HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

STOP PRESS: 40% DECREASE in HIV in Washington DC

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/03/18

Those who don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it, goes the well-known saying. Those whose memories are short are in quite a pickle; and that includes our media and the HIV/AIDS advocates who feed the media. Their preoccupation with NEW NEWS and WORRYING NEWS is coupled with lack of memory, perhaps because in the rush to hit the headlines or to ask for more funding, respectively, there just isn’t time to look even at yesteryear’s “news”.

And so it happens that the reading or listening public is misled over and over again:
“HIV/AIDS rate in D.C. hits 3 percent”, Newsday trumpeted on 17 March  , benefiting from information fed by that respectable source, the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service. This worrisome news was picked up, of course, everywhere: the New York Times (“all the news that’s fit to print”); Washington’s City Paper, of course:
How Does D.C.’s HIV Rate Compare to Other Cities? ‘. . . twice as high as New York City and five times as high as Detroit,’ . . . . wasn’t aware of a city with a higher infection rate”;
and the D.C.’s Examiner:
HIV/AIDS rate hits 3 percent in D.C. . . .  most prevalent among black men, whose infection rate more than doubles that of Hispanic males. It is most common in 40- to 49-year-olds, and it is found in every Washington neighborhood” [emphases added];
Radio is not to be left behind:
“HIV/AIDS Rate Higher in DC than West Africa” on Air America,
and of course this news is disseminated across the world, for example in Germany:
Aids wird in Washington zu schwerer Epidemie — Eine Aids-Epidemie in der US-Hauptstadt Washington hat inzwischen Ausmaße wie in einem Entwicklungsland angenommen” (AIDS becomes heavy epidemic on Washington — USA’s capital city as affected as a developing nation).

The main thing wrong here is “hits”, that insidious little word which implies that the rate has been increasing, and which is therefore the reason why it’s news. But more is wrong further into the story:
“’Our rates are higher than West Africa,’ said Shannon Hader, director of the District’s HIV/AIDS Administration who once led the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s work in Zimbabwe. ‘They’re on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya.’”
Well, of course the rates are higher than in some parts of Africa, because the rates in Africa vary from 0.1% or less in the north to >20% in most of the very south [Deconstructing HIV/AIDS in “Sub-Saharan Africa” and “The Caribbean”, 21 April 2008].
The warrant for “hits”, implying an increase, is that “The District’s report found a 22 percent increase in HIV and AIDS cases from the 12,428 reported at the end of 2006”. But an increase in NUMBERS doesn’t translate necessarily into an increase in RATE, it may just mean that more people have been tested. And in fact that’s the case here, and, as so often,

an “epidemic” of “HIV infection”
is actually an EPIDEMIC OF TESTING
.

Ignorance of the past is exemplified here by the report, from January 2008,  that “One in 20 Washington, D.C., residents is HIV-positive” . One in 20 equals 5%. Fifteen months later, the media trumpet the alarming “news” that the rate has “hit” 3%. They should rather have been celebrating the 40% decrease from 5 percent to only 3 percent in not much over a year.

With the media, it’s a lack of familiarity with the data and the history of these press releases. With officialdom, it’s that every string must be pulled to remind everyone how serious the situation is and how desperately the pertinent agencies, offices, and workers need continual infusion of funds.

Bernie Madoff  skimmed about $65 billion. The HIV/AIDS hysteria has cost several times that much over the years. To my knowledge, Madoff may have caused a very small number of deaths directly through suicide of those he fleeced and indirectly through impoverishing others with consequent ill effects on their health; but HIV/AIDS dogma has killed hundreds of thousands of people directly by means of AZT and its successors — all because the people who should do so, haven’t looked properly at the data.

*****************

Ever since “HIV” testing began, it’s been known that publicly identified gay men test “HIV-positive” at very high rates. It’s also been known that rates of testing “HIV-positive” vary PREDICTABLY with racial ancestry: blacks test higher than any other group, by factors usually no lower than about 5 and often by factors as high as 20 (black women compared to white women) or even 100 (black female blood donors compared to white female blood donors in South Africa). It’s also been reported in every study that looks at population density that rates of testing “HIV-positive” are about 4 times as high in large metropolitan areas as in rural ones.

Data supporting the assertions just made are cited in profusion in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory (McFarland 2007). This blog has recalled and augmented those data many times, for example, “HIV/AIDS theory is inescapably racist”, 19 May 2008 and others linked from there.

Washington DC is a large metropolitan area, overwhelmingly black, with the relatively high concentration of gay men found in most large cities. That’s why Washington DC has now, AND  ALWAYS  HAS  HAD, an overall rate of “HIV-positive” that’s higher by a factor of about 5 than the overall rate for the United States (~0.6%). The report that “HIV” is found in every part of Washington (highlighted phrase in one of the quotes above) already should warn any thinking person that this is not a sexually transmitted infection. The other highlighted phrase in the same quote, “most common in 40- to 49-year-olds [black males]”, is simply yet another confirmation of points I’ve made often:  males always test “HIV-positive” more often than females, typically by factors of 2 or 3; and, in every group, people test “HIV-positive” most often in the prime years of adulthood — overall 35-45, but the peak positive-testing age is higher for blacks and for males than for others (for example, “Least susceptible = most affected?! More HIV/AIDS nonsense”, 22 February 2009 ), hence 40-49 for black males rather than 35-45 for the US population as a whole.

There’s nothing unusual or alarming about “HIV” in Washington, or anywhere else. Or, rather, what’s alarming is that “HIV-positive” is taken, without further ado, as denoting active infection by a fatal pathogen; which leads to “treatment” with substances that are at the very least unpleasant in their “side” effects, more often somewhat debilitating, and at worst lethal.

53 Responses to “STOP PRESS: 40% DECREASE in HIV in Washington DC”

  1. Joe said

    Hi Henry,

    I remember this week I overheard a programme on the TV discussing the rise in some disease. In the discussion one of the contributors pointed out that it might be just a rise in testing for the disease. I don’t think in 20 years I’ve ever heard that point made when it comes to HIV. It’s almost as though the sensational idea of a global pandemic is too exciting for journalists to engage their rationality (at some level of their consciousness, they know they are not at risk). Like I said about Kalichman, he would find a far richer subject to study in looking at the mentalities surrounding HIV/AIDS, instead of thinking that it is only with regard to AIDS dissidence that one can raise the subject matter to a ‘higher’ level and analyze the actions/motives/phrasings of the people involved.

    In fact, for many years I was an academic in a ‘discipline’ called ‘Cultural Studies’. I had great hope for this subject throughout the 1980s and 1990s, as it was prepared to challenge all manner of cultural activities (art, advertising, the idea of race and racism, homosexuality, science, etc.) and examine the assumptions and motives of the people involved. I gave up on it as it descended into total relativism and failed to tackle important subjects like AIDS.

    It’s not even necessary for social psychologists like Kalichman or the people in cultural studies to take a dissident line. It is perfectly feasible for them to study the way the discourse around HIV and AIDS works, without being dissidents.

    And I know a few weeks ago I jokingly suggested that scientists might be well-served to actually use the anomalies you are highlighting as areas of study. But I actually seriously believe that is what should be done. Once again, it doesn’t require them to be dissidents in order to say “there is an anomaly here and we should study it”.

    We know that those anomalies will ultimately bring about the reappraisal and the ultimate Kuhnian revolution. And of course, science will act like there never was a time when people believed that HIV was the sole cause of AIDS.

    You’re quite right to criticise the journalists for their lack of memory and regurgitation of press releases. After all, they also were asleep on the job when it came to the current economic crisis. The investigative journalism I remember from my youth is clearly dead.

    BTW, there is a typo in your post:” with the relatively high concentration of gay men fund in most large cities”.

  2. Jonathan said

    Henry, I couldn’t resist <a href=”http://open.salon.com/blog/resistanceisfruitful/2009/03/19/stop_the_press_40_decrease_in_hiv_in_washington_dc”quoting some of your material today (with attributions and links) on a couple of my blogs, in particular the one on Open Salon.

    While this analysis is related to the AIDStream (AIDS mainstream), it transcends that regarding the loss of questioning and fact checking on the part of the mainstream media. I wanted to use it as an entree with some of the folks there to consider questioning what they think they know about AIDS. I also hope you don’t mind.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Jonathan:
      Me mind?! I’m delighted you wanted to use some of my stuff or refer to it — any time! With my thanks!

  3. Que? said

    Hi Henry,

    I’ve found your blog both extremely interesting and informative and I recommend it often with varying degrees of success. I did find this response to your 40% decrease claim but I have no head for numbers

    http://open.salon.com/blog/mg18/2009/03/21/has_dcs_hiv_rate_declined_40

    My reasoning was that a 22% increase from 2006 would mean an increase of cases in 2008 reported but my math failed me after that and I could only find stats going to 2007 in the link provided. Any thoughts? Am I missing something?

