HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

TRIMMING FACTS, INVENTING EPIDEMICS

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/01/14

HIV is perpetually in danger of spreading; it’s always just about to spread into areas and groups where it hasn’t been before. That’s the constant refrain in news reports and official press releases, though the facts are that it hasn’t done so in 25 years and there’s no reason to suspect that things have changed. But facts don’t change dogmatic beliefs, and if the facts are too troublesome then it might be time to stop collecting them:

“there are less reported cases of infection in Texas border counties than in the rest of the state. This statistic does not conform to what is known about how the virus is commonly transmitted, potentially indicating an under-tested population. ‘We almost discontinued the border report because the data is potentially inaccurate,’ said Cynthia Taylor, an epidemiologist with the TDSHS [Texas Department of State Health Services].
‘RIPE TO EXPLODE’
Recent analysis of border communities from McAllen to El Paso by Farmworker Justice reveals that border residents are engaged in risky sexual behaviors, including sex without condoms, sex with multiple partners, or with sex workers.
‘Given the prevalence of those kinds of behaviors, we may be at the cusp of an epidemic,’ said Shelly Davis, deputy director of the Washington D.C.-based nonprofit. ‘Maybe the statistics are inaccurate, or maybe HIV hasn’t entered this population yet, but if it does, conditions are ripe for it to explode’” [all emphases added]
HIV on the Border, by Laura Tillman, The Brownsville Herald (Texas), 5 January 2008

* * * * * *

Just so:
— Since it’s “known” that HIV is sexually transmitted, all data showing the opposite must be ignored.
— If necessary, stop gathering data wherever they don’t support the theory.
— If there’s no epidemic, then we must be on the cusp of one.
— Ignore the point that in order to argue in this fashion, one must make the extraordinarily implausible assumption that the contemporary risky sexual behavior must be something new, since it hasn’t yet brought the epidemic beyond its cusp.
— Never stop to ask, why the facts contradict the theory.

For further illustrations, see “Inventing new epidemics”, p. 114 ff. in The Origins, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory.

4 Responses to “TRIMMING FACTS, INVENTING EPIDEMICS”

  1. Martin Kessler said

    The New York Times today in their Editorial stated: “H.I.V. Rises Among Young Gay Men”. “The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that the incidence of H.I.V. infection among gay men is shooting up…Statistics gathered by New York City officials sho that new diagnoses of H.I.V. infection – the virus that causes AIDS – in gay men under age 30 rose 32 percent between 2001 and 2006.”

    Funny how the Times didn’t report the actual numbers – the percentage numbers must be larger than the actual ones. Got to keep those AIDS donations coming and the drug advertisers happy or people might think AIDS disappeared.

  2. hhbauer said

    Yes indeed. Nowadays, everyone should learn–no later than high school–about the various simple techniques used to lie with numbers. The classic “How to lie with statistics” by Darrell Huff might be a good text to start with.

    It’s not only the use of percentages to make what might be a trivial increase appear large (33% increase could be 4 up from 3). There’s also the decision to look at one age group rather than another, or the overall: in any given year, one could probably find within the overall figures, some cohort that shows an increase from the previous year. With HIV/AIDS, a common scare tactic is to cite numbers instead of rates per relevant population; in countries where there has been little testing up to now, one can claim devastating epidemics simply by testing more people while ignoring that the “infection” RATES don’t change.

  3. MacDonald said

    In this case, the NYT has actually printed the story at least twice, the early version including a couple of personal anecdotes of the usual kind:

    “As a young, black gay man, Lynonell Edmonds says it seems like a miracle that he has not contracted the AIDS virus. Before he turned 20, he had a haunting realization: in his group of 20 close gay friends, he was the only one without H.I.V.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/02/nyregion/02hiv.html

    The alarming message is, as Prof. Bauer anticipated, set on a background of declining overall numbers. Have a look at the graphs in the left sidebar.

    An interesting detail is that the cases of concurrent HIV and AIDS diagnoses are rising. This suggests to the experts that people wait longer to get tested, which appears to contradict the message that the HIV+ population is getting younger. It inevitably leads to the assumption that the epidemic is worse even than the study suggests, since the conclusion is that fewer, or “postponed” tests in the <30 yrs group have nevertheless yielded steadily rising numbers of positives.

    Not surprisingly the researchers have not thought to link the seemingly decreasing latency period between HIV infection and AIDS, reminiscent of the 1980s, to the increasingly heavy abuse of drugs such as crystal meth and cocaine in the younger generations. They acknowledge the epidemic is driven by substance abuse, but substance abuse, 25 years into the HIV era, is still only perceived as an aphrodisiac, a marker of sexual hyperactivity:

    “The city’s health commissioner, Thomas R. Frieden, said in an interview that the increasing rates among younger men was being driven by stubbornly high rates of substance abuse, involving drugs like crystal methamphetamine and cocaine, which not only reduce inhibitions but can also lead to “hypersexuality”: extended periods of sexual activity, potentially with multiple partners.”

  4. hhbauer said

    The left hand of the government worries only about the “hypersexuality” that drugs induce, whereas the right hand carrise on a war against drug abuse, and especially against crystal meth—which several TV documentaries have described as the most dangerous. The NYT story begins, “For years he had numbed his pain and fear with drugs, alcohol and anonymous sex. But in a flash of clarity one day, when the crystal meth was wearing off, Javier Arriola dragged himself to a clinic to get an H.I.V. test”. Is it really farfetched to imagine that it was the years of alcohol and (other) drugs that made the poor fellow sick, and that the sickness brought on a positive HIV-test?

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