HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Archive for February, 2009

CD4 counts don’t count — OFFICIAL!

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/02/14

For a very long time, the central belief in HIV/AIDS theory has been that “HIV” kills CD4 cells (albeit by a mechanism that still remains to be identified), thereby wrecking the immune system and allowing opportunistic infections to take over. Measurements of peripheral (in the blood) CD4 cells have been a mainstay in research and treatment. Voices raised to point out the error of this, those of  Heinrich Kremer or Juliane Sacher among others, have been studiously ignored. But now it’s become quite official:

“’In both studies, the volunteers who received IL-2 and antiretrovirals experienced notable, sustained increases in CD4+ T cell counts, as anticipated,’ notes NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. ‘Unfortunately, these increases did not translate into reduced risks of HIV-associated opportunistic diseases or death when compared with the risks in volunteers who were taking only antiretrovirals. Although further analyses may help us better understand these findings, the two studies clearly demonstrated that the use of IL-2 did not improve health outcomes for HIV-infected people.’”

That paragraph is from an official release by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), “IL-2 immunotherapy fails to benefit HIV-infected individuals already taking antiretrovirals”

Increased CD4 counts do not translate into better health outcomes
for people on HAART —
even though the aim of HAART is supposed to be lower viral load
that supposedly allows rebounding of CD4 counts
.

That could already have been inferred, of course, from the publication by Rodriguez et al., “Predictive value of plasma HIV RNA level on rate of CD4 T-cell decline in untreated HIV infection”, JAMA, 296 [2006] 1498-1506: the predictive value is NIL; viral load doesn’t predict CD4 decline in untreated patients; so why expect that it would do so in  HAART-treated patients? But these IL-2 trials had been running since 1999 and 2000 respectively, so why cut them short just because research has shown them to be superfluous or misguided? Or just because the experts who draw up NIH’s Treatment Guidelines have also been sure for some time that CD4, viral load, and patient health do not correlate with one another, they are independent of one another — that’s why the Treatment Guidelines have to distinguish among “virologic failure” (viral load doesn’t decrease under treatment), “immunologic failure” (CD4 counts don’t increase), and “clinical failure” (operation succeeds, viral load down and CD4 up, patient dies).

Mere facts, though, have never been particularly meaningful in HIV/AIDS research. Anything that clearly contradicts HIV/AIDS theory is not accepted as falsification, instead it’s taken as a mystery to be solved. More from the recent NIAID release:

“These are the findings of two large international clinical trials presented today at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Montreal. . . .
IL-2 is produced naturally in the body and plays an important role in regulating CD4+ T cell production and survival. As their CD4+ T cell levels drop, people infected with HIV become more vulnerable to AIDS-related opportunistic diseases and death. Earlier research established that giving synthetic IL-2 plus antiretroviral therapy to people with HIV infection boosts their CD4+ T cell counts more than does antiretroviral therapy alone, but it was unknown whether this boost translated into better health [emphasis added]”.

It’s asserted (highlighted sentence above) as though known with certainty that lower CD4 means worse prognosis; yet

“ESPRIT and SILCAAT were designed to test whether giving IL-2 to HIV-infected individuals already on antiretroviral therapy would keep them healthier longer than HIV-infected individuals taking only antiretrovirals.”

If the highlighted assertion above had been right, then these tests were not needed. If they were needed, then the assertion should not have been made.

These clinical trials themselves appear to have been sound; and they looked at CD4 counts in both ranges of interest — there have been long-standing questions about the optimum CD4 counts at which antiretroviral treatment might best begin:

“Together, the ESPRIT and SILCAAT studies involved more than 5,800 HIV-infected volunteers in 25 countries. Participants were assigned at random to receive either combination antiretroviral therapy alone or combination antiretrovirals plus injections of Proleukin (Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Basel, Switzerland), a synthetic form of IL-2, over several five-day cycles. To evaluate the effects of IL-2 treatment at different stages of HIV infection, the ESPRIT study enrolled people with early-stage infection (CD4+ T cell counts at or above 300 cells per cubic millimeter, or mm3), while the SILCAAT study enrolled volunteers with later-stage HIV infection (CD4+ T cell counts between 50 and 299 cells/ mm3).
It is unclear why increased CD4+ T cell counts did not translate into better health outcomes.”

What’s unclear? Increased CD4 doesn’t produce better prognoses. HIV/AIDS theory is wrong. But of course that’s unthinkable:

“James D. Neaton, . . .  principal investigator of the global clinical trials network that conducted ESPRIT, offers two possible explanations. ‘It could be that the types of CD4+ T cells induced by IL-2 play no role in protecting the HIV-infected patient, and therefore the administration of IL-2 has no benefit,’ says Dr. Neaton. ‘A second possibility is that the CD4+ T cells are at least somewhat functional or that IL-2 has some modest benefit, but that the side effects of IL-2 may neutralize any possible benefit.’
‘. . .although a person’s number of CD4+ T cells is a key measure of success in the treatment of HIV with antiretroviral drugs, we can’t rely on CD4+ T cell counts to predict whether immune-based therapies such as IL-2 will improve the health of HIV-infected individuals,’ concludes Dr. Levy, the principal investigator of SILCAAT.”

If CD4 counts don’t predict what “immune-based” therapies can do . . .
BUT these CD4s are the immune-system cells that have been accepted for a quarter century as the critical ones in HIV/AIDS, the ones that are supposedly killed off by “HIV” — so isn’t EVERY therapy that seeks to increase CD4 an “immune-based” therapy?

