HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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


Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/07/24

According to HIV/AIDS theory, “HIV” destroys the immune system. One might then reasonably expect that malnourished individuals, or drug abusers, or people suffering from any illness or infection, would therefore be more likely to acquire a further infection—like, say, according to the mainstream view, “HIV”; and they would also be likely have a poorer prognosis for surviving than people who were not already ill before acquiring the extra burden of disease.

But even such uncontroversial and reasonable expectations need to be nailed down by specific clinical trials, so there are endless opportunities to qualify for research grants—without having to entertain a single novel thought. Consequently, “HIV/AIDS researchers” have studied whether “HIV-positive” African children infested with intestinal worms have a poorer prognosis than “HIV-positive” African children who are not so infested [ARE INTESTINAL WORMS GOOD FOR US? ARE THEY GOOD FOR AFRICANS? FOR AFRICAN CHILDREN?, 30 December 2007]. Other  “HIV/AIDS researchers” have studied whether “HIV-positive” African children who have insufficient food have a poorer prognosis than “HIV-positive” African children who are properly fed [DRUGS OR FOOD?, 25 December 2007; FOOD IS GOOD FOR CHILDREN, 8 January 2008]. Yet other “HIV/AIDS researchers” regaled us with the startling finding that COCAINE AND HEROIN AREN’T GOOD FOR YOU! [a Golden Fleece Award, 13 June 2008] —not good for you insofar as HIV/AIDS is concerned, that is, of course: there’s nothing wrong with those drugs in themselves, in fact one should help users of cocaine and heroin to remain healthy by providing them with fresh, clean needles (ignoring that a range of studies have shown “HIV-positive” status to be more common among those NOT sharing needles).

Now Ruth M. Ruprecht* and nine collaborators from several prominent American medical institutions have confirmed that Schistosomiasis (infection by parasitic worms) makes acquisition of “HIV-positive” status more likely: “the hypothesis that parasite infection increases an individual’s susceptibility to HIV-1 has never been prospectively tested in a relevant in vivo model. . . . Our data provide the first direct evidence that acute schistosomiasis significantly increases the risk of de novo AIDS virus acquisition, and the magnitude of the effect suggests that control of helminth infections may be a useful public health intervention to help decrease the spread of HIV-1” (Chenine* et al., Acute Schistosoma mansoni infection increases susceptibility to systemic SHIV Clade C infection in Rhesus Macaques after mucosal virus exposure, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2 #7 [2008] e265).

That’s really good to know. Now we have—at last?!—a genuinely scientific reason to help sufferers from schistosomiasis get rid of the worms. The treatments are quite straightforward and inexpensive: a couple of days on cheap medications: “Safe and effective drugs are available for the treatment of schistosomiasis. . . . pills to take for 1-2 days”. After that, we can then begin treatment with the expensive antiretroviral drugs whose side effects are likely to be no less debilitating than the symptoms of schistosomiasis.

Of course, as Chenine et al. note, there had been earlier suggestions (Bentwich et al., Immunology Today 16 (1995) 187-91; Hotez et al., PLoS Medicine 3 #5 (2006) e102, pp. 576-84) that treating schistosomiasis would have corollary benefit in fighting HIV/AIDS; but here is “the first direct evidence”. (Don’t be put off by the fact that the experiment used a human-made simian-human virus, or that the experiment was carried out in monkeys. )

Important breakthrough research of this ilk naturally causes the media to take notice: “Parasitic worms may help fuel AIDS epidemic: study” (Will Dunham, 22 July 2008, Reuters);_ylt=Arwdg_f1cAJCXYaGcWq3xzSs0NUE


Lest readers be misled by talk of “HIV” “infection”, above, into assuming that we accept HIV/AIDS theory, I hasten to add that everything in this breakthrough research is entirely compatible with our view that “HIV-positive” status is, in the words of Dr. Christian Fiala, like running a fever. The more severe the health challenge from just about any source, the more likely it is that one will test “HIV-positive”—if one has TB, or malaria, or has been vaccinated recently against flu or tetanus, say, to mention just a few of the many possibilities. So humans with schistosomiasis are more likely than others to become “HIV-positive”; and perhaps that applies in monkeys as well.

