HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Archive for May, 2009

“HIV” tests are demonstrably invalid

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/05/19

The arbitrary nature of “HIV” tests was admitted already in the patent filed by Gallo, where it was stated that “absorbance readings greater than three times the average of four normal negative control readings were taken as positive”. No reason was offered for choosing these particular numbers, nor what might constitute “normal negative control” readings or why control readings should have any absorbance in the first place. It was reported, however, that under these criteria, 43 of 49 AIDS patients tested positive as did 11 of 14 pre-AIDS, 3 of 5 drug users, 6 of 17 gay men, and 4 of 15 “others”; only 1 of 186 “normal controls” and 1 of 164 “normal subjects” tested positive. Any critically minded person might take these numbers as grounds to question whether the patented test can be relied on to identify AIDS-infected people with any certainty, since the specificity is apparently less than 90% and there are also at least some false positives .

The review chapter cited in an earlier post (Weiss & Cowan, “Laboratory detection of human retroviral infection”) also explains why the sensitivity and specificity of any given test is a guess more than anything else: “In the absence of gold standards, the true sensitivity and specificity for the detection of HIV antibodies remain somewhat imprecise” (p. 150). A non-partisan observer might well translate the impertinent euphemism “somewhat imprecise” into “unknown”.

It seems that proper “HIV” testing would employ “variations in . . . approaches as they pertain to testing patients, persons believed at risk, and screening of blood donors”. Not only that: any given test might not be the most appropriate “in light of the many differences in the serological, immunological, clinical and therapeutic correlates of different HIV strains . . . biologicals derived from specific isolates should specify the strain of origin (e.g. HTLV-IIIB), and tests based upon HIV reagents should reference the precise sources” (p. 147); “certain strains of HIV [are] not well detected by some standard assays (e.g. HIV Group O)” (p. 150). “Each individual assay has its own associated special characteristics and is not interchangeable with other assays, even within a given class of test” (p. 148). Thus the FDA list indicates that approvals of the various test kits are specific for different purposes, for example, “screening and supplemental tests . . . for use with whole blood, serum, plasma, dried blood spots, urine, and/or oral fluid” (p. 150). For each type of test there has to be chosen a separate “cut-off” value, the degree of opacity above which a result would be classed as “positive” (p. 151).

There is a troubling Alice-in-Wonderland aspect to these tests. For blood screening, one wants high sensitivity which decreases the specificity, whereas for diagnosing individuals one wants high specificity which means lower sensitivity. Now, because there is no gold standard for these tests, the specificities and sensitivities have to be inferred indirectly. In practice, they are stated by the manufacturers of the test kits, not by any independent research (p. 151), and the FDA then “assesses” commercial test kits by relying “upon current blood donors to determine how a given product performs . . . in both high and low risk populations and individuals known to be infected with HIV” (p.150). The “operative assumption that ‘all blood donors are true negatives’ is false” because “some current donors are HIV-infected”. “This would lead to a paradoxical situation that perfect specificity (no false positives) would be attained only with a test that detected absolutely no [emphasis in original] positives among current blood donors. A test that was never positive would have perfect specificity (but zero sensitivity). This paradox might tempt manufacturers to adjust assays to take advantage of this specificity loophole, leading to undesirable results. Furthermore, the inclusion of true positives that get tabulated as false positives would wrongly underestimate the assay characteristics. Thus, all repeat reactives that come up in the low prevalence population (assumed zero prevalence) are tested further in current clinical trials, and, if shown to be infected by other methodologies, are permitted to be excluded from the specificity calculations. In essence, the control (very low prevalence) group is redefined post-facto to avert the preceding paradox. If the reclassification as true positive were erroneous — as could occur if there was a condition leading to false reactivity on the screening assay which also led to falsely positive confirmatory assays(s) — there would be a serious problem and circulatory in definition. For this reason, the reclassification needs to be done using methodologies as disparate as possible” (p. 161).