If the problem is with the particular TYPE of CD4 cells, these results would be just as damaging to HIV/AIDS theory and practice, since it would mean that faulty or meaningless measures have been used for more than two decades to make life-or-death decisions as to antiretroviral treatment.

Still, the important thing to note is that these trials, though they failed, were actually successful:

“’The purpose of clinical research is to clearly state and accurately test hypotheses with an ultimate goal of improving patient care,’ notes H. Clifford Lane, M.D., director of clinical research at NIAID and a member of the executive committee of ESPRIT. ‘These two clinical trials successfully reached a definitive answer about the utility of IL-2 therapy for treating HIV infection. NIAID thanks the thousands of dedicated volunteers and investigators who made these studies possible. The results will have significant implications for the future development of immune-based therapies for HIV and studies of HIV pathogenesis.’”

But perhaps this was just official spin for public consumption, for at least one other similar trial was abandoned:

“NIAID has discontinued the use of IL-2 in a separate, 20-country clinical trial known as STALWART (which stands for ‘Study of Aldesleukin with and Without Antiretroviral Therapy’).”

I don’t know about SILCAAT, but I do like those acronyms ESPRIT and STALWART. Perhaps NIAID wordsmiths get their inspiration from the Pentagon.

Posted in antiretroviral drugs, clinical trials, experts, HIV does not cause AIDS | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments »

YOU ARE STILL BEING LIED TO

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/02/11

“You are still being lied to: The REMIXED Disinformation Guide to media distortion, historical whitewashes and cultural myths” has just been published:

youarestillbeingliedto

It’s an enlarged and revised edition of the original “You are being lied to”, and it includes an essay of mine (this is a big file, nearly 8MB pdf, takes about 1 minute to download for me):

“Confession of an ‘AIDS denialist’: how I became a crank through being lied to about HIV/AIDS”

The intended audience for this essay is  neither AIDS Rethinkers nor AIDStruthers, it’s aimed at interesting  in this matter people who haven’t much thought about it before, having just assumed that the public propaganda about HIV and AIDS is soundly based.

I’ve appended to the pdf of my essay a Table of Contents of the book. You can see that it’s an eclectic, wide-ranging collection. Surely everyone can find some fascinating stuff there, both things to be enthusiastic about and others to get angry about. Click on the book’s image above to buy it at amazon.com.

The book’s editor, Russ Kick, offers this “Note to Readers”:

The beliefs (political, religious, etc.) of any contributor cannot be assumed simply because he or she appears in this anthology. If a contributor reveals his or her beliefs in the course of an article, that’s obviously a different matter, but simply appearing here is not an indication of affiliation. Similarly, bear in mind that no contributor necessarily agrees with the other contributors. In fact, I’m sure some would get into arguments if invited to the same dinner party. So, inclusion is not an indication of collusion.

Indeed not. Among the other contributors I recognize a  colleague in the Society for Scientific Exploration as well as an author whose book I declined to have reviewed in the Society’s Journal of Scientific Exploration when I served as Editor. There’s also someone from the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, whose aims are orthogonal if not actually opposed to those of the Society for Scientific Exploration. What seems to be in common is a penchant for not accepting ready-made beliefs and a willingness to set out  data and reasoning and engage in evidence-based discussion.

Posted in HIV absurdities, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV skepticism | Tagged: , | 15 Comments »

Rethinking AIDS & HIV Skepticism: Resources

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/02/08

One high-value project that I’ve never got around to even starting on is an index of resources for Rethinkers: books, videos, websites, discussion groups. Some salient ones are listed in the Blogroll in the left-hand column of this blog, but there are many more. Here’s a useful collection that just came up in my Google Alert:
http://afteryeswedid.wordpress.com/2009/02/08/the-deadly-for-profit-industry-that-is-so-called-hiv-aids/

It could serve as a “starter” to recommend to individuals who are willing to look at facts.

Posted in HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV skepticism | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

PDF file of this blog

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/02/07

Joe suggested that I post PDFs of my posts for ease of printing out. I’ve been keeping a Word file copy for ease of searching. It doesn’t include comments, though, except for some very early posts, got to be too much trouble to keep updating every time another comment came in. At any rate, here’s a pdf of my record of all the blogs up to 6 February 2009; it’s about 9 MB:

fullpoststo090206

When I tested it just now, it downloaded OK in about 1/4 minute on Firefox 3.0.6. I hope it works for you, if not, let me know and I can post it in smaller bits. I’ll try to remember to post PDFs regularly.

Posted in HIV skepticism | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Defending the established doctrine

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/02/06

It’s been said over and over again by insightful people, yet the popular conventional wisdom has never incorporated the importance of listening to minority voices, dissident voices. Here’s how John Locke put it, cited in that “Shakespeare” book I mentioned a little while ago:

New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.

My Bartlett places it in the dedicatory epistle of the Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 1690

On this theme of the inertia of orthodox opinion, in connection with science see the classic essays by Bernard Barber [Resistance by scientists to scientific discovery, Science 134 (1961) 596–602] and Gunther Stent [Prematurity and uniqueness in scientific discovery, Scientific American, December 1972, pp.  84–93] and the edited discussions in Ernest Hook, Prematurity in scientific discovery: on resistance and neglect (University of California Press, 2002). But don’t bother asking the HIV/AIDS enthusiasts whether an overwhelming mainstream consensus could ever be wrong — “of course all those papers published over 25 years have proved beyond doubt that HIV cause AIDS”, you’ll be told. But, then, also don’t bother asking them exactly which of all those publications contains the proof.

Posted in experts, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV skepticism, prejudice | Tagged: | 1 Comment »