    • Henry Bauer said

      Que?
      The anonymous blogger merely confuses things by mixing numbers of cases and rates.
      Whenever rates are cited, it’s the number of HIV+ RELATIVE TO THE NUMBER TESTED. Since rates are cited for 2008 and for 2009, one can legitimately compare those directly.
      Trying to calculate between rates and numbers can’t be done without considering the numbers who were tested in each case.
      Everything is consistent with what I wrote, that the “epidemic of HIV” is an epidemic of TESTING. This anonymous blogger is typical of the HIV/AIDS groupies and vigilantes in trying to evade facts by red herrings and obfuscations.

  4. Keith said

    Hi, Henry:
    The 40% number must be a fascination for the Dept. of Health, AIDS community & press.
    In Melbourne Vic., The VAC [Victoria AIDS Council] had (threatened & forced I suspect) all of the gay saunas & clubs to plaster posters on all the walls, declaring:

    “A 40% increase in HIV”.

    This was in very large print and the posters were placed high on the walls to prevent guys like me from pulling them down.

    What most were never able to read or see (the posters were to high up on the walls) was the actual numbers and time period of measurement, in very small print.
    Would you believe it was from year 2000 to 2006 and these posters were on display from mid 2008 & are still on display in most venues.

    I can’t remember the actual figure, but it was small, especially if you looked at it on an annual basis. I thought to myself at the time these posters were placed on display, what are they on about! The rate per 100,000 is ~4-6 cases.

    No mention of the fact that ALL gay medical clinics and the Melbourne Sexual Health clinic, whenever they advise their patients it’s good to have an STI checkup, will also recommend an HIV test!

    The PBS [Pharmaceutical Benefits System] allows a free HIV test providing a white-blood-cell count (CD4 included) is also done at the same time.

    So as you point out, the numbers of those being tested (Gay men, mind you) has increased and that information is not disclosed. They prefer to play it down in all the surveys they conduct in Australia.
    In Victoria the figure for MSM [who have been tested, not the positive rate] is just under 70%, compared to ~20% in the heterosexual community.
    I would venture to say, NO heterosexual clinic or doctor would suggest to their patient that they should have an HIV test, because the straight community isn’t being morally intimidated and doctors at heterosexual clinics don’t have HIV high on their list of infections.

    The sad fact is, most gay men and minority groups are being morally intimidated by the Gay medical practices, AIDS Councils and the drug cartel. They are so convinced HIV=AIDS! When you ask them why are they so convinced, they will reply,.. very few are now dying since ART is so effective compared to the 1980s and ’90s. My doctor recently accused me of being tunnel visioned and only believing what I wanted to believe when I once again raised the question, “Where’s your proof that HIV=AIDS”. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!
    A situation which is probably not unique to my small part of the world.

    Trying to convince just about anyone that HIV does not cause AIDS and is not an STI, is an impossibility, in Australia. They are so full of it!

    ..Keith

    • Henry Bauer said

      Keith, thanks. Can you clarify “VAC” and “PBS” and I’ll insert into the comment

  5. Snout said

    “Whenever rates are cited, it’s the number of HIV+ RELATIVE TO THE NUMBER TESTED.”

    No it’s not, Henry.

    The 3% figure (2.98% to be precise) is the percentage of the entire adult population of DC who

    (a) are currently living, and
    (b) have been diagnosed with HIV.

    In round figures, 15,000 are currently living with an HIV diagnosis out of a population of a little under half a million. Around 3% in other words.

    There is also an unknown number of people who have HIV antibodies (and thus HIV infection according to mainstream science)who have yet to be diagnosed. Some estimates put their numbers at around 10,000. If that is the case, then the total number of people with HIV (diagnosed or undiagnosed) would be 25,000 or around 5% of the half million population of DC.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Snout:
      OK, I should have said, ““Whenever rates are cited, that OUGHT TO BE the number of ‘HIV+’ RELATIVE TO THE NUMBER TESTED.”
      If one merely takes the number of “HIV+” people DETECTED after testing x% of the population, it isn’t valid to divide tha number by that of 100% of the population to derive a rate, because you don’t know how many “HIV+” people there may be in the (100-x)% of the population that was not tested.
      If all the tests were carried out among the high-risk groups, then the true rate for the whole population would be lower, for example.
      The official estimates were given as 5% at the end of 2007 and 3% now. If those were derived by invalid calculations, it would merely be another instance where official HIV/AIDS numbers are not to be trusted, for quite a variety of reasons.
      The whole population of Washington DC wasn’t tested in 2007, and it wasn’t tested in 2008 or in 2009. The increase reported was an increase in the NUMBERS of HIV+ people detected AMONG THOSE WHO WERE TESTED. So the “epidemic” increase is not in the RATE but in the NUMBERS. It’s an EPIDEMIC OF TESTING — as also in other parts of the world.

  6. David said

    Keith,

    I am one dissident who does not find the Padian study to be convincing proof that HIV, or HIV positivity (whatever HIV is or is a marker for) is not sometimes sexually transmitted. For one thing, I don’t know if the couples in the study are a diverse sample, meaning that the sample included people with various levels of “risk behaviors”, including swinging couples as well as monogamous couples. I also don’t know how many did or did not use condoms with regularity. And were any gay discordant couples included?

    With this said, I think Padian provides evidence that at least in certain heterosexual couples, HIV is not easily transmitted, or may not be transmitted at all.

    Furthermore, I wonder if things that can be transmitted during sex, like certain infections, and certain fluids, like oxidized semen, may indeed lead a receptive partner to seroconvert via sex. Thus, whether HIV is or is not an exogenous virus, perhaps the factors which may lead to a positive test can be sexually transmitted, making HIV positivity (not necessarily the same as HIV infection) a sexually transmitted condition in at least some cases. I think we need to be careful before we completely disregard the possibility that sex may indeed play a role in seroconversion in at least some people, as well as immune suppression in some people.

    I think I have this view because I do have a very close friend who tested positive for “HIV” and Syphillis two years before coming down with aggressive KS and yet he only did poppers once! But he did report having many, many top partners who did do poppers. He also sufferd from anal warts, bowel problems, etc. Without the extremely promiscuous sexual history, I do not believe my friend would have tested positive.

  7. Que? said

    David,

    I haven’t read the whole study but it didn’t have any gay couples because its purpose was to find out about heterosexual transmission. They did keep track of and report condom usage and types of intercourse, vaginal, anal, oral. As for “risk behavior”, what could be considered higher risk than having unprotected sex over the course of 10 years with someone who tests HIV+?

    This is just a guess, but it sounds like your friend was exposed to poppers. I can easily see scenarios where they would get spilled. I haven’t been exposed to poppers much at all, a couple of times in college and never during sex. That’s pretty typical of heterosexuals, I think. It’s just not on our radar.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Que?, David:
      I should also have responded that the Padian study is admittedly no DISPROOF of sexual transmission, but it does represent a total lack of evidence FOR sexual transmission because none was observed during the course of the study.

  8. Michael said

    Snout and Henry:

    Snout claims the DC has “a population of a little under half a million”. Seems that such a statement itself is not true.

    Regarding the population numbers of the District of Washington, the following is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington,_D.C.

    “The District has a resident population of 591,833; however, because of commuters from the surrounding suburbs, its population rises to over one million during the workweek. The Washington Metropolitan Area, of which the District is a part, has a population of 5.3 million, the eighth-largest metropolitan area in the country”.

    If its numbers are accurate, then the percentage testing poz is still substantially lower than what is reported. But hype is nothing new in HIV-land, as the point of the hype is to control behavior and/or gain or retain funding.

    And either way you look at it, if the population statistics posted on the Wiki are correct, the claimed HIV afflicted percentages of nearly 592,000 full-time DC residents, or of the workweek population of over 1 million, or of the entire Washington Metropolitan Area of 5.3 million, shows again that the hype, the “official percentages and statistics”, and, of course, our dear friend Snout, are just plain wrong!

  9. Michael said

    Henry, you are exactly right that the only reason for any jump in rates is an epidemic of testing, including the use of HIV tests that are now banned in many clinics, and here is your PROOF.

    HERE is EXACTLY where the so-called recently noted “JUMP” in HIV positives in DC came from: In mid-2006, DC officials launched a massive campaign to test everyone in DC with the Oraquick Rapid Test.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/23/AR2006062301685.html

    The very same Oraquick Rapid Test that was BANNED IN 2005 from being used in San Francisco City clinics because of a VERIFIED 25% false-positive rate.

