HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Archive for February, 2010

Racist stereotypes are inherent in HIV/AIDS theory

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2010/02/08

“HIV” is spread primarily through sexual intercourse, according to official dogma. Particularly as a result of promiscuity, carelessness, irresponsibility in sexual behavior.
Africans and African Americans test “HIV-positive” at rates far exceeding those of any other identifiable racial group, and they do so in every social and economic sector: among repeat blood donors, pregnant women, gay men, newborns, military cohorts, applicants for marriage licenses, in prisons, in hospitals . . . . (see, for example, Tables 6-8, 10, 21, 22, 28 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory). Caribbean “Hispanics”, who have on average much African ancestry, test “HIV-positive” at a higher rate than Mexican “Hispanics” who have on average little African ancestry (pp. 71-3, ibid.).

A natural inference, a straightforward syllogism, leads to the conclusion that people of relatively recent African ancestry are, anywhere and everywhere, genetically predisposed to be carelessly and irresponsibly sexually promiscuous to a greater extent than other human beings. (“Relatively recent” means in the last couple of hundred thousand years, because ALL human beings are of African ancestry before that relatively recent diaspora of Homo out of Africa. So one has to postulate that such a purported genetic predisposition evolved during this recent period.)

If that conclusion seems obviously and absurdly wrong, as it does to me, then there’s something wrong with one or both of the first two parts of the syllogism: Either blacks do NOT always test “HIV-positive” significantly more often than others, or “HIV” is not spread primarily through sexual intercourse.

But the truth of one part of the syllogism is not controversial: Blacks do always test “HIV-positive” significantly more often than others. That’s mentioned frequently in publications of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and elsewhere, for example:
“In 2006, blacks made up 12% of the population aged >13  years but accounted for 46% of the number of persons  estimated to be living with HIV (1). Both the estimated  HIV  prevalence  and  incidence  rates  for  black  men  and  women were higher than those for any other racial/ethnic  population (1,2). Among black males, male-to-male sexual  contact accounted for 63% of new infections; among black  females, high-risk heterosexual contact accounted for 83%  of new infections (3) . . . .
during  2004–2007,  85% of diagnoses of perinatal HIV infection were in blacks or  African Americans (69%) or Hispanics or Latinos (16%). The  average  annual  rate  of  diagnoses  of  perinatal  HIV  infection  during 2004-2007 was 12.3 per 100,000 among blacks, 2.1 per  100,000 among Hispanics, and 0.5 per 100,000 among whites” (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 59[4], 5 February 2010).

That leaves only these possibilities: Either “HIV” isn’t spread primarily through sex, or blacks are, anywhere and everywhere, irresponsibly sexually promiscuous to a significantly greater extent than others — including among women and among gay men, and even among repeat blood donors, who are normally regarded as being the most tightly screened against all sorts of infections and thereby screened against unhealthy behavior. The incredible degree of postulated promiscuity is illustrated by the calculation performed by James Chin, former epidemiologist for the World Health Organization: To explain the asserted prevalence of “HIV” in sub-Saharan Africa, one has to accept that 20-40% of all sexually active adults have several sexual partners simultaneously and change them frequently enough that, in the course of a year, each has as many as 100 different partners (pp. 64-65 and elsewhere in The AIDS Pandemic).

When I first noted this conundrum, these inexplicable racial differences in testing “HIV-positive”, I had asked the CDC about it; and I had been flabbergasted at their response, that “The ‘characteristic differentiation by race’ that you note is compatible [emphasis in original] with a behavioral explanation” (p. 75 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory). CDC was apparently willing to accept as accurate the traditional racist stereotype of irresponsibly promiscuous sexual behavior by black people.

But it’s not just common sense or politically correct thinking that rejects that stereotype, the latter is demonstrably refuted by actual observations and studies that have found African Americans and Africans are if anything LESS likely than Caucasians to indulge in sexual excesses; I give a few references for that conclusion in chapter 7 of The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory.

