HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Age shall not wither them — because HIV really doesn’t kill

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/02/04

“Age shall not wither…” seems an attractive sentiment as we begin to notice signs of ageing. The saying is variously employed to enlist, flatter, reassure:

Age shall not wither them. . . . More men over 50 are taking up youthful challenges. We meet the golden not-so-oldies who refuse to settle down with their pipe and slippers”
Age shall not wither her . . . Some of the most exciting artists of our time are women over 60.”
Age shall not wither them — The elderly are America’s most reliable voters; . . . America’s older population already has considerable clout. . . . The old will play a main role in choosing the next president, and future ones.”
Age shall not wither them —  Not Dead Yet: a Manifesto for Old Age . . . It is highly encouraging that someone as authoritative as Rabbi Baroness Neuberger has written such a militant book on age discrimination”


That age doesn’t mean loss of physiological capabilities is most remarkably illustrated by the mortality among older “people living with AIDS” (PWAs): their death rate doesn’t increase significantly with age.

I’ve mentioned that before, but almost as an afterthought and with numbers given for only a few selected years [Table II, “Living with HIV; Dying from What?” , 10 December 2008]. Table 1 below has the numbers for all the years (1982-2004) for which the National Center for Health Statistics has published figures for new diagnoses of “AIDS” and for deaths from “HIV disease”. [The death rates were calculated as described in full detail in earlier posts: “HAART saves lives — but doesn’t prolong them!?”, 17 September 2008; “Living with HIV; Dying from What?” , 10 December 2008.]

According to these data, “HIV” is not significantly more deadly for people beyond age 40, or 50, or 60, than it is for people in their 30s:


Though these calculations are shown to two significant figures, no such accuracy is claimed, nor is it necessary to make the single point that the variation of death rate with age is unlike that for any other condition, or for all-cause mortality. That’s easier to see when the rates in each calendar year are normalized around age 25 or 30:


By stark contrast, with all (other?) diseases and illnesses the risk of death increases rapidly, indeed exponentially, with age (Table 3),  reflecting the fact that the human organism copes less and less effectively with diseases, illnesses, or health challenges in general, as it ages:

To forestall some foreseeable quibbles, I show data for eight years spanning more than half a century. With almost no variation, there is something like a doubling of the death rate for every decade of age, despite considerable changes in the ethnic composition and age structure of the US population over that period. An exponential increase in mortality with age has long been taken for granted by demographers (Gompertz or Gompertz-Makeham Law). That progression also fits common knowledge and common sense. Although sound-bites and jokes vary somewhat over the age at which humans are judged to be at peak physiological condition, it would be unusual to suggest that it is later than the twenties or early thirties — think of performances in the most physically demanding sports, for example.

But the death rate among PWA (Tables 1, 2) shows nothing like an exponential increase with age. Within the reliability of the numbers and to a first approximation, the rate remains virtually unchanged with age.

On closer examination and to a second approximation, during the 1980s there does seem to be an increase in death rate with age. That trend peters out in later years and is gone by the late 1990s, indeed in the most recent years the death rates even seem to be somewhat lower at the higher ages. Although these second-order trends are at best weak, if they are real then they make sense. Up to the mid-1980s, the criterion for “PWA” was actually manifest illness, a clinical diagnosis of advanced illness within months, at most a couple of years, of death; “HIV-positive” became a criterion only after the mid-1980s, since “HIV” was officially “discovered” only in April 1984. With an overall mortality so high, above 50%, one could not expect an exponential increase with age, so the observed changes are in reasonable accord with normal expectation. In later years, however, and especially after 1993, the criterion for “PWA” was primarily an “HIV” test, and it is during this period that there is no significant increase of mortality with age. Note too that in the most recent years the mortality is so small — a few percent — that there’s no mathematical bar to exponential increases with age.

If “HIV-positive” together with low CD4 counts — the criteria for classifying PWA — signified a disease, then the mortality would increase with age in some manner approaching the exponential rise seen with other illnesses and diseases. Since actual experience is anything but that, those criteria for diagnosing “AIDS” are wrong. They don’t diagnose a fatal condition * (see footnote).