    I myself am interviewed in a Channel 10 video and news report on this that was done December 2005 and is on their site at the following link:

    http://www.10news.com/health/5577993/detail.html

    Just 3 months after the Oraquick Rapid tests were banned in San Fran, the CDC completely ignored this, and purchased millions of dollars worth of the test and quickly spread them to gay and black health-clinics around the country, all the while knowing full well that the tests were fundamentally flawed and that the cause of failure had NOT BEEN DETERMINED.

    This same Oraquick Rapid test that was just banned last year from NYCity clinics also for outrageous false-positive rates. Although the cause of the false-poz Oraquick tests has never been found, HIV officials continue to promote their use.

    The following is from the Washington Post, June 2006, and just 6 months after the Oraquick tests were banned in San Francisco:

    D.C. Wants HIV Testing for All Residents 14 to 84
    By Susan Levine
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Saturday, June 24, 2006; Page A01

    The District will launch a campaign next week urging every resident between the ages of 14 and 84 to be tested for HIV, an ambitious undertaking that public health officials say is critical to reversing rates of infection that are among the worst in the country.

    The citywide campaign, which appears to be unprecedented in its breadth, will target 400,000 men, women and teenagers and encourage them to learn their HIV status through an oral swab that delivers results in 20 minutes.

    Organizers want the rapid test to become as common a part of any medical exam as blood-pressure monitoring or a cholesterol check. The hope is that the results, especially if positive, would influence a person’s sexual behavior and motivate him or her to seek treatment.

    The D.C. Health Department has 80,000 tests on hand for free distribution to hospital emergency rooms, private physicians’ offices, community health programs and public settings such as the city’s detoxification center and substance abuse and STD clinics. Officials aim to exhaust that supply before the end of the year, which would mean reaching a fifth of their key population in the next six months

    So there you have it, Henry. Your VERIFIED epidemic of HIV testing that was done with Oraquick Rapid tests that were VERIFIED to give AT LEAST 25% FALSE POSITIVE RESULTS in San Fran, and has already been BANNED from use in San Fran and New York!!!

    Minor PS to Snout: YOU are a traitor to our gay community.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Michael:
      Many thanks for that crucial information; though it’s rather depressing to see the scandalous promotion of tests known to be invalid.
      Re your “minor PS”: Do you know who Snout is, to know that he is gay? I only know that his e-mails come from Australia.

    • Axel said

      How can the rate of “false positives” be determined when there are no objective criteria for determining who is or isn’t HIV positive? That is, if we can’t be sure that the tests themselves accurately reflect a diagnosis, how can we then say that only a certain percentage of results from these tests are false?

      In other words, if HIV has never been isolated and the so-called HIV tests are non-specific, then aren’t all positive test results “false” until proven otherwise?

      • Henry Bauer said

        Axel:

        Yes.

        The trouble is that different people have different views about all this, so discussions can get very confusing and confused. When commenting on mainstream claims and numbers, one has to use their terminology, so in that context, “false positive” would mean “false even by the mainstream criteria”.

      • Michael said

        Axel,

        I fully agree with you that all HIV-positive tests are false unless proven otherwise. And Henry is correct that my meaning was that 25% of the Oraquick rapid oral tests were false positive, “even by their own criteria”. I will be more careful in stating this in the future.

        An even more disgusting fact is that many people in the 3rd World are diagnosed by doctors and healthcare workers by use of only a single one of these proven ridiculous rapid oral tests before being told they are “infected”.

      • Axel,

        Henry and Michael are correct in the discussion of the OraQuick, the “false positives” alluded to by Michael are using some other “accepted” criterion for a gold standard, probably Western Blot, I’m assuming.

        They are also correct in saying that without a gold standard, all positive results are “false”, in the ordinary English sense of being misleading.

        And you are also correct in saying that without a gold standard, the rate of “false positives” cannot be determined. All the positive results are “false” (misleading), but none are “false positives”.

  10. Michael said

    Henry,

    As regards Snout, he has admitted on other blogsites that he is gay. I do not know him personally, only that he has stated that he too is a gay man.

    I myself truly consider gays such as Snout, whoever he is, who have been thoroughly exposed to all of the discrepancies in HIV/AIDS theory and to the disaster of AZT, to be very much like a Jew who survived extermination by the Nazis by volunteering as a guard at Auschwitz, telling his fellow Jewish brethren to go on in and get a nice shower while all the time knowing he was leading them to their deaths by gassing and chemical extermination.

    Though I am also aware that he is likely a true believer in an HIV threat and that his zealousness is likely driven by a moral crusade that is likely founded in both his paranoia of AIDS and a deep internalized self-loathing for being gay that would create a lack of compassionate understanding of the self-destructiveness inherent in so many self-loathing gay men. I also find that many gays seem to have a need for the boogeyman of HIV to be real, in their own efforts to keep themselves from acting out sexual addiction that they may also often be prone to. When one does not feel good about themselves, which, due to internalized homophobia, so many gay men are prone to, they often seek relief from the uncomfortable emotional pain of self-loathing internal shame via drug, alcohol, or sex addiction, which unfortunately leads them back to even greater internal shame and guilt. The threat of impending death by HIV/AIDS is oftentimes the only tool that many of these do-gooder gay men have at their disposal and they often use it to hold themselves back from such intense sexual desires and internal sexual addictions.

    A 12-step recovery program would be far more useful and helpful, but few will take such a route because it is a serious commitment and they often loathe the spiritual aspects that the 12-step programs are based upon.

    So, I do understand, but nonetheless, a spade is a spade, and should be called such. Such behavior as hiding behind the false HIV/AIDS theory to keep from addressing one’s internal propensities for sexual addiction is overall very destructive, and certainly is not beneficial to anyone either. And all who do so, just as a spade is a spade, are traitors not only to themselves, but are traitors to their community, and traitors to all of mankind at large.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Michael:
      Thanks for the answer re Snout; though I confess to not feeling able to accept as necessarily true what he says about himself.
      It’s awfully difficult not to judge people by their actions, in fact I suppose there’s no other way; yet the sort of intense emotions you describe could surely lead to “they know not what they do”… Cognitive dissonance keeps them from understanding the evidence, so they continue in their holy crusade.
      Sad and tragic as well as harmful.

  11. Michael said

    Henry, you are quite correct. It truly is “Sad and tragic as well as harmful”.

    And I believe it to be all the more reason to point it out directly to Snout, as one cannot begin to address what they themselves are not even aware of.

  12. MacDonald said

    Snout, my Friend:

    What do you think of the quality of Seth Kalichman’s scholarship?

  13. Keith said

    David,

    Sorry, the time & distance overtakes my reply to your earlier comments yesterday. Australia is on the leading edge of the world’s time zones, which tends to leave us out of the things that affect us the most.

    I see no need to rehash the Padian study again and again. Henry and many others have dissected it more than adequately. It doesn’t deal with the populations most affected by the HIV=AIDS paradigm. The figures I quoted yesterday clearly indicate that situation.

    Gays specifically are targeted by the morally indignant!, who attempt to intimidate us all.

    I would like to comment on your last paragraph. You said:

    “I think I have this view because I do have a very close friend who tested positive for ‘HIV’ and Syphillis two years before coming down with aggressive KS and yet he only did poppers once! But he did report having many, many top partners who did do poppers. He also suffered from anal warts, bowel problems, etc. Without the extremely promiscuous sexual history, I do not believe my friend would have tested positive.”

    It once again clearly confirms, in my opinion, the underlining cause of Immune Dysfunction, at least in your friend’s case. It is the same conclusion Professor Peter Duesberg arrived at after he announced his theory to the world so many years ago, and has been ignored.

    I did say the gay community doesn’t want to face the fact of its destructive behaviour! I’m not saying don’t have, or, stop enjoying sex.
    I am saying stop the DESTRUCTIVE life-style. WHICH, IN ITSELF WILL NOT STOP MANY FROM SUFFERING IMMUNE DYSFUNCTION, because as the RA site points out, there are so many more causes of this problem and many of them are brought on by the medical profession itself! (Oncology is a classic example, HIV ART is another) who ignore the immune dysfunction in the vain hope of finding a vaccine for HIV.
    It surely will reduce the numbers to the point where mainstream medicine will have to take a long hard look at their dodgy science.
    Until a paradigm shift occurs, nothing is going to change, but we have to keep hacking away at it. I doubt I’ll see a change in my lifetime. There’s way too much money involved and the reputations of so many.

