noted advocate for improved treatment of AIDS patients, died of AIDS on 28 May 1989 at a hospital in New York City.

Keith Haring, Artist/Cartoonist, Dies of AIDS at 31
When artist Keith Haring died on 16 February 1990 of AIDS, he left behind an astonishing artistic legacy. In his 31 years, Haring had gone from being an anonymous graffiti artist who drew chalk figures on New York City subway posters, to being called the successor to Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

Ryan White Dies of AIDS at 18; His Struggle Helped Pierce Myths
9 April 1990 — Ryan White, the Indiana teenager who put the face of a child on AIDS and served as a leader for gaining greater understanding and compassion for those with the deadly disease, died today at age 18, in Riley Hospital for Children, owing to complications of AIDS. Ryan, a hemophiliac who contracted the virus through a blood transfusion, had entered the hospital on March 29 suffering from a respiratory infection. His death continues to be used to raise “awareness” and funding for AIDS.
White had been taking AIDS-treatment drugs. Other sources attribute his death to internal bleeding as a result of hemophilia.

Rock Singer Freddie Mercury Dies at 45
24 November 1991 — Freddie Mercury, lead singer of the rock band Queen, died of AIDS-related pneumonia on Sunday at age 45. A day before his death, Mercury released a statement indicating that he had the disease: “I felt it correct to keep this information private to date in order to protect the privacy of those around me.” He added that he wanted everyone to join him and his doctors to combat AIDS.
As with Rock Hudson, Mercury’s long-term partner never tested HIV positive.

Kimberly Bergalis, AZT Victim
After testing HIV positive, Bergalis was treated with AZT at the University of Miami. Suddenly she started a precipitous decline in health. In an angry letter, she partly ascribed her symptoms to the toxic drug: “I have lived through the torturous ache that infested my face and neck, brought on by AZT. I have endured trips twice a week to Miami for three months only to receive painful IV injections. I’ve had blood transfusions. I’ve had a bone marrow biopsy. I cried my heart out from the pain”. This was only the beginning. The yeast infection that led to her AIDS diagnosis worsened after AZT treatment and became uncontrollable; she lost more than thirty pounds, her hair gradually fell out, her blood cells died and had to be replaced with transfusions, and her muscles wasted away. Her fevers hit highs of 103 degrees, and by late 1990 her T-cell count had dropped from an average of 1,000 to a mere 43. She looked just like a chemotherapy patient — which she now was. She developed AIDS just two years after testing HIV positive, and died shortly thereafter (on 8 December 1991).

AIDS Activist, Artist Alison (‘Ali’) Gertz, 26, Dies
8 August 1992 — Alison Gertz, who was exposed to the AIDS virus during her first sexual experience at age 16, died Saturday at her parents’ home in Westhampton Beach, N.Y. Gertz went public with her disease, giving lectures, founding an AIDS-awareness group called Love Heals, and allowing the airing of a television movie based on her life. To keep her functioning normally, Ms. Gertz each day took AZT, Ganciclovir, and Bactrim.

Arthur Ashe: The Gentle Warrior, 1943-1993
6 February 1993 — Ashe was ranked the number-one tennis-player in the world in 1968. He contracted the AIDS virus from an unscreened blood transfusion during his second open-heart surgery in 1983. Later he organized the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS. Arthur Ashe died at age 49 in New York Hospital as a result of AIDS-related pneumonia.
In his book, Black Lies, White Lies, journalist Tony Brown — a close friend of Ashe’s — reveals that in the last months of his life, Ashe concluded that the AZT therapy he took in response to testing HIV positive was at the root of his descent into illness.

Bruce Voeller, NGLTF Founder, Loses Battle with AIDS
13 February 1994 — In the 1970s, Bruce Voeller founded the National Gay Task Force (NGTF), which in 1986 changed its name to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF). It was Voeller who had suggested the name AIDS, “Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome”, instead of GRID, “Gay-Related Immune Deficiency”, which he considered both stigmatizing and inaccurate. Voeller lost his own battle with the disease and died at his Topanga, CA, home, assisted by his life partner, Richard Lucik.

MTV Star Pedro Zamora Dies at 22
11 November 1994 — AIDS activist Pedro Zamora died of AIDS at age 22. Zamora said he became infected with HIV through unprotected sex when he was 17. He testified at a congressional hearing, appeared in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention television commercial about AIDS, and was featured on MTV’s “The Real World”.

