HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

The debilitating distraction of “HIV”

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/12/21

Every now and again, Martin chides me for writing about “HIV” (which doesn’t exist), “infection” (which doesn’t occur), and the like. My standard response has been that I don’t know how to write about HIV/AIDS doings without using the terminology that everyone’s familiar with. In my book, I tried to address the issue by saying that by HIV I would always mean, “Whatever it is that HIV tests detect”, but that repeating this every time, or always putting scare quotes around “HIV”, would get tiresome, for readers as well as the writer. I also used “F(HIV)”, for “frequency of positive HIV-tests”, instead of “the prevalence of HIV” so as not to entrench belief in the existence of an infectious agent.

In principle, I’ve recognized that Martin is right in pointing out that it’s not just terminology, because with every use of the terms (HIV, infection, AIDS, etc.), we absorb as well as disseminate something of the mistaken view. In practice, I haven’t known how to avoid doing this.

I’ve come to appreciate even more the force of Martin’s essential point through grappling, the last few months, with the interpretation of data on deaths from “HIV disease”. The difficulties I was having owed, to an appreciable degree, from having my mind infected with a subterranean notion that “HIV” means something, indeed something  specific — even as I was, on the conscious level, describing “HIV-positive” as being analogous to a fever and not meaning anything specific.

That analogy with fever, for which I’m grateful to Christian Fiala, is indeed an excellent one, concise and easy for people to grasp immediately without further explanation. Like all analogies, though, it isn’t more than an analogy, and can’t encompass all the characteristics of “HIV” — most particularly, that while fevers signal something out of the ordinary, even if not necessarily a serious health challenge, “HIV-positive” may signify nothing at all out of the ordinary, in the sense that “HIV-positive” may not be worth thinking or worrying about any more than, say, having a cold, waking up with an aching joint, just having been vaccinated against flu, or being pregnant.

My research into HIV-associated matters had been stimulated by the unbelievable assertion cited by Harvey Bialy, that in the mid-1980s teen-aged females applying for military service tested HIV-positive as frequently as their male peers. My book recounts what I found about the demography of positive “HIV”-tests: the regular variation with sex, age, race, and geography demonstrates that “HIV-positive” isn’t contagious or infectious. The variations between social groups demonstrates that “HIV-positive” has something to do, at least sometimes, with health challenge, or immune-system reaction, albeit not necessarily any serious threat to health — in groups where one expects to find relatively poor health or manifest illness, the average frequency of positive “HIV”-tests tends to be greater . I even suggested that “HIV-positive” might mean something different with different people: since only a few of the “HIV” proteins, and not always the same ones, are required for the test to be pronounced “positive”, perhaps there are some hidden specificities — maybe “HIV-positive” for gay men is detecting different substances than “HIV-positive” among pregnant women, say (and in neither case are those detected substances necessarily a cause for concern, anything “out of the ordinary”).

I hadn’t looked seriously into death statistics until about a year ago, when Sharon Stone told Larry King that  AIDS is “the fourth leading killer of women in America”. Of course that isn’t the case, it isn’t even in the top ten — World Aids Day: Sharon Stone on Larry King, sharing urban legends (or celebrity facts) , 22 December 2007. However, the data revealed some interesting variations by race and age, so I looked at that in more detail [“HIV Disease” , 28 December 2007;
How to test theories (HIV/AIDS theory flunks), 7 January 2008]. I noticed the peculiarity that black Americans are both more prone to test “HIV-positive” but also to survive that condition to a greater age than white Americans . Though I recognized that as another count against HIV/AIDS theory, I was mind-infected by “HIV signifies something” and didn’t take this to the conclusion that now seems so obvious.