I made the comparison with all-cause mortality because direct comparison with known infectious and fatal diseases isn’t possible: only with “HIV/AIDS” are data available for numbers who were infected and didn’t die as well as for deaths. Perhaps the closest comparison would be with influenza, because so large a swath of the population is exposed to it that changes with age in the death rate per total population are a reasonable approximation to changes in the death rate per numbers infected, or at least would not be vastly different in terms of age distribution. As shown in an earlier post, the death rate from flu illustrates the usual rapid increase with age:


The scale on the y axis is logarithmic, so the approximately linear increase of y with increasing x represents an approximately exponential increase in death rate with age, just as with all-cause mortality.
From a poster presentation, “Death and Aging in the Time of Influenza: United States, 1960-2002”
by Nobuko Mizoguchi, MPH/MPP  Department of Demography, University of California at Berkeley]

To repeat:

PWA do not experience a risk of death that increases with age
in the manner seen with flu or with all-cause mortality.
Therefore PWA were not selected according to any specific or general risk of death.
In other words, “HIV-positive” does not identify people suffering from a specific fatal illness.
This is yet another demonstration that “HIV” is not a pathogenic agent.

What explains this absence of any great variation of death rate with age? That the death rate among PWA varies little with age is actually just another way of expressing the fact remarked on earlier, that the age distributions for testing “HIV-positive”, and for being diagnosed with actual “AIDS”, and for the population of PWAs, and for deaths from “HIV disease”, are virtually superposable [“HIV, AIDS, and age: HIV/AIDS theory is wrong”, 23 January 2009, and other posts cited therein]. That indicates some rather fundamental relationship tying together “HIV-positive”, PWA, and death from “HIV disease”. Thereby one possible way of resolving the mortality conundrums is eliminated, namely, that those dying don’t belong to the same population as those surviving because— for example — the latter benefited from antiretroviral drugs whereas the former didn’t. [That last possibility is also eliminated by the fact that the median ages of PWAs and of those dying changed over the years at exactly the same rate — “Living with HIV; Dying from What?” , 10 December 2008].

Caveat for “HIV-positive” people: Although in general “HIV” tests do not detect the presence of a fatal pathogen, in some cases a positive “HIV” test does coincide with a serious illness, because “HIV” tests are subject to innumerable cross-reactions. Unfortunately, individuals caught in the “HIV-positive” circumstance are likely to be treated with antiretroviral agents, with their awful “side”-effects, instead of according to what the specific condition of each individual might call for in medical reality.

13 Responses to “Age shall not wither them — because HIV really doesn’t kill”

  1. Cytotalker said

    Age shall not wither them, but HAART shall, at least according to this New York Times article:

    Mr. Holloway, who lives in a housing complex designed for the frail elderly, suffers from complex health problems usually associated with advanced age: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, kidney failure, a bleeding ulcer, severe depression, rectal cancer and the lingering effects of a broken hip.

    Those illnesses, more severe than his 84-year-old father’s, are not what Mr. Holloway expected when lifesaving antiretroviral drugs became the standard of care in the mid-1990s.

  2. dale said

    Is anyone listening?

    • Henry Bauer said


      I wonder about that quite often.

      Worst case: Even if the right ones aren’t listening now, maybe they will at some time or other. In fact, sooner or later the truth will out. And it’s analogous to buying lottery tickets: the usual succession of not-winning doesn’t mean that a win cannot come the very next day.

      Actual case: Some people are listening, enough to get them mad at us, like Kalichman. His book will make more people aware of us, and we’ll be able to put to good use the many grave errors in his book. And his other inept doings indicate that we would do well to feed him more rope.

      Numbers of visitors to my blog keep rising slowly. More people are becoming active, setting up their own Rethinking blogs. I think the trends are quite positive for us.

