HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Promises, promises…. “Possible cure for ‘HIV’”

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/06/23

One of the worst aspects of the media coverage of “science” is the explicit aim of bringing the latest and most exciting “news” from the realms of science. To disseminate what has just been announced by some scientist or laboratory or institution of science or medicine is to collaborate in an exercise in self-serving spin which, all too often, arouses totally unwarranted hopes.

An infamous and notorious instance was the “discovery” of “the” gene that “causes” breast cancer. Untold numbers of women will have expected genuine deliverance from having to worry about contracting breast cancer, only to be thoroughly disappointed; and some number of women continue to undergo “prophylactic” removal of the mammaries if they are told that they have that gene. The unwarranted hope and subsequent disappointment has been well described by Elisa Segrave (“Still living in hope”, Sunday Times [UK)], 9 July 1995, section 7, p. 5 — review of Kevin Davies & Michael White, Breakthrough: The Quest to Isolate the Gene for Hereditary Breast Cancer, Macmillan).

In general usage, “science” has the connotation of reliable. If you want to convince people, you don’t say, “It’s been proven”, you say, “It’s been scientifically proven”. If you want to demolish someone’s claim, you can’t be more emphatic than to say, “That’s not scientific”, or perhaps, “That’s not science, that’s pseudoscience”.

Nothing new in science is reliable. Nothing that’s “news” in science is reliable. Real science isn’t news.

The fact of the matter is that reliable “science” doesn’t emerge fully formed from some experiment or statistical survey. There’s all the difference in the world between science now being done, “frontier” science, and the stuff — “textbook science” —  that’s been winnowed away from much chaff through running long gauntlets of being tested and critiqued.

So it strikes me as criminally irresponsible when the media propagate wild and wishful speculation by researchers who are anxious for the spotlight in order to impress their sponsors and potential funders, as when it has to do with a “possible cure for HIV”:

Treatment of HIV ‘sanctuary’ cells creates path for possible cure: researchers (Amy Minsky, Canwest News Service 21 June 2009)
Scientists have found a new way to fight — and possibly eradicate — HIV, according to a study released Sunday by a team of Canadian and American researchers.”

No doubt in order to emphasize how truly scientific and reliable this news is, that “news” item includes an impressive photograph; whose content and credit line mark it as a “stock” photo having nothing to do specifically with the text of the article or the claim reported in it.

Promises

Treatment of HIV ‘sanctuary’ cells creates path for possible  cure: researchers
Photograph by: Guang Niu, Getty Images

“’For 15 years we haven’t had a clue,’ said Dr. Rafick-Pierre Sekaly. ‘But now, we do’.”
What could sound more worthy of trust? Or more likely to arouse hope among “HIV-positive” people who believe the HIV/AIDS story?

“The new ‘weapon’ will combine antiretroviral therapy, which is the current treatment for HIV/AIDS, with a new one the researchers are calling an intelligent targeted chemotherapy.”
Wow! “Intelligent” targeting, no less! At last the jackpot has been sprung!

“A study will begin in September to test the validity of these results. If targeted chemotherapy successfully eliminates HIV, researchers say the feasibility of the treatment will be determined over the next two to three years, with medication becoming available a few years after that.”
So it’s going to another half-a-dozen years? So what, a real cure is worth waiting for, and we can hang on until then with the drugs which, after all, so we’re told, are getting better all the time  and easier to tolerate.

Of course, there are some caveats that excited readers might miss or not fully appreciate:
“the new treatment’s success will be contingent on a patient’s positive response to antiretroviral therapy. . . . Some HIV-positive patients do not respond to antiretroviral therapy. For those patients, zapping the cell will not likely yield any significant results.”
And even when they do “respond” — i.e., when the meaningless viral-load test purports to show “control” of “the virus” — the side effects of the antiretroviral drugs hardly make this a promise of the sort of cure that ill people look for, namely, a return to genuinely trouble-free health.

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

ScienceDaily, “Your source for the latest research news”, seemingly presents itself as the place to get reliable information. It covers the same story in the same way:
“Approach For Possibly Eradicating HIV Infection Discovered”
and makes it seem properly trustworthy by mentioning that the relevant “discovery” is appearing in Nature Medicine online and later in the print journal.
No doubt the researchers see nothing wrong in releasing this “news” because of their care to point out that “this is a preliminary finding”; but that caveat loses its import under the weight of the immediately following “we are hopeful that this research discovery will guide us in eradicating HIV infection in the body”.