Periodically I would come back to the remarkable fact that people aged around 35-45 always test HIV-positive more frequently than older  as well as younger adults or teenagers, and cite it as confirmation of the demographics that show “HIV” isn’t an infection [for example, “HIV demographics further confirmed: HIV is not sexually transmitted”, 26 February 2008]. I re-emphasized that “’HIV’ and ‘AIDS’ are two separate things” [Unraveling HIV/AIDS, 8 March 2008] — thereby illustrating the mind-infection that Martin kept warning me about; I ought to have remained aware that “HIV” isn’t “a thing” at all. By a few weeks later [“HIV Disease” is not an illness, 19 March 2008], I had come to realize that the death statistics in themselves show that “HIV disease” isn’t an illness, because the greatest risk of death is among 35-45-year-olds whereas all other illnesses, diseases, and “natural causes” too bring the greatest risk of death at older ages, the risk increasing about exponentially with age from the teens or twenties upward. I even recognized an implication of the fact that the age distributions of “HIV-positive” and of “HIV disease” deaths virtually superpose — the implication I recognized being that there’s no “latent period” and no evidence that HAART has been of benefit, or rather evidence that HAART has NOT been life-extending. But I didn’t grasp this further reminder that “HIV” isn’t “a thing”.

I’ve even commented on cognitive dissonance [for example, “HIV/AIDS illustrates cognitive dissonance“, 29 April 2008] — in others, that is, while not seeing what was staring me in the face, because I was mind-infected with the term “HIV”, as though “HIV” were a “thing”. I’d even been warned against that sort of mistake in many encounters with philosophers, for whom “reification” is a well-recognized fallacy: imagining there is “a thing” just because a name, a term, has been invented.

It was the egregious claim that HAART had saved millions of life-years that brought me back to looking at death statistics [HIV/AIDS scam: Have antiretroviral drugs saved 3 million life-years?, 6 July 2008]. I noted the peculiarity that all this life-saving and life-extending had left the average age of death from “HIV disease” at around 40 — but apparently I wasn’t yet able to tie this in with the fact that “HIV” isn’t “a thing”. I wasn’t yet able to see that the disjunction between low mortality and average age of death [More HIV/AIDS GIGO (garbage in and out): “HIV” and risk of death, 12 July 2008] is obviously to be expected, because “HIV” isn’t “a thing”.

I returned to the strange fact that the age of maximum likelihood of testing “HIV-positive” is always about the same as the age of maximum likelihood of dying from ”HIV disease” [How “AIDS Deaths” and “HIV Infections” vary with age — and WHY, 15 September 2008] and was finally set on a productive line of thought through noticing the stark disjunction between mortality from “HIV disease” and average age of death “from ‘HIV disease’” [HAART saves lives — but doesn’t prolong them!?, 17 September 2008]. But I was still in the mind-frame of arguing against latent periods and HAART benefits [No HIV “latent period”: dotting i’s and crossing t’s, 21 September 2008].

A re-statement of these matters in “Poison in South Africa” [26 October 2008] aroused comments from defenders of the HIV/AIDS faith that spurred me to carry out some laborious calculations that I’d been procrastinating about. The age distribution of people living with AIDS was like that of people tested for HIV and like that of deaths among PWAs. Finally I recognized that the disjunction between mortality and age of death is because both are based on “HIV” but “HIV” isn’t “a thing”, and you can’t classify PWAs or deaths on such a basis.

Take ANY group of people, apply “HIV” tests, and the frequency of positive tests will be at a maximum in the age range 35-45 or so. There are indications that the range may be a bit different for females as for males, and for people with different racial ancestries, but those differences — if indeed there are any — seem to be small.
Take ANY group of people, HEALTHY OR ILL, do “HIV” tests, and the frequency of positive tests will be at a maximum in the age range 35-45 or so. I had pointed this out in my book, with data from blood donors, gay men, heterosexuals at STD clinics, soldiers, sailors, marines, in the Job Corps, in all racial groups, in both sexes . . . . In other words, “HIV-positive” has nothing specifically to do with illness or with death.
That can be difficult to bear in mind, in part because of the habit of thinking of “HIV” as “a thing”; in part because the likelihood of positive “HIV”-tests does vary with physiological condition, and some illnesses are associated with a high probability of “positive” “HIV” tests. But never forget that many non-illnesses, like pregnancy, are also associated with a high probability of “positive” “HIV” tests: “HIV-positive” has nothing specifically to do with illness or with death.