Empirically speaking, then, one has the following:
Black people test “HIV-positive” much more often than others, irrespective of region or social or economic factors — irrespective, in other words, of cultural factors.
Black people are not significantly more sexually careless and promiscuous than others.

Therefore, testing “HIV-positive” is not in general the result of sexual behavior.

Why then do black people test “HIV-positive” much more often than others?

As Ruth Benedict pointed out long ago, there is nothing racist about acknowledging that there are physical and physiological differences associated with the generally recognized racial groups; that just reflects that some genes that influence physiology are often associated strongly with some genes that influence hair color, skin color, eye color. The racial disparities in testing “HIV-positive” simply reflect some racial difference in physiology [“Racial disparities in testing ‘HIV-positive’: Is there a non-racist explanation?”, 4 May 2008].

That conclusion entails, of course, that testing “HIV-positive” is not necessarily an indication of infection by the putative “HIV”. That’s well known to AIDS Rethinkers, though it is not part of the conventional wisdom. Still, it’s plain enough from the technical literature, which reports “false positives” from such events as vaccinations and a host of other conditions (Christine Johnson, “Whose antibodies are they anyway? Factors known to cause false  positive  HIV  antibody  test  results”, Continuum 4  [#3,  Sept./Oct. 1996]).

It remains to be explored, what precisely the race-associated physiological factors may be that conduce to testing “HIV-positive”. One was already cited in my book (p. 100), that blacks react more strongly than others to the antigen p24, p24 being one to which “HIV” tests are sensitive (for example, the 4th generation rapid HIV diagnostic test, Determine® HIV 1/2 Ag/Ab Combo, marketed by Inverness Medical for “separate detection of HIV p24 antigen . . . . During HIV infection, the p24 antigen is produced during the first few weeks . . . . excellent sensitivity of 100% for patients at chronic stage of infection and a specificity of . . . 99.66% for. . . HIV-1 p24 antigen”).
Tony Lance has gathered many references that illustrate the connection between intestinal dysbiosis and testing “HIV-positive”, and he has found a host of publications connecting disturbances of the vaginal microflora in women to both pregnancy and testing “HIV-positive” (for example, Shin & Kaul, “Stay It with Flora: Maintaining Vaginal Health as a Possible Avenue for Prevention of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Acquisition”, J. Infect. Dis. 197 [2008] 1355-7). Recently Tony drew to my attention a report of racial disparities in bacterial vaginosis (BV) that run parallel to racial disparities in testing “HIV-positive”:
“Curiously,  the  incidence  of  BV  varies markedly among racial and ethnic groups (Rajamanoharan  et  al.,  1999;  Royce  et  al.,  1999),  ranging from 6% in Asians and 9% in whites, to 16% in Hispanics  and  23%  in  African  Americans.  The reasons for differences in the incidence of BV among racial  groups  are  unknown,  but  they  cannot  be explained  by  differences  in  socio-demographics, sexual  activity,  health  behavior  or  hygiene alone (Goldenberg et al., 1996; Royce et al., 1999)” [emphasis added; Xia Zhou et al., “Differences in the composition of vaginal microbial communities found in healthy Caucasian and black women”, The ISME Journal, 1 [2007] 121-33).
Goldenberg  et al. (1996). “Bacterial colonization of the vagina during pregnancy in four ethnic groups. Vaginal infections and prematurity study group”. Am J Obstet Gynecol 174: 1618-21.
Rajamanoharan et al. (1999). “Bacterial vaginosis, ethnicity, and the use of genital cleaning agents: a case control study”, Sex Transm Dis 26: 404-9.
Royce et al. (1999). “Race/ethnicity, vaginal flora patterns, and pH during pregnancy”, Sex Transm Dis 26: 96-102.

At any rate, there is nothing implausible about racial differences in physiology, and there are reports that connect such racial differences to a greater tendency for testing “HIV-positive” among Africans and African Americans.