Let’s paraphrase this. The claimed sensitivity and specificity of “HIV” tests is “assessed” by how they perform on high-prevalence and low-prevalence populations — which have been “found” to be high or low by application of earlier (presumably less satisfactory) versions of some sort of “tests”. But since there is no population verifiably zero prevalence, blood donors are used as a proxy. However, this proxy is invalid, so some other tests need to be carried out to determine the “true” prevalence in this proxy control group. Since there’s no gold standard, though, this procedure will yield invalid answers if there are conditions other than “HIV infection” that can produce a “positive” on any of the “HIV” tests. To avoid this “serious problem and circulatory . . . definition”, “disparate” methodologies should be used.
In reality, though, all methodologies are suspect, since there’s no gold standard. They attempt to detect either antibodies presumed to be “HIV”-specific (despite actual evidence that they are not) or bits of nucleic acid again only presumed to be “HIV”-specific (despite actual evidence that they are not, for example, they share some characteristics with certain human endogenous retroviruses (e.g. Yang et al., PNAS 96 [23] [1999] 13404-8)).
Above all, though, the vitiating circumstance of conditions that can mimic a “true positive” “HIV” test is quite likely to be present in any proxy control group, given the great number of such known conditions (p. 152, Table 8.2):

“False Positive Results
. . . Recognized Problems include:
a. HLA antibodies (. . . poses a diagnostic question for multiparous women and others with repeated HLA exposures). [Here’s one reason why pregnant women, and women who have borne children, test “HIV-positive” at so high a rate — they may evidently be false positives; how often are the women made aware of that?]
b. Repetitive freeze/thaws (e.g. some stored specimen). [What does this admission mean for claims of having found “HIV” in decades-old samples and thereby tracing the origin of the “epidemic”?]
c. Other retroviruses. [Indeed, the last section of this review describes cross-reactions of “HIV” with HTLV-I and -II. It has also been reported that products of some pro-viral sequences of human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) can cross-react with products of “HIV” (see Yang et al. cited above). Perhaps Duesberg’s suggestion that “HIV” is a passenger virus is compatible with the notion that “HIV” is an HERV.]
d. Heating of specimen.
e. Autoantibodies . . .
f. Hypergammaglobulinemia, “sticky sera” (e.g. specimens from Africa). [Is this why “HIV” is so endemic/epidemic in Africa?]
g. Cross-reactive proteins (e.g. 25-30 Kd) . . .
h. Non-specific IgM binding (e.g. after vaccination; possibly also related to acute or inflammatory phase responses . . . )”. [In other words, just about any inflammation or vaccination can result in a positive “HIV” test. Indeed, this has been separately and specifically reported for flu vaccinations and anti-tetanus shots.]

Recapitulating:
To validate “HIV” tests in acknowledged absence of a gold standard, procedures are followed that are invalid if those tests pick up conditions other than “HIV infection”. Many such conditions are known. It is therefore highly unlikely that “HIV” tests could be properly validated.

Nevertheless, these “tests” are used to label individuals “HIV infected” whenever the attending clinician has a strong suspicion that this may be the case, for the most important part of “testing” comes before the actual test, it’s the “pre-test probability”. As previously noted, “HIV” tests are self-fulfilling prophecies.

Clearly, submitting to an “HIV” test is akin to buying a ticket in a lottery whose “prize” is stress, ill health, and iatrogenic harm. Little wonder that Weiss & Cowan emphasize that, because of the uncertainties and implications of “HIV” tests, “a written informed consent procedure in advance of testing was initially recommended in 1985 . . . and is now used by many to document pre-test discussions” (p. 148). One wonders just how many those “many” really are; I’ve never seen reference to it by people who were misdiagnosed and iatrogenically harmed by antiretroviral drugs, Audrey Serrano, say.

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

Weiss and Cowan are to be commended for their detailed, documented, evidently honest review of the state of the art in “HIV” testing. From the viewpoint of academic research, this is an exemplary review. But HIV/AIDS is not an academic matter and it’s not just a research enterprise. Millions of people have been pronounced “HIV-positive” and thereby put in fear of imminent death. Hundreds of thousands at least have been fed toxic drugs as purported treatment for the inferred “infection”. Large numbers of pregnant women, and their babies, have been fed drugs known to cause mitochondrial damage, which produces a lifelong burden of inefficient physiology on those babies.

This scale of iatrogenic damage has been done and continues to be done by reliance on “tests” known to be invalid. It is a cause for wonder, why academic researchers who can so honestly describe the flawed nature of these “tests” did not pen even a single sentence of warning about the consequences of accepting “test” results as valid.

