HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Why pregnant women tend to test “HIV-positive”

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/10/05

Sabine Kalitzkus drew to my attention this plausible explanation for the tendency of pregnant women to test “HIV-positive”:
1. Pregnancy brings a Th1→Th2 shift in the immune system.
2. “HIV-positive” is associated with a Th1→Th2 shift.


It is vital to bear in mind — always, not only in this connection! — that testing “HIV-positive” does not signify the presence of a specific agent, still less the presence of an human immunodeficiency virus. There are several lines of proof for that:
First: a great variety of conditions can bring about an “HIV-positive” test-result. For empirical proof, see Christine Johnson, “Factors known to cause false positive HIV antibody test results”, Continuum 4 #3, Sept/Oct 1996, or; or The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory; or a large number of posts on this blog in the category “HIV tests”. (Quite recently, a correspondent told me of testing “HIV-positive” after having abused steroids, which I have not seen mentioned elsewhere as inducing “HIV-positive”. After changing his lifestyle, he now tests negative again. Was Magic Johnson perhaps one of the many athletes who [ab]used steroids?)
Second: For a priori proof, note that the ELISA and Western Blot tests respond to many combinations and magnitudes of 2 or more among 10 separate proteins, none of which has been proven to be unique to the hypothesized “HIV” — virions of which have never been isolated directly from “HIV-positive” people or from AIDS patients, even though the latter are postulated to experience overwhelming viremia in the later stages of their illnesses [HIV tests: Danger to life and liberty, 16 November 2007].
Third: Again empirical and entirely consistent with and illustrative of the first two: Surveys of “HIV” “prevalence” show a continuum of rates of “HIV-positive” test-results among different groups. The progression from low to high rates appears to correlate with the likelihood that some sort of health challenge is present. Note in particular that pregnant women (pre-natal clinics) test positive at a higher rate than the general average of the population (National Health and Nutrition Survey), and quite significantly more often than women at family planning clinics:


Not only do surveys of “HIV” prevalence find it higher among pregnant women, a full-scale prospective clinical trial in Africa actually found a higher incidence of “HIV-positive” during pregnancy [Gray et al., “Increased risk of incident HIV during pregnancy in Rakai, Uganda: a prospective study”, Lancet 366 (2005) 1182-8].


Among the variety of circumstances that can stimulate an “HIV-positive” response is “AIDS”, and in AIDS, “A gradual shift from Th1- to Th2-dominance is observed. . . . This Th1-to-Th2 shift perfectly explains some of the major conundrums of the AIDS clinical syndrome. . . . Furthermore, elevated levels of antibodies, including autoantibodies, are characteristic of all AIDS patients — a finding consistent with a decrease in the Th1 subset coincident with an increase in the Th2 subset. . . . HIV is expressed primarily in Th0 and Th2 cells, and is scarcely to be found in the Th1 subset. 38-40 This is curious indeed, since it is the Th1 cells that decline, whereas the cells in which HIV prefers to reside do not decrease” [Culshaw, “Mathematical Modeling of AIDS Progression: Limitations, Expectations, and Future Directions”, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 11 (#4, Winter 2006) 101-5].

Notoriously, gay men are more likely than others to suffer an “AIDS” condition, and — independently — they are more likely to test “HIV-positive” without necessarily becoming ill: many “HIV-positive” gay men have remained healthy for upwards of two decades. As Tony Lance has pointed out, much evidence indicates that gut dysbiosis can induce gut leakage, testing “HIV-positive”, and in severe cases the most characteristic of the AIDS illnesses, namely, the fungal infections Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and candidiasis; and gut dysbiosis is also associated with a shift in the Th1-Th2 balance:
“T-cell abnormalities — There appears to be a connection to be elucidated between gut dysbiosis, glutathione deficiency, and T-cell anomalies thought to be characteristic of HIV/AIDS. . . . A direct connection between the composition of gut microflora and the balance of Th-type cells has been reported by several authors: . . . ‘What typically happens in a person with gut dysbiosis is that two major arms of their immune system, Th1 and Th2, get out of balance with underactive Th1 and overactive Th2. . . ’ (35)” [emphases added; Tony Lance, “GRID = Gay Related Intestinal Dysbiosis?
Explaining HIV/AIDS Paradoxes in Terms of Intestinal Dysbiosis”, pdf at “What really caused AIDS: Slicing through the Gordian Knot”, 20 February 2008].

