HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Inventing more epidemics; the Research Trough; and “peer review”

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/08/02

Kevin De Cock, director of HIV/AIDS at the World Health Organization, famously let slip the fact, demonstrated by a quarter century of assiduous but unsuccessful searching for epidemics, that there had not been and would not be any epidemic of heterosexually spread “HIV” outside Africa [WHO SAYS that WE’VE BEEN VERY WRONG about HIV and AIDS? (Clue: WHO = World Health Organization), 10 June 2008;  More De COCK AND BULL stuff and nonsense, 15 June 2008].

Not even so authoritative a statement can compensate, though, for decades of propaganda and loose, ignorant talk about “everyone is at risk”. Nor can anything curb the appetite for grants among HIV/AIDS researchers. Thus

“Jeffrey Samet, professor of medicine and public health at Boston University Medical Center, is lead investigator on . . . [a] study on HIV and hospitalized Russian drinkers. Samet’s $3 million, five-year grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which is already in its third year, is designed to show that a program of HIV intervention aimed at alcohol and drug users getting in-patient substance abuse treatment settings bolsters safe sex practices. Russia is in the midst of a significant HIV epidemic” (Doug Lederman, “One-Man Peer Review”, 28 July 2009).

Given that the specifically legislated concern of the National Institutes of Health is the health of American citizens, Congressman Darrell Issa, a California Republican, was moved to question whether this study could conceivably further the Institute’s mission. Possibly channeling the late Senator Proxmire, who was wont to assign “Golden Fleece” awards for such taxpayer-funded make-work-for-researchers projects, Issa’s staff also pointed to grants for “Substance Use and HIV Risk among Thai Women” and “Venue-based HIV and alcohol use risk reduction among female sex workers in China”.

Connoisseurs of the academic Research Trough will relish such not-so-disinterested ensuing comments as

“’NIH’s peer review system is the envy of the world because it ensures only the highest quality science is supported through federal funding,’ said Mark O. Lively, president of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. ‘Any short-term compromise of the peer-review process, through Congressional micro-management of the grant-making process, is a grave threat to biomedical research, the quality of U.S. science, and the health of our fellow citizens.’”

Worth a chuckle as well is Professor Samet’s explanation of the study’s potential benefits to American taxpayers:
“the techniques used to study Russian alcoholics are aimed less at protecting the drinkers themselves than their ‘unknowing partners,’ . . . ; the HIV epidemic is one of many factors that could further destabilize Russia, which could have significant political and economic implications for the U.S.; HIV can lead to the spread of tuberculosis, which is not contained within borders, etc.”

“Samet joked that the House ‘thoughtfully considered the issue’ for ‘about three seconds’”.

I didn’t time myself, but I might even have beaten that 3-second record in my thoughtful consideration of the thoughtful reasons offered thoughtfully by Samet in explaining the potential value of his study to America and its citizens.

Add to that the absurdity of the “study” itself. The question is, if you subject hospitalized alcoholics to safe-sex indoctrination, using the fear of HIV/AIDS as emphasis, will they practice safer sex later?  Or will they at least say in subsequent surveys that they did so? After all, there’s no other way to check on their sexual behavior than questioning them. This would be a waste of money even were it carried out with solely American alcoholics.

If only it didn’t cast so revealing a light on what our “medical science” has come to, all the foregoing would be funny enough in itself without the added titillation that there is no HIV epidemic in Russia, never has been, and never will be, according not only to Kevin De Cock but also to the data published by European authorities. For example, the incidence of newly identified “HIV infections” in Russia was running at <300 per million in 2006, that is 3 per 10,000, which can be accounted for quite adequately by the “false positives” induced by flu vaccinations and the like, together with the veritably growing epidemic of testing:

HIVestoniaRussiaEtc(From “Prevalence of HIV and Other Infections and Risk Behaviour among Injecting Drug Users in Latvia, Lithuania And Estonia in 2007”, brought to my attention by a good friend in Estonia. More data from Estonia will be presented and discussed in future posts)