    ..Keith

    • Henry Bauer said

      Keith, David:
      No question, in my mind, that Keith focuses on the crucial point, that there are so many possible reasons for, causes of, immune dysfunction that intensive investigation in each indvidual case is called for, but the medical profession isn’t taught to do that when an “AIDS” diagnosis is readily available and “treatment” directions are similarly available.
      That leaves HIV+ individuals in a dilemma without the tools to resolve it on the basis of scientific knowledge. I think Tony Lance’s extensive review of pertinent MAINSTREAM literature has made plain that intestinal dysbiosis is capable of inducing both HIV+ status and immune dysfunction, and a lesson is that healthy diet and use of probiotics is worth trying, and they have no downside at all. (Probiotics may be beneficial even when they do not necessarily reverse HIV+ status, and they should always be used if one is taking antibiotics.) Furthermore, one should probably avoid anything like colonic irrigation, cleansing, douching; Lance found studies showing a POSITIVE correlation between anal douching and AIDS, and a POSITIVE correlation among women between vaginal douching and developing yeast infections.
      Keith’s example of someone developing KS reminded me that Richard Berkowitz, who described himself as a very careful “top”, having together with Michael Callen and Dr. Josef Sonnabend written, quite literally, the first manual of safe sex (Berkowitz, Richard. 2003. Stayin’ alive: the invention of safe sex. Boulder,
      CO: Westview). Berkowitz lived in apparent good health for many years but then developed KS and low CD4 counts. The suggestion that poppers can be harmful even to bystanders may be pertinent here, there have been descriptions of club atmospheres pervaded by the odors of these volatile substances. Perhaps second-hand poppers are more dangerous, cumulatively over years, than second-hand tobacco smoke is claimed to be.

  14. Joe said

    Michael:
    As an HIV skeptic in a long-term gay relationship (7 years+), who also has had hundreds of casual sexual encounters, and who has consumed more alcohol than I could begin to quantify, I don’t think that one can indulge in such speculative psychological explanations. Unless one’s name is Seth Kalichman and one has no fears about bringing ridicule upon the subject of social psychology.

    Of my friends on ARVs, they can be divided roughly into half who consumed lots of alcohol/drugs and had lots of casual sex, and half who were serially-monogamous (having maybe 5 partners in 10 years) and were fairly abstemious when it came to drugs/alcohol. In fact, it is those who you would describe as the most addicted who were the most open to HIV skepticism. Eventually it was when all other attempts at finding non-pharmaceutical cures failed that their ill-health drove them to take ARVs.

    One of my HIV-skeptic friends contacted a group in the UK that had been HIV-skeptic for a long time, and they told him that they had moderated their position and ceased campaigning on the issue with the successes of combination therapy. Indeed, the main spokesman for that organization told my friend that his health had been declining so badly before he started taking ARVs that he believed that without them he would be dead today. Of course, that kind of statement is hard to substantiate. However I also know of at least one vocal and active skeptic who was against my friend taking ARVs who is now dead, although without knowing much about the health issues of that man, I can’t even begin to suggest that ARVs might have offered him any help. Equally, I can’t know what health issues are in store for my friends on ARVs. They are probably in for significant problems caused by the side effects. But I say without a shadow of a doubt, my closest friend was simply starving to death before he began ARVs, and I do not think he would have lived more than a few more months.

    As I keep reiterating, the issues are complex. Let’s turn to the roles of promiscuity, alcohol and self-loathing.

    I’m quite prepared to believe that gay men are culturally able (if they so desire) to have far more sex than straight men. For whatever biological or cultural reasons women do not seem to be as promiscuous — they don’t seek out sex for pleasure as much as men do. And it’s not just among straight women. My lesbian friends lament the absence of lesbian saunas and the dearth of lesbian bars in London, a city that vies with NY and SF as the gay capital of the world. Yet when lesbians in London do go out looking for sexual encounters with new women, as soon as they’ve found someone they settle down and stop going out to bars. So, there’s not enough of them circulating to support the bar/sauna culture that some of them (occasionally) desire.

    Given that gay culture in the West has existed almost entirely around bars for the last 50 or so years, it would come as no surprise if gay men in particular turned out to have worse alcohol addiction than straight people. Yet every year in the UK, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized because of their excessive alcohol consumption. (This is something that’s been growing here for the last 30 or 40 years, although it probably still doesn’t reach the levels of alcoholism here in Victorian times). Among my gay friends are some of the heaviest drinkers I know; none of them has ever been taken to hospital because of their excessive drinking. It is reasonable to suppose that it is straight people who have the greatest alcohol addiction in the UK. (One could argue that since most of the gay magazines in the UK are funded by adverts from clubs/bars, the magazines have a vested interest in not reporting on alcohol addiction among gay men and lesbians).

    I see no evidence that my lesbian friends consume less drugs/alcohol than my gay male friends. And they also believe as fully in HIV/AIDS. I remember campaigns by lesbian groups in the early 90s to get more lesbians tested, arguing that they were being left to die because no-one was testing them for their supposed infections. For some time lesbians were using dental dams as their version of condom prophylaxis. Yet we don’t have significant numbers of lesbians with AIDS. Are lesbians somehow exempt from the issues of low self-esteem you attribute to gay men?

    I also resist the idea that gay men and lesbians are filled with self-loathing. The fact that we have been able to come out and identify ourselves as ‘deviants’ shows a significant amount of courage and self-righteousnous. I never believed that in my life-time I would see gay marriage or gay partnership, yet here we are. On the whole, we gay people rarely enter the consciousness of straight people. Even if gay people are just 1% of the population, the number of gay people portrayed in the media is more like 0.01%, yet we hear no outcry from straight people about under-representation of gay people in the media.

    That we have managed to get such legal recognition in just 40 years since homosexuality was illegal in my country is astounding. And we cannot thank for their support the schools, the media, or the church Christian, Muslim or Jewish). We cannot even thank campaigning groups like Amnesty (their refusal until recently to support gay people is to their lasting shame). Such progress towards legal equality came about from the ground up — more and more gay people came out in more and more social situations, until the law-makers could pass such partnership laws without risking (or gaining) votes, because ordinary straight people knew ordinary gay people, and gay marriage/partnership was no longer an issue for the majority of voters. I know that it is still an issue in some surprising places — such as California. My belief is that even there it is only a matter of time.

    I’m afraid such broad generalizations as you are making do not hold up. There may be some truth in what you say, but you must moderate such sweeping statements. As a group of people who have been dismissed as cranks for 20 years, HIV skeptics need to be as accurate as we can be in our claims.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Joe:
      Great number of strong points, including against generalizing. But generalizations don’t need to be interpreted as applying to 100% of a given group, or with equal strength to any of those to whom they do apply to some degree.
      Yes, there’s been enormous change in the last few decades, but consider an analogy with African Americans: enromous change in about the last 40 or 50 years, yet a great number of indviduals in that group are under great stress and diminished opportunities even now.
      Admittedly the psychiatric profession has altered its official view in also about that time period, but that has surely not pervaded the conventional wisdom and the popular culture as yet. I suggest that I’m probably more interested in sociopolitical matters than most people, yet it took getting fascinated by the HIV/AIDS matter for me to beign to think and learn about homosexuality and to catch up belatedly with the psychiatric profession’s change of view. It occurred to me that during the long past, the fact that homosexual people were largely underground meant that the popular view was dominated by those gay people whose behavior fitted and reinforced the stereotypes — for gay people as well as straights. As Harvey Feierstein has cogently remarked (somewhere in LOGO channel), young gay people lacked healthy role models and parental mentors.
      So I suggest that some significant proportion of gay people nowadays still are under considerable stress, as Michael “generalized”. But of course every individual person has an individual life history and reacts to circumstances in a unique way.

      As to ARVs, remember thatDr. Juliane Sacher treats AIDS as well as HIV+ by alternative or complementary medical approaches but resorts to short courses of ARVs when things are not improving, believing that they may be effective against unidentified inflammation processes or infections.

  15. Que? said

    Michael,

    I think it’s unfair to the Jews assigned to the gas chambers to compare them to Snout. I don’t think it was voluntary and even if they did volunteer what choice did they have? At least if they lived they could tell the tale later and help bring the architects of the genocide to justice. Nobody is threatening to push Snout into an oven. That may be a little off topic but….

  16. Tony Lance said

    Thanks, Henry, for mentioning the role that perturbations of intestinal flora play both in immune dysfunction and in the increased likelihood for testing “HIV+”. I’m convinced this is a significant but poorly recognized component in what’s called “HIV/AIDS”, at least among certain subsets of gay men. Simply put, I suspect that several factors common to this population cause a depletion of essential intestinal flora accompanied by an increase in pathogenic microbes, particularly fungi such as Candida albicans. Until lately I was unaware of any research which looked at levels of these microbes in “HIV+” individuals and compared them to the general population. But recently I found a study which did just that—and the results were stunning. The researchers found that:

    —92% of the “HIV+” subjects had Pseudomonas aeruginosa in their gut compared to 20% of the general population. What’s more, the levels of P. aeruginosa were 10 times higher in the “HIV+” people.

    —100% of the “HIV+” individuals had C. albicans in their fecal samples. This compares to 40% of the general population. Even more striking, the levels of C. albicans were nearly 10,000 times higher in the “HIV+” individuals than in their “HIV negative” counterparts.