Testing “HIV-positive”, then, correlates with a Th1→Th2 shift, under some circumstances at least.
The immune system is of course much more complicated than just these two categories of cells. There are a variety of Th1 cells and of Th2 cells, so a shift in the overall balance might mask more specific differences; in other words, a given Th1/Th2 ratio in healthy gay men may bespeak functionally different circumstances than the same numerical ratio in AIDS patients, or in TB patients, or in pregnant women. The mere fact of a Th1→Th2 shift does not necessarily signify a dangerous health condition, any more than an “HIV-positive” test necessarily signifies a dangerous health condition or that an “HIV-positive” test always signifies the presence of the same combination of two or more of those ten proteins.

So: the fact that pregnant women are more likely to test “HIV-positive” does not necessarily signify a health challenge more serious than normal pregnancy.
As to a Th1→Th2 shift in pregnancy, Sabine Kalitzkus sent a link to impfreport, Zeitschrift für unabhängige Impfaufklärung, 56/57, July/August 2009 [vaccination report, magazine for independent vaccination education; editor, Hans U. P. Tolzin]. Pages 4-5 report information for doctors and pharmacists that was issued by the Paul Ehrlich Institute on 4 September 2009. What follows is free translation from German:


Vaccinating pregnant women during the swine-flu pandemic
The immune system has broadly speaking two arms. Cellular immunity is mediated largely by Th1 “killer” cells which attack “foreign” cells, i.e. those not recognized by their protein coating as belonging to the host. The other arm is mediated by Th2 cells which are responsible for generating antibodies to foreign proteins.
A fetus is at least partly “foreign” to the mother since its genes, and consequently the generated proteins, come partly from the father. To prevent aborting of the fetus, pregnancy causes a partial Th1→Th2 switch. [In other words, such a shift is perfectly normal in healthy pregnancies, but it will also tend to be associated with an “HIV-positive” test]
The [European] swine-flu vaccine contains adjuvants to stimulate the Th1 arm, which may increase the risk of spontaneous abortion. Indeed, it is known that spontaneous abortion is associated with a shift towards Th1.
The Paul Ehrlich Institute’s release minimizes this risk in bureaucratic weasel-word fashion:
Altogether, a harmful effect on pregnancy of adjuvant-containing vaccines seems rather unlikely. But since data from clinical trials are lacking, such an effect is not impossible.
[Insgesamt erscheint ein negativer Effekt von squalenhaltigen Influenzaimpfstoffen auf die Schwangerschaft eher unwahrscheinlich. Da jedoch umfangreiche Daten bei Schwangeren in klinischen Studien fehlen, kann ein Effekt auch nicht vollständig ausgeschlossen werden.]


To paraphrase this “conclusion”: We have no relevant data, hence no evidence. What we know about the immune system and pregnancy would incline one to be concerned. However, in our opinion the risk is negligible, though we can offer no evidentiary basis for that judgment.

That evidence is totally lacking for this Micawber-ish, Panglossian or Pollyanna-ish failure to be concerned is obvious, since pregnant women are (at least in developed countries) not eligible for enrolment in clinical trials — except, of course, in the case of HIV/AIDS and the attempt to find out how high a dose of antiretroviral drugs can be tolerated by “HIV-positive” pregnant women [Celia Farber, “Out of control: AIDS and the corruption of medical science”, HARPER’S MAGAZINE, March 2006, 37-52].

To recapitulate:
Empirical fact: Pregnant women test “HIV-positive” more frequently than others.
Empirical fact: In several groups, Th1→Th2 shift is associated with a tendency to test “HIV-positive”.
Empirical fact: Normal, healthy pregnancy induces a Th1→Th2 shift.