      Other vigiliantes besides Kalichman monitor my blog, and some of them have been quite a help by showing me which points need to be presented better, which need more data, and so on. Tony Lance is discovering a stunning amount of published material that further confirms his intestinal dysbiosis theory as an excellent explanation for many of the early “AIDS” cases, for some proportion of the ones since, and especially for the vexing question of why gay men often test HIV+ without being ill. Newly published demographic also continue to confirm the regularities noted in my book, variations of “HIV+” with age, sex, race.

  3. Stefan R. said

    Thanks for your perpetual analysis of the statistical data. This will be very helpful in further discussions.

    • Henry Bauer said


      Thanks! Indeed, one of my chief aims with this blog is to assemble data that can be used at some time to underscore all the substantive arguments agaisnt HIV/AIDS theory.

  4. Joe said

    Yet another thanks from me too, Henry. The statistical analyses you present are some of the most interesting things I’ve ever read about the HIV/AIDS issue. I’m pleased that you are making these things public so that when the day of reckoning comes the ‘scientists’ can’t turn round and say ‘no one knew’. Please, if you are not considering another book, could you make the posts available as PDF files so that we can download them and print them off. If you can do this, there is a software suite called OpenOffice that can turn documents into PDFs. Also, if you use a Mac, you can choose to print a document to PDF (the same feature can be found on Linux with some fiddling, and on Windows with much more fiddling).

    • Henry Bauer said


      I just posted a PDF of the blog content to date, many thanks for the suggestion. I’ve had a PDF creator for quite a few years, docuprinter, works fine, but I had to buy it, at the time I couldn’t locate good and free ones, I know they are available nowadays.

  5. Martin said

    Hi Dr. Bauer, Your statistics based on the existing data are incontrovertible. Interesting in the news was a similarity between two completely different blunders. Harry Markopolos, an independent fraud investigator, had presented “gift wrapped” evidence that Bernard L. Madoff had been running a Ponzi scheme 10 years ago. Dr. Peter Duesberg presented “gift wrapped” evidence (1987 Cancer Research) that HIV wasn’t the cause of AIDS and that AIDS wasn’t a contagious phenomenon. In both cases, the evidence was ignored. Markopolos is claiming that the SEC was incompetent that “…if you flew the entire SEC staff to Boston, sat them in Fenway Park for an afternoon, they could not find first base.” Actually I don’t believe that in Markopolos’s case or in Duesberg’s. I believe that in both cases the agencies were criminally negligent. It doesn’t require a PhD in molecular biology or in economics to see in both cases something was wrong and that an objective investigation was warranted.
    Now imagine if Dr. Robert Gallo came forth like Bernie Madoff and confessed. Now that would be a shocker!

    As a little addendum, I was reading the New York Times on Markopolos’s testimony, they wrote: “Others were sarcastic, with Mr. Markopolos saying regulators seated in Fenway Park in Boston would have trouble finding first base.” That’s an interesting reinterpretation of what Markopolos said. There is a difference between “could not find first base” and “would have trouble finding first base”. That sounds like a positive spin on the SEC’s ability to detect fraud. Isn’t that similar to the positive spin they put on the real effects of HAART?

  6. Dave said

    Dale’s question is misplaced. The first question is not whether anyone is listening. Clearly, more people are “listening” to the NY Times and its casual reference to “life-saving” drugs, since they have a much larger bullhorn. Indeed, if one axiomatically defines HIV as a deadly virus and HAART as life-saving medication, who wouldn’t take bowls of HAART with their morning breakfast cereal?

    The proper question is, Whether Dr. Henry Bauer’s extensive analysis and opinions on the issue is supported by medical facts? The answer is Yes.

    This, naturally, leads to several conclusions, which are true, but ring discordantly in the ear of the establishment AIDS scientists and journalists:

    1. A positive result from an HIV anti-body test doesn’t mean you are infected with a fatal retrovirus;

    2. A positive result from an HIV anti-body test is highly subjective — you may be generally ill with some health condition, that may or may not be dangerous or transient;

    3. The laboratory measurements of CD4 counts and viral loads are, again, highly subjective and poorly correlate to your current or future health

    4. The Black Box drugs prescribed based on 3 laboratory tests (antibody, CD4 count, viral load) are disproportionately toxic, carry significant side effects, such as anemia, bone marrow destruction, lymphoma, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, liver failure and death.