Posted in experts, HIV risk groups, HIV skepticism, HIV tests, HIV/AIDS numbers | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

Thinking so, makes it so

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/05/16

Talk about “placebo-controlled trials” is too easily taken to imply that “placebo” means “doing nothing”. That is far from true. In reality, placebo describes the phenomenon that unconscious and not-understood emotional or mental processes can produce powerful physical effects. A person given a dummy pill and told that it is a drug will often experience the feelings that the drug would induce. Someone given a drug that lowers blood pressure, say, who is told that it raises blood pressure, may actually experience a rise in blood pressure: “placebo” can actually be more powerful than physical medication.

Mainstream disciplines are beginning to recognize the power of the placebo response. The National Institues of Health held a workshop in 2000, “The Science of the Placebo: Toward an Interdisciplinary Research Agenda”. Several books by doctors, historians, and psychologists have reviewed what little is understood about the matter:

Arthur Shapiro & Elaine Shapiro, “The powerful placebo — from ancient priest to modern physician”, Johns Hopkins, 1997

Anne Harrington (ed.), “The placebo effect–an interdisciplinary exploration”, Harvard, 1997

Howard Brody with Daralyn Brody, “The placebo response: how you can release body’s inner pharmacy”, Cliff Street Books, 2000

Whereas the term “placebo” is widely recognized, its opposite, “nocebo” is not. Logically speaking, however, it seems likely that, if thinking one’s health will improve can tend to make that happen, thinking one’s health is declining can tend to make that happen.

Perhaps the best known such phenomena are in voodoo, where such rituals as sticking pins into an effigy representing an actual person can cause harm to that person, and in the Australian aboriginal ritual of bone-pointing, where a person waking to find a certain arrangement of bones in his vicinity recognizes it as death-causing and subsequently does die. Our culture tends to admit some efficacy for the placebo response but to consign nocebo as effective only among primitive people. Logically speaking, though, whatever mechanism can translate belief into physiological action can surely do it in both directions. A recent article in the New Scientist is a sensible discussion of nocebo with a few examples:
Helen Pilcher, “The science of voodoo: when mind attacks body”, 13 May 2009.

Nocebo is of clear pertinence to “HIV/AIDS”, given the psychological impact of a diagnosis of “HIV-positive” or of  “AIDS”, as several AIDS Rethinkers have emphasized at various times — Michael Ellner, Charles Geshekter, Neville Hodgkinson, Michael Geiger, Casper Schmidt, among others. But while a few mainstream researchers are taking placebo seriously, that remains to happen with nocebo.

Posted in clinical trials, experts, HIV as stress, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV skepticism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Kalichman disclaims and makes AD HOMONYM attacks (Does illiteracy matter? — Kalichman’s Komical Kaper #9)

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/05/14

Among statements in Kalichman’s opus that particularly caused my eyebrows to lift was this one:
“I have also tried to avoid ad homonym attacks by focusing more on what the denialists are saying than who they are” (xv).

What on earth does he mean? Avoiding attacks directed at “homonym”, which means “same name”? Is he trying to say something about guilt by association, like about names that sound German?

But from the context, I fear he meant “ad hominem”, which means “directed at a person”.

Google reveals that there is even a “dictionary” to be found that permits this mis-spelling: the Urban Dictionary — “Urban Dictionary is the dictionary you wrote” — and thereby, of course, aiming for the lowest common denominator, just as insidiously unreliable as Wikipedia, say, or the web sites where students can post their spleen-stimulated “evaluations” of their professors.

Naturally enough, since “you” wrote it, Urban Dictionary provides no etymology to explain how any given word derives from earlier languages. However, a decent high-school education (but that was in another country, and that wench is also dead) left me with a rudimentary awareness of Greek and Latin roots of English words and of commonly used phrases from those dead languages:
“Ad” is Latin, encountered in many commonly used expressions: “ad absurdum”, “ad hoc”, “ad infinitum”, “ad lib”, “ad nauseam” . . . .
“hominem” is also Latin, from the root “homo” (MAN), here in the accusative case following the preposition “ad” (TO as in TOWARD).