That racial differences in testing “HIV-positive” are not the result of differences in behavior is indicated independently and more directly by the manner in which “HIV” tests are calibrated: the calibration itself builds in a racial bias. The “null” reading — “HIV-negative” — is based on “normal controls” who are presumed to be uninfected; and the population from which such controls are drawn are repeat blood donors, since those are routinely screened for a variety of infections and represent people least likely to be “HIV-infected” (Weiss & Cowan, see “HIV” tests are demonstrably invalid, 19 May 2009). But with tests calibrated in this manner — initially in the United States, and all subsequent tests are based on those — it turns out that repeat blood-donors of different racial groups test “positive” at significantly different rates: African-American blood donors tested “HIV-positive” 14 times more often than white American blood donors, and in Africa the ratio was 23 (pp. 51 and 76 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory).
Now, blood donated by repeat blood-donors of every race is screened in the same fashion. There is no basis for rejecting repeat blood-donors who are black as inherently more likely to harbor undetected infections. The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that “HIV” tests ought to be calibrated separately for every identifiable group in which, using the presently available tests, repeat blood-donors react at a significantly different rate than the overall average. As it stands, however,

“HIV” tests are racially biased
overestimate “HIV infection” among blacks
by a large factor

If tests were calibrated separately for each racial group, the prevalence of “HIV-positive” in sub-Saharan Africa might well turn out to be little if at all different from the prevalence elsewhere. A hint in that direction is that in many countries the rate of “HIV” prevalence among blood donors parallels the overall rate in the country (Sedyaningsih-Marnahil et al., “The use of blood donor data for HIV surveillance purposes. A global perspective”, Int Conf AIDS, 7-12 July 2002; 14: abstract no. WeOrC1268).

The present willingness on the part of HIV/AIDS theorists and the media — thereby inscribed into the conventional wisdom — to accept a behavioral explanation for racial disparities in testing “HIV-positive” illustrates that racist stereotypes about sexual behavior remain deeply albeit subconsciously ingrained, and that such subterranean ideological racism influences interpretations and activities by such agencies as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Posted in experts, HIV absurdities, HIV and race, HIV risk groups, HIV skepticism, HIV tests, HIV transmission, HIV/AIDS numbers, prejudice, sexual transmission, uncritical media | Tagged: , , , , , | 24 Comments »

The unqualified (= without qualifications) gurus of Wikipedia

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2010/02/05

Further insight into Wikipedia as an in-group cult comes from looking at the posted procedures for resolution of problems,  and especially at the people in charge: 11 names are given that may well be genuine names of real persons, plus 11 IDs; 3 of the latter are linked to pages that give apparently real names, and another couple yield photos, but half-a-dozen remain completely anonymous.

But even more informative is the make-up of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.

Let’s do a thought experiment. If you wanted knowledgeable people to organize and supervise a world-class information source, something that in the Internet age would supersede Encyclopedia Britannica and its ilk, where would you look for likely candidates?

You would certainly want to enlist some people who have had long experience with encyclopedia-type projects. Obviously you would want some people who have expertise in the validation of knowledge claims, so philosophers would be an immediate choice, especially philosophers of science. You might well want an ethicist or two, and at least one lawyer. And you would probably set up a “tree” of types of subjects and try to recruit people of established credentials in the major fields of human knowledge, who would be asked in turn to recruit reliable people in more specialized areas within their general field.
What about the technical part, the software and hardware etc.?
Well, you’d cheerfully leave that part to technical specialists, who would follow guidelines set down by the people who know about the intellectual side of things.

Instead, membership of the Wikimedia Board and the Communications Committee looks rather like what you might find at a start-up (up-start?). Cult indeed. Infotech specialists re-inventing all the intellectual wheels of the last few millennia, and making all the mistakes that were corrected along the way — and then adding some new pitfalls (pratfalls?)  that have come with the Internet age.
Enough really said.

