HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

The THREAT FROM TIJUANA

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/08/03

No matter how often it’s pointed out that predicted HIV/AIDS epidemics never happened, HIV/AIDS “researchers” and “activists” keep beating the same fear-mongering drum (pp. 114-7 in “The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory”). James Chin, long-time epidemiologist for the World Health Organization, debunked in his book, “The AIDS Pandemic”,  the notion of HIV/AIDS spreading out of its original risk groups. Kevin De Cock, chief HIV/AIDS honcho at the World Health Organization admitted that a lesson of these last 25 years is that the “HIV/AIDS epidemic” has not and will not spread outside its original borders, namely, “epidemics” among heterosexuals in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean and among gay men and drug abusers everywhere else [WHO SAYS that WE’VE BEEN VERY WRONG about HIV and AIDS? (Clue: WHO = World Health Organization), 10 June 2008].

Such facts are taboo at the 17th International AIDS Conference in Mexico City and for reporters covering the antics of the 25,000 attendees. Instead, what’s “news” is, for instance, that “Tijuana’s AIDS Epidemic Is a Binational Threat” [Ceci Connolly, Washington Post, August 1, 2008; A10].

“TIJUANA, Mexico — . . . The percentage of people living with HIV-AIDS in Mexico is half that of the United States  and one-third that of Guatemala, El Salvador  and Panama . . ..  But in Tijuana, a chaotic border city of 1.5 million people, the HIV infection rate is nearly triple the national average, and it has been rising steadily for more than a decade. Today, about one in 125 adults in the city is infected with the virus that causes AIDS. And with Mexico’s border cities serving as funnels for workers and goods traversing the two countries, Tijuana’s AIDS crisis poses a direct threat to the United States.
‘I call HIV the uninvited hitchhiker,’ said Steffanie Strathdee, a leading AIDS researcher at the University of California’s Division of International Health and Cross-Cultural Medicine. A survey by university researchers found that 64 percent of 116 HIV-positive Tijuana residents crossed into the United States at least once a month. Nearly half of men having sex with men in Tijuana and 75 percent of those in San Diego reported having partners across the border. And of 1,000 prostitutes interviewed in Tijuana, 69 percent had U.S. clients who crossed the border for their services.
Tijuana is the front line of Mexico’s war against AIDS — and [Angel] Cabrera is an unlikely foot soldier. A former drug addict with an old bullet wound in the back, he now spends his days and many nights distributing condoms and clean needles to almost anyone who will take them. He argues that needle exchange, like condoms, is a public health strategy.  ‘We are not giving needles to people who are not drug users. We’re giving needles to people who are already using those drugs,’ he said in an interview. ‘This is a way to avoid HIV infections.’ . . . As an 8-year-old in Mexico City, he sniffed glue . . . . Glue led to marijuana, then cocaine and finally heroin.  He would live for a stretch in Tijuana, then sneak into the United States. He sold drugs to American tourists . . . .  At his most desperate, he sold his body to men for sex. For 25 years, Cabrera engaged in every type of high-risk behavior. Only a life-threatening case of tuberculosis motivated him to quit and take a job in rehab. By his own admission, it is a near-miracle that he is not infected with HIV.  Cabrera’s former cross-border existence mirrors the lives of many here who shuttle back and forth for financial, cultural and legal reasons. In 2007, U.S. Customs and Border Protection counted 38 million legal border crossings from Tijuana into California. Often, the virus that causes AIDS moves with them. . .
‘It’s really deportation that’s driving the epidemic,’ said Strathdee, who has documented significantly higher HIV rates in deported drug users.”

Let’s think about this.

Angel practiced every HIV/AIDS-risky behavior for 25 years without becoming “HIV-positive”.

“Many” of those in Tijuana “mirror” his behavior—and there’s no reason to assume that they do so only now, that Angel was the only one doing this sort of thing during the past 25 years.

So doesn’t it seem even more miraculous that the “HIV infection” rate is only 1/125 = 0.8%?! What inconceivable things must those sub-Saharan Africans be doing, where rates are as high as 30% and more, that Angel and his ilk have not been doing?

What about the scary statistics that this 0.8% rate in Tijuana is nearly 3 times the Mexico average? Which is only half that in the USA, and one-third of that in some countries to the south?

Well, Tijuana is more like those countries to the south. Maybe in part because there are a lot of people there from the south, just waiting for a chance to cross into the United States?

