HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

STOPPING THE HIV/AIDS BANDWAGON—-Part II

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/02/01

My earlier post about this [HOW CAN THE HIV/AIDS BANDWAGON BE STOPPED?, 27 January 2008] brought a gratifying number of useful comments.

There seems to be general agreement that the mainstream scientific community will not spontaneously or willingly change its view on HIV/AIDS, even as the evidence against it continues to mount and anomalies and incongruities accumulate. That’s the lesson of some two decades. This is then a natural starting point for considering strategies that might help toward producing change.

There’s also general agreement over the somewhat related point that it’s not just a matter of what the science does or does not prove, because such a vast array of people and organizations apart from the scientific community benefit in some manner from the present situation. Not that they are willfully selfish or that they deliberately ignore the evidence, it’s a matter of cognitive dissonance, a psychological phenomenon that makes it difficult if not impossible to grasp anything that runs too severely against deeply ingrained beliefs. People came to benefit from the HIV/AIDS industry because they believed HIV/AIDS theory, and they believe they are doing worthwhile things.

Scientists are no less subject to cognitive dissonance than everyone else, and that serves as a partial explanation for the fact that unorthodox claims in science are routinely resisted (see, for example, Hook, “Prematurity in Scientific Discovery”).

For one example among innumerable available ones: Max Planck placed the foundational piece of what became quantum theory, but—like most great innovators—he was initially opposed vigorously by the pooh-bahs of the Establishment. In his memoirs, he made the remark often cited by dissidents in all fields but apparently not known to run-of-the-mill journeymen scientists: “New truths do not triumph by convincing their opponents, they win out because a new generation replaces the old one” (a free translation from German); which has also been paraphrased as “Science progresses funeral by funeral”.

At any rate, it seems evident enough that change as to HIV/AIDS will only come as the result of pressure from social or political forces external to the medical-scientific establishment. Those forces must be sufficiently influential to stand against the colossal combination of interests vested in HIV/AIDS. They must be able to force a public discussion of all the evidence in a way that allows full airing of the variety of interpretations. Where might dissidents turn to enlist such forces?

Obvious places to look are among those who are being most hurt by what’s presently happening. That means anyone who tests HIV-positive or may at some future time test positive. Here everyone is truly at risk, for anyone might be unfortunate enough to have a test administered just after they’ve been vaccinated against flu, or when pregnant, or when they are more likely to test HIV-positive for some other of the many possible reasons. And if someone tests HIV-positive, they will at once be emotionally shattered, and thereupon almost certainly debilitated physically by antiretroviral drugs.

Though everyone is truly at risk in this way, the danger is greater for some people than for others. As a class, gay men are particularly at risk because they tend to be tested more often than most, and they tend to test HIV-positive more often than most; as do drug abusers; as do TB patients; as do hemophiliacs; as do African Americans. Might any of those groups offer the possibility of forceful organized action against HIV/AIDS dogma?

The trouble is, these high-risk people understand no better than the general public what the risk is. They think it’s “HIV/AIDS”. Only after experiencing what goes with testing positive do some people learn that HIV = AIDS is a dreadful illusion that has caused them tangible harm. Some learn it from personal experience of series of inconsistent tests; some learn it through being unable to tolerate the antiretroviral drugs and trying to live without them and finding that to work; some learn it through losing friends and loved ones. But few people even in the highest-risk groups come to question HIV/AIDS dogma before it affects them directly in some way.

So: The endeavor to enlist the people who would most benefit from toppling the paradigm, who are most at risk under current circumstances, presents the same problem as that of convincing the media and the general public; they have to be made to understand what’s wrong with HIV = AIDS before they have a really direct incentive to question the orthodox view. This starts to look like a circular discussion. Anyone who voices the dissident view is automatically dismissed as either crazy or an old fool (both terms recently applied to me by a medical scientist asked by a friend to comment on my book). What’s needed is an emotional, psychological, human-interest hook so powerful that it is at least competitive with the belief that’s been ingrained in almost everyone by the constant media refrain of “HIV, the virus that cause AIDS”. The emotional hook must also be strong enough to shake the general belief that official statements about medicine and science can be relied on.

