HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Human Endogenous Retroviruses can resolve HIV/AIDS puzzles

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2010/09/02

Not much if anything was known about human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) at the beginning of the AIDS era. By now, a great deal has been found out, and some of it is directly relevant to various conundrums and controversies about HIV. In my opinion, a recognition of the existence and characteristics of HERVs offers the possibility of resolving differing views among AIDS Rethinkers, as to whether HIV exists or whether it exists but is harmless.
Etienne de Harven has been drawing attention for some time to the importance of HERVs in relation to HIV/AIDS, and his views are now readily available in convenient form in a recently published review, described today in this press release:


Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
1601 N. Tucson Blvd. Suite 9
Tucson, AZ 85716
(800) 635-1196

September 2, 2010
For Immediate Release

Are HERVs an Answer to AIDS Mysteries?

Contact: Etienne de Harven, M.D., by email:, or Jane M. Orient, M.D.: (520) 323-3110.

Tucson, Ariz. Why is it so hard to isolate and purify human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)? Why has no one been able to see, by electron microscopy, a single HIV particle in the blood of AIDS patients, even those who have a “high viral load”? Why does HIV seem to mutate with startling rapidity? AIDS researchers have not been able to come up with answers to these questions.

HERVs—human endogenous retroviruses—might provide explanations that have been overlooked for 20 years, writes Professor Etienne de Harven, M.D., in the fall 2010 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons,. HERVs are present in all of us, and fragments of their DNA may be confused with HIV in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests used to estimate viral load.

The beautiful photographs of HIV published in both lay and scientific journals are embellished with special effects from computerized image reconstruction. Since they come from cell cultures, which are likely to be contaminated, the particles may be “elegant artifacts” rather than the exogenous virus—a virus of external origin—believed to cause AIDS, de Harven states.

About 8 percent of the human genome consists of sequences incorporated from retroviruses. When cells break down, DNA fragments are released into the circulation—including these viral sequences. Patients with clinical AIDS carry a large spectrum of infectious diseases, so a high level of circulating DNA is expected.

While “AIDS Rethinkers” may challenge the role of HIV in AIDS, or even its existence, they are obligated to explain the observations of clinicians and researchers. HERVs are, at a minimum, a confounding variable that needs to be investigated, de Harven notes.

Puzzles involving the interpretation of diagnostic tests for HIV, the epidemiology and transmission patterns of AIDS, and strategies for prevention and treatment cannot be solved without broadening AIDs research beyond the narrow confines accepted by the “Orthodoxers,” de Harven believes. Alternate hypotheses need to be objectively assessed, and conclusions must be based on scientific evidence rather than consensus.

The article can be downloaded free of charge from

24 Responses to “Human Endogenous Retroviruses can resolve HIV/AIDS puzzles”

  1. Hugo Stenström said

    De Harven’s article is a very illuminating piece that helps a lot in the debate on whether HIV exists and is harmless or if it doesn’t exist at all.
    I have thought that this is a pseudo-debate only good for drawing attention away from the real issues.
    If it is harmless, why call it HIV? If it exists and does not do what it is supposed to do, why call it HIV? If it is not essential for the pathogenesis of AIDS, why give it so much attention in connection with AIDS?
    Just allow yourself to think outside the box for a minute, and you will never again get stuck in that debate.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Hugo Stenström:
      How can we critique the HIV/AIDS orthodoxy without using that term “HIV”? It’s shorter than always having to say “what has been called, incorrectly, HIV”.

      • mykoolaidtastesfunny said

        Hi Dr Bauer,

        I call HIV “Gallo’s phantom virus” or “Gallo’s dread virus of mass destruction” or “Gallo’s invisble menace”

        I refer to somene who tested HIV+ as “someone who got a reaction on one of “L Ron” Gallo’s ***** antibody tests” Sometimes I call it “Gallo’s handy dandy HIV o-meter”

        It may not be scientific or practical in a scientific discussion but in real world situations it seems to bring people back down to earth and remind them where the bright idea for a virus of mass destruction came from in the first place. When you use their terminology you get trapped in their paradigm. This has been my only solution for that so far.