Elizabeth Glaser Dies at 47; Crusader for Pediatric AIDS
4 December 1994 — Elizabeth Glaser, who waged a tireless campaign to draw attention to pediatric AIDS, died yesterday at her home in Santa Monica, CA. She was 47. The cause was complications from AIDS, said Josh Baran, a spokesman for the family. Mrs. Glaser, the wife of Paul Michael Glaser, a director and actor who starred in the “Starsky and Hutch” television series, was one of several public figures to bring AIDS to the forefront of the 1992 Presidential campaign. She had contracted the virus through a blood transfusion in 1981. Thousands of delegates, dignitaries, and guests stood frozen in place at the Democratic National Convention in New York City as she told of the death of her 7-year-old daughter, Ariel, in 1988 from AIDS.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Glaser’s autobiography, In the Absence of Angels, reveals that prior to starting the AIDS drug treatment that she had delayed for many years, her T-cell count was in normal ranges and she was enjoying normal health.

II — During the HAART period

ACT UP DC Founder Steve Michael Dies at 42
Steve Michael, founder of ACT UP of Washington, DC, died of AIDS complications on 25 May 1998. Michael’s partner of seven years, Wayne Turner, gave the order to disconnect Michael from life support after his condition severely worsened. Michael had spent almost four weeks in the intensive care unit at Washington Hospital Center for treatment of AIDS-related pneumonia. He was 42 years old.

AIDS Activist Simon Nkoli Dies
30 November 1998 — Nkoli died on the eve of World Aids Day, and in news articles was described as “only 41 years young”. Nkoli was the first South African to declare openly that he had AIDS.

Singing Star Ofra Haza Dies at 42 of AIDS Complications
Ofra Haza, popular Israeli singer, died on 23 February 2000 at the age of 42. Although initial reports suggested that Haza was only suffering from pneumonia or an extended bout with the flu, The Jerusalem Post reports that she suffered from liver and kidney failure.

Kiyoshi Kuromiya, Leading HIV/AIDS Activist, Dies
Kiyoshi Kuromiya, one of the world’s leading AIDS activists, died on the night of 10 May 2000, owing to complications from AIDS. To the last, Kiyoshi remained an activist, insisting on and receiving the most aggressive treatment for cancer and the HIV that complicated its treatment. He participated fully in every treatment decision, making sure that he, his friends and fellow activists were involved with his treatment every step of the way.

Stephen Gendin, Activist and Writer, Dies of AIDS at 34
Stephen Gendin, who was at the center of AIDS activism for fifteen years and whose provocative writing in POZ magazine as a gay man struggling with HIV sparked community controversies, died on 19 July 2000 at New York City’s Roosevelt Hospital. He was 34. Gendin’s death was caused by cardiac arrest while undergoing chemotherapy for AIDS-related lymphoma.

Nkosi Johnson, Young AIDS Activist, Dies at Age 12
1 June 2001, South Africa — Nkosi Johnson, a boy who was born with HIV and became an outspoken champion of others infected with the AIDS virus, died Friday of the disease he battled for all of his 12 years. Nkosi had collapsed in December with brain damage and viral infections. His foster mother, Gail Johnson, said he died peacefully in his sleep. Nkosi is featured in the documentary film, Questioning AIDS in South Africa.

Frances ‘Dace’ Stone, AIDS Activist, Dies at 48
20 August 2001 — Longtime AIDS activist Frances “Dace” Stone, 48, died of undisclosed causes last Wednesday in Washington, DC. Stone had been involved with the Whitman-Walker Clinic for nearly 20 years as a volunteer, board member, and former president of the board of directors.

Gay Columnist Lance Loud Dies of AIDS
Lance Loud, the openly gay columnist probably best known for his role in An American Family and as a columnist for various magazines, including The Advocate, Details, Interview, and Creem, died at age 50. Lance entered a hospice suffering from AIDS and died on 22 December 2001.

AIDS Activist Belynda Dunn Dies
13 March 2002 — HIV-positive activist Belynda Dunn, whose crusade for a new liver pitted her against a big insurer and won the support of Boston’s mayor, died yesterday in a Pittsburgh hospital, four days after she received the second of two liver transplants. She was 51. Doctors at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center believe a blood clot clogged her lungs.

Project Inform Board Member Linda Grinberg Dies
27 May 2002 — One of AIDS activism’s greats, Linda Grinberg, died on Memorial Day of a heart attack, the result of AIDS-related pulmonary hypertension. She had just turned 51. Grinberg served on the board of treatment-advocacy-group Project Inform.