Tijuana is only about 1/3 more “infected” than the United States as a whole. And there’s no reason to assume that it hasn’t been like that for many years, is there? So where’s the threat? There are no AIDS epidemics in the United States, in Mexico, or in any other countries in Latin America. The differences in “infection” rates between Mexico’s 0.3% and the United States 0.6% and the others’ 0.7, 0.9, and 1.1% are hardly anything to make a fuss about. After all, middle-aged people test HIV-positive 10 times as often as teenagers do, and more than twice as often as people in their twenties [Table E in “HIV DISEASE” IS NOT AN ILLNESS, 19 March 2008]; and there are even greater differences between people of different races. How much of the small differences between 0.3, 0.6, 0.7, 0.9, and 1.1% can be explained adequately by differences in those demographic parameters?

After all, the national average “HIV-positive” rate in the United States is 0.6% but in its national capital, Washington (DC), it is 5% (District of Columbia HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Annual Report, 2007 ). Obviously, Washington is a far greater threat to the United States than is Tijuana (some might say, not only in terms of HIV   8) ).

As to “significantly higher HIV rates in deported drug users”, is “Steffanie Strathdee, a leading AIDS researcher” really unaware of the fact that drug abusers always test HIV-positive as often as do TB patients, and that they can become “HIV-negative” when they stop using?

“Reporting for this article was supported by the Project for International Health Journalism Fellowship, a part of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation’s Media Fellowships Program” . . . . But the reporting was evidently not supported by knowledge about “HIV” rates in various countries, nor about “HIV” and drug abuse, nor that there have been no AIDS epidemics in Latin America.

6 Responses to “The THREAT FROM TIJUANA”

  1. Martin said

    Hi, Dr. Bauer: I saw the front-page article in the New York Times on Sunday (Aug 3 2008) — 40% increase in “infections”. I guess they’re trying to raise revenue. Or they’re fund raising. I wonder if the drug companies pay these people to print these “scare” articles to get people to donate and possibly at the request of Big Pharma to sell more drugs — the reward of course is ad revenue. Maybe I’m being very cynical — but maybe not. Is this article related in some way to your post as well?

  2. Henry Bauer said

    I think it’s realism, not cynicism. But the CDC doesn’t need any urging from drug companies to inflate numbers, it’s sheer self-interest on the part of the CDC. Don’t forget they hired an ad agency in the late 1980s to spread the word that “everyone is at risk”, lest the CDC’s budget not be augmented enough.

    And sure this is related to my Tijuana post. This 17th International Conference of 20,000-25,000 people, costing drug companies about $25 million, has as its only purpose to make sure everyone remains of the belief that HIV/AIDS is the single greatest global health threat, as WHO/UNAIDS recently insisted and emphasized after WHO’s HIV/AIDS head, Kevin De Cock, had been realistic but unwise enough to say that epidemics outside Africa and the Caribbean hadn’t happened and weren’t going to happen.

  3. Martin said

    Did Kevin De Cock lose his job?

  4. Henry Bauer said

    Martin:

    I’ve seen no news item about De Cock leaving WHO

  5. Trisha said

    Hi. In my writing class I am taking we are talking about the culture of fear that we live in and fear mongering. I chose to research the AIDS epidemic as a fear of Americans that has no basis in fact. I was wondering what your opinion may be as to what the real social problem is behind it, what it is that Americans should really be worried about.

  6. Henry Bauer said

    Trisha:

    Your question deserves a book in response!

    One part of the social problem is that science and medicine have become so intertwined with social, political, commercial interests that “official” statements cannot be relied on to present the best scientifically grounded and justified information; see my essay on “Knowledge monopolies and research cartels”, http://henryhbauer.homestead.com/21stCenturyScience.pdf.

    With HIV/AIDS, innumerable groups of well-intentioned people want to stress how important their activities are, and unfortunately that means continually reiterating how dreadful HIV/AIDS is and that everyone is at risk — which is plainly and obviously untrue, because officially predicted epidemics in the USA and Europe and Asia have never happened: “WHO SAYS that WE’VE BEEN VERY WRONG about HIV and AIDS? (Clue: WHO = World Health Organization)”, 10 June 2008.
    https://hivskeptic.wordpress.com/2008/06/10/who-says-that-we%e2%80%99ve-been-very-wrong-about-hiv-and-aids/

    What everyone should be worried about is the possibility of testing HIV+ — for example, when admitted to hospital for anything at all, or when taking a physical for life insurance — and being told to take antiretroviral drugs. I know personally of individuals who tested “positive” because of an anti-tetanus shot (!) or from surgery for uterine cancer. There is much literature showing that a significant number of pregnant women, especially those of African ancestry, test “positive” only because of the pregnancy; that flu vaccination can produce a “HIV+” response; and many more conditions, many of them no threat to health at all, can produce a positive “HIV” test.

    Yet the official view, which doctors naturally accept, is that “HIV+” and low CD4 counts indicates that antiretroviral drugs should be taken. And they destroy health, often permanently. My personal fear is that this mistake will not be rectified until a great number of babies given these poisons demonstrate how deadly they are, with consequences far exceeding those from the thalidomide tragedy.

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