Are there candidates for such psychologically powerful hooks?

I can think of two: for gay men, the issue of homophobia; for African Americans, the matter of racism.

I can suggest two other possible avenues for change that don’t entail such strong emotional charge but enlist forces in society that have the requisite power:

1. Legal actions. Maybe HIV/AIDS “science” could be forced to defend itself in a court of law where dissident arguments could be aired. Perhaps it might be possible to sue a laboratory that carries out HIV tests, since it presumably certifies—against the manufacturers’ test-kit disclaimers—that those tests detect infection by HIV; or perhaps in some case where an HIV-positive person is charged with endangering sexual partners, a lawyer might find a way to have the scientific issues argued. The Parenzee case represents one such attempt, so far unsuccessful (“Can we learn from Parenzee?”).

2. Perhaps Congress could be persuaded to hold hearings about the utterly disproportionate amount of research funds directed towards HIV/AIDS in comparison to diseases that affect vastly more people, like heart disease, diabetes, cancer:

fair2007.jpg

(data from http://www.fairfoundation.org/factslinks.htm)

Even once the scientific issues are raised publicly, however, there will still remain a matter over which dissidents must come to agree if there is to be truly coherent action: which part of the scientific story should be emphasized as decisive disproof of HIV/AIDS theory? While all dissidents agree that HIV has not been proven to be the cause of AIDS, there are differing views on just about everything else: Does HIV even exist? What caused AIDS? What causes AIDS now? What does a positive HIV-test signify? And more.

I’ve suggested (“Can we learn from Parenzee?“) that the best strategy will be to concentrate on the simplest point, the most readily proved one, the one most readily understandable by the largest range of people. Recent e-mail discussions indicate that the most appropriate point, and one generally acceptable among dissidents, might be the lack of validity of HIV tests for diagnosing infection by HIV. After all, the instructions accompanying test kits (aras.ab.ca/HIVTestInformation.zip at http://aras.ab.ca/test.html) acknowledge that they cannot be used to diagnose infection. Further to that, the data collected in my book show that HIV tests do not track an infectious agent

13 Responses to “STOPPING THE HIV/AIDS BANDWAGON—-Part II”

  1. Seth Williamson said

    Though the idea of a trial may sound promising, my impression is that most judges and nearly all jurors are scientifically illiterate. They tend to believe what they are told by accredited representatives of establishment science.

    I would be happy to be proved wrong on this score, but I wouldn’t hold out much hope for a legal solution unless there’s some big change elsewhere.

  2. hhbauer said

    Seth:

    Your concern about scientifically illiterate judges may have been illustrated in the Parenzee case. But it might be possible for clever and scientifically knowledgeable lawyers to nullify that in cross-examining mainstream witnesses.

  3. CathyVM said

    Seth – we have 2 human rights lawyers here acting on behalf of a NZ born Black African child subjected to state-mandated HAART (or he will be removed from his father and siblings). His mother died in 2006 after just 12 days of HAART. The boy experienced horrible side effects and had a hypersensitivity reaction (abacavir) but the medics don’t seem to care less. The doctor involved either intentionally lied or is pretty stupid for telling the family court that without HAART, the boy was a transmission risk to the wider community.
    These lawyers are smart and very medically savvy. They are also aware of judicial scientific illiteracy and will tailor the case accordingly. They are planning on suing the state for breach of human rights and reckless endangerment. Much of the focus of the case will be on the validity of the “HIV’ tests; particularly because the mother had TB when she ‘tested positive’ and the boy was only 3 months old when his WB ‘tested positive’. No HIV-DNA test was done, nor has a confirmatory WB been done since he passed the 12 month cut-off point (he is now 2.5 years). In my book he isn’t even officially “HIV positive” at all.
    Watch this space.

  4. hhbauer said

    CathyVM: Do please keep us informed. And if you need any assistance with data or literature searching, don’t hesitate to ask.