But what do facts matter when propaganda is called for? As yet another not-so-disinterested group (USAID) would have us believe,

“Russia has the largest AIDS epidemic in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, accounting for approximately 66 percent of the region’s newly reported HIV cases in 2006. According to UNAIDS, the 2005 national HIV prevalence estimate was 1.1 percent, and an estimated 940,000 people in Russia were living with HIV (although the officially diagnosed caseload is considerably lower). Russia’s HIV prevalence was very low until 1996, when 1,515 new cases were suddenly reported. While its pace has slowed since the late 1990s, the country’s HIV epidemic continues to grow. According to UNAIDS, a decline in new cases occurred between 2001 and 2003, but new cases are now increasing again, with 39,000 new HIV diagnoses officially recorded in 2006, bringing the total number of HIV cases diagnosed and registered with health officials to 370,000, according to EuroHIV. Officially documented HIV cases only represent people who have been in direct contact with Russia’s HIV reporting system.
USAID’s initial HIV/AIDS activities in Russia focused on HIV prevention among high-risk groups during 1998– 2000. In fiscal year 2008, USG programs continued to support HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention, research, access to treatment, and technical guidance for Global Fund AIDS programs. These programs are creating models to provide assistance in measuring the evolving and growing HIV epidemic and increase local and national government capacity to respond to the epidemic in an organized and sustainable way.”

Note the usual offering of UNAIDS estimates that are much greater — in this case nearly 3-fold — than the actually available data; the determined emphasis on intermittent stochastic increases as a way of masking the lack of any overall upward, let alone any epidemic trend; the citing of “66%” of the region’s numbers of cases without mentioning that Russia also has by far the largest population in that region.

Books like How to Lie with Statistics (by Darrell Huff, W.W. Norton, 1954), Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media (by Joel Best, University of California Press, 2001),and More Damned Lies and Statistics: How Numbers Confuse Public Issues Politicians, and Activists (by Joel Best, University of California Press, 2004) were clearly intended to forewarn consumers about the devious tactics of advertisers and PR gurus. It would seem that HIV/AIDS propagandists have chosen instead to use them as manuals for how best to deceive without appearing to be actually lying.


Despite my attempts at mood-lightening levity in pointing to these absurdities and corruptions and deceits, I am actually very sad about all this. More than half a century ago, my cohort of science students had the idealistic attitude that remains characteristic of so many young people, and moreover the history of science into the middle of the 20th century gave us good grounds for believing that we were entering a profession outstanding for its honesty and potential service to humankind.

After one of my closest friends from that period had read the MS of my HIV/AIDS book, he remarked that an unfortunate side-effect of debunking HIV/AIDS theory would be a loss of trust in science. It’s very sad indeed that such lack of trust has been so thoroughly earned through conflicts of interest personal and institutional, not to say sheer greed, cutting of corners, and general corruption. To what have we come when Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, is moved to write that the pharmaceutical industry has co-opted “every institution that might stand in its way, including the U.S. Congress, the Food and Drug Administration, academic medical centers, and the medical profession itself” (Angell 2004: xviii); “[C]onflicts of interest and biases exist in virtually every field of medicine, particularly those that rely heavily on drugs or devices. It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine” (Angell 2009; emphasis added).
[Marcia Angell, 2004, The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What To Do About It, Random House; 2009, “Drug companies & doctors: a story of corruption”, New York Review of Books, 56 #1, 15 January].

As for Mark O. Lively’s remark that “NIH’s peer review system is the envy of the world”, he should have said “the envy of researchers around the world”, because the peer reviewers are at the same time those who themselves benefit from the grant system. Those who are reviewers this time are the grant applicants the next time, and it’s a matter of mutual back-scratching. Nowadays “peer review” in science bears the same relationship to objective assessment as did the “financial analysis” by Wall Street reviewers that pronounced a bunch of worthless paper to be AAA-OK reliable investments.