    —The measurements of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, two beneficial species, were equally illuminating. The amount of Bifidobacteria in the “HIV+” group was between 25% and 50% of that found in the general population. The levels of Lactobacilli were even lower with the researchers calling it “nearly undetectable”.

    Why would “HIV+” individuals have such an imbalance of intestinal flora? Antibiotics are part of the answer, but among gay men who have receptive anal sex there are other things that need to be considered, factors which may not be unique to this group but which are certainly more prevalent and practiced with greater frequency. These include rectal douching and the use of sexual lubricants. With regard to rectal douching, a practice that was identified very early on to be strongly associated with becoming “HIV+” and developing immune dysfunction, a 1986 study examined the effects of rectally delivered antigens with and without enemas in rabbits and discovered that enemas alone had a significant effect. The authors said “Our findings suggest that frequent enemas may predispose to infection and immunodeficiency in some homosexual males”. And there’s more evidence out there showing that something as seemingly benign as rectal douching can have profound effects on the immune system.

    Sexual lubricants, products which began to be heavily marketed to gay men in the ’70s, are also a likely source of disruption to the intestinal flora because of the damage they cause to the intestinal epithelium. Few studies I’m aware of have looked into this, but one from last year was particularly troubling. It noted that Astroglide, the top-selling brand worldwide, resulted in “severe irritation and tissue damage” in their animal testing. An earlier paper found that other lubricants, including common brands such as KY, were most likely to harm the rectal epithelium. This is something that simply is not being discussed by the gay man on the street. In fact, I’d argue that they’re completely unaware of it.

    • dog said

      Hi Tony Lance

      I read your article about intestinal dysbiosis and it was very compelling, well written and truly informative. I am happy to see you have been following up on the literature on intestinal microflora.

      Thanks for the update.

      • Tony Lance said

        Hello Dog,

        You’re welcome. And thank you for the feedback; it’s much appreciated. I continue to review the literature and I’m constantly amazed how much support there is for the idea that the gut plays a critical role in what’s called “HIV/AIDS”. More to come.

  17. Michael said

    Joe,

    Yes, to overly generalize is not going to point to answers, as it will only bring up more questions that also need to be answered. Particularly for those who have not delved deeply into this issue. I find it to be one of the greatest failings of current psychology, in that it has not been more astute to the issues of internally shamed individuals and their behaviors and health issues. And of course, as Henry points out, individuals vary tremendously in how they individually deal with the varying levels of intensity of emotional pain that is an inherent part of human shame. One also needs to be aware of the difference between healthy shame and toxic shamed personalities. This is a study that is just as deeply involved as one would wish to pursue it.

    I do believe most gays to be fairly well adjusted, or at least sufficiently able to cope with the vagaries of life, and I believe it to be a minority of gays who suffer significant “toxic” levels of internalized shame to the point of willful or subconscious self-destructiveness. Here in the States, where many gays are the children of vehemently homophobic “moral majority” parents, the damage and intense shaming of children is often intense and becomes obvious ONLY when one knows what to look for and then looks to verify the connections. Just knowing “about” others is insufficient. Even if it is your closest friends. One must know what to ask and what to look for in establishing levels/connections/patterns of shamed/guilted individuals and their health, particularly, as even your dearest and closest friends and even you yourself, if you had such, would keep these very painful emotions and self views compartmentalized in your own mind, and out of friendly conversations. Suffice it to say that if you actually wanted to kill yourself, there are not many, if any, people you would share this information with. At least not unless they recognized it and asked you directly, and provided you trusted them enough to answer honestly.

    For instance, has anyone ever confided in you that they wish they were dead? In dealing with many individuals in recovery from severe addictions, I myself have had many emotionally pained individuals share this with me, particularly as I have become more astute at recognizing and getting to the heart of such when I recognize such issues are part of someone’s inner make-up. And my experience has been that people will not share this with anyone, unless they sense a very compassionate understanding and acceptance from in the individual who they are about to share it with. I have also recognized how often internalized self-loathing for being gay is a good part of the issue.

    I also believe that the last 30 years have brought significant positive changes in lessening homophobia, but here in the States, we still have a long way to go, as is evidenced by the recent heated battle that was funded by many religious organizations to again deny homosexuals in California the right to marry.

    I can’t speak for what it is like for the majority of gays in England or Europe, who I believe have always suffered less social stigmatization and rejection by their loved ones than those here in the States, but here in the States, the stigmatization and rejection has, for many, been quite intense and often quite brutal. And note also that here in the States, something like half-a-million gay men are said to be dead from “AIDS”.

    I have personally come to know so many individuals who were outright disowned by their families for being gay, and every one of them who I had ever met who was disowned became so completely self-destructive via internal death wishes, drug abuse, AIDS drugs etc, that very few, if any are yet among the living.

    Do understand that here in the States we have a great array of many various religious organizations, including Mormons, Baptists, Catholics, Jehovahs Witnesses, etc., with many members and church leaders who are still vehemently anti-homosexual. Also remember that it was here in the States that the “moral majority” was led by those such as Anita Bryant, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and dozens of other televangelists whose primary objective was opposition to state recognition and acceptance of homosexual acts. Nearly every Sunday morning, and by the way also beginning at the very same time as the American AIDS epidemic, and throughout the ’80s and early ’90s during the entirety of the worst of the American AIDS epidemic, on one channel or another, on every major TV station, these individuals were railing against gays and declaring how much God despised them and that they were all doomed to hell.

    You will note that their followers recently succeeded in financing, promoting, and getting Proposition 8 passed in California to deny gays the right to marry.

    The gay children raised in such environments have classically been among the most self-destructive in our American gay communities, as is well evidenced by going to any primarily gay American 12-step recovery program meeting, and listening to the personal stories shared by so many individuals who came within a hair’s breadth of total self-destruction and who often admit to having earlier had death wishes directly due to their own self-loathing shame. It is common for them to fully admit they were indeed attempting to kill themselves. One also notes the vastness of health problems in those with intensely shamed personalities.

    So yes, there is a distinction and varying levels and intensities of shamed personalities, and there is a great variance in individuals’ abilities to cope with shame. Some are lightly shamed and just merely semi-self destructive once in a while, and some, unfortunately, are shamed to the point of internal death wishes. But it becomes very obvious to anyone who studies the matter that intense inner shame is very highly correlated to health and well being.

    So, while your own experience in “jolly old England” has perhaps not included such vehemently societally prevalent anti-gay attitudes, these attitudes are still quite often alive here in the States, and the effect on individual gays of internalizing the dehumanizing beliefs can be and often still is intense. However, if you should ever get to know some of the most self-destructive individuals in your inner cities, you may also be shocked at the relationship between intense self-loathing and very self-destructive behaviors.

    The connections to intensely shamed personalities and health and well being was absolutely astounding to me when I found it.

    Although few want to expose themselves to the most self-destructive individuals in our societies, perhaps you might consider investigating this issue for yourself and then begin connecting the dots on those you come to know who have inner death wishes, intense inner self-loathing or shame, and their personal health issues. Only by verifying this correlation for yourself can you really understand how and why the issue of gay men’s health and the issue of AIDS has been prominently affected by societal homophobia that is often deeply felt and internally compartmentalized as toxic shame, self loathing, and even as inner death wishes to many individuals who are completely unaware of the connection themselves.

    So, it is therefore not surprising to me that England did NOT have such intensity of a problem with AIDS and actual sickness and death among their gays, as we did here in the States. They also did NOT have the intensity of homophobia that we had and yet have here in the States. Though I assure you, that you will still find it if you look for it.

    To pursue a study of toxic levels of shame to the point of conscious or subconscious self-destruction and its effects on health, one must first define it as best as possible, to even be able to recognize it. These things are often well hidden away in the minds of those who are affected, but hidden in the compartments of human minds or not, the effects, as seen and verified in self-destructive behaviors and even in accidental death becomes obvious. People do NOT readily share, even with dear friends, such painful emotional burdens unless they are asked directly about it in compassionate ways by someone who they sense they can trust will be understanding with the information.

    Also, for your reference, there are many books available that discuss shame and point directly to the rather obvious connection of extremely shamed individuals and their health problems. If you have interest in the subject, I would recommend the following to start:

    “Healing the shame that binds you” by Bradshaw
    “Power Vs. Force” by David Hawkkins 1995

    But I caution you, Joe. You may find, as I did, that the connection to hidden levels of toxic shame and how various individuals cope with it, and its effects on health and well being may very well astound you. And you may find as I have, that modern psychology has also overwhelmingly failed us, in that it has failed to uncover and make widely known the very originating source of most mental AND subsequent physical health problems.

  18. Michael said

    Joe,

    One other thing. While you described yourself as having had much sex and much alcohol, you are describing more what I would call “intense desire” perhaps, but perhaps not even to the point of what would be called addiction. You also seem to be an individual with overall good self-esteem, and not to be suffering from intense inner self-loathing.