      • Henry Bauer said

        Noble efforts!
        I hope all readers catch the “L Ron” reference to L Ron Hubbard, successful writer of science fiction who also invented the faux psychotherapy of Dianetics followed by the faux religion of Scientology.

  2. Guy said

    Call it “HIV”.

    • DC said

      I like to refer to it as The Hiv.

    • mykoolaidtastesfunny said

      I call someone being “HIV+” as someone getting a random reaction on one of Gallo’s crap tests. I call it Gallo’s fake *** virus of mass destruction ***. Or the VMD. Or just Gallo’s virus. I call the “HIV tests” Gallo’s crap tests. I don’t care if I’m being strictly accurate. I’m more accurate than the mainstream. So when Ministry of AIDStruth cultists accuse me of being in denial over being “HIV+” I point out that I’ve never gotten a reaction on one of L Ron Gallo’s crap tests. It’s hard to argue with people when they’ve staked all the terminology so I snatched some back.

  3. Hugo Stenström said

    Dr Bauer:
    I have always thought that the quarrel between the Perth group and Peter Duesberg is mainly about the word HIV.
    The “HIV/AIDS” orthodoxy is trying to force us to think about HIV as inseparable from AIDS, and they do succeed, just by using the term “HIV/AIDS”.
    Sometimes there is no easy way around. The word HIV is enslaving us, makes it impossible for us to think freely.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Hugo Stenström:
      Absolutely, the invention of the term “HIV/AIDS” was a great success for the public-relations and propaganda arm of the orthodoxy.
      I fear that the disagreement between Duesberg and Perth group is
      1. Heavily fueled by camp followers and groupies of the protagonists. Peter Duesberg has shown no wish to campaign, he just has his own view and allows others to have theirs;
      2. more substantive than a matter of name;
      3. much more a matter of egos than anything substantive.
      The salient important fact is that whatever HIV may or may not be, “it” is not the cause of AIDS. That’s what all Rethinkers agree on, and that’s what needs to win the day, and will eventually, whether or not the Duesberg/Perth disagreement is ever “resolved”. In my view, de Harven’s discussion of HERVs indicates that both Duesbergian and Perthian views contain glimpses of the truth while not being the whole truth.

  4. Martin said

    Hi Dr. Bauer, I believe that both Duesberg and Perth had suggested that “HIV” (what ever “it” is) may be endogenous because 1. no one has ever isolated it 2. it has never really been transmitted sexually (Padian) 3. endogenous would explain the toxic epidemic.

    The term HIV and AIDS have been for the Establishment a true public relations / marketing success and they are fighting tooth and nail against AIDS Rethinkers because it could very easily turn into a disaster for the establishment, science and medicine. The so-called Human Immunedeficiency (retro)Virus is probably neither immune-related nor a virus, but the lay public was “sold” a neat package; and as long as the disease wasn’t really contagious i.e. spreading like a real contagious epidemic by Farr’s Law and remained in the unpopular risk groups. . . .

    • Henry Bauer said

      I think Duesberg’s idea of “passenger virus” is perfectly consonant with endogenous, but I’m not sure he has said that anywhere.

  5. According to the company history of Chiron, they cloned and sequenced HIV in 1984. My understanding (which I recognize is limited) is that molecular cloning uses genetic engineering techniques. Bacteria/plasmids are often used for propagating/duplicating DNA segments. In 1982 Chiron filed a patent called,”Adenovirus promoter system.” (4510245) They found that the adenovirus functions in yeast to provide high efficiency transcription and translation of a DNA segment coding for a protein.” Perhaps Chiron used this patented process to clone and sequence the HIV isolate obtained from Jay Levy.
    Was HIV isolated or not? I don’t have a clue. But I do believe that when you take a natural substance and use genetic engineering techniques to duplicate it, the newly made substance is not identical to the natural substance. If the Chiron’s cloning and sequencing is the basis for alot/all test kits for HIV, then to me the test is has a basic flaw. That flaw is the believe that genetic engineering can create something identical to nature. This belief in genetic engineering is creating havoc not only in our medical world of antibody testing for everything from hep c to vitamin d levels. But is also creating an environmental disaster in food production around the world.
    I am sure the debate will go on whether “HIV” was isolated or not. Yet, I feel that the critical element is that HIV testing is based on the fallacy that men and women of science can produce in the lab something identical to what is in nature. Thus, even if hiv was isolated, the use of cloning techniques to duplicate the retrovirus is flawed science.