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

Voice of America did not hesitate to tell the world:
“HIV Hiding Places Found”, by Joe DeCapua —
“There’s been a breakthrough in AIDS research”.
Great! A breakthrough! That’s what we’ve all been waiting for, for about 3 decades now.

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

I commented in an earlier post on a similarly misguided arousing of hopes for an anti-“HIV” gene-therapy based on the claimed immunity conferred by the CCR5Δ32 gene, even though the actual geographic distributions of “HIV” and of CCR5Δ32 fail to support the notion that it confers immunity.  That trial is still going ahead, of course.

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28 Responses to “Promises, promises…. “Possible cure for ‘HIV’””

  1. SkepticalThough said

    Wow, more chemotherapy, I can’t wait! More vomiting, diarrhea, chronic headaches, muscle wasting, and other new and hellish side-effects yet to be discovered. This reminds me of the valproic acid discovery claimed several years ago. With some research, I discovered the reason why valproic acid was shelved as a treatment for psychiatric disorders was because of the horrendous side-effects. And they wanted to give this drug to HIV patients, patients, who, keep in mind, already no doubt were on a plethora of drugs that made them desperately ill. I have a novel idea, why don’t you just do some research to prove how HIV kills T-cells and forget about loading up the population with one more toxic substance?

    • Henry Bauer said

      SkepticalThough:
      You’re not supposed to mention that no one knows how “HIV” is supposed to engineer the destruction of T-cells.

      Anyway, “everyone knows” that it does, and those 150,000 published peer-reviewed articles about viral mutation, drug benefits, etc., can’t all be barking up the wrong tree, can they?

  2. onecleverkid said

    “…the history of our race, and each individual’s experience, are sewn thick with evidences that a truth is not hard to kill, and that a lie well told is immortal.”
    –Mark Twain, “Advice to Youth”

  3. James Foye said

    This statement

    “Some HIV-positive patients do not respond to antiretroviral therapy. For those patients, zapping the cell will not likely yield any significant results.”

    literally had me laughing so hard I almost fell out of my chair.

    Let’s give everybody who tests HIV positive (never mind all the reasons that could happen) toxic drugs.

    If they don’t die, let’s give them chemotherapy. Maybe that’ll kill them.

    • If they don’t die, let’s give them chemotherapy. Maybe that’ll kill them. In Setswana we say “Leso legolo ditshego”. Its a laugh in the context of this statement below, we all know its not funny, but I am laughing.

      “Treatment of HIV ’sanctuary’ cells creates path for possible cure: researchers” (Amy Minsky, Canwest News Service 21 June 2009)

      These guys are so convinced that people with HIV+ results will settle for the double-headed poisonous snake ARV and chemo!

      This will be genocide. They get the headlines because they are killing people, in crooked science this is a very acceptable practice, after all people with HIV are just people, don’t their death stats count as people’s deaths. I wonder what the deaths of HIV+ people from this trial will count as?

      What a disgrace. They will finally eradicate every person alive with an HIV+ test faster than the speed of lightning.

      I think they missed the part that says all people with HIV+ Diagnosis MUST Go and JUMP from the tip of Mount Everest, this is equal to the eradication of HIV with ARV and chemo. If I was still on HIV medicines I was going to climb Mount Everest and jump from there, it will be much better than the double-headed poisonous snake (ARV AND CHEMO FOR HIV+ PATIENTS).

      I think in the three years during the trial, the scientists themselves must use their own bodies for this trial. I bet they won’t be alive to write the findings of the research, since it is not important for the subjects to live.

      The drug companies for the chemo and ARV will get their profits and we people with HIV+ diagnosis will get the grave!

      How shameful.

      Can’t these people even learn from Thomas Alva Edison.
      X-Rays and Gamma rays are the two most dangerous kinds of electromagnetic radiation because they are ionizing radation meaning they are energetic enough to knock electrons from their orbits. These rays also can break DNA and cause genetic damage and mutation. Many of the pioneers of X-Rays were disfigured or killed by their exposure. After his lab assistant died from X-ray exposure, Thomas Edison stopped research on them and even refused a medical X-Ray after breaking a bone. Why are people in the HIV and AIDS profit business with no hearts?

      If it was some of today’s scientists they could have grabbed another guy killed him and gotten another to end up with recognition and fame at the expense of human life. What Thomas Edison did shows the guy died only because he did not know, the x ray exposure going through this guy from the machine were deadly. Once he knew, he had nothing to do with the research. He did not even want to talk about it, he was afraid of X-rays.