    It is often difficult for people who have not experienced intense self-loathing to understand how extreme self-loathing feels or exactly what it is because they themselves have fortunately not experienced it and therefore have little or no experiential understanding of it. In such cases, it can be helpful to understand it further by empathizing, or considering how you would feel “as if” such were your own lot or overall state of mind.

    What we could term as a level of human consciousness as “Desire” certainly includes addiction, and can lead to levels of shame, if one becomes ashamed of destructive or harmful effects of what they did in pursuing their desires.

    Raging desire to the point of addiction can come in many forms: desiring ever more money, more power, more sex, more drugs, more high, etc, but it is different from and not necessarily based on any foundation of self-loathing self-hating “toxic shame”. And it is a much easier cycle to break than if one has substantial underlying toxic shame also as a part of their “make-up”.

    Simple passionate raging desire, even to the point of addiction, is fundamentally different from raging desire that is founded upon a sub-structure of escaping from self-loathing “toxic shame” added to the mix.

    Toxic shame composed of self-hatred can be pure fuel thrown on the fires of desire, and thereby even leading to a greater raging addiction, as the painful negative feelings are so awful and so emotionally painful that one will often do anything and go to any extreme to try to escape from them, hence, “I just need to get loaded” and STAY that way. But such acting out when taken to extremes often leads them straight back to even greater self-oathing and toxic shame which leads them again to wanting to get even more “loaded” again. Therefore, often-times the shamed individuals cannot escape the extremities of their addictions until they fully face and let go of their self-shaming and self-loathing toxic-shame beliefs. Here is where such programs as the 12-step programs become most helpful, as they encourage digging out all of the unhealthy self-perceptions in order to understand their unhealthy effects and let go of them.

    I think there are fundamental differences of the varying levels of desire all the way to the point of intense addiction. But any underlying shame is another animal altogether from minor shame to the varying levels of “toxic shame”. Minor or even healthy shame is experienced as “I don’t feel good about myself for doing this anymore and I can do better than this”.

    Out-of-control desire also often, but not always, is supported by varying degrees of a fundamental “feeling” of wanting to escape intense self-loathing, self-hatred, shame and guilt, which are usually impossible to escape from until one lets go of or changes their self-loathing self-perception that they quite often do not even realize they have, nor do they realize how self-destructive it is, because they have usually felt this way about themselves for most of their lives.

    So, I think you can understand that there is a fundamental difference to, and varying levels of desire, as there are differences and varying levels and intensities of shame. And undoubtedly, these are great factors, among many other factors, that very much make up any individual personality, and thereby greatly affect choices, and therefore health and well being.

    No doubt I could go on incessantly and probably write a book about the interconnecting and various levels and degrees of human consciousness and emotions, but I am sure you get the point.

  19. Dave said

    I salute Joe and Michael on an informative civil dialogue about important issues, that many straights need to hear.

    One epic tragedy is that, back in 1981 when AIDS emerged, homophobia was the norm. So, it wasn’t just that you had a fatal, infectious disease — you were gay and lying about it, too. The psychological strain must have been crushing. I feel terrible for all the “AIDS” victims of the ’80s, who were marginalized, stigmatized and, then, for the coup de grace, terrorized into taking AZT monotherapy. It really is tragic.

    In any event — there is a brighter future. As a cultural phenomenom, homophobia seems to be subsiding just has racism has subsided over the past 40 years. This is a good thing. It may enable us to look at HIV and AIDS from a clear, less volatile, less emotional perspective.

    One good premise from which to start: AIDS is a syndrome describing a class of sick people, whom we’d like to help, and we really don’t care if they are gay or straight or black or white or whether the underlying disease is caused by a retrovirus, chemical toxicity, malnutrition, excessive antibiotics, too many drugs, etc, etc.

    The sole objective is to reduce suffering. Period.

  20. Que? said

    Is this right? They only performed 70,000 tests?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/16/AR2009031600891.html

    Up from 40,000 four years ago. It seems so unbelievable I’m sure I’m reading it wrong

    • Henry Bauer said

      Que?:
      As I said in response to Snout:
      “The whole population of Washington DC wasn’t tested in 2007, and it wasn’t tested in 2008 or in 2009. The increase reported was an increase in the NUMBERS of HIV+ people detected AMONG THOSE WHO WERE TESTED. So the “epidemic” increase is not in the RATE but in the NUMBERS. It’s an EPIDEMIC OF TESTING — as also in other parts of the world.”
      Please note also in the story you linked to, that the official position ALWAYS is that the “true” numbers and rates are (probably/almost certainly/surely…) greater than what was actually observed.

  21. Que? said

    It’s so obvious it’s unbelievable. When I looked for the number of new “HIV” infections it wasn’t available in the latest report, only the cumulative numbers of HIV/AIDS grouped together. New infections were specified in previous reports. Why not now?

    Rhetorical question of course.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Que?:
      Exactly; “so obvious it’s unbelievable” is the state of astonishment I was in for many months when I was collecting “HIV”-test data. And the manner in which categories in official reports would periodically be changed so that long-term comparisons were not possible. And then substituting more and more “estimates” for actual counts.

      That’s the chief problem for AIDS Rethinkers and HIV Skeptics: people can’t believe us because the official shenanigans are literally not believable for most people.

  22. Michael said

    Joe, I noticed you had asked a question that I had not answered:

    “Are lesbians somehow exempt from the issues of low self-esteem you attribute to gay men”?

    That is a great question. It is a major question that had been prominently brought up to the Institute of Medicine in the following 1999 book:

    Lesbian Health by Andrea L. Solarz

    She also asks “How does homophobia affect lesbian health and the funding of research on lesbian health?”

    At this point, in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, data began to be accumulated.

    A number of more current studies do show greatly increased health problems among lesbians compared to heterosexual women, and also a much greater percentage of drug and alcohol addiction, but I do not have any hard facts handy, although I am sure you could find much on this on the net.

    One informational piece that I highly recommend regarding lesbian studies, that does discuss studies on these very issues, has found more prior sexual abuse (significantly contributes to toxic-shamed personalities), higher substance abuse, more depression, higher body-mass index, and many other actual physical health problems in lesbian and bi-sexual women than were found in heterosexual women percentagewise. And this much more recent, 2005, found on youtube at the following link:

    So, again, this does seem to correlate overall poorer emotional health with toxic shame.

    I myself have noticed that although I do know many lesbians, I do not know of a single lesbian, though I am sure they must exist, who had been disowned by their families or removed from the military, or even lost a job due to their sexuality, while I do personally know a great many gay men who have experienced such shaming. I also notice that percentage-wise, there are many, but there are far fewer lesbians than gay men in 12-step recovery programs. I myself have not seen the issue of severe toxic shaming to be as great an issue numbers-wise here in the States as affects homosexual males. 70 percent of lesbians are found to be in relationships, yet it is the opposite for gay males, with 70 percent or more of gay males not in relationships. It therefore seems to me that the differences between gay men and lesbians are substantial, and it seems that lesbianism does not seem to carry nearly the severity or intensity of social or personal stigmatization that gay men often face.

  23. Joe said

    Until the late ’90s in the UK, the gay community-based AIDS charities refused to recommend that people routinely take a HIV test. From the late ’90s (presumably as a result of the belief that combination therapy worked), they changed and started to recommend testing. However, I’ve noticed that this has become even more pronounced in the last couple of years. For example, on this gay website they have been running their “Know Your Status” campaign for the last 6 months or so.

    This KYS campaign is found throughout the website, so is going to lead to an epidemic of testing. As this website is mostly used by people all over SE Asia, expect to see news bulletins in a year or two showing how HIV is rising dramatically in Asia.

    If you click through to the details of their campaign, they are recommending an annual HIV test for people who are using condoms 100% consistently throughout the year! And they will offer bi-monthly nagging reminders if one hasn’t updated one’s status. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that they are doing this so that the people who use this sex-site can have condomless-sex, knowing that each other are ‘positive’ (this would enable the HIV-believing owners/workers of the site to absolve their conscience about their facilitation of condomless sex, particularly since the site’s owners live in Singapore, where homosexuality is still illegal). Or maybe the whole thing is being paid for by some charitable arm of the condom industry or the pharmaceutical industry.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Joe:
      The push for more testing that you mention is also happening in the US, and WHO wants it worldwide. I’m sure they’re genuine in their belief that it would be a good thing. At the same time, business analysts are noting “worldwide markets for HIV/AIDS Testing in Millions of US$“. That story links to a page where the full report can be purchased for $3,950. Presumably the information in it offers the opportunity to make investments that will bring profits much greater than that.

  24. Joe said

    Tony:

    I do find your thesis quite interesting. However, I have some trouble with the study you reference, as their primary tool of measurement is “quantitative PCR”, which by my understanding is a contradiction in terms.