8 Responses to “Inventing more epidemics; the Research Trough; and “peer review””

  1. Martin said

    Hi Dr. Bauer, It’s sad to hear about how “science” has moved from an idealistically uncorrupted enterprise to the greed machine we now have.
    Yet another “virus” strain has been found — but no proof about how it kills (not that they’ve found how the “real” HIV kills).
    I just saw an article in Forbes about a Harvard medical anthorpologist named Edward Green. The title of the article is: “A Jihad on the AIDS Mafia”. That of course piqued my interest hoping that some ray of hope was going to leak through in mainstream journalism. But the subtitle of the article gave it away: “Harvard’s Edward Green says condoms are not the best solution for Africa’s HIV problem.” Well, that HIV was part of the statement tells me that real research wasn’t performed. Dr. Green went right along with the HIV bandwagon and, not surprisingly, ignored the data. I expected more of an anthropologist — but I guess anthropology is just as corruptible as any other branch of science. John Lauritsen called it fake HIV skepticism. Thomas Szasz has also commented on fake psychiatric skeptics as well that are actually psychiatric collaborators like Sally Satel. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  2. Stefan R. said

    Sorry, swine flu is a little bit ‘out of topic’, but if this:
    can be confirmed, things will go more and more worse…

  3. Sabine Kalitzkus said


    I don’t think that “swine flu” is off topic here, because Henry wrote about junk science and corruption, and that’s exactly what “swine flu” is all about.

    They desperately needed to sell thousands of stored doses of Tamiflu before the must-not-be-used-after-date would be reached in 2010.

    So the pharma-controlled CDC happily used two children in California who came down with a totally harmless, but “enigmatic” illness to invent the “swine flu virus”. Of course, those two California kids recovered rapidly without any medical interference, but this unimportant fact didn’t disturbe CDC.

    They happily went on to use 142 people in Mexico, who died from “swine flu” in the spring — said CDC. (Right now the body count says 146 for Mexico.) That the “swine flu virus” had been detected only in a very small percentage of the bodies, meaning that the vast majority of those people must have died from something else, didn’t disturb CDC either.

    They collaborated happily with pharma-controlled WHO (= World Hoax Organization), who told us on their website that two classes of antivirals could be helpful for people with “swine flu”. They immediatly dismissed the second class as not effective, remaining with two products from the first class — one of them being Tamiflu. Bingo!

    CDC — as creative and innovative as ever — has just-in-time invented a unique new disease with the cute abbreviation “ILI”, which stands for “Influenza-Like Illness”.

    To exaggerate the estimates (!) they creatively and innovatively throw several different illnesses into one pot and out comes the “Novel H1N1 Flu Situation Update”:

    That’s how to make dollars by scaring the public with new inventions.

    People who are interested in the world-wide body count from “swine flu” incidents should quickly jump over here:

    The body count for France (“Frankreich”) right now stands at 1 (one). French authorities said that this woman had been suffering from a severe illness of the lungs, when she additionally develloped flu-like symptoms. Those authorities don’t believe that she died from “swine flu”, but from her original disease.

    Talking about corruption and mis-informing the public in Germany, we find that the “German Standing Vaccination Committee” (“STIKO”) currently consists of 16 members. Only 2 (two) of them publicly declare no conflicting interests. The publicly and happily declared conflicts of interests of the remaining 14 STIKO-members read as impressively as the shillfactor-website.

    STIKO’s weekly Epidemiological Bulletin No. 30 of July 27, 2009, thus tells us:

    “Vaccinations belong to the most effective and most important preventive measures in the field of medicine. Modern vaccines are well tolerated; long-term undesired serious side-effects are observed only in very rare cases.”

    Blatant lies.


    You cited Marcia Angell using fire-red letters:

    “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.”

    Then you mentioned that your friend considered the possible loss of trust in science could be an unfortunate side-effect of your book.

    I would consider this possible outcome as an extremely fortunate and highly desired side-effect of it.

    When has science — and especially medicine — ever been trustworthy?

