Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/03/08
I had described Tony Lance’s article on intestinal dysbiosis as “slicing through the Gordian knot” [20 February 2008] because it offers coherent and plausible answers to the most vexing specific mysteries about “AIDS”. It appeared around 1980 among gay men in a few large cities: Why then? Why there? Why in the form of those particular diseases—KS, PCP, candidiasis? In addition, Lance’s explanation offers a satisfactory resolution to what has been a salient conundrum for HIV/AIDS dissidents: Why does antiretroviral treatment sometimes bring tangible, almost immediate health benefits?
Some of the responses to Tony’s article have brought home to me the need to put this keystone solution into perspective, because “HIV/AIDS” nowadays encompasses such an enormous range of disparate things. It’s an exceedingly complicated mess, with many threads needing to be unraveled even after the central knot has been sliced.
To begin with, one must recognize that
1. “HIV” and “AIDS” are distinctly separate things.
2. Neither “HIV” nor “AIDS” is definitively defined by universally agreed, substantive and objective criteria.
3. That second point is illustrated by the way in which the definitions of “HIV” and of “AIDS” have been changed or augmented over time.
4. To muddy the waters even further, in some circumstances—but not in others—there is an indirect correlation between some claimed measures of “HIV” and the claimed incidence of some forms of “AIDS”.
1. “HIV” and “AIDS” are two separate things
Chapter 9 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory summarizes the many facts which show that “HIV” and “AIDS” are not correlated:
— “HIV”-negative AIDS cases
— “HIV”-positive people who never come down with an “AIDS-defining” illness
— male-to-female ratios for “AIDS” and for “HIV” are quite different; and the difference has changed over the years
— black-to-white ratios for “AIDS” and for “HIV” are quite different; and the difference has changed over the years
— the overall incidence and prevalence of “AIDS” and of “HIV” have changed quite differently over the years
— the geographic distributions of “AIDS” and of “HIV” are not the same
2 & 3. “HIV” and “AIDS” have not been defined definitively; definitions have changed over time
“AIDS”, when first recognized as a distinct entity, was defined as an immunedeficiency marked by rare opportunistic infections and having no obvious cause (i.e., no cancer, malnutrition, or other condition known to suppress immune function).
After the claimed discovery of “HIV” as its cause, “AIDS” was re-defined to require a positive “HIV”-test. That made it necessary, some years later, to invent the new phenomenon of idiopathic CD4-T-cell lymphopenia—pathogenic immunedeficiency without obvious cause—to describe cases where the clinical diagnosis would have been “AIDS” except that “HIV”-tests were negative.
The inclusion of hemophiliacs under “AIDS” broke the initial definition of immunedeficiency for no known reason.
Further re-definitions over the years added to the list of “AIDS-defining” conditions a number of illnesses where patients often tested “HIV”-positive. This had such bizarre consequences as including tuberculosis as AIDS-defining just because TB patients often test positive for “HIV”, and including cervical cancer as “AIDS-defining” even though its incidence had been declining steadily throughout the period during which “HIV” and “AIDS” were supposedly spreading.
Then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided that “HIV”-positive people with CD4-cell counts of less than 200 in the blood were to be classed as “having AIDS” even when they displayed and felt no symptoms of ill health. That criterion has not been accepted in certain other countries, however, with the result that some “AIDS” patients from the USA may cross the border into Canada and no longer have AIDS; indeed, in 1993 fully half of all newly diagnosed AIDS patients in the United States, more than 20,000 of them, could have been cured just by crossing the border.
“HIV” is variously defined as what is detected by antibody tests (ELISA or Western Blot) or by PCR detection of genetic material. ELISA and Western Blot do not always agree over whether a given sample is “positive”. The criteria for whether a Western Blot is positive are not the same in different countries nor in different laboratories. Counts of immune-system cells (CD4+) and of “viral load” (supposed amount of virus) do not correlate with one another.
Dissidents know, on the basis of any amount of documented evidence, that “HIV” tests are not specific: they react positive under many physiological conditions, and they have never been validated against pure virus, because no pure virus has ever been isolated direct from an “HIV”-positive individual.
Nevertheless, countless published articles have described “HIV” in extraordinary detail of genetic sequence and physical structure—all postulated on the basis of highly indirect inferences, since, to repeat, no single authentic particle of the virus has ever been obtained from an “AIDS” patient. All the so-called “viral isolates” stem from work with cultures; and even those are revealed by electron microscopy as motley mixtures of bits and pieces of various sizes and shapes.
An empirical and natural way of defining “HIV” is: “what HIV tests have been held to detect”. Under that view, published data from tens of millions of “HIV” tests in the United States show that “HIV” is not a sexually transmitted agent, indeed is not an infection at all, because it has been present at about the same level and in the same geographic distribution for more than two decades. The manner in which “HIV” depends on age, sex, and race indicates that it is a very non-specific physiological response to some sort of stress or health challenge. In other words, HIV/AIDS theory contradicts itself; the evidence gained by applying HIV/AIDS theory is incompatible with the theory.
