HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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


Posted by Henry Bauer on 2007/12/05

“To the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail”

and to Mark Wainberg, everything that goes wrong for an HIV-positive person is owing to the evil actions of HIV. So in writing about “Living with HIV, dying of cancer” (Washington Post, 4 December),
he attributes to the evil virus the deaths from cancer of HIV-positive people, ignoring the possibility that the antiretroviral drugs might themselves be cancer-inducing. Those drugs, according to Wainberg, “now enable many individuals who have HIV to survive indefinitely with good quality of life, instead of suffering a rapid disease progression and certain early death”. Perhaps his view of “good quality of life” includes side effects so unpleasant that something like half the treated people stop taking the drugs?
According to Wainberg, HIV-positive people are now living so long that they are experiencing “in high numbers” “lymphomas, carcinomas and lung cancers (in smokers and non-smokers)”, “an underreported and unforeseen consequence of HIV infection”; he presumes this is happening because the antiretroviral drugs could not completely repair the immunological damage done by HIV.
Wainberg is certainly right that carcinomas and lung cancers are underreported and unforeseen consequences of HIV infection. Indeed, up to 1997 no such cases had been reported at all.
In 1982, CDC reported 593 cases of AIDS, 88% of them some combination of Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) and Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), the remainder “other opportunistic infections”. “However, this case definition may not include the full spectrum of AIDS manifestations, which may . . . . [include] malignant neoplasms that cause, as well as result from, immunodeficiency” (MMWR, 24 September 1982).
That statement was a clear invitation that cancers possibly associated with AIDS should be reported to CDC. Yet by the end of 1987 (Surveillance Report of 28 December 1987), CDC was still showing 70% of the more than 20,000 AIDS cases as KS/PCP and the remainder as other opportunistic infections. The 1987 revised definition of AIDS, expanded to include “HIV wasting syndrome” and “HIV encephalopathy”, still mentioned only lymphomas and KS as AIDS-defining cancers (MMWR, 14 August 1987, supplement 1). In 1997, the last year in which such detailed information appears in the CDC Surveillance Reports, among 60,000 cases of AIDS, apart from KS (1500) and lymphomas (850) the only cancer listed was invasive cervical cancer (<150).
These data offer no historical basis for ascribing lung cancers and other carcinomas to the action of HIV. Surely the diseases HIV could cause would have been apparent in the earliest years, before the advent of antiretroviral treatment. And, if antiretroviral drugs cannot restore immunological function, so that HIV continues some of its dirty work, would it not be bringing about the same conditions as it had in untreated sufferers?
Clearly there is something about antiretroviral drugs that favors cancers over opportunistic fungal infections like PCP and candidiasis. The most obvious possibility is that the cytotoxic antiretroviral drugs cause the cancers.
* * * * * *
Wainberg explains everything from his own blinkered viewpoint. That AIDS has “virtually nil” “everyday impact on middle-class North Americans” he attributes to medical advances, not to the fact that this purportedly sexually transmitted infection never left the original high-risk groups, in contrast to gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and herpes, which do not discriminate in this magical fashion in favor of exclusively heterosexual middle-class North Americans.
As already pointed out, cancers never caused by HIV before the advent of antiretroviral drugs, Wainberg nevertheless attributes to HIV. His “major concern” is that these cancers are showing up in people who have been HIV-positive for between 5 and 15 years. But there is supposed to be a latent period of an average of 10 years before untreated HIV-positive people show symptoms of opportunistic infections, so these cancers in treated patients are coming just as rapidly as the original AIDS diseases did in untreated HIV-positive people.
Wainberg’s suggestion that antiretroviral drugs do not properly restore the immune system is also at odds with the treatment guidelines, where the criteria for successful treatment are a reduction in viral load and an increase in CD4-cell counts. Is Wainberg now conceding that those surrogate markers are defective, as HIV skeptics (and a number of peer-reviewed mainstream articles) have been saying for decades?
Is Wainberg being consciously and deliberately disingenuous when he says that “Many people have forgotten that certain rare cancers, such as Kaposi’s sarcoma, were recorded in HIV-infected individuals with relatively high frequency in the 1980s, before antiretroviral drugs were available”? Is he really unaware of the fact that KS as a proportion of AIDS cases declined sharply even before AZT monotherapy began in 1987, and that the annual number of new KS patients began to decline several years before HAART was introduced? Evidently it was neither of those medical treatments that overcame KS; probably the decisive factor was that enough gay men had learned from John Lauritsen, Michael Callen, Josef Sonnabend and others that they might avoid KS, and indeed AIDS itself, if they stopped using poppers and living a madly unhealthy life.
* * * * * *
The National Institutes of Health are not as sanguine as Wainberg about the benefits of antiretroviral drugs: “the use of antiretroviral therapy is now associated with a series of serious side effects and long-term complications that may have a negative impact on mortality rates. More deaths occurring from liver failure, kidney disease, and cardiovascular complications are being observed in this patient population” (NIH HIV/AIDS Fact Sheet, updated October 2006).
Furthermore, the largest study to date, of more than 22,000 HIV-positive people in Europe as well as America (Lancet, 368: 451-8), hardly makes a case for antiretroviral medication: “Virological response after starting HAART improved over calendar years, but such improvement has not translated into a decrease in mortality”–the virus is being defeated, in other words, but the patients are dying just as fast; or, as the hoary saying goes, the operations are succeeding, even though the patients are dying.