    In the 19th century, when thousands of women died from “childbed fever” due to the dirty hands of their doctors? When Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis had been incarcerated in a mental hospital without any diagnosis and died there in deepest poverty, because he had asked his colleagues to wash their hands before helping mothers during childbirth?

    Or in the beginning of the 20th century, when “scientists” tried to prove that homosexuality is a mental disorder?

    Or in the thirties and forties, when Nazi-medicine and -research was done?

    Or in the fifties, when they killed thousands with the polio-vaccine?

    Or in the fifties and sixties, when they crippled and/or killed thousands of babies with Thalidomide?

    Or in the seventies, when they wasted billions of dollars for their fantasy of viruses causing cancer?

    Or in the eighties, when they fantasized about a virus causing an antibiotics-, drug-, and malnutrition-induced breakdown of the immune system?

    Just tell me when. When has science ever been trustworthy?

    My answer is short: Never.

    Homo sapiens has survived 150,000 years, because science came into being only a couple of centuries ago.

    The sooner we loose our blind, irrational, and childish trust in science, the better.

    Ignoring science completely would enable us to finally begin to ask the right questions. For example this one:

    Why are homosexual men the most heavily drugged population group of all?

    I wouldn’t expect the American tax-payer to spend their dollars on studies to answer those questions, because the ordinary heterosexual tax-payer from all over the world is part of the answer.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Sabine: Very good points and good question. Let me put it this way:
      The mistakes made by science used to be largely honest mistakes. Learning to understand how the world works is not easy, and with the best honest efforts we make mistakes. But “the system” used to be sufficiently “open” that eventually mistakes were corrected.
      Nowadays, the system is not honest. Science is determined by bureaucracies that control funding of research and publication, and the media have not yet learned that those who speak for “science” cannot be relied on to tell the truth, because they are primarily concerned to preserve the system that they control. The chief culprit is conflicts of interest, as your examples illustrate.

      • dutch said

        Landing in the middle of a topic and firing off an opinion is fraught with danger. That rule is true, however, I am a computer engr. (retired) so I am bound to say something totally screwed up.

        Mr. Bauer, the post you did for your friend John Good [1] brought me here. And I have no dog in any fight.

        The comment about science mistrust was not qualified as to indicate it is medical/Pharma not all science the mistrust is in. I take the next step and say any science policy government makes is for it’s purpose and taxpayer beware. I find the current Green Science to be generated the same way you say clinical data is.

        Media indoctrination, “The science states that ..”, “peer reviewed by panel ..” has reduced true & false to ‘magically fixit’ and ‘trust us, science proves..’, ref: al gore movie.

        The scary part: enbrel user policy is flu shots. So Oct/Nov is shot time. regular flu shot + . How is a normal person at a doctor’s office going to know what is injected? No clue. Am I skipping flu shot? Darn tough call because of the lost trust I have in medical policy by government. Sadly most folks will be a clinical trial and not know it.

        So, there it is my 2-cents.

        [1] Statistics can lie, but Jack Good never did — a personal essay in tribute to I J Good, 1916-2009

      • Henry Bauer said

        dutch: I’m afraid the untrustworthiness is not restricted to MEDICAL science; see my essay,
        Science in the 21st Century: Knowledge Monopolies and Research Cartels
        (Minority views on technical issues are largely absent from the public arena because of increasingly corporate organization of science)

  4. BradS said

    Still on the off-topic of Swine Flu – curiouser and curiouser –

    Please do take a look at the link to the CDC’s ‘FluView’ which Sabine offers above showing the geographic distribution of the ‘influenza-like illness’. It seems to be most ‘widespread’ in California, Maine and Puerto Rico – three more far flung spots on the lower US could not be imagined.

    And also this strange admission on the CDC flu FAQ below. As far as I can make out the CDC has decided to count everything ‘flu-like’ in their tally of the ‘pandemic’ because the actual numbers of H1N1 are so LOW – which they say clouds the ‘true benefit’ of reporting these numbers at all. I guess the ‘true benefit’ of FluView is to generate fear and anxiety.