  5. CathyVM said

    Thank you Henry. I’m no slouch when it comes to Pubmed searches, but I often have difficulty locating full-text studies. The local medical school library more often than not seems to have lost the journal I need. I have had particular difficulty verifying the “African sticky blood” aspect of false-positive HIV tests. If anyone has any papers on this is I would be very grateful. Yesterday I provided the lawyer with data on HAART adherence rates. Most of the adherence studies have been done in Brazil or Spain (less commercial pressure?). He thinks he can “do some magic” with the data – especially the CDC’s own studies on non-compliance with post-exposure prophylaxis in health care workers who are only required to complete a mere month of drug therapy. Half of them don’t manage the full month!

  6. Henry Bauer said:

    “I can suggest two other possible avenues for change that don’t entail such strong emotional charge but enlist forces in society that have the requisite power:… 1. Legal actions. Maybe HIV/AIDS “science” could be forced to defend itself in a court of law where dissident arguments could be aired. Perhaps it might be possible to sue a laboratory that carries out HIV tests, since it presumably certifies—against the manufacturers’ test-kit disclaimers—that those tests detect infection by HIV; or perhaps in some case where an HIV-positive person is charged with endangering sexual partners, a lawyer might find a way to have the scientific issues argued. The Parenzee case represents one such attempt, so far unsuccessful (”Can we learn from Parenzee?”)… Even once the scientific issues are raised publicly, however, there will still remain a matter over which dissidents must come to agree if there is to be truly coherent action: which part of the scientific story should be emphasized as decisive disproof of HIV/AIDS theory? While all dissidents agree that HIV has not been proven to be the cause of AIDS, there are differing views on just about everything else: Does HIV even exist? What caused AIDS? What causes AIDS now? What does a positive HIV-test signify? And more… I’ve suggested (”Can we learn from Parenzee?“) that the best strategy will be to concentrate on the simplest point, the most readily proved one, the one most readily understandable by the largest range of people. Recent e-mail discussions indicate that the most appropriate point, and one generally acceptable among dissidents, might be the lack of validity of HIV tests for diagnosing infection by HIV. After all, the instructions accompanying test kits (aras.ab.ca/HIVTestInformation.zip at http://aras.ab.ca/test.html) acknowledge that they cannot be used to diagnose infection. Further to that, the data collected in my book show that HIV tests do not track an infectious agent”

    I agree wholeheartedly, that the Achilles’ heel to attack to bring down HIV/AIDS orthodoxy is the TESTS. There are two aspects to this:

    1. Do the HIV tests track an infectious agent?

    This a point on which both so-called “existentialists” (Duesberg, Rasnick, etc.) and “non-existentialists” (Perth, deHarven, etc.) can agree — I think virtually all dissidents agree, the HIV tests do not detect a sexually transmitted microbe. Moreover, one can analyze, as Henry has done, the data on HIV antibody test results, and show that these data invalidate the claim that HIV tests detect a sexually transmitted microbe, without having to make any assumptions or suppositions about the “existence” of HIV, that is to say, without getting involved in the extremely technical discussions about the nature of human and animal retroviruses and their relation to “retroid phenomena” (retrotransposons, HERVs, etc.) and the accompanying head-banging about ontological and epistemological problems.

    The approach is one that is familiar to mathematicians — it’s called reductio ad absurdum, and Wikipedia describes it as

    “reductio ad impossibile, or proof by contradiction, is a type of logical argument where one assumes a claim for the sake of argument, derives an absurd or ridiculous outcome, and then concludes that the original assumption must have been wrong as it led to an absurd result.”

    Mathematicians are familiar with the concept that in order to prove a claim to be wrong or incorrect, it is not necessary to prove the claim is wrong directly, it suffices only to show that the claim leads to contradictions and absurdities.

    With regard to HIV/AIDS, this means that it is not necessary to offer a positive explanation to account for all the data on HIV and AIDS, only to show that the mainstream hypothesis leads to contradictions. This essentially bypasses the “existential” questions.

