Media: invariably wrong about HIV/AIDS
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/01/12
The media routinely disseminates entirely misleading “reports” about HIV/AIDS. For example, a single day’s Google Alert produced these:
“Dual HIV/TB infection common in S. African infants” (29 December 2008, by C. Vidya Shankar, MD]
“CHENNAI, India (Reuters Health) — HIV-positive infants are over 20 times more likely to develop tuberculosis than their HIV-negative counterparts, researchers from South Africa report in the current issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.”
It’s not that “HIV” makes TB more likely, it’s exactly the opposite: TB patients are very likely to test “HIV-positive”; people with TB test “HIV-positive” as often as do gay men or drug abusers (Figure 22, p. 83, and associated text, in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory).
TB was never regarded as an opportunistic infection, which is (or used to be) the sort of thing HIV was supposed to bring about — until, that is, the fact that TB patients often test “HIV-positive” was misinterpreted and TB was added to the list of “AIDS-defining” diseases. TB was widespread in Africa long before “HIV/AIDS”.
“Increased exposure to tuberculosis, HIV-associated immunosuppression and reduced efficacy of the BCG vaccine could explain the increased risk of tuberculosis among these infants . . . .”
Why being “HIV-positive” would increase exposure to TB would be far from obvious, were it not that one can blame “HIV” for anything at all without fear of being challenged.
“HIV-positive” is marked by seroconversion, that is, generation of antibodies supposedly to “HIV”. Why then should a vaccine be incapable of generating antibodies in “HIV-positive” people? And if “HIV-positive” people can’t generate antibodies in response to a vaccine, why have researchers continued to attempt to create a vaccine that might at least stabilize “HIV” “infection” even if it doesn’t prevent “infection”?
“ . . . routine HIV testing of infants with tuberculosis . . . [and] improved access to HIV treatment and newer vaccines could help . . .”
Yes, of course; it could help to make those poor babies even more ill as a result of the “side” effects of the antiretroviral drugs.
Here’s another common media-parroted HIV/AIDS shibboleth.
Exactly how are poverty and lack of education supposed to increase the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS?
AIDS appeared first not among the poor, but among people able to afford lots of “recreational” drugs and partying. In Africa, too, AIDS was first noticed among the wealthy, not among the poor (Richard & Rosalind Chirimuuta, AIDS, Africa and racism, London: Free Association Books, 1987/89).
“Prostitution and HIV/AIDS, A Deadly Marriage”, by Amanda Kloer, was featured on 9 January 2009 on — dare I say it? —change.org. The piece lives up to what we’ve learned to expect, unfortunately, from that site: politically correct, factually incorrect.
“HIV/AIDS is an equal-opportunity infector. HIV doesn’t know or care if you’re a child or an adult, a man or a woman, someone having unprotected sex for the first time or someone who has been in prostitution for years.”
Ms. Kloer hasn’t even read the mainstream HIV/AIDS literature, apparently. But then, neither have most of the pundits. The risk of testing “HIV-positive” varies very significantly by age, sex, race; and the chance of seroconverting after one act of unprotected sex is considerably smaller than the risk of being struck by lightning — according to official statistics.
“HIV/AIDS prevalancy among women in prostitution is a seriously underestimated global health and human rights crisis”, continued Kloer’s screed, followed by UNAIDS numbers for a several countries, comparing “HIV-positive” rates for women overall with those for prostitutes, the latter always being higher by factors of between 4 (Thailand) and 200 (Angola).
Those factors are so high in some part because the “HIV-positive” rate among women overall is (given as) so low — in Angola, 0.3%, which is comparable to that in the United States, incredibly enough, given what we’re told about “sub-Saharan Africa”, where Angola resides, with an estimated 3.9% “HIV” “infection” rate [Deconstructing HIV/AIDS in “Sub-Saharan Africa” and “The Caribbean”, 21 April 2008].