4. Occasional correlations between “HIV” and “AIDS”
What makes things so exceedingly complicated and messy is that even though “HIV” and “AIDS” are not correlated in general and certainly not inevitably, as they would have to be if one were the cause of the other, there are circumstances where there is an indirect or apparent correlation between them.
Since “HIV” tests often react quite non-specifically to health stresses, people test “HIV”-positive when palpably unwell from any one of a large variety of causes; for example, “HIV”-positive rates are relatively high in hospital patients, especially those seen in emergency rooms, and among people whose deaths were such as to call for autopsies. Consequently, “HIV”-positive rates do show some sort of correlation with degree of illness in the so-called high-risk groups: drug abusers, hemophiliacs, and gay men, and this happenstance lends some apparent yet misleading support to the mainstream view.
Not acknowledged by the mainstream, but evident from mountains of data, is the fact that TB patients are another group at high risk of testing “HIV”-positive, and of course at high risk of dying as well.
Hemophiliacs suffer from a chronic, life-threatening disorder. No other explanation is required for why they test “HIV”-positive at high rates and why that sometimes appears to correlate with the severity of their illness.
Drug abusers are unhealthy or ill to varying degrees, depending on the types and amounts of drugs consumed. Addicts test “HIV”-positive because that is a response to physiological stress, and there is a consequent correlation between the degree of that drug-induced stress, that is the severity of the drug-induced ill-health, and the tendency to test “HIV”-positive. The observation that reformed drug addicts are less prone to test “HIV”-positive, in proportion to how long they have been clean, underscores that testing “HIV”-positive is in these cases an indicator of the degree of health stress, and as such it is reversible, just like a fever.
Lance’s intestinal dysbiosis article explains convincingly why gay men often test “HIV”-positive, and why that is associated with the whole spectrum of health and illness, so that there is often a correlation between the severity of the dysbiosis, the probability of testing “HIV”-positive, and the likelihood of developing “AIDS”. The intestinal-dysbiosis hypothesis also affords an explanation for the fact that the most severely ill gay men, those who experience full-blown AIDS, tend to be older rather than younger, in their thirties or forties rather than—as would be expected with a sexually transmitted disease—in their teens or twenties. Figure 10 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory shows “HIV”-positive rates among gay men aged more than 25 as higher than among younger gay men. Michelle Cochrane’s re-examination of medical records of early AIDS cases in San Francisco found that their average age was in the mid- to late thirties. The average age of the first 5 victims in Los Angeles was 31. The first 159 AIDS patients identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had an average age of 35 (pp. 187-8 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory).
Quite recently I came across yet more evidence of this correlation. A British study of “HIV”-positive gay men found that the average age of those who had no symptoms of illness was 32.4 years; those who had swollen lymph glands or other signs of what used to be called “AIDS-related complex” had an average age of 34.8; those with full-blown AIDS averaged 43.3 years of age (Batman et al., Journal of Clinical Pathology, 42  275-81). This is precisely what the dysbiosis theory would predict: the longer one continues doing whatever causes the dysbiosis, the more likely one is to become ill.
In the same vein, a longitudinal study of gay men found that the average age of seroconverting (becoming “HIV”-positive) was 35.3 (Page-Shafer et al., American Journal of Epidemiology, 146  531-42).
“Why are so many mid-life gay men getting HIV?”, asked Spencer Cox and Bruce Kellerhouse on GayCityNews© (15 March 2007). That’s a real conundrum under HIV/AIDS theory, but it is to be expected under intestinal-dysbiosis theory. A comment to that piece added anecdotal evidence: “… I was in my 20s and early 30s back in the 1980s and early 1990s. Although there were certainly men my age who were infected, most of the men I knew who succumbed to the epidemic in those years were 10-15 years older than I was. Most of my gay male friends in their 20s-30s were HIV negative and have remained so. I’ve spoken to several other men my age who have seroconverted later in life, and none of us lost close friends in the epidemic. But we did feel that we missed out on the ‘wild’ sex and drugs of the late 70s and early 80’s” (Jay, San Francisco, CA, Added: Tuesday March 20, 2007 at 05:47 PM EST). PLEASE NOTE APOLOGY: This quote had been incorrectly attributed to someone else up until 6 March 2009 when the error was pointed out to me.
In sum: Tony Lance’s discussion solves the main puzzles about “HIV” and “AIDS” insofar as they affect gay men, including why they have affected only a small subset of gay men. These insights are also applicable to a variety of other circumstances where disturbances of the intestinal flora have come about for one reason or another in heterosexual men and in women.
But “HIV” and “AIDS” nowadays are so different from their original connotations that many of the observations can only be explained by taking into account the continual changes in definition of both, which has enmeshed the topic of “HIV/AIDS” in a host of complications and contradictions .