    Why has CDC stopped reporting confirmed and probable novel H1N1 flu cases?

    Because only a small proportion of persons with respiratory illness are tested for novel H1N1, at this time, confirmed and probable case counts represent a significant underestimation of the true number of novel H1N1 flu cases in the U.S., so the true benefit of reporting these numbers to track the course of the epidemic is questionable. In addition, because of the extensive spread of novel H1N1 flu within the United States, it has become extremely resource-intensive for states to count individual cases.

    What monitoring system will CDC use to replace counting confirmed and probable novel H1N1 flu cases?

    Instead of reporting confirmed and probable novel H1N1 flu cases, CDC has transitioned to using its traditional flu surveillance systems to track the progress of both the novel H1N1 flu pandemic and seasonal influenza. These systems work to determine when and where flu activity is occurring, track flu-related illness, determine what flu viruses are circulating, detect changes in flu viruses and measure the impact of flu on hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S

  5. Sabine Kalitzkus said

    Brad, Henry, et al.:

    Off topic cont’d.

    Common sense and a little bit of logical thinking is always recommended when interested authorities want us to take part in an hysterical epidemic.

    Good news (of course not for the interested parties but for the rest of the human race) emanated from the Internet:

    The body count for the U.S. hasn’t changed during the past 48 hours, it’s still at 353. Same for France and Germany – they remained at one and zero, respectively.

    What has changed is the number of “ILI”-cases in Germany. It jumped from 6,800 to 7,963 within 48 hours. That makes exactly 581.5 new cases a day, which is in fact very low, because we normally have an increase of 600 to 800 cases a day.

    As many of us know by now, the symptoms of “swine flu”, of “novel flu”, of “A/H1N1”, or whatever they may call it today, are exactly the same as the symptoms of the ordinary common cold. To recover from a common cold normally takes one week if you see a doctor and take medication – it takes seven days if you don’t do either but simply stay at home and drink a lot. Same applies to “swine flu”.

    To demonstrate the brainwashing power of this novel hysterical common cold, I made a little calculation exercise, for which I used the following facts:

    a) “Swine flu”-symptoms are the same as of the common cold.

    b) Germany has a population of about 82 million.

    c) The ordinary common citizen catches an ordinary common cold once a year.

    If you divide 82 million by 365 days, you’ll get approximately 225,000 new common-cold-cases a day to rush the whole population of Germany through this illness at least once a year.

    The official case-count in Germany is at 600 to 800 a day, meaning that at least 224,200 cases every day are missing and/or hiding from being counted.

    I encourage all readers of this blog to make their own calculation exercises for their own countries.

    The question of how they manage to get those “confirmed” cases is even more rewarding.

    The German CDC-sibling RKI had it on their website that only a handfull of laboratories in Germany are able to detect this novel virus. (Regardless of the fact of course, that this virus has never been properly isolated – as is mandatory for all hysterical viruses.)

    How is it possible for such a few laboratories to take 600 to 800 “confirmed” cases out of their hats every day? They certainly have to analyze the double or triple amount of samples to get their cases – in addition to their normal daily workload!

    There is a kind of a “Rapid Test” which is officially and publicly not recommended by RKI. Doctors use it nevertheless.

    Many doctors here already show symptoms of a severe hysteria by not allowing presumed “swine flu”-patients into their offices as long as other ordinary patients are around.

    Yesterday I found an important article on “swine flu” on Roberto Giraldo’s website:

    Every hysterical epidemic has one or more unconscious aims. The aims of this epidemic are easily detected:

    Last week I read it in the news, that the number of sick people, who stay at home rather than going to work, has never been as low as now. Have the Germans all of a sudden become the most healthy people on earth? Of course not. They are as sick as they’ve allways been. They just don’t stay at home when sick, because they fear getting fired for staying at home during the financial crisis. “Swine flu” seems to be the only “safe” illness at the moment.

    There’s another aim which I really like:

    Authorities are now considering to prolong the school summer holidays, because they fear the “swine flu” “case-load” to be crashing through the roof in September.

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