    The second aspect is even more powerful, to my mind:

    2. How do HIV/AIDS researchers determine whether someone is “infected with HIV”?

    The beauty of this line of attack is that it is a simple, straightforward question which is of importance both from theoretical and practical standpoints (i.e. both from researchers’ and patients’ point of view).

    If you take a pregnancy test, you are being told, “You are pregnant”. There is a simple, straightforward way of determining the test validity — either a woman is pregnant or not pregnant. The same should be true for HIV tests — there should be a well-defined process for determining who is “infected with HIV” and who is “not infected with HIV”.

    This is the bottom line a patient has in mind when their doctor looks them in the eye and tells them they have tested positive. ANYONE who is told they have “tested positive” should be able to ask the person telling them so, “Okay, so the test came back positive. But what is the ultimate standard for telling me I’m infected? How do you determine definitely whether I’m really infected (a true positive) or not really infected (a false positive)?”

    It’s a very simple, straightforward question, with immediate and urgent meaning for the patient given a positive test result. And it’s as simple to understand as the pregnancy example. When someone takes a pregnancy test, they know that it has been validated against the standard of being pregnant. They assume the HIV tests have been validated against the standard of “being infected with HIV”.

    If patients were told in as simple as possible terms, that there is no de facto gold standard for HIV isolation, that is to say, no matter what one (Duesberg, Perth, Bauer, Maniotis, me, or anyone else) considers HIV isolation “should” be, the literature demonstrates there is no agreed upon gold standard. This is supported both by direct statements from the literature denying the existence of a gold standard, but more importantly, it is implied by the web of diagnostic-gold standard relations one finds in papers on HIV. In one paper, WB is used as a gold standard for ELISA, in another, as a gold standard for itself. Other papers use “viral load” or detection of RNA as a gold standard for antibody tests. The antibody test kits themselves use “random blood donors” as gold standards for specificity and “high risk groups” or “clinical AIDS patients” as gold standards for sensitivity. Other papers have used p24 antigen or other things as gold standards.

    It’s a simple question — “How do you KNOW I’m really infected?” which is immediately important to the patient. If we can get people who are told they’re infected with HIV based on the tests to understand that the researchers really have no agreed-upon standard for KNOWING whether they’re “really infected” or not, then their test result is thrown into question, and this applies to anyone who “tests positive”.

    And it bypasses issues of “what the tests mean”, and other ontological and epistemological issues, which will likely be addressed in the future, but only after the hypothesis itself has fallen.

    darin

  7. Martin Kessler said

    What’s sad is even if an attempt at viral isolation is performed, with (expected) negative results, the Gallos and Faucis will claim that that test isn’t valid. What an inversion of science.

  8. clue said

    I have not had much success pointing out the invalidity and inconsistencies of the HIV test. For instance, the popular rebuttal I get when quoting the package insert is: “no test is perfect.”
    How do you take on that response to an audience that’s scientifically illiterate?

  9. hhbauer said

    Clue:

    There is no way to respond to people who need a sound-bite answer. Perhaps try mentioning the $25,000 prize awaiting anyone who can cite a scientific publication that proves that testing HIV-positive means the presence of active infectious particles of virus: see “May 2007: Alive & Well $50,000 Fact Finder Award—Find One Study, Save Countless Lives” at http://www.aliveandwell.org/ under News & Updates
    .

  10. Brian Carter said

    Much like what Clue said above, I too get the “What are you talking about?” reply. It’s massively assumed that after 23 years, medical testing for HIV is highly accurate. It’s definitely a hard egg to crack. Gay men and their reasoning behind wanting to test repeatedly comes from the belief that knowing is better, and so that they can inform their sex partners that they’re negative, which propagates serosorting, the “UB2” syndrome. Even if one has doubts about the AIDS theory in some respects, pointing out the invalidity and illogic behind the tests is not enough to stop them from marching right on up to the HIV/AIDS pulpit. It’s like the people who show up in church twice a year, at Christmas and Easter, yet label themselves agnostic or atheist. Stopping the “Knowing is Better” campaign might be a real good way to halt the bandwagon gravy-train, but with so much ingrained, perceived, and entrenched desire to have only “UB2-negative” sex partners, our message of the lie behind the tests is going to go mostly unnoticed. Sad but true.