The confusion came about because Gallo et al. were looking for things that might be common to victims of AIDS, who were very ill people (high likelihood of “positives”) and happened to be of average age in the mid-to-upper thirties (in any group, maximum probability of “positive” tests). What they came up with was an artefact; a sort of thermometer that is particularly prone to detect fever in certain physiological conditions, and that is also particularly likely to read “fever” by mistake, in certain other physiological conditions and especially with people aged about 35-45.
It’s hard to ingrain that firmly in one’s thinking, and keep it at the forefront of one’s mind, after being used to imagining that “HIV” is “a thing”.

So it took me “longer than otherwise necessary” to grasp what the disjunction of death ages and mortality rates illustrates: mortality rates are reported for the population of “people with AIDS”, but that has nothing specifically to do with illness or death, because inclusion in the group has as sine qua non a positive “HIV” test, which signifies nothing specifically about illness or risk of death. I kept thinking about “the median age of death” as pointing to a particular life expectancy, a lack of benefit from HAART, generally a conundrum for HIV/AIDS theory — while the straightforward meaning is simply this:
Take ANY group of people, apply “HIV” tests, and the frequency of positive tests will be at a maximum in the age range 35-45 or so.
Take those people who have been mistakenly diagnosed as infected by “the ‘HIV’ thing”, and the frequency of positive tests among them will be at a maximum in the age range 35-45 or so.
Take ANY group of people who have just died FOR ANY REASON, carry out “HIV” tests on the cadavers, and the frequency of positive tests will be at a maximum in the age range 35-45 or so.

It’s just meaningless to compare median age of death, in any group categorized by “HIV tests”, with mortality among that group, because “HIV” has nothing to do with risk of death. That’s why the attempt to compare those things revealed a stark disjunction, with different “relationships” between death age and mortality at different times — up to 1986/87, from then to 1992, discontinuity at 1992/93, different again to 1996, another discontinuity at 1996/97, different “relationship” again after that.

—–

So, Martin: thanks for your periodic reminders, thanks for not giving up on me. I think I may finally have grasped the point. Not that it will necessarily make it easier to write about this stuff without using misleading terms, but maybe I’ll be able to make the meanings of what I write less misleading.

Best holiday wishes!

14 Responses to “The debilitating distraction of “HIV””

  1. Martin said

    Thanks Dr. Bauer, and you have a happy holiday as well.

  2. Frank said

    Celia Farber, in trying to describe how difficult it was to discuss the HIV/AIDS mythology, recently said:

    The epistemology of this is like trying to push a bus while you’re inside the bus.

    The High Priests well know the power of definitions. Words are bound, chained to the dogma. It takes a wily Odysseus to once again corral them into meaningful discussion.

  3. Chris Noble said

    Henry,
    your months of “laborious calculations” weren’t necessary.
    The CDC have the the trends in median age at death.
    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/resources/slides/mortality/slides/mortality9.pdf

    Can you calculate the relationship between the mortality rate and the expected median age at death for people with AIDS?

    This is a very simple and polite request.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Chris:

      Thanks for the link to that presentation, which confirms so many of the generalizations in my book; most of all, that they ARE generalities. Note how the trends in deaths over the years are about the same in all age groups. Note how the geographic distribution in the United States is just like what it has been for “HIV” for more than two decades — and which is not what the original “AIDS” was, where California was about as badly affected as New York; and despite the regional differences in magnitude, the trends have been the same over the years in each region. Note how the proportion of blacks among “HIV disease” deaths has doubled, while the proportion who test “HIV-positive” has not changed (see Table 28 in my book). Above all, note the same racial disparities, and the same trends over the years in each racial group; and note once again that Eastern Hispanics (lots of African ancestry) differ from Western Hispanics, who are much like Native Americans and white Americans, far less affected by “HIV” or by “AIDS” than black Americans; and that Asians are virtually immune to this “STD” that discriminates by racial ancestry — “HIV: the virus that discriminates by race”, 11 April 2008,
      https://hivskeptic.wordpress.com/2008/04/11/hiv-the-virus-that-discriminates-by-race/; “Racial disparities in testing “HIV-positive”: is there a non-racist explanation?”, 4 May 2008,
      https://hivskeptic.wordpress.com/2008/05/04/racial-disparities-in-testing-%e2%80%9chiv-positive%e2%80%9d-is-there-a-non-racist-explanation/.

      I’m also delighted to have an official citation for the fact that “Deaths due to HIV disease, as reported on death certificates, are not exactly the same as deaths of persons with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) reported to the HIV/AIDS surveillance systems of health departments. . . . [Some are] deaths of persons with AIDS attributed to causes unrelated to HIV infection (such as lung cancer or motor vehicle accidents”. But the difference seems to be about the same, parentage-wise, in every year, which means that relationships are affected only quantitatively and not qualitatively and — more significant — that here is yet another instance where a supposed STD shows a characteristic that’s apparently constant over more than two decades. “HIV” and “AIDS” are regular as clockwork, as I’ve mentioned innumerable times, for example, “Regular as clockwork: HIV, the truly unique “infection”, 1 April 2008,
      https://hivskeptic.wordpress.com/2008/04/01/regular-as-clockwork-hiv-the-truly-unique-“infection”/; “’HIV’ in prisons: regular as clockwork”, 2 May 2008.
      https://hivskeptic.wordpress.com/2008/05/02/%e2%80%9chiv%e2%80%9d-in-prisons-regular-as-clockwork/

      But I don’t understand what you’re asking me to do. I’ve calculated the mortality over the years, and there’s nothing in the document you cite that affects the calculation. In fact, it confirms my numbers for the median ages of death, and even remarks on how steadily and evenly this has changed, before and during the HAART era, no sign of something different as a result of HAART — by contrast to the mortality, which has changed anything but regularly over that same period.

      You comment on my use of ”laborious”, but seem not to have absorbed what I said about ”laborious” calculations [“Living with HIV; Dying from What?”, 10 December 2008;
      https://hivskeptic.wordpress.com/2008/12/10/living-with-hiv-dying-from-what/%5D. Getting median ages and overall mortality was easy; it was getting age distributions for living PWAs that was laborious. The document you cite doesn’t report that, nor the median ages of PWAs.

      You ask, “Can you calculate the relationship between the mortality rate and the expected median age at death for people with AIDS?”

      The point I’ve been making is that the data on mortality and the data on median ages of death show no consistent relationship over the years. The “relationship” you ask to have calculated doesn’t exist.

      Finally, Chris, re “This is a very simple and polite request”.
      Do you not understand that this assertion is itself impolite?

  4. It will take time to me to assimilate the consequences of the meaning of this Dr. Bauer-Martin post. But by the way:

    Being agreed, Frank, that “It takes a wily Odysseus to once again corral them into meaningful discussion”, the qualitative problem for me is that “It takes a wily Odysseus to once again corral us into meaningful discussion”. This post is a good theme to clarify: “HIV” isn’t “a thing”.

    Another theme is that AIDS is “a thing” but it is not an illness. So it is also debilitating distraction to look for “the true causes of AIDS as an illness” or to look for “alternatives natural treatments for AIDS”. And it seems not easy to dare to draw the conclusion: then AIDS is some kind of socio-politico-economico-pseudoscientific-pseudomedical-pseudoreligious-pseudohumanitarian-moralisitc-mediatic-racist-etc. construct to be dismantled. And then to put the question: why and who built AIDS in the USA in 1981?