Science Studies tidbit:
How could I say “Ruth M. Ruprecht and nine collaborators” and then cite “Chenine et al.”?

There’s a large literature in science studies and the sociology of science about authorship practices in science. There are interesting variations between disciplines, but in general and in the beginning, the name of the Big Cheese (BC) always came first. Some BCs, however, displayed an ostentatious false modesty by always placing their name LAST. But as time went by, the numbers of authors on scientific articles went beyond a couple or three or four, to nowadays perhaps an average of ten in medically related matters and dozens in particle physics, so there came into use a ready device for identifying who the Really Big Cheese (RBC) is: look for the footnote, “To whom correspondence should be addressed:” Uninformed lay people might imagine that this would be a secretary, but it’s not, it identifies the RBC.

Also nowadays, especially in medically related fields, one is likely to find a paragraph or two noting which specific contributions to the reported work were made by which of the co-authors: had the idea; carried out the experiments; did the statistics; etc. Providing this useful information came about for bad rather than good reasons: the increasing prevalence of fraudulent publications led to the idea that all the authors of an article should have read and approved it before publication and could therefore be held responsible for its honesty. On an embarrassing number of occasions, co-authors had disclaimed responsibility for fraud in published work by stating that they were not familiar with various aspects of the study or had not seen the final draft of the manuscript. That’s how it’s been going in late-20th and early 21st-century science.

11 Responses to “PARASITIC WORMS are *NOT* GOOD for you!”

  1. In mathematics, the authors of joint papers are always listed alphabetically.

  2. Brian Carter said


    When you said, “The more severe the health challenge from just about any source,” it made me think of a talk about cigarette smoking a while back.

    It has`some relevance here, I believe, but I especially like a comment Paul King made, “As per usual, any and everything is called ‘AIDS’ if you test positive for non specific antibodies……..even the effects of smoking. With a definition like that how can they go wrong?

  3. Henry Bauer said


    Yes, there are different conventions in different disciplines. In mathematics—and also in humanist disciplines—it’s also common for graduate students to publish by themselves, whereas in the physical and bioligcal sciences it’s very uncommon, usually the supervisor’s or mentor’s name is also on the publication. You might enjoy the chapter on “Evaluations” in my Dean’s memoirs,
    I had been struck by the different styles and tones of letters of recommendation in different fields.

  4. Martin Pecheur said

    Dear Dr Bauer

    Thank you for your not only tireless, but stimulating & entertaining pieces on HIV. I particularly appreciate your robust tackling of the numbers, which is what it all boils down to, in many ways. Being non-mathematically (& non-statistically) inclined, I have had to convict my intellect on other levels, & defer to the likes of you & Darin Brown in this domain.

    Look at this latest addition to the annals: How the hell do the come up with these figures? Is it a straight thumbsuck?

    You’re inspiring a lot of people — through the power of honest, strong intellect. Keep at it!

    Thank you.


  5. Henry Bauer said

    Martin (Pecheur):

    Thank you for the encouragement, it’s very helpful to me—often it seems so hopeless a task to make any dent in this thoroughly entrenched set of beliefs and practices. With uncanny foresight, my academic mentor decades ago had given me a print of Picasso’s Don Quixote with the admonishment that I shouldn’t tilt at windmills…

    I’ve asked Darin for help with the numbers in the Lancet article referred to in that BBC News item you linked to, but they seem odd at first sight:
    “Life expectancy at age 20 years increased from 36·1 (SE 0·6) years to 49·4 (0·5) years”. So for 20-year-olds before HAART the life expectancy was already another 36 years?!?

    And then:
    “The average number of years remaining to be lived at age 20 years was about two-thirds of that in the general population”. So 20-year-old HIV+ people on average will live to age 69.4, while 20-year-olds in the general population will live to 20 + 3/2 x 49.4 = 94.1 years, which seems a little high. But later in the article they say not 49.4 but 43 extra years at age 20…

    Obviously I have to read it more carefully, and I hope to get expert insights from Darin, but the first scan already raised lots of questions.