By contrast, “homonym” is marked by the “nym” as derived from Greek, as in words with which Kalichman/Newton surely ought to be familiar —  “pseudonym”, “anonymous” — as well as other such common words as “acronym”, “eponymous”, “patronym”.
For “homonym” the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) offers the meanings
“1. a. The same name or word used to denote different things.
b. Philol. Applied to words having the same sound, but differing in meaning: opp. to heteronym and synonym.
c. Taxonomy. A generic name or a binomial that duplicates a name attached to a different plant or animal.
2. A person or thing having the same name as another; a ‘namesake’.
Hence †ho’monymal a., agreeing in name.”

Thus “homo” in “homonym” doesn’t stand for “man”, it stands for “same”, as in “homogeneous”, for example.

The writing of “homonym” instead of “hominem”, as well as the use of a Latin preposition with a Greek noun, displays (1) illiteracy but also (2) carelessness. Nothing like this should appear in a properly edited book from so prominent and well-established a publisher as Springer. There are all too many other places in this book where fact-checking makes itself sadly obvious by its absence, even in such rudimentary matters as checking that material inside quotation marks is actually in the quoted source (Caveat lector! — Kalichman’s less-than-Komical Kaper #7, 3 May 2009).

What’s most substantively wrong here, however, is that the claimed avoidance of “ad homonym” attacks is not at all in evidence in the book’s text, which is actually replete with ad hominem material. Just scanning the text for mentions of my name immediately turns up the following:

“Bauer has never done AIDS research. In fact, he has never done any scientific research. Henry Bauer is a pseudoscientist’s pseudoscientist!” (71)
“Henry Bauer is also one of the world’s leading authorities on the Loch Ness Monster. That is right, the Loch Ness Monster!” (71) [and there again is that Newtonian penchant for exclamation marks]
“it would be hard to believe that he [Bauer] was ever taken seriously by his colleagues given that he had not conducted scientific research and delved deeply into the world of pseudoscience” (72)
“It is not so remarkable that Bauer has contributed to AIDS pseudoscience, given his long and strange career. Bauer had hoped that his book would land him an interview on the Today Show and change the course of AIDS research and treatments. What is most remarkable about Bauer is how rapidly denialism has embraced him and taken up his conclusions. Bauer offers a vivid example of how denialism indiscriminately embraces anything that agrees with it” (74)
“Conservative groups have also embraced AIDS pseudoscientist and Nessie expert Henry Bauer” (141)
“Bauer also has a history of homophobia” (143)

I submit that those statements are about who I am, not about what I’ve said or written about HIV/AIDS. I submit further that they would be judged by most people as derogatory rather than neutral, in other words, ad hominem remarks. Indeed, since several of them are blatantly counterfactual, I think many people might even judge them to be libelous.

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

Some of my friends claim that I have an unfortunate penchant for attempted humor and flippancy on serious matters, and perhaps I’ve let that carry me away here over what might seem substantively trivial matters like the spellings and meanings of words. I promise to get back to pointing to actual substantive falsehoods in Kalichman’s book, like the characteristics of scientists, my German connection, how to test hypotheses, ignorance about science and pseudo-science, and more. I’ll also have more to say about attributing to me what I’ve never said or written.

But using words incorrectly is not so trivial a matter:

Neither can his mind be thought to be in tune,
whose words do jarre;
nor his reason in frame,
whose sentence is preposterous

(Richard Mitchell [“The Underground Grammarian” ] liked that quote so much that it became the motto of his newsletter. All his writings are now available on-line, and I recommend them in the strongest possible terms for clear thinking by an independent mind as well as uproarious commentary on butcherings of the English language, particularly at the hands of social scientists, bureaucrats, university administrators, and the politically correct.)

About ad hominem attacks there are also two pertinent and substantive points to be made:
1. What’s really wrong with resorting to ad hominem statements — personal attacks on people you disagree with — isn’t that they’re uncivil or that they might offend someone, it’s that they are IRRELEVANT to the subject under discussion. It’s a fact of human life that some people whose behavior might be widely regarded as despicable can nevertheless be correct about matters of fact, or science, or economics, or medicine, or anything else; and people who are universally admired for their integrity and regard for others can nevertheless be entirely wrong about matters of fact, or science, or economics, or medicine, or anything else.
Moreover, people who are right about one thing may be wrong on another. I suspect there are people who are wrong about everything, but no one is right about everything.
Ad hominem statements are merely invalid attempts to invoke guilt by association.
2. Why do people resort to making ad hominem attacks? Because they can’t win an argument on the merits of their case. Frustrated and infuriated, the believers lash out at those who reveal that their Emperor is nude.  AIDStruthers can’t cite a set of specific publications to prove that “HIV” tests detect active infection, and they can’t cite a set of specific publications to prove that “HIV” causes AIDS; so they try to “kill the messengers” who bring these facts to public attention.