Barbara Garrison, AIDS Activist, Dead at 45 from AIDS Complications

28 May 2002 — Barbara Garrison, an AIDS activist and former blood technician, died from complications of AIDS at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo. She was 45. She had been diagnosed as HIV-positive in December 1995 and became involved with the Michigan Persons Living with AIDS Task Force, and at the time of her death headed the group’s membership and management committee.

AIDS Activist Javier Contreras Dies at 33
March 2003 — Javier Contreras, a Chicago AIDS activist, died of AIDS complications at age 33. He had worked at a counselor and case manager and was also a member of the HIV Prevention Planning Group of Chicago.

AIDS Activist Evan Ruderman Dies at 44

Evan Ruderman, an AIDS activist, died on 18 November 2003 from complications of AIDS. She was 44. Ruderman helped create the Foundation for Integrated AIDS Research and worked to obtain equal access to treatment for HIV patients around the world.

AIDS Activist Carlton Hogan Dead at 42
Carlton H. Hogan, age 42, of Minneapolis, died at home on 18 November 2003 after a long fight with AIDS. He had worked for the Community Programs for Clinical Research on AIDS Statistical Center, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota.

ACT UP Legend Keith Cylar Dead at 45 of Heart Trouble
Keith Cylar, a 45-year-old ACT UP legend, died of heart trouble on 5 April 2004. Cylar and his partner, Charles King, founded the one-stop New York social-service-and-activist powerhouse, Housing Works.

Positively Aware’s Charles Clifton Dies at 45 of Heart Attack
Clifton died on 15 August 2004 of a heart attack at age 45. He was executive director  of Test Positive Aware Network and edited the influential publication Positively Aware.

Heart Attack Claims AIDS Activist Gigi Nicks
Gigi Nicks, the patient advocacy director at Chicago’s CORE Center, was well known for her pioneering activism on behalf of positive women and children. She died of a heart attack on 19 August 2004 at age 52.

Nelson Mandela Says AIDS Led to Death of His Son, Makgatho Mandela
Johannesburg, 6 January 2005 — Former South African president Nelson Mandela announced Thursday that his son, Makgatho Mandela, 54, had died that morning of an undisclosed illness related to AIDS. Makgatho had been receiving antiretroviral treatment for more than a year.

AIDS Activist, Speaker Debbie Runions Dies
Debbie Runions, a prominent AIDS activist and patient who called for governmental response to the spread of AIDS, died of AIDS-related complications on 16 October 2005 at age 55. Runions found out she was HIV positive in 1992 and spent the rest of her life promoting AIDS awareness and prevention.

Jerry ‘Grant’ Lewis, 19 December 1979 — 17 January 2006
Grant was born with hemophilia and at the age of 11 learned that he was infected with HIV. Grant was an experimental pediatric-HIV-drugs research patient at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda (MD) for 5 years, and he was the first adolescent in the world to introduce one of the new protease inhibitors into his body. Grant made several appearances on the Phil Donahue, Montel Williams, Jenny Jones, and Maury Povich shows, and along with Magic Johnson and Greg Louganis he was the subject of a feature story on an ESPN segment about sports and HIV. Grant died at age 26.

Jeff Getty, AIDS Activist, Passes Away
16 October 2006 — AIDS activist Jeff Getty passed away in California at age 49. Getty died of heart failure in Joshua Tree, CA, following a cancer treatment. He became famous after doctors at San Francisco General Hospital transplanted bone marrow from a baboon into him in 1995. The experiment was termed a failure, yet Getty regained his health and continued to offer himself as a guinea pig for several other experiments.

Pioneering Atlanta AIDS Activist John Granger Dies
John Granger, a local AIDS activist and community volunteer, died on 29 January 2007 at Tucker Nursing Center, of AIDS-related complications owing to multifocal leukoencephalopathy, according to Dr. Jesse Peel, his former partner of 10 years. Granger was 52.

Gay/AIDS Advocate Bob Hattoy Dies of Heart Attack
3 March 2007 — Bob Hattoy, 56, died in his sleep at his home in Sacramento, CA, apparently of a heart attack. The environmental-political-gay-AIDS activist became perhaps the most widely known openly gay member of the Clinton administration. He addressed the 1992 Democratic National Convention as a person living with AIDS. Hattoy was a long-term survivor of HIV.