  4. onecleverkid said

    “If they don’t die, let’s give them chemotherapy. Maybe that’ll kill them.”
    And if THAT doesn’t kill them, and if they wake up and go off the meds and take their health matters into their own hands using natural methods, and live 2 decades after receiving their positive diagnoses, let’s declare that it must have been one of those rare “false positive” cases we’ve read about on the internet. Case closed.

    • Henry Bauer said

      onecleverkid:
      Don’t forget, it might be one of those “long-term non-progressors” or “elite controllers”, those useful terms that pretend to explain something without doing so.

      • onecleverkid said

        Can we analyze the name “long-term non-progressor” for a second? That phrase is so meaningless because it can apply to any human being who is alive and healthy. We are all at risk for something. Perhaps they haven’t “progressed” because they don’t have an illness. Is that even an option? When the hypothesis doesn’t explain the data, isn’t the hypothesis supposed to change?

      • Henry Bauer said

        onecleverkid:
        “When the hypothesis doesn’t explain the data, isn’t the hypothesis supposed to change?”
        You are referring to the notion of “the scientific method”. That was invented by philosophers trying to explain why science had been successful. Almost no science gets done that way, or ever did get done that way, see Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Method
        (few almost-exceptions: statistically pre-designed agricultural experiments and the like; some particle physics)

  5. Common Cents said

    Ahh…the naivety of the science community.
    Listen very carefully…I’m going to say something that may shock you.
    There will NEVER be a cure for either HIV or cancer. And it has absolutely nothing to do with the science. The problem is not HOW do you cure these diseases, but WHO will come up with the cures to these diseases.
    The drug companies?? They make way more money selling long-term drugs to help people MANAGE these diseases (especially in the case of HIV) than they could hope to make with a cure. Also, it would be very difficult to get an effective patent because there would be a huge outcry that the benefit to mankind supersedes patent rules (uh…not exactly what a drug company wants to hear). You don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg. The drug companies are not evil, they just have a need to produce ever increasing profits like any other publicly traded entity. That means selling more drugs (preferably long-term drugs), NOT cures.

    How about “independent” research centers?? Guess what? Few research centers are really independent if you peel away the layers and see where they get their funding. For those that are truly independent, you must remember they exist to “look” for cures. Notice I said look, not find. As long as they are looking, with that magical cure always being “right around the corner”, they can justify continued funding. Once they find a cure, the gravy train is over. So what do they do? They keep on looking, and looking, and looking…..

    How about university research centers? The problem there is that even if some bright professor or grad student stumbles on a possible cure, they will probably only be able to come up with the money for a Phase I trial. In order to carry out a Phase II and III trial, guess who they’re going to have to turn to??? You guessed it, a drug company. The drug company will license the drug and carry out a Phase II, and maybe even a Phase III trial before the drug dies.

    That is why there will never be a cure to cancer or HIV. It’s not about the complex science, but rather the simple economics.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Common Cents: I agree with much of what you say. An underlying problem is the resources that research requires, which has changed research from an intellectual free market — which existed roughly to the middle of the 20th century — to a corporate enterprise; see “Science in the 21st Century: Knowledge Monopolies and Research Cartels”.
      A possible cure for cancer may nevertheless come about, because serendipitous discoveries can always intrude and cannot be suppressed for ever. But I think the clues will come from understanding the mechanisms by which cancer begins and spreads and not from any drug-oriented work.

    • Funny you should mention a cure for cancer. I actually think there have been several. One was an herbal treatment from a guy whose dad discovered a horse with a tumor who grazed on certain weeds and cured himself. Eventually the son was driven to Mexico in order to keep supplying his remedy.

      Much more recently, Dr. Zheng Cui at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center was killing lab mice with aggressive cervical cancer cells (HeLa) for some purpose, when one failed to die. After trying again to kill him and failing, they decided they had a special mouse and bred him to start four separate lines of cancer resistant mice.

      They also discovered that the work was done by white blood cells: macrophages, neutrophils, and perhaps natural killer cells. Furthermore, one blood transfusion from a resistant mouse to a normal lab mouse converted the recipient into cancer resistance for its entire two year life.

      They developed an in vitro test for cancer killing activity which they applied not only to their mice but also to some humans. They discovered quite a few cancer resistant people as well. But only in the summer and not for several days after a major upset like a breakup with a significant other.