Posted in experts, HIV skepticism, Legal aspects, prejudice | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 23 Comments »

“HIV” tests are self-fulfilling prophecies

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/05/10

I’ve become accustomed (though not inured) to the fact that what’s publicly disseminated about HIV/AIDS by official agencies and white-coat-credentialed gurus is vastly different from what the research literature has to say.

Rarely if ever do the media mention that a positive “HIV”-test may not signify active infection by a pathogenic immune-system-destroying retrovirus. The research-level literature tells an entirely different story, however; it states accurately that no “positive” “HIV”-test — antibody, antigen, or nucleic-acid (“viral load”) — diagnoses active infection.

The unwary layman would be — or should be — further shocked upon discovering that “HIV” tests are to an alarming degree self-fulfilling prophecies. The fundamental reason for this is that there is no gold standard for any of these tests; there is not even a universal standard for what counts as “positive” on any given test. “HIV” tests are not yes-no, all-or-nothing, positive-or-negative.

The material cited below comes from “Laboratory detection of human retroviral infection” by Stanley H. Weiss and Elliott P. Cowan, Chapter 8 in AIDS and Other Manifestations of HIV Infection, ed. Gary P. Wormser, 4th ed. (2004). Weiss has worked in this field since the beginning, having published since 1984, including with Gallo. At least* 38 of the 429 cited sources in this chapter are co-authored by Weiss. He can surely be accepted as being as knowledgeable, as authoritative about this, as anyone could be.
[* “at least”: The convention adopted in this volume, common in the medical-science literature, is to give only the first 6 names of co-authors and then “et al.”, so Weiss may be co-author on more than 38].

There are “variations in testing approaches . . . [with] patients, persons believed at risk, and screening of blood donors” (p. 147). A given technical result will be interpreted as “positive” or “negative” or “indeterminate” depending on who is being tested:
“A pre-test probability assessment is required whenever test results are to be meaningfully interpreted” (p. 149; emphasis in original); “An essential part of the testing process takes place even before testing is done; that is, the estimation of the probability of infection (the ‘pre-test’ probability). This is necessary in order to interpret a test result appropriately, whatever the purpose — whether it is clinical, counseling or research — and can dramatically impact the predictive value after testing (or ‘post-test’ probability) (p. 159; emphases added).

In other words, “HIV” tests don’t distinguish with certainty between presence and absence of “HIV” antibodies or of “HIV” antigens or “HIV” RNA or pro-viral DNA. Part of the reason is that lack of a gold standard. With antibody tests, another part is that “the precise spectrum of component antibodies remains undetermined” (p. 155); and a further part — sufficient in and of itself — is that the most commonly used first test, ELISA, involves the measurement of the intensity of a color, which can be anything from transparent to opaque. The possible variations in that range are infinite, there are no discrete steps. Therefore there has to be chosen an arbitrary “cut-off”: a decision has to be made that opaqueness above a certain degree shall be regarded as “positive”. An analogous uncertainty with the Western Blot is the need to decide which protein bands and how many of them shall be regarded as a positive; different laboratories and different countries have adopted different opinions on this score (summary at p. 93 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory).

Every “test” report should therefore be presented in terms of a probability, not “positive” or “negative” (or “positive”, “negative”, or “indeterminate”). Every individual receiving a test report should be counseled on this score; yet innumerable anecdotes indicate that, instead, most people are told that they are “positive” or “negative”. Perhaps this constitutes medical malpractice?

A little table on p. 149 underscores the uncertainty: In low-risk populations (prevalence of “HIV” 0.1%), a “positive” “HIV”-test-result has only about 1 chance in 6 of being a “true” positive as opposed to a false positive; similarly, where the prevalence is 99.9%, a negative test-result has only about 1 chance in 6 of truly being negative.