John Campbell, Founder of People Living with HIV, Dead at 39
30 May 2007 — Britain lost a national hero yesterday when John Campbell succumbed to an HIV-related neurodegenerative disease. Campbell shot to prominence in the gay activist community when he and three peers founded the UK Coalition of People Living with HIV and AIDS in 1993. Campbell also founded Positive Nation, an HIV-focused magazine. A former male prostitute, Campbell was also a special government HIV advisor.

Brett Lykins, Celebrated AIDS Activist, Dies at 28

1 August 2007— To say that Brett Lykins was a familiar face would be an understatement. For nearly all his life, he was the young man at the head of the AIDS awareness movement in Georgia. He first made headlines in 1989 when he was in third grade, revealing to his Gwinnett County classmates during show-and-tell that he was HIV-positive. Brett took to his celebrity like a pro, leading marches and rallies and rubbing shoulders with big-name stars like Sir Elton John during the Atlanta AIDS Walk. On Wednesday night, at his mother’s home in Duluth, Brett Lykins finally succumbed to illness, surrounded by relatives and friends.

Presidential AIDS Advisor Dr. Scott Hitt Dies at 49
Dr. R. Scott Hitt, an AIDS specialist and the first openly gay person to head a presidential advisory board, died on 8 November 2007, at age 49, of colon cancer at his home in West Hollywood, according to John Duran, the city’s mayor and a longtime friend. Hitt was chairman of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS during President Clinton’s administration in the 1990s.

Thomas Morgan, Journalist and Activist, Dies at 56
27 December 2007 — Thomas Morgan III, a former reporter and editor at the New York Times and a president of the National Association of Black Journalists, died on Monday in Southampton, MA, aged 56. The cause was complications of AIDS, his partner, Tom Ciano, said.

Dallas AIDS Activist Don Sneed Dies
Don Sneed, who will undoubtedly be remembered as the city’s most colorful and controversial AIDS activist ever, died on  4 January 2008, aged 54, after a brief hospitalization at the Veterans Hospital in Dallas. He reportedly was in a coma at the time of his death, which was owing apparently to an HIV-related illness.

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Saturday, 20 December 2008 at 9:18 pm

Another sad death of an HIV+ treatment advocate:

“Dan Dunable, longtime Atlanta AIDS activist and HIV treatment educator, died unexpectedly at home October 4th. He was 51.”

http://www.thebody.com/content/art38369.html

“The medical examiner says that Dan died from a stroke. . . . Dan’s T-cell count was good, he was adherent to his meds, he went to the doctor, and he exercised … so I don’t understand why he is dead. Did he die because of his HIV, because of the medications … or was it something else?”

http://www.thebody.com/content/art45171.html

—————————————————

A correspondent alerted me to yet another sad death, at age 31, in this era of “life-saving HAART”; from the link sent me (http://kenyonfarrow.com/2009/03/03/rip-shelton-jackson/):

Shelton Jackson (1978 – 2009)…. passed away on Monday, March 2, 2009 at approximately 6:00 am. His death was due to complications due to AIDS. He was a patient at UMDNJ where he has been for the last month or so… AIDS has truly cut this young man down in the prime of his life. He was just 31-years-old, and has done as much activism as one person can do. Even to the end, he was working as a consultant for us for our upcoming social marketing project. Shelton Jackson will certainly be missed.

Posted in antiretroviral drugs, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV skepticism, HIV transmission, HIV/AIDS numbers, sexual transmission | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

NEVIRAPINE, TB, and HIV/AIDS

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/08/06

TB hampers HIV treatment — study
Patients being treated for tuberculosis (TB) may not get the full benefits from HIV therapy, researchers say. Nevirapine — a cheap antiretroviral drug used to treat HIV in developing countries — did not work as well in patients also on TB treatment. . . . Around 40% of HIV patients in the South African study were also treated for TB. . . . Nevirapine is a common choice because of its cost and can be used in women of child-bearing age.”

That TB patients test HIV-positive at a very high rate has been known for a long time, from data gathered in the United States:

Are TB patients particularly promiscuous sexually, or incessantly sharing infected needles for drug abuse? [IS TUBERCULOSIS AN APHRODISIAC?, 4 January 2008] Or is it that HIV tests, which react “positive” on a wide range of conditions, are particularly prone to test positive in the presence of TB? Surely the latter interpretation is much the more plausible.