The higher frequency of “HIV-positive” tests among pregnant women
may be nothing more than a natural consequence of pregnancy

39 Responses to “Why pregnant women tend to test “HIV-positive””

  1. Martin said

    Hi Dr. Bauer, The observation that a Th1→Th2 shift takes place is proof that the ELISA is invalid (and useless) for ascertaining HIV infection. However it probably is a great pregnancy test! I’m sure Robert Gallo is aware of all of this but he’s too busy collecting patent royalties from its (ELISA) use, and a public acknowledgement would not be financially beneficial for his earnings not to mention his credibility. Would pregnant women also test positive with a Western Blot as well?

    • Henry Bauer said

      Martin: I don’t think the data could ever be available to know how many “positive” ELISAs were “confirmed” by Western Blots. In any case, WHICH Western Blot? The Table I reproduced from Val Turner shows that there are at least 11 different ones!

      • Philip said

        Henry: Sorry to nitpick, but wouldn’t it be more appropriate to say “which interpretation of Western Blot results” as opposed to “which Western Blot”?

      • Henry Bauer said

        Philip: Yes.

  2. mo79uk said

    A great article today:

  3. Sabine Kalitzkus said

    Henry and Martin,

    Though there are cheaper pregnancy tests available from pharmacies, using them would be politically incorrect, because Gallo & Co. would miss their royalties.

    But nevertheless (and thus even more royalties for G&Co.!) ELISA could be a very useful test for predicting whether a pregnancy would have a successful outcome, or whether the pregnancy would finish itself in-between with a miscarriage.

    If ELISA reacts positive it means a lot of antibodies generated by the Th2-arm because of a decrease of Th1. A negative test-result means few antibodies because of too much Th1. Having too much Th1-immunity is a sign for a probable miscarriage.

    And are there not thousands of Western Blots? Depending on the country, the city, different laboratories within one city, different laboratory workers within one laboratory? All of them creating their own and unique Western Blots?

    Martin, what do you mean by “credibility”? I just confirmed the meaning of this word with my dictionary to make sure I haven’t missed a possible underlying and/or hidden meaning of it. But there is none. As I’m unable to perceive any connection between the aformentioned individual and the word “credibility”, would you kindly explain what you intended by combining those two items?

    • Martin said

      Hi Sabine, Robert Gallo has been used as an expert witness (the Parenzee trial) and commentator. While AIDS skeptics like ourselves do not consider Gallo credible, he is generally considered credible to the general lay public, the news and television media, and most of the medical profession. He will sink with his HIV “ship” when it sinks — no time sooner.

      • Henry Bauer said

        Martin, Sabine: My jaw dropped recently when I came across the letter of 9 January 2009 in Science, “Unsung Hero Robert C. Gallo”, which explained via historical analogy why Gallo should well have received the Nobel Prize rather than Montagnier and Barre-Sinoussi. Connoisseurs of high-falutin misinformation will appreciate the letter’s assertion that “Gallo definitively proved HIV-1 as the cause of AIDS through . . . successful isolation”, citing the notorious 4 papers of 1984 rushed into print after the press conference. Observers will also relish the signers’ claim that they acted independently of Gallo’s “influence” when they see names like Sarngadharan and Zagury. People not familiar with the sordid details of the manifold misdeeds of Gallo’s lab should read John Crewdson’s “Science Fictions”.

      • Sabine Kalitzkus said

        Martin and Henry,

        Of course I understand what you mean, Martin. But I’m not in the habit of seeing the world from the perspective of the general lay and/or scientific public, but from my own one. Thus my question was just a rethorical and ironical one.

        Plus I’m very much familiar with certain interesting documents from the “Science Fictions” genre. One year ago I even wrote two blog posts about them. The first one was called Mika You are CRAZY. To cheer up my esteemed readers I decorated it with four lovely pictures — snippets from the famous lead paper drafted by Dr. Mikulas Popovic and turned upside down later by lusting-for-fame Mr. G.

        In the second post called Fear of the Invisible in German I translated the letter of Dr. Matthew Gonda to Popovic, in which he explained the cell debris shown on some electron micrographs.

        By the way, Henry, what happened to that letter sent to Science on 1 December 2008? Did they react anyhow this way or the other? I’m just curious …

      • Henry Bauer said

        Sabine: So far as I’m aware, no answer was ever received to the letter to Science. That it was not published was no surprise, but I think most non-published letters get a boiler-plate (computer) response like “we get so many letters….”