    • Henry Bauer said

      I’ve agreed with so many of your earlier posts, it hurts me to disagree so strongly with this one. At the level of pure molecules, there’s no difference between “natural ” and”synthetic”.
      I don’t think you’ve got it quite right about bacteria/plasmis and cloning, either, but that’s a bit more complicated and I’ll leave it to people more expert than me to correct that.

  6. It shouldn’t hurt to disagree:) How does one get to truth without a dialogue? In genetic engineering/cloning of a molecule, you believe that a scientist can create the identical substance? At one time genetic engineers believed in junk DNA, that it did nothing, it was just debris floating around. I recently heard that they have revised that belief. Junk DNA may have a purpose, just we were unable to understand it a few years ago. How will this new knowledge impact old knowledge? The use of vectors/pathogens (supposedly disabled) in genetic engineering is predicated on knowing exactly what you are doing, being skillful at the use of cutting or shotgunning a strand of DNA at the right spot, and using a vector that you “know” is disabled. Do we really have this knowledge?
    On another level, we have scientists who believe that the genetically engineered soybean is not equivalent to the natural soybean. In fact there is some studies that show that there maybe some serious differences in how the human gut deals with genetically engineered foods (rats fed genetically engineered potatoes have higher liver and spleen weights, reproduction is damaged). Yet most of us could not visually tell the difference between a soybean genetically engineered or not.
    I don’t have the faith that genetic engineering has perfected its techniques so that scientists can duplicate life at the molecular level. I think one of the problems with the test kits for hiv has to do with that fact that we are not testing for antibodies to “hiv” but antibodies to a genetically engineered “hiv.” I am really willing to listen to other points of view and would be interested in information on the cloning of “hiv”–its accuracy,etc.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Genetic engineering is not the same as cloning. Cloning means to reproduce identically; but I think the term is being used in a few slightly different senses: one of them, actual duplication as in division of a cell, or taking a graft and growing it, or synthesizing something to the same recipe. Genetic engineering is any sort of fooling around with genomes.
      We do NOT have the knowledge to insert genes where we want, all this vectoring is hit-or-miss (hit-AND-miss).
      Some of the “junk” DNA turns out to be HERVs. Other parts probably have something to do with control of signaling.
      Genetically engineered soy beans are NOT attempts to synthesize natural soy beans, they’re attempts to introduce non-soy characters into soy beans, for example to repel pests and avoid the need for pesticides. Of course genetically modified foods may be differently handled in our gut, and I for one am opposed to widespread genetical modification of foods at least until we understand a great deal more. It’s already been the case that people with peanut allergies had allergy attacks from modified soy beans. (I happen to have a grandchild with severe life-threatening peanut allergy.)
      I didn’t mean to say that we can “duplicate life at the molecular level”, because that might mean something more than synthesizing a particular molecule that is identical with, say, a strand of DNA.
      The problem with cloned or any other antigens in “HIV” tests is that we do not have a type specimen of “HIV” derived directly from an AIDS patient, so all the tests are based on GUESSES about what the HIV genome might contain and what the HIV proteins might be.
      “Isolation” of HIV doesn’t mean isolation, it means a circular procedure described, for example, by Rasnick as cited at p. 91 in my book:

      “The ultimate test that the establishment o›ers is what’s called a co-culture tech-
      nique where you take a sample of the individual’s blood cells, white blood cells.
      You cannot find HIV now in this sample. All you have are these blood cells. But
      then you culture these cells with some special cells that Robert Gallo generated
      some years ago. You have to throw in some powerful chemicals, phytohemaglu-
      tinin or IL -2, for example, to force these cells to do anything. The idea is to wake
      up the patient’s cells to start producing RNA; and then this RNA will be coated in
      a protein, and possibly then there will be viral particles produced in the medium.
      These viral particles now will go infect the other cells that you added, and then you
      will amplify by a period of time the replication of these viral particles in the labo-
      ratory, what we call in vitro. Now, these particles did not exist in the patient, in the
      human being, the person that you got this sample from. You created them in the
      laboratory. And by creating these virus particles in the laboratory, people say they
      have isolated HIV from a human being. They have not done any such thing.”

      That’s from Scovill’s film “The Other Side of AIDS”

  7. According to a book called, “An Introduction to Genetic Engineering” Second Edition by Desmond Nicholl, molecular cloning is an alternative word for gene cloning. Gene cloning is defined, “The isolation of individual genes by generating recombinant DNA molecules, which are then propagated in a host cell which produces a clone that contains a single fragment of the target DNA.” I believe that Chiron used molecular cloning (genetic engineering) to clone and sequence hiv in anticipation of creating vaccines and test kits. Chiron did create the hep B vaccine through genetic engineering. So I somehow can’t imagine them not using this technology when working with “hiv” provided by Jay Levy. I am not saying much more than that. If someone has information that Chiron did not use genetic engineering to clone and sequence “hiv,” I’d be interested in seeing it.

    • Henry Bauer said

      I’m not saying they didn’t do what they said they did, just that they didn’t have AUTHENTIC “HIV” to do it with

  8. Martin said

    Hi Dr. Bauer, The snake-oil salesmen at the NIH/CDC have been engaging in a high-tech flimflam. They couldn’t and didn’t isolate anything so they created their Frankenvirus that lo and behold didn’t do the magic tricks they claimed it could. They sold it to the government first because they were the government’s disease authorities. They then marketed it to the public first through a press conference (Robert Gallo) then through a massive advertising campaign. The mainstream press bought it as well — swallowed it hook line and sinker. The few who didn’t were punished accordingly.

  9. Dr. Bauer,
    I hope that you do not mind my posting one more time. I read, “Duesberg claims Continuum Award” and found this, “The existence of the retrovirus HIV predicts HIV DNA can be isolated from the chromosomal DNA of infected cells. The prediction has been confirmed as follows: Full length HIV-1 and HIV-2 DNAs have been prepared from virus-infected cells and cloned in bacterial plasmids.” Cloning in bacterial plasmids is a genetic engineering technique. Later in this article Duesberg states, “Thus HIV isolation based on molecular cloning exceeds the old standards defined as ‘Pasteur’ rules by Continuum.”
    Duesberg believes that molecular cloning (genetic engineering) can isolate a retrovirus. I would question that this genetic engineering technique can truly isolate an organism, particularly an organism that has an RNA genome, no DNA.
    This is all a recent revelation to me. I did not understand the debate between Duesberg and the Perth Group. I wish someone had said to me, look the debate is about genetic engineering and whether those techniques can isolate a retrovirus. Maybe everyone else understood this from the beginning, but I was lost in the complex language. Instead I focused on the fact that something regarding the testing did not add up. What I have been trying to say (but not doing a good job of it) is that if more people understood that HIV was isolated by molecular cloning (genetic engineering), maybe more people would question whether isolation truly happened. Whether the organism was authentic or not, becomes a moot point; if one questions the technology used for isolation.