As to the benefits of nevirapine and its utility in pregnant women, read Celia Farber’s “Out of Control” [Harper’s magazine, March 2006]: a pregnant woman taking nevirapine in a clinical trial died thereby; and the main initial trial of the drug in Africa had been so flawed that the claims based on it should have been disregarded.

Nevirapine is a known cause of liver disease, sometimes fatal, as well as of other potentially fatal “side”-effects. The following quotes are taken from the January 2008 revision of the official HIV/AIDS treatment guidelines:

“Nevirapine may be used as an alternative to efavirenz for the initial NNRTI-based regimen in women with pretreatment CD4 counts <250 cells/mm3 or in men with pretreatment CD4 counts <400 cells/mm3 (BII). Symptomatic and sometimes serious or life-threatening hepatic events have been observed with much greater frequency in women with pretreatment CD4 counts >250/mm3 and in men with pretreatment CD4 counts >400/mm3. Nevirapine thus should be initiated in these patients only if the benefit clearly outweighs the risk. Close monitoring for elevated liver enzymes and skin rash should be undertaken for all patients during the first 18 weeks of nevirapine therapy. . . . nevirapine was associated with greater toxicity (see below) and did not meet criteria for non-inferiority compared with efavirenz. . . . Two deaths were attributed to nevirapine use. One resulted from fulminant hepatitis and one from staphylococcal sepsis as a complication of Stevens-Johnson syndrome (pp. 18-19).”
“Serious hepatic events have been observed when nevirapine was initiated in treatment-naïve patients. These events generally occur within the first few weeks of treatment. In addition to experiencing elevated serum transaminases, approximately half of the patients also develop skin rash, with or without fever or flu-like symptoms. . . . A 12-fold higher incidence of symptomatic hepatic events was seen in women (including pregnant women) with CD4 counts >250 cells/mm3 at the time of nevirapine initiation . . . . Most of these patients had no identifiable underlying hepatic abnormalities. In some cases, hepatic injuries continued to progress despite discontinuation of nevirapine [129, 131]. . . . More detailed recommendations on the management of nevirapine-associated hepatic events can be found in Table 18a [whose heading is, ‘Potentially Life-Threatening and Serious Adverse Events’] (p. 19).”
“female patients seem to have a higher propensity of developing Stevens-Johnson syndrome and symptomatic hepatic events from nevirapine (p.29).”
“Because nevirapine is an inducer of the drug-metabolizing hepatic enzymes, administration of full therapeutic doses of nevirapine without a 2-week, low-dose escalation phase will result in excess plasma drug levels and potentially increase the risk for toxicity (p. 41).”
“. . . . Hepatic failure and death have been reported among a small number of pregnant patients (p. 48).”
“DISADVANTAGES (Table 9):
• Higher incidence of rash than with other NNRTIs, including rare but serious hypersensitivity reactions (Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis)
• Higher incidence of hepatotoxicity than with other NNRTIs, including serious and even fatal cases of hepatic necrosis”

There is also a “Black Box Warning” for nevirapine (Table 20, p. 86):
“• Severe, life-threatening, and in some cases fatal hepatotoxicity, including fulminant and cholestatic hepatitis, hepatic necrosis, and hepatic failure, has been reported. Patients may present with nonspecific prodromes of hepatitis and progress to hepatic failure.
• Women with CD4 counts >250 cells/mm3, including pregnant women receiving chronic treatment for HIV infection, are at considerably higher risk of hepatotoxicities.
• Severe, life-threatening, and even fatal skin reactions, including Stevens-Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, and hypersensitivity reactions characterized by rash, constitutional findings, and organ dysfunction have occurred with nevirapine treatment.
• Patients should be monitored intensively during the first 18 weeks of nevirapine therapy to detect potentially life-threatening hepatotoxicity or skin reactions.
• A 14-day lead-in period with nevirapine 200 mg daily must be followed strictly.
• Nevirapine should not be restarted after severe hepatic, skin, or hypersensitivity reactions”

“Nevirapine has also been shown in animal studies to cause cancer: “hepatocellular adenomas and carcinomas in mice and rats” (Table 26).”

THAT’s the drug that HIV/AIDS experts describe as “can be used in women of child-bearing age”.
THAT’s the drug widely used in Africa to supposedly protect newborn babies from their “HIV-positive” mothers.

Posted in antiretroviral drugs, clinical trials, experts, HIV tests | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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