      There is an ordinary if uncommon treatment for people with bacterial infections that don’t respond to antibiotics. You take blood from a normal healthy person and concentrate the white blood cells and transfuse them into the sick patient. In one case, a patient who was about to get such a treatment also had a cancer. His doctor knew of the cancer work and requested donations from cancer resistant donors. It worked.

      Then Dr. Cui got permission for a clinical trial with 22 cancer patients. But it’s not happening since the cost is estimated at $150k per patient or $3 million for the trial (that’s cheap these days), and no patentable drug is involved so nobody has provided funding.

      That pissed me off so I started to campaign to find rich cancer patients who could fund the clinical trial themselves. Now, I gather further snags have delayed even the start of the trial and I am discouraged and unable to discover the details of progress and impediments.

      You now have enough clues to discover videos of Dr. Cui discussing this and lots of articles over the last decade about the stuff learned from the mice. Can you find a way to get these trials underway? I presume if even half of the patients are cured this way, there will be major pressure to apply the therapy more widely.

      Now the fun part. These white blood cells are known as granulocytes or as leukocytes so the treatment has been called Granulocyte InFusion Therapy or Leukocyte InFusion Therapy thus GIFT or LIFT.

      Since the infusion process is already a standard procedure and the only change to cure cancer is to get the right donors, it may be possible for other doctors to investigate and apply the therapy without any further FDA involvement at all. And of course, if foreign doctors do it without any need for permissions, then we could see a major boost in medical tourism resulting from it. That could even shake things up enough so Congress could act to push the FDA in good ways.

      My tentative plan, since the major impediment to getting rich patients to volunteer (and pay) would be the opposition of their oncologists, was to write this up with links and quotes and do a mass mailing to oncologists. If one percent of them were sympathetic and thirty or forty of them had appropriate rich patients, they could make it happen. Maybe.

      Feel free to contact me if you want to get involved. Perhaps you could supply some additional gumption and get this moving forward.

      DickKarpinski@gmail.com

      • Henry Bauer said

        Richard: It is a major flaw in our medical research that funding depends so much on commercial sources. That’s also why FDA approves drugs and procedures on the basis of inadequate data: they cannot afford to do the trials themselves, so have to accept what the drug companies and other manufacturers submit — namely, only those trials that had “positive” results. Many detailed, authoritative books have made these points and related ones for years, including books by two former editors of the NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, Marcia Angell and Jerome Kassirer.

  6. narasimham chaturvedula said

    that’s true…research work in HIV cure is deterred as has been so far…i think they are very distracted, and are unsure they would ever come out with a success of cure…the present scenario of research work is like snail walk to the destiny, even allowing catastrophe of the universe in the false notion of rehabilitation…oh god! 30 years of struggle, still victims number up…now it is time not for conservatism to loose the sight before us…think about alternative medicine, a dormant one, an economic medicine, doesn’t require much funding even, the science to which, which has already proven and working wonders, it owes… it is even capable of leading affected away from slow poison…

    thank you
    cnm

  7. zak said

    It’s been over 30 years and billions (I mean literally billions) of dollars have been poured into Aids research…if you look at the results they are minuscule…I am on this great HAART regime and it’s no picnic..I have now accepted that it’s the drugs that will eventually kill me not the infection itself..I get sick to the back stomach hearing from these great ‘scientists’ that they have found interesting and novel ways of treating HIV/AIDS…
    It’s a bloody HIV gravy train with an army of scientists, clinicians, health workers, ‘specialists’ all employed [just?](us) to assist the patient with the gruelling day-to-day living with this infection…YOU have no idea what it is to like to live with this infection…The medical establishment treat HAART like giving out smarties to patients. If one toxic combination doesn’t work, let’s try another and then another…

    THERE WILL NEVER BE A CURE FOR HIV/AIDS. Even cancer, the survival rates are poor but guinea pigs are being put through terrible medical procedures knowing such will not work.

    I have come to one conclusion. Science does not have the answer.

    • Henry Bauer said

      zak:
      You’re preaching to the choir on this blog, not to the audience you seem to be aiming at. But perhaps people with analogous experience will be able to offer you suggestions for better quality of life.

  8. Dr. Bauer would it be wise for Zak to stop the HAART treatment in light of all the excellent evidence you’ve presented here? Especially with all the side effects of HAART

    • Henry Bauer said

      ronquestion:
      Have a look at my blog post, “I’m HIV-positive. What should I do?” Every individual case is likely to be unique. At least one anti-retroviral has been reported to be addictive, so withdrawal symptoms are not out of the question. Every person has to make a personal decision based on as much information as possible and with the help of a trusted physician.