    5. Most people on Planet Earth cannot comprehend 1-4. because they have been bombarded with contrary messages for 25 years now, but governments, scientists and pharmaceutical companies earn lots of money by perpetuating the existing paradigm.

  7. john said

    Dear Dr. Bauer,

    Please forgive my inability to understand fully your argument. I am a dissident, but am having trouble understanding how this proves that HIV is not the cause of AIDS. Is it possible that because the AIDS death rate is now so low, compared with the death rates of the past, that it is impossible to make conclusions with the data you present?

    And given the incredible toxicity of the HAART meds, how do we as dissidents explain the huge drop in death rates? I know that the decrease preceded HAART, but the rate decreased even more after HAART. It has to be more than just the fact that the average AIDS patient is less ill at the time of diagnosis than in the past. Shouldn’t the widespread use of HAART have actually increased the death rate or at least have prevented such a steep decrease in death rates? Is it drug holidays, and a smaller percentage of AIDS patients and HIV positive people actually taking the meds? Again, I am dissident too, but this huge decrease in death rates has puzzeled me greatly.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Dear “John”:

      If you would tell us more about yourself, then we wouldn’t be tempted, by the nature of your “query”, to associate you with Fulano, Noble, Snout, and others who attempt to divert attention from the main argument, or with JCN and his ilk who try to masquerade as dissidents or as enquiring students.

      What don’t you understand, about the fact that the death rate of PWAs doesn’t change appreciably with age? It shows that PWAs are not selected according to some life-threatening condition. They’re selected with “HIV+” as the necessary criterion. Ergo, “HIV+” is not a life-threatening condition.

      The rest of what you write is red herring or simply incorrect: the rate DID NOT decrease more after HAART — after 1996 — than up to 1996. To explain this lack of significant variation of death rate with age, one would have to postulate that HAART is better at preventing death, the older a PWA is! In that case, at last we’ve found the elixir of life — HAART! Maybe I should have compared HIV/AIDS “science” not with pseudoscience at large but specifically with alchemy?

      I gave explanations for the decline in mortality earlier. Post-“HIV” “AIDS” is not the same as pre-“HIV” “AIDS”. Mortality declined as the group being observed became increasingly healthy, since it was selected by “HIV+” which is not a sure sign of ill health. The drop in mortality around 1996 was because highly toxic “treatment” was replaced by less toxic “treatment”. The other step-wise and gradual declines in mortality parallel changes in definition of “AIDS”.

  8. Joe said

    I can give an example from my own life that appears to substantiate this. In 1989 my boyfriend at the time was from the caribbean – he was muscular, healthy and at 35 he was 10 years older than me but looked as young as I. About 3 months into our relationship he went for a HIV test and was told the result was positive. I asked him if he had any health problem that prompted the test and he said that he hadn’t. Within a few months he was put on AZT, and went into a rapid decline and looked very unwell. Thankfully after a few months he took himself off AZT, and returned to good health. The transformation in both directions was truly astonishing.

    Another friend of mine who had a ‘positive’ HIV test years ago was started on ARVs a few months back, because his CD4 count reached the current threshold for initiation of treatment, although he had no signs of any illness. Like my other friends on ARVs, he shows no signs of acute toxicity the way my boyfriend did back in 1989. It is quite clear to me that the current treatments are not as toxic as the administration of AZT was back in the late 80s/early 90s.

    My fear of course is that in the next 10 years my friends on ARVs will suffer damage from the long-term use of these (less) toxic treatments. The tragedy is that many of them may not need to be on these treatments for long, if at all. My suspicion is that there is a tacit policy to keep people who test HIV+ on the medications as a public health issue (based on the principle that low or ‘non-existent’ viral loads will prevent a virus from being transmitted to others), regardless of whether or not any health problems that prompted the treatment has passed.

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