Even these seemingly precise statements of probability mask further uncertainties, or a circularity in reasoning: after all, the purported prevalence in any actual population can only have been determined on the basis of some sort of “HIV” tests. Still, the significant import is clear enough and independent of numbers. Someone in a low-risk group will be given the benefit of the doubt whenever at all possible. On the other hand, a person regarded as at high risk — a gay man, an African-American, a drug abuser — is likely to be told that he is “HIV-positive”, because a negative or indeterminate test result based on an arbitrary cut-off point is likely to be ignored, or repeated testing will be done in expectation of eventually getting a “positive”: “in persons in whom HIV infection is strongly suspected, additional testing may be necessary even if the initial screening test is negative” (p. 154). “When the prior probability is high (as for persons at high risk from hyper-endemic regions or high risk groups), the positive predictive value of a reactive or strongly reactive EIA is extremely high . . . . Although a confirmatory assay, such as a WB, may give an ‘indeterminate’ result based on simple application of some generic criteria . . . , the use of alternative interpretive criteria or additional tests can often be utilized to confirm the diagnostic impression” (p. 160).

As I said, “HIV” tests have the characteristics of self-fulfilling prophecies. If the physician believes you’re in a high-risk group, indeterminate tests and failure of confirmatory tests shouldn’t dissuade him from looking for ways to pronounce you “HIV-positive”.

Weiss & Cowan give an actual example: “a patient in the U.S. with clinical AIDS who had multiple negative HIV-1 screening tests” [the most sensitive kind!]. Because the person had come from West Africa where there’s a lot of HIV-2, testing was done for that. “In the U.S., HIV screening now routinely includes HIV-2”. The pertinent references come from the late 1980s, before the realization in the early 1990s that so many AIDS patients are indeed “HIV”-negative that a new disease had to be invented, “idiopathic CD4-T-cell lymphopenia”, which might equally and validly be called “non-HIV AIDS”.

The concluding sentences of this review article are commendably cautionary, and one might wish that every practicing clinician, AIDS specialists in particular, would take them to heart:
“The context within which any test is used is of critical importance to its interpretation. No test, per se, should be the basis for diagnosis on its own, but rather a test is merely an aid in correct diagnosis. The practitioner must use test results in the context of a clinical picture to reach an    accurate diagnosis” (p. 172).

Since the late 1990s, though, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have classed as “AIDS” any person who is “HIV-positive” and has a CD4 count below 200, even in absence of any “clinical picture” (since there need be no manifest illness). About two-thirds of those now being told they have “AIDS” fall into this category, and so, according to Weiss & Cowan, should not have been so diagnosed. Of course, if “clinical picture” includes that a healthy person is gay or African-American, and therefore in a high-risk group, that apparently “justifies” a positive diagnosis.

As I’ve said, “HIV” tests constitute a self-fulfilling prophecy; a dreadfully self-fulfilling prophecy.

Posted in experts, HIV risk groups, HIV skepticism, HIV tests, HIV/AIDS numbers | Tagged: , , , , | 44 Comments »

HIV/AIDS refuted, according to Kalichman! — Kalichman’s very-Komical Kaper #8

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/05/07

Among the many surprising — not to say startling — features of Kalichman’s book, “Denying AIDS”, is his acknowledgment in so many places that “denialists” have refuted HIV/AIDS theory:

“Merely raising these questions refutes AIDS science” (p. 22).
Yes indeed.

“In 2007, more than 20 years since she first refuted AIDS science, Papadopulos-Eleopulos . . . .” (180).
What’s going on here? I thought Kalichman believed HIV to be the cause of AIDS and that he says we’re wrong in denying it. Now here he is, saying it was refuted more than two decades ago!

“John Lauritsen is among the earliest critics of how CDC reported HIV/AIDS statistics. He refutes sexual transmission of HIV . . . .” (184).
And rightly so, of course; as also set out in my book, HIV/AIDS statistics from the CDC do refute the notion that HIV is sexually transmitted.

“most current denialists refute HIV as the cause of AIDS” (12).
Well, of course we continue to  do it, since Papadopulos did it so long ago.