Posted in experts, Legal aspects, prejudice, uncritical media | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Highfalutin B***S*** from the Pooh-Bahs of HIV/AIDS

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2010/02/04

Recall Professor Harry Frankfurt’s definition of BS: “a lack of concern with the truth” [B***S*** about HIV from academe via the press, 4 March 2008]. That applies across the board to HIV/AIDS activists and Pooh-Bahs, whose only concern in public statements is to underscore the desperate need for more attention to and more funds for the fight against HIV/AIDS. So even when there’s a truly devastating earthquake in Haiti,

“In Rebuilding Haiti, Fighting HIV/AIDS Must be a Top Priority”

according to David Furnish, Executive Board Member, Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF):
“With the horror of the earthquake foremost in our minds as relief efforts continue, it’s easy to forget Haiti’s longtime struggle against HIV/AIDS. In the 1980s, the AIDS epidemic was expected to take the lives of more than one-third of the Haitian population. The stigma surrounding the disease was so severe that the US Centers for Disease Control had listed ‘Haitians’ in addition to ‘homosexuals’ and ‘heroin users’ as leading risk factors in contracting HIV. As recently as 2001, 30,000 Haitians were dying of AIDS each year, leaving hundreds of thousands of children orphaned.
This grim picture changed in recent years, thanks to a coordinated international response. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Haiti has decreased dramatically, from a calamitous six percent of the population in 2001 to around two percent today. . . . And while 120,000 Haitians were estimated to be living with the disease before the earthquake, fatalities had begun to decrease dramatically. There were 7,500 deaths from AIDS in 2007, a four-fold reduction from 2001.”

And Furnish goes on to accept, on behalf of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, partial credit for this “dramatic” reduction in HIV prevalence and AIDS deaths in Haiti.
But did Furnish ever think about the numbers he spewed out?

If 6% “HIV-positive” in 2001  became 2% in 2010, then 4% of the population must have died during those 10 years, because — as every HIV/AIDS believer knows — “HIV infection” is incurable and irreversible.

The population of Haiti in 2001 was about 8.7 million (WHO data courtesy of Google).  At 6% that means there were 522,000 “HIV-positive” Haitians in 2001. In 2010 the population will have been around 10 million, at 2% HIV prevalence that means 200,000 “HIV-positive” Haitians. From where does Furnish get his assertion of 120,000? That would be 1.2%, not 2%.

AIDS deaths were decreasing from 30,000 in 2001 to 7,500 in 2007. Assume they remained no lower for the next few years, and that the decline from 2001 to 2007 was linear. That cumulates to about 154,000 total AIDS deaths from 2001 to 2010.

522,000 “HIV-positive” in 2001, minus 154,000 deaths, leaves 368,000 who must still be “HIV-positive” in 2010, PLUS those who were newly infected since 2001. So there must have been not 120,000, and not 200,000, but >368,000 “HIV-positive” Haitians just before the earthquake.

How can Furnish accommodate the deaths he cites with the decline in HIV prevalence that he cites? And for which he praises the work of his own Foundation, in order to make the case for giving even more to that Foundation?

All these numbers are bogus, they do not jibe with one another. But that is quite immaterial when the only purpose of Furnish’s message is that HIV/AIDS is so stark a threat that it must be “top priority”, even in a country where several hundred thousand people just died in an earthquake and something like a million are without food, water, or proper shelter. “Top priority”:
“EJAF provided . . . emergency grants of $100,000 in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake to move antiretroviral treatments to facilities still standing, take on increased patient loads, and manage already under-resourced hospitals”.

Posted in antiretroviral drugs, experts, Funds for HIV/AIDS, HIV absurdities, HIV/AIDS numbers, uncritical media | Tagged: , , , , | 13 Comments »

Grabbing a monster by the tail

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2010/02/02

The monster is HIV/AIDS. The thoughtless action has been to wage ceaseless propaganda that everyone should be tested, even as a positive test is said to mean stigma, lifelong disability, and an early death. Some consequences are coming home to roost in South Africa:

“The national health department and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) have added their voices to condemning the use of HIV home testing kits, saying they are risky to use at home and their accuracy cannot be guaranteed. This follows a warning from the SA Medical Association (Sama), which cautioned that home testing for HIV could leave people devastated. . . . TAC general secretary Vuyiseka Dubula warned against the use of the kits. Suicides could result if people tested at home and got a positive result. . . . ‘When doing an HIV test it’s very important to know why you are doing it, and to have a proper support system’” (“South Africa: HIV Home Tests – More Warnings”).
Doesn’t it seem rather odd, that someone who keeps urging everyone to get tested then implies or insists that they need some other reason for being tested than that everyone is being urged to get tested?
Perhaps there’s a subliminal awareness that the tests are often misleading?