  4. Tony Lance said

    Another possible explanation for the connection between the Th1-Th2 shift and testing “HIV+” is malnutrition. The two groups being compared in this post, pregnant women and individuals suffering from severe gut dysbiosis, have in common an increased likelihood of being deficient in various nutrients; the former due to the demands of the growing fetus, the latter because of the malabsorption resulting from a severely compromised intestinal tract. A shortage of one nutrient in particular, zinc, is very worthy of consideration. Why? Well, adequate levels of zinc are needed for the production of thymulin, the hormone which regulates the Th1-Th2 balance, and individuals who lack sufficient zinc will express more Th2 than Th1 (ref). What’s more, zinc deficiency has been recognized and studied in both groups. In fact, in “HIV/AIDS” a lack of zinc has been proposed as one of the factors which drives the progression toward AIDS (ref). And pregnant women, especially in developing countries, are thought to be likely to have less than normal levels of this nutrient (ref).

    Perhaps with regard to pregnant women a zinc deficiency on top of the normal, protective Th1-Th2 shift is at play here. After all, if such a shift is a more or less natural event in pregnancy, something additional must account for that small percentage of women who test “HIV+”. But that still leaves the question of why zinc deficiency might be correlated with testing “HIV+”. I suspect the answer comes from the recognition that pregnant women and those with intestinal dysbiosis are at risk of multiple, concurrent nutritional deficiencies. And a lack of things such as folate and B vitamins, shortages of which are documented in these two groups, might plausibly be implicated in the increased likelihood of testing “HIV+” because these nutrients support the methylation cycle and prevent the expression of endogenous retroviruses—and the production of antibodies to them. Put another way, people who suffer from multiple deficiencies are more likely to produce antibodies to the proteins in endogenous retroviruses, proteins that in some cases are homologous to those said to be in HIV, and therefore be at increased risk of being reactive on the “HIV test”.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Tony Lance: Terrific collation of evidence, many thanks. Ties lots of things together. How nice it would be if funded researchers — which means mainstream researchers — would look at the possible benefits of proper nutrition and appropriate supplements for “HIV+” pregnant women. And it’s an important point you raise, what’s special about the small proportion of pregnant women whjo test “HIV+”? Is it random or something specific?

    • Cytotalker said

      Because all cells share the same genetic information, gene suppression via methylation appears to be one of the mechanisms that allow a cell to specialize from an embryonic stem cell with unsuppressed and hypomethylated genes to become, for instance, a differentiated neuron or muscle tissue with methylated and suppressed genes. In a muscle tissue cell, different genes are suppressed or methylated from those in the neuron, and in stem cells, fewer genes are suppressed or methylated than in the differentiated cell. Stem cells and the cancer cells which express a vast set of genes are less methylated than fully differentiated cells. Methylation is increasingly viewed as a mechanism by which embryonic stem cells, by methylating genes and therefore suppressing their expression, differentiate themselves from more generalized totipotency to less generalized pluripotency and subsequently to a specialized cell with only the required genes expressed.

      Because of the expression of human endogenous retroviruses during hypomethylation, it is unremarkable that these should occur during pregnancy, due to the highly unspecialized nature of embryonic and fetal cells, and in cancer, where cells lose their specialized structure and display many stem cell characteristics.

      Epigenetic factors are turning up in all aspects of cell development, metabolism and pathology, and it is clear that the medical establishment has not even begun to grasp the implications. Perhaps epigenetics involve too much of a unitary perspective inconsistent with the unscientific collage of disconnected and discordant diagnoses and treatments which characterize the current medical profession.

      • Henry Bauer said

        Cytotalker: Many thanks indeed for this fascinating info expressed so clearly

  5. MacDonald said

    Dear All,
    (One of) The reason(s) why pregnant women, especially if they’ve been through multiple pregnancies, test positive is that they tend to develop auto-antibodies.