  6. Marcel said

    Shame on you nit-picking denialists for ridiculing these dedicated scientists who are trying to save lives. Their findings about parasitic worms and the relation to HIV infection are correct. As was demonstrated in Benson, Chao, Mbongo, Schneider, et. al, Mechanisms of HIV-2 infection in Hyperplastic Mutated Albino Penguins, “the worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, they eat your guts and they spit them out.”

    Obviously, someone whose guts have been digested is going to be more susceptible to HIV infection, as much of the immune system resides in the intestines, which are guts according to Merriam-Webster.

    There is also evidence, noted in Butler, Wilkes, McDaniel, O’Hara, Gatch, Flossberg, et al., Schistosomiasis Metastasis in Vitro; Parameters for HIV-1 Infection, that the parasitic worms, after they have eaten your intestines, have no place to live, and so take up residence in the vagina, where they subsist on yeast and carrot residue. When a wad of HIV-infected semen tries to enter, the worm actually assists the HIV particles to penetrate the uterus by shining a light (some types of intestinal worms can glow in the dark) and leading them to safety, much like a microscopic Moses. Nor is a condom necessarily protection, as it is thought that the worms munch on the condom tip to lacerate it and enable HIV to escape. The worms’ intention appears to be to recruit HIV viruses as partners in crime in the task of laying waste to the infected person.

    Researchers might want to take a lesson from the law of Paradox: entities can often become the opposite of what they are supposed to be. Perhaps these parasitic worms can be bioengineered to become security guards against HIV infection instead of its facilitators. Can we reprogram the worms, for example, to sense when intercourse is occurring and crawl into the man’s penis hole in order to block the output of semen and save the woman from infection? If we could accomplish that, then we could end the AIDS epidemic by infecting everybody with paradoxical parasitic worms.

    I think that with a modest NIH grant of, say, $15 million US, I could assemble a crack team of researchers to investigate this very promising strategy to defeat HIV.

  7. CathyVM said

    No, no, no, Marcel! The worms provide safe passage to the HIV by providing molecular maps and a free stapler on entry to the Duffy-CCR5-CXCR4-Fas-Fab-MAPK-ERK-cofactor-LTNP-HIV-2-HIV-1-heat-seeking missile to facilitate the destruction of CD4 cells telepathically and with no malice aforethought. They also put the HIV up in hidden luxury condos well stocked with bananas and rice and give them personal trainers to direct them in tactical manoeuvres such as mutational capabilities (“what not to wear”), how to dance (“do the hustle”) to ensure fitness, and forward planning (“resistance is useful”).
    Yes, I’ll grant you the activities in the vagina are as you state, but you neglected to mention that they also supply nuclear-powered night-sticks, detergent and a shoe-horn to help HIVs fight their way through JP Moore’s inflammatory carrageenan goop.
    I think we can re-program the worms as per your excellent suggestion –– all we need are parasitic “wormesses of the night”, lots of Heineken, and a Polaroid Instamatic (angle-poise lamp optional). $15,000,000 would cover that nicely.

  8. Marcel said

    Okay, Cathy, these are valuable insights. Would you like to join the research team? I think I can afford to pay you $7,842 from the NIH grant, based on my preliminary budgeting calculations.

  9. CathyVM said

    Marcel: I hope that offer is an hourly rate — I have expensive tastes. Unlike the likes of the altruistic JP Moore I didn’t slog my way through med school just to save the “Proles” from a horrible virus. No — I’m only in it for my own profit, hahahahahahahahahah!

  10. Marcel said

    Well, Cathy, according to my budget, after my salary is taken out of the NIH grant, we have enough left for 7 beakers, 40 or so of sterile agar-agar dishes, 10 boxes of donuts, 12 kilos of coffee beans (as we’ll be working round the clock in this emergency research), 150 intestinal worms from Glock Lab Supply in Fresno, and your salary, which is annual, I’m afraid. But I know that your altruistic nature will rise to the surface like the cream that it is and you will accept this generous offer.

  11. Henry Bauer said

    CathyVM, Marcel:

    It’s been fun, but let’s close it here!

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