    I also think that your belief in the preponderance of rectal douching is misplaced. It may have been an American practice in the 1970s or 1980s, but I’ve never heard of it in an American context in the last 15 years or so. Furthermore, I’ve never heard of rectal douching in an Asian or European context (and the study is based on Italian subjects). I’ve personally had gay friends from all corners of the globe, and rectal douching is something that none of them have ever heard of someone doing.

    Finally, my closest friend did have severe, unknown gastric problems for a year or two prior to his immune collapse (he was totally anemic for red and white blood cells and neutrophils by then). My estimation would be that he knows more about nutrition than most people (and certainly more than most doctors). When he came down with some unidentifiable malaise in the late ’80s, he set about learning about nutrition, and identified his problem as Candida, and set about fixing it, which he apparently did. (As a young man he had spent several years on and off antibiotics due to tonsilitis which would flare up, but which the health system refused to treat because they considered it a low priority). From the late ’80s on, whenever he would take antibiotics (which he resisted), he would afterwards sort out any fungal problems that would bloom up. When his immune system collapsed and he was diagnosed with AIDS, he thought that Candida might still be implicated, and he approached one of the world’s experts on Candida and was then referred to a supposedly sympathetic nutritional doctor. That doctor did all manner of tests, but ultimately adopted the party line on HIV/AIDS (in the UK any doctor who treats someone for AIDS must work in a STD clinic, so it is no surprise that this doctor did the tests but ultimately sent my friend back into the system). He started taking ARVs believing that they were toxic and would probably kill him very quickly in his severely malnourished and weakened state, but within days he was feeling he could eat again. He accepts that such a quick response makes no sense even in terms of how HIV was supposed to have ravaged his immune system, and even the clinic say his response was almost unheard of.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Joe:
      Not enough is known about nutrition; individual cases are even harder to figure out in absence of well-established generalizations. I often listen to a radio program of the People’s Pharmacy, which mixes attention to evidence with respect for mainstream approaches as well as alternative ones. There are remarkable indvidual stories, like the man who suffered from ulcerative colitis, which mainstream medicine acknowledges to be incurable; he had part of his colon removed, but continued suffering for a couple of decades. Somehow he came across a suggestion that coconut oil could treat it. It did help, but he couldn’t tolerate the oiliness. So he switched to a few ounces of shredded coconut morning and night, and has been utterly free of symptoms for a couple of years.

      As to douching: I think a significant point to remember is that the original AIDS “epidemic” happened among a small group of gay men who were engaging in a lifestyle of EXCESSIVE practices, abetted by commercial interests like bath-house proprietors and manufacturers of devices like the “POWER SHOT” for really powerful douching.

  25. Que? said

    I have a gay friend who spoke of douching as if it were the most normal thing to do: “I have a date tonight, must douche!”
    After reading up on it and going to a HEAL meeting, now he only uses bottled water and mixes in kefir and takes a shot of kefir daily which is stronger than regular yogurt apparently, and he also douches less.
    He tested + when he was still a teenager and his attitude seems to have been that he was already + so there was no point in being as careful of safe sex as someone who was negative. This led him to catching many many STDs and taking many courses of antibiotics. Simply being told he was + made him take less care of himself.
    It seems to me that when a gay man is feeling self-destructive there are more opportunities for him to indulge that, at least sexually. A heterosexual man who just broke up with a GF may go on a sex spree or drug spree, but the fact that females tend not to be up for lots of random sex with strangers puts the brakes on excess. When my friend broke up with his last BF he told me about hooking up with an ex, going to a bath house and watching his date have oral with about a dozen guys before they went back to his place.
    Which led to yet another course of antibiotics for what may or may not have been syphilis. The doctors prescribed it just in case, making that his third or fourth course of antibiotics just for syphilis and he’s only 27.

    As for natural remedies… I cured my psoriasis eating a tin of fish a day (tuna or mackerel) for a couple of weeks. My sister stuck to the prescriptions and still has psoriasis 20 years later. It’s weird how she has no problem washing herself with coal tar but won’t eat tinned fish even after she saw how it worked for me.
    I also normally use yogurt to treat a yeast infection, but unfortunately that hasn’t worked the few times I was on antibiotics. It would be scorching but the antibiotics killed the good bacteria in the yogurt too and I would have to just ride it out. (Sorry if that’s too much information). I can only imagine what all those antibiotics do to a gay man.

  26. Tony Lance said

    Joe,

    I’m really surprised you haven’t heard mention of rectal douching recently. It’s not an uncommon practice. Last year Michael Musto, a columnist for the Village Voice, wrote a short, somewhat indelicate piece on the subject which you can read here. And a study from 2007 stated “Rectal douching in preparation for sex is common among men who have [unprotected receptive anal intercourse].” In an abstract presented at the 2007 International AIDS Society conference in Australia, the same team said “Douching behavior is highly popular among men at the highest HIV transmission risk.” And the risk associated with this act has long been known. A paper from 1985 from a study of gay men in Berlin said “Since enemas were almost exclusively performed by subjects practicing passive anal intercourse, we determined the risk of infection for this subgroup and found that it was more than six times higher than in participants performing receptive anal sex without hygiene.” [emphasis added].

    As for your friend’s rapid improvement following HAART, a possible explanation might be the anti-fungal properties of the drugs he was taking. One paper (of many) documenting this effect can be found here.

    Tony

  27. Joe said

    Michael:

    Europeans (especially English-speaking) think we know and understand America. We get so much TV and movies from there. However, occasionally we get a glimpse (either through the filter of the media or by visiting or even just communicating online) when suddenly we see something shocking and disorienting. Such things include insights into the much greater influence and visibility of Christianity in the US.

    Obviously the media buyers here only select the products that are not going to jar with a European audience. In the UK it is considered tasteless for someone to talk about their religious beliefs (in fact, for many of us it is tantamount to a sign of lunacy).

    In my 30 years as an openly gay man, I have come across just one gay man who was rejected by his family (a 15-year-old boy, who was promptly taken in and cared for by his boyfriend’s family), and one lesbian, who at a convent school was sent to psychiatrist who subjected her to electro-shock treatment for saying she was a lesbian. Both those stories (appalling as they are) refer to incidents that happened over 25 years ago.

    Every other gay person I know is integrated into their extended families (often we wish we weren’t so integrated!)

    I don’t deny the power of ostracism and shaming. But I don’t recognize the self-loathing that “many gay men are prone to, they often seek relief from the uncomfortable emotional pain of self-loathing internal shame via drug, alcohol, or sex addiction”. There are times when I despair about the shallowness and superficiality of what passes for “gay culture”, and I more or less gave up on the merry-go-round of casual sex myself quite a some years ago, when I realised I was meeting men and couldn’t remember if I’d had sex with them or not!

    I’m very wary of all attempts at explaining the motivations and psychology of groups of people. But I will concede that you may have more knowledge than me in this area, and that the situation in the UK and Europe may well be very different from the situation in the US.

    I hope this discussion has not gone too far off topic, and I thank Henry for his patience.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Joe:
      The topic of HIV/AIDS is inseparable from some of the concerns that gay men have, so any comments that seem to me substantive are not off topic from my point of view. In fact, I think “AIDS” happened as a fairly direct consequence of “gay liberation”, when a small proportion of gay men over-indulged in sex, partying, and drugs because of a sense of freedom and exhilaration.
      That this happened first and foremost in the United States would be consistent with greater earlier repression, with resulting shaming, here compared to in Europe.
      My impression is, though, that repression was fairly strong in Britain into the 1950s and perhaps later, vide Dirk Bogarde in the film “The Victim” and in real life the tragic suicide of Alan Turing in 1954 after being sentenced to chemical castration.

  28. Keith said

    Henry,
    This question is off topic, but has arisen in the course of this discussion. It’s the subject of douching which many hesitate to discuss due to the intimacy of the subject!

    If you don’t want to publish, or want to edit, I’ll understand and you may delete this line.

    I have concern with the speculation that douching and AIDS are associated.
    As a gay man who enjoys sexual intercourse both as a Top (insertive) and Bottom (receptive) partner, in my experience most gay men do not enjoy anal sex if their partner hasn’t douched, especially if it interferes with intercourse.

    It’s totally off-putting to find a partner who hasn’t douched before engaging in anal sex. Even if one defecates before sex, it does not guarantee a clean rectum. The only way to ensure this problem does not interfere with anal sex, is douching.
    It concerned me sufficiently to ask at least 2 doctors if there was any cause for concern and their answer was NO!
    Is there any research you know of which would or may confirm or enlarge your previous statement to Joe. I’m sure I’ve read a discussion which didn’t cast any doubts or restrictions on the practise. From memory it was “The Joys of Gay Sex” but I could be wrong.