    For example:
    It is entirely possible that an individual not infected with HIV has antibodies which may give a positive result in the HIV ELISA. This is called a false positive. One reason for this is that people (especially women who have had multiple pregnancies) may possess antibodies directed against human leukocyte antigens (HLA) which are present on the host cells used to propagate HIV. As HIV buds from the surface of the host cell, it incorporates some of the host cell HLA into its envelope.

    The last observation indicates the problems distinguishing between cellular proteins and so-called “HIV proteins”.
    Since “HIV” has never been purified and isolated, and since they originally decided which proteins were “HIV proteins” on the basis of antigen-antibody reactions, many of the early tests were considered to be “contaminated” with cellular proteins.
    But they later decided, based on the strength of correlation, that some of these “contaminating” cellular proteins were actually genuine parts of “HIV”, acquired on budding. HLA is such a protein. It is to avoid this “contamination” that they started using recombinant proteins in the tests.

    Christine Johnson says:
    Even conditions well known to produce cross-reactions on HIV tests may not cause all people having experienced those conditions to falsely test positive. For example, some but not all people who have had blood transfusions, multiple pregnancies or an organ transplant will make HLA antibodies, and some but not all HIV test kits will be contaminated with HLA antigens to which these persons’ HLA antibodies can react. When the two circumstances of HLA antibodies in the person and HLA antigens in the tests coincide, positive HIV tests may result due to HLA cross-reactivity.
    It is unfortunate that Johnson adopts the “cross reaction” and “contamination” lines, because it obscures the fact that the contaminating protein is actually thought to be a part of the supposed HIV virion, although not a necessary part.

    Further, if we dig around a little bit, our friend, p24, comes up:
    Cryostat sections of human normal term placentae were studied for evidence of immunopathology by using antibodies to lymphocytes, macrophages, platelets, and coagulation factors. Areas of so-called chronic villitis of unestablished etiology were identified in all placentae. The same tissues were examined for HIV protein antigens gp120, p17, p24, and gp41. No evidence for gp41 was found. Antigens gp120 and p17 were identified in normal chorionic villi in vimentin-positive fibroblast-like cells and in endothelium, respectively. Antigen p24 was localized to HLA-DR positive cells that morphologically resembled macrophages in areas of villitis.

    non-infected human placental cytotrophoblast cells express endogenous proteins which are crossreactive with anti-HIV-1 monoclonal antibodies.

    • Sabine Kalitzkus said


      You made my day:

      Cryostat sections of human normal term placentae were studied for evidence of immunopathology by using antibodies to lymphocytes, macrophages, platelets, and coagulation factors. Areas of so-called chronic villitis of unestablished etiology were identified in all placentae.

      What about establishing an etiology of a normal, healthy pregnancy, if this “chronic villitis” (whatever that might be) appears in each and every normal term placenta?

      • MacDonald said


        Villitis is a kind of inflammation.

        Note, they used antibodies to find what they were looking for, so it would take a careful examination of their methods and materials to know how certain we can be of what they actually found.

  6. Sabine Kalitzkus said

    It must be an overwhelming burden to receive “so many letters”. Anyway, I think it is not an answer that is needed — but retracting a bundle of fraudulent documents is all the more important.

    Yes, I suspected it to be a kind of an inflammation because of the “itis”-ending. As I lost trust in science in general and in medical science in particular long time ago I do not expect them to discover anything helpful for improving the health of human beings. So, whatever they may find in all healthy placentae, that’s fine with me.

  7. I have read some comments on why many pregnant women tests HIV positive, now is there any research done for those women after pregnancy?( after giving birth does the women remain with HIV positive?) thanks.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Wilson George:

      Some data from Africa indicate that women my remain HIV+ after having become so during pregnancy. The rate of HIV+ is higher among women who have had many children.

      • John Paul said

        I have my girlfriend whom I have been with her for two years, currently she is pregnant and when she went for clinic she was told that she is HIV+ and it is the first pregnant for her, after that I decided to go for HIV test and I was told I’m HIV negative, so is she real HIV infected or there might be other reasons for this test? thanks

      • Henry Bauer said

        John Paul:

        Pregnancy itself is a reason for testing “HIV+”. I don’t believe there is a genuine “HIV infection”: see my book, The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory and numerous references including about pregnancy and “HIV” in “The Case against HIV”.