    I think Clark Baker is right when he puts AIDS directly in the punishable criminal field. And Janine Roberts has provided some proofs on how Dr. Gallo transformed nothing into “HIV, the cause of AIDS”. On this “HIV-is-not-a-thing” no-basis, AIDS inventors developed step by step an “HIV/AIDS” fiction as a pseudoscientific explanation for the real AIDS set-up. I think it is here where to look for the “true causes of AIDS”… not as an illness… but as an American invention.

    Feliç Nadal i millor Any Nou 2009!!!!

    • Henry Bauer said

      Lluis:

      Yes, when talking about “AIDS” — or anything else, really! — one needs to define exactly what one means by “it”, “AIDS”.

      As for American invention, see State of HIV/AIDS Denial: Carcinogenic HAART, 21 November 2008,
      https://hivskeptic.wordpress.com/2008/11/21/state-of-hivaids-denial-carcinogenic-haart/
      “As Charles A. Thomas said many years ago: ‘This thing is going to be studied long after our time. . . . Because this is a major historical event that is going to be studied for 100 years — how the United States gave AIDS to the world’”

  5. Henry,

    Thank you so much for this most important article – well, I should say this most important article to date, because I’m sure you will surprise us again very soon.

    Thanks to your article I “got it” now, what this “not a thing” is: it is superstition. “HIV” is as real as Scarlett O’Hara, as Mickey Mouse, or as the Sandman.

    Unfortunately this firm belief in the presumed existence of “HIV” has the same lethal consequences for the victims of the believers as had had the firm belief in the existence of “incubi” and “succubi” for the victims of the witch hunt some centuries ago.

    As we all know, for about three- or fourhundred years they kept on claiming that there was overwhelming evidence for the very existence of “incubi” and “succubi”.

    It’s obvious that the present hunters of homosexual men and people of African ancestry display exactly the same character traits as the former witch hunters. And they offer the same reasons for their hunt as in the past – just a modern “polished” version of it.

  6. Chris Noble said

    [edited to remove impolite and impertinent remarks

    Henry,
    if you are going to assert that the mortality data and the median age at death data are inconsistent then you have to explain what you think the relationship should be. . . .

    • Henry Bauer said

      Chris:

      Your assertion is baseless. You are starting with the preconceived notion that the reported mortality and the reported ages of death are related. I’m looking at the data without that preconception; nor did I have a preconception that they are not related, see my post about how long it took me to get Martin’s point and to grasp what the data were telling me, namely, that they aren’t related. I was being empirical, which is the only way to learn something you don’t already know.

      Here are pairs of numbers. X=450, y=28; x=421, y=42; x=412, y=45; x=403, y=57; x=399, y=120; x=388, y=220; x=381, y=350; x=371, y=470; x=358, y=650.
      Additional clue: x varies linearly with a third variable, z.

      I don’t need to have a preconceived notion of how x ought to depend on y, to observe that they are obviously not correlated with one another, that they have no functional relationship.

  7. hugosw said

    The notion that HIV means something important and signifies something is the very reason that some different groups of Rethinkers seems to have different opinions on important issues. If you regard HIV as something that is invented for political reasons although it has no substance in reality, it is easy to see that the differences are small. It is merely a matter of semantics. If HIV exists as a retrovirus and it is not pathogenic, as Duesberg says, the difference compared to the Perth-group is small, because they don’t say that there is no retroviruses, they only say that the specific retrovirus HIV causing AIDS does not exist. That is pretty much the same thing.
    Furthermore I would say that AIDS is not a term that helps us understand the health issues that lies behind immune deficiency. It has been known for a long time before 1981 that there are many different things that could harm the immune system. For instance gamma radiation will harm the bone marrow and many chemicals like Benzene and derivates thereof are very toxic and could cause immune deficiency in a similar way. Immune deficiency is also induced by cytostatic drugs and the bone marrow is sometimes even eradicated by means of drugs on purpose, as a preparation for transplanting bone marrow cells. If AIDS would be a meaningful concept it would include these and many other causative agents and mechanisms. Most important, malnutrition would be a recognized cause. Everybody with some medical education knows that there is not only one cause of immunodeficiency. Just like everybody knows that antibodies against viral infections are beneficial. Or that vitamins are good for you (in adequate doses)
    The HIV/AIDS saga is told again and again, as an old fairytale, with ever changing details, and you have to believe to not see the obvious shortcomings in the story.

