HIV/AIDS priorities and other flaws
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/09/20
The belief that babies can supposedly contract “HIV” through breastfeeding by “HIV-positive” mothers, as HIV/AIDS dogma insists, generates the well established, long recognized conundrum that babies of “HIV-positive” mothers become “HIV-positive” less often when they are breastfed than when fed on formula [sources cited at “More HIV, less infection: the breastfeeding conundrum”, 21 November 2007; “HIV and breastfeeding again”, 13 February 2008].
Those facts are obvious disproof of the belief that “HIV-positive” means active infection by a contagious agent. They are confirmation of what many other lines of evidence indicate, that testing “HIV-positive” can result from a multitude of circumstances, a whole range of physiological conditions. Cognitive dissonance, however, prevents HIV/AIDS devotees from grasping this clear inference from unquestioned facts. So they continue to flounder, faced with a conundrum that cannot be resolved until HIV/AIDS theory is abandoned:
“Breast-feeding presents another challenge: While it can lead to infection of the infant of an HIV-positive mother, the mother’s milk also protects the child against many common infections of infancy, Palumbo says. [Paul E. Palumbo, M.D., is professor of medicine and pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School and executive director of the Dartmouth-affiliated DarDar Pediatric Program in Tanzania.] Also, formula feeding to prevent transmission of HIV — a common practice in the developed world — leaves infants prone to suffer from upper-respiratory infections, diarrhea, and other maladies. According to estimates of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), more than nine million children younger than 5 are expected to die each year — 17 percent from pneumonia, 17 percent from diarrhea, and 7 percent from malaria, as opposed to 1.5 percent from HIV/AIDS. At least 10 percent . . . already are or may be suffering from tuberculosis” [Weighing costs, benefits of HIV treatments — public release from Dartmouth College, 15 September 2009].
The hysteria over HIV/AIDS has meant that for nigh on two decades the world has been duped into considering the need for antiretroviral drugs to be the most urgent health issue in Africa, when even by official estimates HIV/AIDS takes only 1.5% of the African babies who die before the age of 5. On the other hand, it’s been shown that the simple and inexpensive act of providing mosquito nets can reduce drastically the incidence of malaria, which kills 5 times as many babies as HIV/AIDS is supposed to. Better sanitation, cleaner drinking water, and vitamin supplements to combat malnutrition could save an even larger number of babies than would the providing of mosquito nets.
But the world has been oblivious to these African needs, which have been evident for half a century or more, while working itself into a frenzy over the purported need to get more and cheaper antiretroviral drugs. Neville Hodgkinson — among others — described in detail long ago how Africans themselves have learned to label every illness and every death “AIDS”, and every child being cared for temporarily by grandparents an “AIDS orphan”, because that brings all sorts of assistance while malaria, tuberculosis, malnutrition, etc., do not [Hodgkinson, AIDS: The Failure of Contemporary Science, 1996].
Add to that misguided sense of priorities the fact that the highly touted prevention of mother-to-child transmission turns out not to be not even the panacea that activists have long claimed it to be:
“We have a simple approach that is cost-effective, and reduces transmission [of HIV] by 50 percent. The Achilles heel of that approach is that in the mother and in any infant who does become infected, the virus learns to become drug-resistant” [emphasis added, because HIV/AIDS propagandists more typically claim that transmission from mother to child can be reduced to a negligible amount, and they typically fail to mention that evidently well-established phenomenon of subsequent drug resistance].
“Palumbo is co-leading a clinical study of anti-HIV medicines in Africa and India for the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Group (IMPAACT). [I wonder whether medical schools teach special courses on how to construct project titles that lend themselves to PR-valuable acronyms like IMPAACT, SMART, etc.? Or perhaps they get help from the Pentagon, which names its wars and missions so enticingly.] The randomized trial found that a cohort of 82 HIV-infected children ages 6 to 35 months responded better to treatment with the protease-inhibiting drug lopinavir (LPV/r) than did a cohort of 82 children in the same age group who received the anti-retroviral drug nevirapine (NVP). The infants all had previously received a single dose of NVP in liquid form at birth, and their mothers each had taken NVP in the form of a single pill during labor in an attempt to prevent HIV transmission” — an attempt that had evidently failed in 50% of cases.
“Findings also revealed that the LPV/r arm of the trial showed results so much better that in the spring of 2009, an independent data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) halted the NVP arm and gave the go-ahead for IMPAACT to enroll children who did not receive NVP at birth. ‘These findings,’ NIAID stated in a recent bulletin, ‘provide clear evidence in support of the current World Health Organization recommendation that HIV-infected infants who have received NVP at birth should be started on an LPV/r-based treatment regimen whenever possible.’
But here’s the rub: LPV/r is a relatively expensive drug more available in the developed than the developing world, and it must be kept cold — a challenge in sub-Saharan Africa and much of India. On the other hand, NVP is relatively cheap and accessible in developing nations.”
As usual there’s no mention here of the “side” effects of these treatments. For nevirapine (NVP) [Table 7, NIH Treatment Guidelines, 3 November 2008]:
· Higher incidence of rash than with other NNRTIs, including rare but serious hypersensitivity reactions (Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis) [in 0.3 to 1% of patients, especially in blacks and women, Table 13]
· Higher incidence of hepatotoxicity [in 2.5% to 11% of patients, Table 13] than with other NNRTIs, including serious and even fatal cases of hepatic necrosis
· Contraindicated in patients with moderate or severe (Child Pugh B or C) hepatic impairment
· Treatment-naïve patients with high pre-NVP CD4 counts (>250 cells/mm3 females, >400 cells/mm3 males) are at higher risk for symptomatic hepatic events. NVP not recommended in these patients unless benefit clearly outweighs risk
There are also dangerous interactions with a host of other medications [Tables 15b, 16b].
Lopinavir (LPV/r) has the usual effect of stomach upsets and hyperlipidemia found with all protease inhibitors, as well as Stevens-Johnson syndrome (toxic epidermal necrosis) [Table 13] and hyperglycemia and fat maldistribution [Appendix Table 4], plus interaction with antifungals and some other drugs including some antibiotics[Table 15a].
This entry was posted on 2009/09/20 at 11:17 am and is filed under antiretroviral drugs, clinical trials, experts, Funds for HIV/AIDS, HIV in children, HIV tests, HIV transmission, HIV/AIDS numbers. Tagged: breastfeeding and HIV, health needs in Africa, HIV in babies, HIV/AIDS researchers and cognitive dissonance, IMPAACT, International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Group, lopinavir side-effects, mother-to-child transmission of HIV, nevirapine side-effects, Paul E. Palumbo. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.