* * * * * *

I don’t exclude myself, of course, from those who see everything from their own viewpoint. The data have told me that HIV is an entirely unspecific sign that something or other has stimulated the immune system to react. That something or other might be temporary and harmless, or potentially harmful but not very, or a real cause for concern–but certainly not signifying a fatal attack on and pending destruction of the immune system. I have been able so far to explain everything about the incidence of HIV in this way. Try it for yourself, on whatever you see reported about “HIV”. Remember that the incidence of “HIV” in any group varies predictably with age, sex, and race, and that it is typically high among people who are demonstrably ill–from TB, from abusing drugs, from mental or emotional stresses–and typically lowest among the fittest and healthiest–blood donors, Marines, sailors and soldiers. For this evidence of non-specificity, see the diagram in HIV TESTS, 16 November; for the variation with age and sex, see the diagram in TO AVOID HIV…, 18 November, or in HIV-POSITIVE CHILDREN, 25 November); for the whole story, have a look at my book, The Origins, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory.


  1. doug winspear said

    I found this quote from an article [The Report Newsmagazine, June 5, 2000] by Marnie Ko on the trial of a Montreal woman who refused to allow the state to poison her children. It pretty much speaks for itself. (I’m sure that most of us could retire in relative luxury on the money Wainberg made off his drug):

    “On May 1 Dr. Mark Wainberg, Canada’s leading AIDS researcher, told the Globe and Mail that those who maintain HIV does not cause AIDS are a criminally irresponsible public health menace. “If we could succeed and lock a couple of these guys up, I guarantee you the HIV-denier movement would die pretty darn quickly,” he said at an AIDS conference.”

    Dr. Wainberg, who has likened his intellectual opponents to Holocaust-deniers, had earlier singled out Sophie Brassard, the HIV-positive Montreal mother whose sons were seized by social workers after she refused to give them anti-AIDS drugs. Had Ms. Brassard only followed doctors’ orders, Dr. Wainberg was quoted as saying, “she would now have two healthy children and been spared her recent ordeal.”

    “Dr. Wainberg is heavily invested in the debate, both in terms of his personal credibility and financially. He has received numerous grants from pharmaceutical concerns, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Glaxo Wellcome, and Boehringer Ingelheim, makers of AIDS drugs. He owns shares in Quebec-based Biochem Pharma Inc., maker of 3TC, one of the drugs force-fed to Ms. Brassard’s two HIV-positive sons.”

    In a taped interview with this magazine, Dr. Wainberg initially denied his equity interest. After a number of authored medical journal abstracts which cite his share ownership were called to his attention, he said, “Yes, that’s true, I do have shares in Biochem Pharma, now that you mention it.” As they’re in a “blind trust,” he professed not to know how many shares he owns, or what they’re worth.

    He is certain, however, “that my shareholdings in Biochem Pharma are nowhere near [enough] to allow me to retire.”

  2. Rebecca said

    Wow, so ARVs now permit hiv+ people to survive
    ‘indefinitely’? That’s pretty impressive considering even hiv- individuals don’t survive ‘indefinitely’! Bring on universal ARV treatment!