“Dubula also questioned the accuracy of home testing kits, saying there was no confirmation.  ‘All HIV tests must be confirmed. The worry with self-testing is that it’s not always possible to confirm the results. Some people may not be able to afford to buy a second kit to confirm their results,’ she said, urging people to get free tests at public health facilities.”
But there’s no such thing as a confirming HIV test, according to  “Laboratory detection of human retroviral infection” by Stanley H. Weiss and Elliott P. Cowan, Chapter 8 in AIDS and Other Manifestations of HIV Infection, ed. Gary P. Wormser, 4th ed. (2004). None of the tests are capable of establishing the presence of HIV infection; all results should be expressed as probabilities; so-called “confirmatory” tests are actually only supplemental tests, to be used only as additional adjuncts to clinical observation and medical histories. “Each individual assay has its own associated special characteristics and is not interchangeable with other assays, even within a given class of test” (p. 148). “In the absence of gold standards, the true sensitivity and specificity for the detection of HIV antibodies remain somewhat imprecise” (p. 150).
The truly monstrous fact is that the public hears constantly about confirmatory tests and the 99%+ sensitivity and specificity of HIV testing at the same time as the expert technical literature emphasizes that such a high “accuracy” still means that in low-risk groups the probability of false positives may be 5 out of 6 and that no test or sequence of tests can prove infection (“’HIV’ tests are self-fulfilling prophecies”, 10 May 2009).

When public policies are based on ignorance, this is the sort of mess that ensues. On the one hand, the policy makers are told that “rapid testing may assist in facilitating the diagnosis of HIV infection, improving HIV testing capabilities in facilities without access to laboratories”; on the other hand it’s recognized that “There was also the danger of misinterpretation of the results of the home test kit . . . . Professor Peter Eagles, chairman of the Medical Control Council . . . said consumers needed to ensure the product was of a good quality, and registered in its country of origin.”
How, one might logically ask, should the typical “consumer” in Africa distinguish advertisements by makers of the home-test kits from other propaganda they are subjected to? But perhaps above all, consider the implications of the assertion that “rapid testing”, notoriously unreliable in itself, can assist with “diagnosis of HIV infection”, when Weiss & Cowan go to great pains to describe the lengthy, elaborate procedures required to diagnose infection in ways that do not rely exclusively on test results.

There is a similar disconnect between the incessant propaganda to distribute antiretroviral drugs in Africa and the considered views of the treatment experts that antiretroviral treatment requires constant careful monitoring, frequent laboratory testing, the likelihood of needing to change treatments at intervals, the elaborate procedures like “resistance testing” to choose the right treatment regimens in the first place:
” Multiple studies have demonstrated that better outcomes are achieved in HIV-infected outpatients cared for by a  clinician with HIV expertise [1-6], which reflects the complexity of HIV infection and its treatment. Thus, appropriate  training and experience, as well as ongoing continuing medical education (CME), are important components for  optimal care. Primary care providers without HIV experience, such as those who provide service in rural or  underserved areas, should identify experts in the region who will provide consultation when needed” (NIH Treatment Guidelines, 1 December 2009, p. 3).

It seems more than likely that good nutrition and vitamins and mineral supplements would do far more good in Africa than the liberal distribution of toxic antiretroviral drugs in absence of nearly enough experienced physicians to ensure that treatment is changed or discontinued at the first sign of toxic side-effects.

Posted in Alternative AIDS treatments, antiretroviral drugs, experts, HIV skepticism, HIV tests | Tagged: , , , , | 31 Comments »