  11. Becca said

    It may be the case that “no test is perfect” (though some are better than others), but the really troubling thing about the HIV tests is that such an imperfect test is routinely used to totally violate people’s rights.

    Assuming for the moment that it would EVER be morally acceptable to use the results of a blood test to force people into giving potent drugs to infants and pregnant women, get someone’s name permanently into a database of those unfortunate enough to test “positive”, to convict someone of attempted murder, not to mention hand someone a certain death sentence (unless you take our liver-destroying, disfiguring drugs of course), etc, etc…. IF it were ever okay to do this, you would think that at the very least, the test they were using WOULD in fact have to be PERFECT to justify its use in such a manner. “No test is perfect” is a massive cop-out when so much is at stake.

    “Reproducible” is not enough. “Not perfect” is a euphemism if I’ve ever heard one with regard to HIV tests—like Darin said, there is LITERALLY no standard for these things. Apologists who try to talk their way out of that using arguments such as concordance between antibody tests, PCR, culturing, etc., are either being dishonest or they truly DO NOT UNDERSTAND what a diagnostic gold standard actually IS.

  12. Martin Kessler said

    The idea that everyone should get tested (usually posted in the gay press) has been a very successful PR job. What’s truly amazing is the acceptance by the WHO (World Health Organization) that antibody testing in Africa (even though it’s both invalid and useless) is not even necessary. The CDC/NIH Nazis are doing a good job trying to get rid of what they consider to be society’s unwanted.

  13. laura said

    I agree that emotional, human-interest hooks are what is needed, and I would add that visuals are extremely important. The heartwrenching “befores” and miraculous post-ARV “afters” in the photos in Vanity Fair and in Annie Lennox’s pictures and videos of herself in Africa pack a huge emotional wallop and appear as inconfutable proof that AIDS drugs are lifesaving. Against such “proof”, dissidents’ presentation of dry scientific facts and figures seems uncaring and downright perverse to many.

    People need to see what HIV drugs do to people (lipodystrophy etc.). Films like The Other Side of AIDS and Guinea Pig Kids need to reach a wider audience, and more films need to be made. I’m also wondering if anyone has followed up (with photographs) on the Lazarus cases … of course, the problem there is that subsequent medical problems will be attributed to HIV, not the drugs, and horrible “side” effects will still be considered bizarrely preferable to the possibility of succumbing to HIV.

    But I still think the scientifically illiterate public needs to SEE the horrors of treatment, particularly as the HIV debate is always framed in a way that makes dissidents the dangerous element. Like Clue, I’ve gotten the same “well, no test is perfect” response — people think such concerns are just so much idle hair-splitting — okay, the tests might be imperfect, and our knowledge about HIV may be incomplete, but the important thing is to Take Action and Do Something to Save All Those People. The couple of times I’ve questioned Annie Lennox’s SING campaign online, I’ve gotten the response, “How dare you criticize her! At least she’s doing something! What are YOU doing to save people’s lives?” Do something first, iron out the pesky details later. They completely fail to grasp that if Doing Something is actually causing harm, it’s not a good thing, and I think it’s because they never see any harm being done.

    People “on the front lines” of the “fight” against HIV/AIDS appear heroic. It’s thrilling and uplifting to think about saving lives. On the other hand, “deniers” seem like dyspeptic naysayers who aren’t doing anything to help anybody.

    Perhaps fighting the sort of blatant human rights violations Becca wrote about can bring some much-needed hero appeal to the rethinking side. (Although I’ve brought up the subject of children being seized by the state, and the Incarnation drug trials, and people just glaze over — they’re so hypnotized by the HIV meme that they fail to be outraged, even though they’d be up in arms at any other human rights abuses.)

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