  3. Frank said

    You can treat yourself to a brief glimpse of the inimitable Mark Wainberg at the Alive & Well site. Mark is the first to speak, before the preview’s title appears.

  4. HIV Diagnosis, a route to medical dead ends for patients.

    We must not try to justify the dangers to human life posed by ARVs.
    On 02/06/2008 the day I ever regretted telling a doctor that I had been in HIV Medicines. I had all the unexplained pains, neurological problems. I was referred to see a doctor at Princess Marina Hospital, a Neuro Surgeon. I presented my cards, and the doctor was listening to the complaints I raised. Suddenly there was a shift. The shift of hopelessness in my case, why? I mentioned that I was diagnosed with HIV in 2001. The shift was so massive that in an instant the doctor said, well, because of HIV there is nothing he can do. There is no hope for my back. I was sitting on the floor, kept lying and standing and sitting due to the pain. The doctor specified to say that people with HIV do not get all the referrals out the country, for follow up. I had done an MRI of the spine and it picked up inflammation on the L2-3-4. I asked the doctor whether he could help. He said no, it is untreatable because of my HIV infection. I replied to the doctor in front of the nurse saying “You are only a doctor and you can do this much, but there is one who can do more than you can, who can achieve, what you say is not achievable, GOD”. Within 5 minutes, I was out. I did not like what happened. When I left the clinic I went to see the supervisor of that doctor, I asked him, “Why is this doctor saying to me he would need another MRI but because of my HIV infection he can not refer outside Botswana?”. Botswana does not have an MRI; South Africa has one at the Milpark, that is where I used to go when my private doctor sent me before all the money was used up both at the medical aid and in my pockets. I insisted that being HIV positive is not hopeless for the doctor not to try. He called the doctor and he saw me again but he referred me to the medical clinic, as he said I was a patient for medical, not neuro. The principles I live by are that, “Never tell someone who is looking up to you for help, the situation they seek help for from you is hopeless, even if you see it as hopeless.” I was still not happy and I went to see the Hospital Superintendent.

    I asked him the same question, “why are people infected with HIV not being given the same attention as someone who has no HIV or undisclosed status gets?”.

    Anyway, the problem is not really the HIV itself, it was the drugs against HIV, they could not pick that up, wrote me a letter for employer since I was not going to work for 3 months. When I was finally retrenched. I made it my duty to treat myself. I stopped seeking any assistance for the back, paid close attention to my body. In November 2008, I spent the whole month with no ARV, than I saw I was getting better. I started switching the dosages to taking ARV only two weeks in a month, then three times a week, then nights only, then I stopped.

    The way ARV contributed to ill health, I am still amazed they still asked me to go back on treatment. If it is suicide I am committing by not taking ARVs it is a sweet suicide, it is peaceful. I will settle for that. I have claimed my life with this “suicide”. It makes me not want to go back to the clinic because all they will do is instill fear in me, blame me and ensure that I see myself as dead. I will not listen to anything contrary to life. Worse, I cannot look at the people in the queue for ARVs. I am avoiding telling people not to take the drugs. I am still getting my ducks in a row, for when I do speak up; my mouth will be too big to shut. In the meantime, I tell all those I know what I have done.

    It is a fact, people with HIV still have medical conditions that would be treated for those with no HIV/ undisclosed status. HIV means ARVs are the solution, yet are the cause of AIDS, they are the fast forward route to death. People on treatment still develop other illnesses and still die worse than they were in the beginning. The thought that I have used herbs, raw veges, and proper rest, water, sea salt, and sunlight, exercise only now to be writing this, is my great gratitude to nature. I nearly died; no one even to this day had talked to me about diet.

    I cannot believe the three letters “HIV Diagnosis” caused everyone to see that I was already dead. What a deviation from medical ethics. I do not know them, doctors should. They should have at least offered me palliative care, I would have settled for that. Dying with dignity and hope is the key. It has happened to me, it’s proof it is happening to all with HIV diagnoses. People see themselves dead before they actually die.

    All the side effects predicted at the initial treatment with HIV medicines are a sure sign that the drugs ar just too deadly. I am not paid by anyone, I have 1st hand proof. ARVs KILL, A SLOW PAINFUL DEATH FOR THAT MATTER. Food and herbs heal, slow but accurate with no side effects. Which one do you settle for? ARV or the latter?

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