But leave that aside. Any number of published reports have contradicted the claims of a general association between prostitution per se and probability of testing “HIV-positive”. A couple of dozen highly active prostitutes in Nairobi (Kenya) remained HIV-negative during 2 years of actual observation (p. 46). Several studies found “HIV-positive” high only among those prostitutes who were drug abusers (pp. 46, 86). In the United States, “HIV-positive” among prostitutes in general was much lower than among drug users or TB patients or gay men or hemophiliacs (Table 23, p. 81). Not a single “HIV-positive” could be found among 300 Pakistani truck-drivers of whom 50% reported sex with prostitutes and very low rate of condom-use (p. 115) [all page numbers refer to The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory].
“BENIN: Voodoo community remains impenetrable to HIV outreach
COTONOU, 9 January 2009 (IRIN) — Voodoo rituals have long been inaccessible to anyone except disciples and priests. Even though certain practices like scarification carry a high risk of HIV infection, outsiders to the voodoo community have largely been unable to penetrate the secrecy that health officials say can be deadly to its followers.”
So the rate of “HIV-positive” in Benin must be shockingly high.
The CIA Fact Book estimated it at 1.9% in 2003. Benin, in West Africa, is surrounded by Togo (4.1% “HIV-positive”), Burkina Faso (4.2%), Niger (1.2%), Nigeria (5.4%) [see Deconstructing HIV/AIDS in “Sub-Saharan Africa” and “The Caribbean”, 21 April 2008].
Should Burkina Faso, Nigeria, and Togo perhaps import from Benin some voodoo priests to increase participation in scarification rituals, so that their “HIV-positive” rate could be brought down to the level in Benin?
“HIV-positive” heart surgeons are less to be feared than “HIV-positive” dentists
“Everyone knows” about the “HIV-positive” Florida dentist who infected at least 5 of his patients (which isn’t actually true, of course), including the unfortunate Kim Bergalis who died within a couple of years of beginning “life-saving” AZT treatment.
Apparently it’s much less risky to have cardiac surgery from a certain “HIV-positive” Israeli surgeon. None of the 545 people on whom he had operated since 1997 was found to be “HIV-positive” [“Surgeon-to-Patient HIV Transmission Risk Very Low, CDC Report Says”; Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9 January 2009]
Everyone should help prevent the spread of HIV, to educate others, to urge them to practice safe sex — unless, of course, you happen to be homosexual in Senegal.
“Eight-Year Sentences in Threatening Conditions for 9 Accused of ‘Indecent and Unnatural Acts’”
“(New York, January 9, 2009) — The sentencing in Dakar on January 6, 2009 of nine men who were involved in HIV-prevention work, on charges of ‘indecent and unnatural acts’ and ‘forming associations of criminals,’ shows how laws against homosexual conduct damage HIV- and AIDS-prevention efforts as well as the work of human rights defenders, Human Rights Watch said today. HIV and AIDS advocates in Senegal report that the ruling has produced widespread panic among organizations addressing HIV and AIDS, particularly those working with men who have sex with men and other marginalized populations. These nine men apparently were arrested merely on suspicion of engaging in homosexual conduct.”
“To the contrary”, Public Television, 11 January 2009, featured a panel on how “HIV” is disproportionately affecting black Americans. The “hook” for the program was an interview with Marvelyn Brown, author of “The Naked Truth”, who believes she contracted “HIV” at age 19 from a man she thought the world of. Her words made plain that she had never had an “HIV” test before that relationship, so it’s not known whether she had perhaps seroconverted earlier. Since teenage females test “HIV-positive” more often than teenage males, especially among people of African ancestry, the possible guilt of Brown’s partner would seem an open question — even if “HIV” were a transmissible thing, which of course it isn’t.
Naturally, the inescapably racist concept of “the down low” was also mentioned in the program, without acknowledging its racist character. Naturally too, came repetition of the fact that “AIDS” is the number 1 killer of African American females aged 25-34.
That is unquestionably what the official statistics report. Still, the impact of saying “No. 1 killer” is rather greater than if one said, “kills 7 percent more African American females than die in accidents”, which would be just as literally true but also much less misleading. For the group, deaths from “HIV disease” in 2004 numbered 436; accidents ranked 2nd at 407, followed by cancer (402), heart disease (383), and assault or homicide (282). Pregnancy (childbirth and the puerperium) ranked only 6th, with 109 deaths. And outside the age group 25-34, “HIV disease” rapidly drops out of the “top 10” killers of African-American females.