  9. FK said

    Zak, I understand your frustration all too well. Don`t give up, man. I`m sure about one thing though; you are right, HAART will kill you. So the trouble is to find an alternative. The ordinary doctor probably can’t help you.
    I tested positive in 1997 and underwent a 3-year nightmare on nevirapine, zerit and epivir before throwing this shit out in 2000. Been feeling more or less sick ever since. Usual blood-tests showed no abnormalities but I have not been able to function because of severe fatigue, headache and concentration problems. CD4-numbers are now down in the 40s. But I don’t care. Everything tells me it`s all in the gut. From trial and error I have found out that what helps is connected to the digestion. Problems connected to HIV are probably very individual but for me it`s about getting a ruined digestion in order. A no-starch diet and plenty of probiotics have helped me tremendously lately. So I`m very optimistic right now and the work of Ruggiero and colleagues with MAF314 gives me further reason to smile. I just want to get this old body in working order and to hell with CD4-numbers and HAART.

  10. Francis said

    Henry, Ronquestion is obviously attempting to bait you into giving specific advice, which leads me to believe that it is another of Seth Kalichman’s or Joe Newton’s (his alter ego) attempts at drawing you in for some kind of ridicule over at his blog-site dedicated to you. I think you should be flattered that he actually set up this site as AIDS Inc viewed you as a direct threat to them.

    Of more interest to me is what do you think of Kalichman who along with Ken Witwer of AIDStruth wrote an article and published it in the same journal Seth is the Editor for and then via AIDStruth tried to claim it as a peer-reviewed scientific paper that proves they are right? I’m not a scientist but I’m pretty sure that’s just plain old dodgy.

    I’m also concerned about AIDStruth which is the last bastion of all things orthodox, in that when I look at who the people are behind it I see fully 3/4 are activists or social-community psychologists. Where is their marvelous consensus of 10,000 scientists, they seem pretty averse to actually putting their names to anything so controversial as that. All we get is the same 2 or 3 NIH-funded hacks on everything they produce, including of course John “monkey fiddler” Moore, who keeps up his insane FAILED research of microbicides and “promising” other avenues like FAILED vaccines. By anyone’s measure he has achieved absolutely diddly squat in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Never mind that Seth idolizes him along with the other doyens of AIDS Inc including the thief Gallo(w) and the veterinarian ESSEX that discovered the cat AIDS FEV that doesn’t kill cats and incidentally they have a vaccine for, so he became an expert human HIV specialist as well.

    House of Numbers, House of Cards, more like a giant glass house they keep launching rocks from. Keep up the good work, Henry, your logic and consistency is refreshing. Their science reminds me more of the Mad Hatters tea party in Alice in Wonderland.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Francis:
      I appreciate the kind words.
      I’m not familiar with the article by Kalichman and Witwer, but the way you describe it, I would agree with your view re impropriety. Witwer was a graduate student when he posted a nasty review of my book on amazon.com, a review that he withdrew fairly soon and converted into a piece on AIDStruth. The same innunendos and the like appear (or used to appear, Is topped checking some time ago) in the entry under my name at Wikipedia, so I surmised that Witwer had initiated that too.

    • ronquestion said

      Uhhh sorry to burst your bubble Francis but I am not affiliated to Kalichman or anyone of the sort. I’m just someone who is extremely interested and happy with Dr. Bauer’s work and would just like to know more to improve my own personal well-being.
      I was just trying to get a more definitive answer as to the methods of treatment even though I have come to the conclusion that the ‘virus’ doesn’t exist.

  11. BSdetector said

    Henry and others,

    Do you wonder why people like . . . Kalichman and others are so fanatical and completely unable to tolerate any contrasting views? I am reminded of a documentary on Scientology I recently watched. When interviewed, all the Scientology followers would just go berserk when the interviewer suggested anything slightly negative about this obvious cult. It seems to be the same with these HIV=AIDS cultists. Why can’t they just leave people alone? If someone wants to educate themselves and make a decision based on their own best insights and feelings, then so be it. Who are these people, and why do they have this pathological need to tell others what to do with their lives?

    • Henry Bauer said

      BSdetector:
      It is a perpetual illustration of the diversity of human beings. I think the wish to be certain is widespread, and sometimes it tends toward pathological forms and behavior.

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