  8. Rogers said

    Just to add on, are you aware of any study that explains why the so called “viral load” increases. I have a case were a woman tested viral load at about 30 weeks pregnant which came back 25000 and did another one after 37 weeks and it came back almost 50000.

    You may ask why these test are done but the unfortunate answer dissedents doctors are few/not visible and as a result under circumstatances of pregnancy we are forced to test by the so called law.

    Could there be an explanation for an increased “viral load”? the doctor was upset after reasling that no meds were taken. In his view and “experience” the “viral load” should have declined.

  9. John Paul said

    it is clearly understood that, pregnancy may cause false positive HIV test, now why it is not explained to the public about that so that to reduce stresses for the pregnancy women with such situation because in developing countries no one knows this even doctors. thanks

    • Henry Bauer said

      John Paul:

      Because the mainstream does not acknowledge false positives at all in public discourse, only a few researchers in the technical literature. In popular media and in official announcements, all you hear is that HIV tests detect infection

  10. John Paul said

    is it possible to have sex several times with a hiv infected woman and not being infected?

    • Henry Bauer said

      John Paul:

      HIV isn’t infectious and may not even exist, see The Case against HIV
      Even those who think HIV exists and causes AIDS estimate transmission probabilities of a few per thousand acts of unprotected intercourse from male to female, and about one tenth that rate from female to male. And those estimates come from calculations based on a number of assumptions. No direct observations of transmission have been published.

  11. Dreya said

    Hi, My partner and I have been together for 8 years and he found out he is hiv positve but he is on medication. I got tested and was negative. I got pregnant and got tested during my pregnancy and right after delivery. All test were negative. I didn’t have sex during pregnancy or after for about another 9 months. My question is is it possible to become hiv positive after pregnancy eventhough I tested negative all through my pregnancy?

    • Henry Bauer said


      I have no direct data on this, but I think it is quite possible
      1. Some African studies report being HIV+ as associated with multiple pregnancies and child births
      2. There are many possible reasons for becoming HIV+, see secion 3.2.2 in

      • Dreya said

        Thankyou very much! My Ob and my child’s Pdn said that since I tested negative all those times plus with the medication my partner had taken that more then likely I didn’t have it and I was ok to breastfeed. We were never tested since my delivery not even for the six week check up but we will very soon

  12. Alexis said

    Am in one of the African countries actually during my pre natal tests I tested positive for HIV and my partner is HIV negative.. This is really stressful because am pregnant. My question is will I test negative after delivery or will it be this way forever?

    • Henry Bauer said

      Sorry, I have no data about this. Many references report that pregnancy tends to make for becoming HIV+, but I haven’t come across reports of those becoming HIV-negative again. HOWEVER there are any reports of HIV+ people spontaneously becoming HIV-negative, and of course there are many reasons for becoming HIV+ in the first place. So I think it is quite possible that you may become HIV-negative.
      Much data is collected at The Case Against HIV

      • N Moloi said

        I am a young woman from africa andI have always had regular Hiv tests throughout my life and around November 2015 I had an Hiv test done while I was a few weeks pregnant when I was going for my physical assessment for a nursing scholarship and it was negative. I tested again in February 2016 when I started my prenatal classes and was negative again. In April 2016 while at the clinic for my check up I was offered a flu vaccine and accepted, a week later I became really sick, shivering yet had high temperature, and wet coughs… well I waited on my next check up to tell my midwife and I was 32weeks pregnant by then. I was given vitamin C and told I was due for my final Hiv test to my surprise I tested +. I went home with my new ARVS to inform my partner, in shock the next day we went to go the same clinic n he tested negative. I don’t know how is it possible but we went to a private doctor and still I tested positive and he is negative. Do u think it’s the same case ? I am taking meds for the babies sake but I don’t believe I am positive but if I am I am drinking my meds to protect my little one. This is my third pregnancy.

      • Henry Bauer said

        N Moloi:
        Both pregnancy and flu shots can produce a positive HIV test result, see 3.2 in The Case against HIV. ARVs are quite toxic.

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