  8. Chris Noble said

    I don’t need to have a preconceived notion of how x ought to depend on y, to observe that they are obviously not correlated with one another, that they have no functional relationship

    Henry, over the time period involved the mortality rate has steadily decreased while the median age at death has steadily increased. The decrease in mortality rate is quite obviously correlated with the increase in the median age at death.

    You are asserting that the mortality data and the median age at death for the same group are inconsistent. Simply repeating the assertion over and over again is not sufficient.

    If you are going to assert that a set of data, Y, is inconsistent with another set of data, X, then you have to be able to show what a consistent relationship would look like. Y = 3.X or Y = log(X) or Y = exp(-X/t) etc.

    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/resources/slides/mortality/slides/mortality9.pdf
    The median age at death of people with AIDS increased from 36 to 45 years between 1987 and 2005. How much should it have increased by to be consistent with the mortality data?

    This a very simple question how much should the median age at death from PWA have increased by for this time period? You seem to think it should have increased by more than 9 years. How much? You have claimed that you are making quantitative arguments. Why can’t you calculate this number?

    • Henry Bauer said

      Chris:
      Your idea of “steadily” seems to me strange. Yes, median age has changed “almost linearly” (NCHS); but mortality has experienced several different phases: almost unchanged for half-a-dozen years, down almost 50% in the next half-a-dozen, sudden 1-year drop by 35%, then took another 4 years for the next 50% drop, then a 1-year drop by 50%, then it takes 7 years for the next 50% decline. What sort of “steady” change is that? What function would you suggest might fit that? And how would any such function correlate with an almost linear one?

      As I’ve pointed out, the several obvious phases in the mortality data fit exactly with the changed definitions of “AIDS”. The definition determines the mortality, but not the median age.

      As I’ve also pointed out several times, the median age of new diagnoses has also increased “steadily” over the years, and the median age of death has increased by roughly the same amount. Whatever the reason is for the first is likely to be a large part of the reason for the second. Nothing to do with HAART, since treatment cannot affect the median age at which people are diagnosed.

      The age distributions of first positive “HIV” tests, of new “AIDS” diagnoses, of the PWA population, and of deaths from “HIV disease” are all virtually superposable, with the median ages within a few years of one another; and this has been true over the whole “AIDS” era. No “latent period”; no life-extending benefit from antiretroviral treatment. The data simply won’t fit HIV=AIDS theory.

  9. CathyVM said

    “[I]s but little to the wickedness of [HIV]. … What else is [HIV] but a foe to friendship, an unescapable punishment, a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a desirable calamity, domestic danger, a delectable detriment, an evil nature, painted with fair colours. … [HIV is] by nature [an] instrument of Satan – [it is] by nature carnal, a structural defect rooted in the original creation.”
    From the Malleus maleficarum [Hammer of witches] with the word woman replaced by HIV.
    Oh yes, HIV science is naught but a modern-day ducking-stool and HIV is the witch. It has all the trappings, the religiosity (I believe in the High Church of AIDS), the Inquisitions (by law you must submit to an HIV test), the persecution (you are now a modern-day leper) and torture (coerced HAART).
    Can the Reformation happen already?

  10. Thank you, CathyVM, that’s exactly what I meant.

    Just like to add the already happening persecution of the today’s “witches” for bewitching innocents (i.e. incarceration of the victims of the Inquisition for their “infecting” others with satanic fluids via satanic instruments of any sharpness or length).

    Welcome to the Dark Ages!

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