“Denialists refute new facts” (8).
Well, I have to agree; we often refute “facts” claimed by defenders of HIV/AIDS theory. But why is Kalichman giving us credit for it, when he seems to be claiming that we’re wrong?

“Crowe is a signing author on numerous letters and documents refuting HIV/AIDS science” (185).
Yes indeed, there are numerous documents that refute HIV/AIDS “science”.

And so it goes, time after time:
P. 21 — “There are support groups for people who have tested HIV positive and refute their medical diagnosis”. They know they’re not infected, in other words.
P. 38 — “denialism refutes science conducted by thousands of researchers”. Well, not quite, we refute much of the BAD science conducted in HIV/AIDS research.
P. 50 — “this  same  research  finding  refutes  the  effectiveness  of  HIV  treatments”. Yes, undoubtedly, I have to agree.
P. 100 — “The following example refutes the known disease causing pathways of HIV”. Well, I wouldn’t put it quite like that, I’d rather point out that HIV/AIDS researchers have never agreed on exactly how HIV is able to destroy the immune system. But Kalichman’s statement will be understood well enough by most readers: the supposed disease-causing pathways by HIV have been shown not to be disease-causing. No disagreement from us.
P. 128 — “Mbeki refutes the idea that HIV/AIDS is the major killer in Africa”. Absolutely, and he’s not the only one.
P. 140 — “a fringe group emerged that refuted the established views of AIDS, including rejecting that HIV causes AIDS”. Isn’t it inappropriate to call it a fringe group since it was able to refute HIV/AIDS orthodoxy?

But what about “Denialism actively propagates myths, misconceptions, and misinformation to distort and refute reality” (8). Refute reality?! What a nice trick. “Denialism” is powerful indeed.

Or could it be that I’ve been mistaken about the meaning of “refute”?

No, the dictionaries on my shelves (1991 Random House Dictionary; 1992 [3rd ed.] American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language) give the same meaning as I’m familiar with: to prove that something is false, or to prove someone is in error. What’s more, in quite a few other places, Kalichman properly uses “refute” in that sense:
P. 28 — “He [Duesberg] refuted his own work on retroviruses and rejected the concept of oncogenes being sufficient to cause cancer”.
Yes, Duesberg showed that his previous notion had been wrong and modified his view to accommodate the evidence, just as scientists are supposed to do.

P. 32 — “he refutes the idea that oncogenes cause cancer”.
Exactly, the evidence points elsewhere.
P. 48 — “Duesberg would refute the evidence”.
Yes indeed, not only would but did.
P. 49 — “researchers refute this misinterpretation”
P. 76 — “The AIDS pseudosciences reviewed thus far are easily refuted by the medical facts of the disease”.
Huh? What about the refutations by AIDS “denialists” cited above from pp. 8, 12, 21, 22, 38, 50, 100, 128, 140?
P. 85 — “The results flat out refuted Gisselquist”;
and also pp. 136 (“a brief statement designed to refute the claims of Duesberg and the other denialists”), 146, 150.

The Oxford English Dictionary [2nd ed., 1989-97] offers a possible resolution of this conundrum of very different meanings of “refute”:
“    5. trans. Sometimes used erroneously to mean ‘deny, repudiate’.” [Note erroneously]
Something like that erroneous usage was apparently not uncommon 500 years ago:
“    †1. trans. To refuse, reject (a thing or person). Obs[olete]. rare
1513 BRADSHAW St. Werburge I. 1535 Her royall dyademe and shynynge coronall Was fyrst refuted for loue of our sauyoure.”

But it’s really confusing to see the same word used correctly and incorrectly, in about equal proportions, throughout this book.

I suppose Kalichman, and his editors at Copernicus/Springer, might seek support once more from that Urban Dictionary:
“    refute
To disagree, or assert the opposite.
(The original meaning was to DISPROVE something: ‘He refuted their claims by referring to widely accepted experimental results’. But these days journalists who are unwilling or unable to assess the strength of an argument, or to check facts, just write ‘refute’.)
‘The Prime Minister refuted the suggestion that he was a fool, by saying that he wasn’t.’”

Aha! The Urban “Dictionary” collects and seeks to enshrine usages that stem from lazy journalists. Just as reliable and trustworthy as Wikipedia, as I’ve said before.

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