    Sorry, guys and readers of the blog, but it’s a delicate subject which needs discussion especially if there is research on the subject which needs more attention concerning Immune Dysfunction.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Keith:
      See the references cited by Tony Lance in his response to Joe.
      That two doctors were not familiar with those publications isn’t surprising. It’s my impression that most medical schools don’t include much practical information about sexual practices in their curricula, and this is rather specialized stuff.
      I have no objection to matter-of-fact discussion of topics with direct pertinence to health. I don’t want anything pornographic or prurient, of course, nor any ad-hominem “flaming”. But I happen to find Lance’s work to be the best explanation I’ve come across for the early 1980s AIDS phenomenon, and of considerable continuing importance. If people aren’t aware of these plausibly valid matters, they can’t look into it for themselves. And if Lance is right, that’s of enormous practical significance.

  29. MacDonald said

    Snout has now answered my question, found upstream in this thread, concerning his opinion of Seth Kalichman’s scholarship.

    Snout’s thoughts on the subject of half-baked, fact-challenged, pop-psychology are so far-ranging and profound that he has chosen to feature them on his own show in the form of a Socratic dialogue:

    http://snoutworld.blogspot.com/2009/03/michael-geiger-applies-his-own-brand-of.html

    The cleverly employed, obliquely illustrative genre allows Snout to fly under the AIDS PC police radar while complimenting Prof. Bauer on his sober, solid analyses, contrasted with rants about internalized self-loathing as exemplified here…

    It seems unlikely that Henry Bauer is an internalized Anti-Semitic Klansman. Although nothing would surprise me about Henry Bauer. So how demented can Old Henry be? (Seth Kalichman psychologizing on his own blog)

    … and out-of-place references to Nazis and the Holocaust (see Bauer’s posts on the “German Connection” for a few illustrations of this omnipresent Kalichmaniac theme).

    In the intro to his blog piece, Snout even ventures his own admirably even-handed psychological insight. He goes on the record saying that he doesn’t think Prof. Bauer hates gays!!!

    Now I’ll say at the outset that I don’t think Henry hates gays.

    Will this radical departure from the Moore/Wainberg doctrine concerning the overt homophobia and racism of leading denialists get Snout into trouble? Will Seth Kalichman discover that Snout has written — well, borrowed, a thinly veiled parody on him?

    Only time will tell.

  30. Joe said

    Tony:

    Thanks for those references. The article on Candida and HAART is interesting. My friend agrees that it seems that the ARVs were having some immediate microbicidal effect on his body. The full restoration of his immune system (= the end of his generalized aneamia?) took maybe 18 months, and his return to health was matched by a return to ‘normal’ levels of CD4 cells, and his resistance to disease. It also took him that long to get back to his normal weight.

    Every few months I gently bring up the issue of him maybe trying life without ARVs, but he is now gripped by fear and indecisiveness. I think that the dogmatic “ARVs are toxic, pure and simple” approach of AIDS dissidents is a dangerous strategem: it means that people who may have doubts about the AIDS Establishment’s party line will reject AIDS dissidence when/if they start ARVs and if they then see improvements in their health. The other friend of mine who had some interest in AIDS dissidence before he began ARVs now just laughs in my face if I bring up any doubts at all. He’s not a particularly close friend, and after experiencing his derision several times, I just decided “OK, it’s your body, your life, your decision”.

    As for the douching references, once again, it’s news to me. I’m a versatile gay man who has lived in the four main cities of the UK, and lived in both Amsterdam and Bangkok, and in the last 20 years I have ‘successfully’ visited sex clubs/saunas/bars in the following cities: Paris, Honolulu, San Diego, San Francisco, New York, Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Tangiers, Lisbon, Budapest, Singapore, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Utrecht. (There are a handful of other international cities which I have not included because in those places I did not ‘score’). And as I say, I have friends from many different countries (including countries I’ve never visited such as Brazil, Costa Rica, Brunei, Russia and Honduras), and many of these friends became friends after being sex partners. Never once have I heard of douching as anything other than a bizarre idea.

    As to the details of the links you provided. The 1985 paper you mentioned does concern German men who performed rectal douching. However, they say (p. 599) that “visits to the USA with sexual contacts and passive anal intercourse were determinants of seropositivity. Rectal enemas were correlated with both of these parameters” (my emphasis), and they also highlight this American connection in their short introduction to the paper (‘summary’ p.597). I think this indicates that rectal douching is mostly a gay American cultural pattern, and where it occurs outside the US it is found among gay men who had sexual contacts in the US. I would have thought that Kalichman’s “Sex and Behaviour” might find that an interesting social phenomenon.

    The IAS 2007 study says “Respondents were recruited exclusively on the Internet in approximately equal numbers of European Americans, African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Pacific Islanders.” There seems to be an American bias to that sample, and since their publication of their results in Kalichman’s journal seems to be based on the same work, then the second source is probably also biased towards Americans. Furthermore, how the respondents were recruited on the Internet (specialist fora? [or specialist forums]) could bias the results of their study even further.

    I don’t take what Mundo is saying too seriously as journalism. The very tenor of it is ‘bitchy’: “For these obsessive butt rinsers, bottoming becomes a full-time unpaid job”. He’s so determined to establish that he is “a top” and disdainful of those people who are not. Maybe the group who Mundo is talking about belong to that small subset of gay men who are exclusively receptive sexually (according to the 1985 paper you cited, it is only about 10% or so who are exclusively top or exclusively bottom – p.598).

    I can see why you think that it could be a significant issue. But I hope you can also see why I think it is uncommon, and was an American gay practice that had died out. It seems to me that it is something that only a subset of “fast lane” gay men are doing. And I’ve no idea if the largest subset is those doing it or those not doing it. None of my friends on ARVs do it or have done it. Which is why I said earlier that

    Your dysbiosis thesis holds great interest for me as a possible explanation having seen my closest friend have such terrible gastric problems which doctors could not explain, and seeing that his immune collapse was surely directly correlated to his ongoing malnutrition. But as I say, he was mostly a top, and finds the idea of douching risible. And none of my other friends exhibited his malnutrition before getting a series of strange diseases.

    I’m still not convinced that syphilis may not be playing a large part in some of the AIDS diagnoses. (Most of my friends on ARVs have had syphilis.) But the Perth Group’s assertions regarding oxidative stress may also play a part. As may Duesberg’s drug hypothesis. I don’t see any conclusive evidence to show that AIDS has a single cause.

    Keith:
    I’m glad that you joined in on this subject. Are you American? I took it from what you said elsewhere in this discussion that you were Australian. Can you let us know your nationality, and give us an idea of how common you think rectal douching is?

  31. Tony Lance said

    Joe,

    Your observations with regard to douching are your reality; I can’t argue against your personal experience. My observations and my experiences are quite different, so I’ll leave it at that.

    However, I do want to address something else you wrote. You said: “I don’t see any conclusive evidence to show that AIDS has a single cause.” I fully agree, and I trust that my emphasis on douching is not misconstrued as evidence of my pointing to it being any kind of “single cause.” It isn’t. To be clear, what I’m saying is that I believe the origin of what you might call classic AIDS can be found by looking at the relationship between intestinal microflora, factors which affect these microbes, and immune health. I think there are several things—antibiotic overuse, frequent and extensive douching, and sexual lubricants— which alone or collectively may account for the propensity of gay men to be reactive on the “HIV test” and to develop immune dysfunction. Vladimir Koliadin in his 1996 paper made a strong case for the connection between antibiotic overuse and immune dysfunction, an argument which he extended in his 1998 paper addressing the causes of reactive results on the “HIV test”. And in my writing I’ve focused on douching simply because I think it’s been almost entirely overlooked and no one else, to my knowledge, has investigated it from this angle. And lately I’ve begun to look more into sexual lubricants and the role they might play in altering the composition of intestinal flora.

    In any case, given that AIDS is so broadly and poorly defined and the “HIV tests” are not detecting a specific thing, I certainly don’t think this idea can turned into a universal hypothesis used to explain every single case. Instead, I think it provides a plausible framework for making sense of some of the significant clusters—without resorting to some mysterious retrovirus.

    Lastly, since you mentioned favorably the paper I linked to which dealt with the antifungal properties of HAART, following are a few more you (and your friend) may find interesting. Go here, here, and here.

    Best,

    T.

  32. David said

    While I agree with Keith that anal sex can be very unpleasant if douching is not done by the bottom, I believe from personal experience that a healthy, high fiber diet can make movements so regular that douching is not usually necessary. The problem may come when people want to have anal sex wherever and whenever they can, whether their bowel is “clean” or not. After learning of the possible problems with douching, I learned that I could still have enjoyable anal sex with my partner, as long as I keep my diet fairly clean and wash the external area after a movement. Sorry if this offends, but I thought it might help Keith.

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