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, www.healtoronto.com/testcross.html or www.virsumyth.com/aids/hiv/cjtestfp.htm); 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].
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