    • Henry Bauer said

      I do now understand your point.
      Duesberg is (was?) universally agreed to be expert on retroviruses. Perhaps all of retrovirology used this same sense of “isolation”?
      What you cite can still be interpreted in terms of HERVs, it seems to me. To prove exogenous HIV, one would have to show that this “isolation” could NOT be done on a given individual who later became infected which made such “isolation” possible.
      Since the epidemiolog of “HIV” tests shows that what is being detected is not infectious, either “HIV” is HERV-related or HERV-generated, or the “HIV” tests don’t detect what Duesberg was talking about, which seems unlikely.
      But I wish a molecular biologist would comment.

  10. Martin said

    Hi Dr. Bauer, While I’m not a molecular biologist, and it would be nice to have one step in, I was wondering if the HIV “frankenvirus” that was originally synthesized and in my view never really discovered, that the retrovirions they are cloning now are genuinely (half)alive infectious virions? From what I’ve read since the establishment keeps generating new possibilities on how HIV allegedly kills T-cells, the immune system, etc., that if they had real retrovirus, they could have proved to themselves what it actually did. Now there’s the possibility that they have done this and the results have been so disappointing (the virus never lived up to their cytotoxic expectations) that they keep changing the rules by which they are playing and simply request more money for research and keep the iconoclasts at bay.

    • Henry Bauer said

      I love the paper on which J P Moore is a co-author that reported cloned HIV to self-destruct with a half-life of 30 hours or so, spontaneously shedding its supposedly characteristic coating of knobs — not to mention that the proportion of active or infectious virions was less than 1 in 10,000. Here’s the abstract from PubMed:

      1: Virology. 1992 Aug;189(2):695-714.
      Factors underlying spontaneous inactivation and susceptibility to neutralization of human immunodeficiency virus.
      Layne SP, Merges MJ, Dembo M, Spouge JL, Conley SR, Moore JP, Raina JL, Renz H, Gelderblom HR, Nara PL.
      Theoretical Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico 87545.

      To determine the factors governing inactivation and neutralization, physical, chemical, and biological assays were performed on a molecular clone of human immunodeficiency type 1 (HIV-1HXB3). This included quantitative electron microscopy, gp120 and p24 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, reverse, transcriptase assays, and quantitative infectivity assays. For freshly harvested stocks, the ratio of infectious to noninfectious viral particles ranged from 10(-4) to 10(-7) in viral stocks containing 10(9) to 10(10) physical particles per milliliter. There were relatively few gp120 knobs per HIV particle, mean approximately 10 when averaged over the total particle count. Each HIV particle contained a mean approximately 5 x 10(-17) g of p24 and approximately 2 x 10(-16) g of RNA polymerase, corresponding to about 1200 and 80 molecules, respectively. The spontaneous shedding of gp120 envelope proteins from virions was exponential, with a half-life approximately 30 hr. The loss of RNA polymerase activity in virons was also exponential, with a half-life approximately 40 hr. The physical breakup of virions and the dissolution of p24 core proteins were slow (half-life greater than 100 hr) compared to the gp120 shedding and polymerase loss rates. The decay of HIV-1 infectivity was found to obey superimposed single- and multihit kinetics. At short preincubation times, the loss of infectivity correlated with spontaneous shedding of gp120 from virions. At longer times, an accelerating decay rate indicated that HIV requires a minimal number of gp120 molecules for efficient infection of CD4+ cells. The blocking activity of recombinant soluble CD4 (sCD4) and phosphonoformate (foscarnet) varied with the number of gp120 molecules and number of active RNA polymerase molecules per virion, respectively. These results demonstrate that the physical state of virions greatly influences infectivity and neutralization. The knowledge gained from these findings will improve the reliability of in vitro assays, enhance the study of wild-type strains, and facilitate the evaluation of potential HIV therapeutics and vaccines.

      PMID: 1386485 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE

  11. Martin said

    Hi Dr. Bauer, I interpret that quote as there is No F’ing Way HIV could do any of the things that have been claimed for it — predominantly the incredible delayed time that it would stay “dormant” in special hiding places in the body to strike 1, 5, 10, 15 years later. HIV would “evaporate” in less than two days. The sad thing about that PubMed article is that after stating my interpretation in a rather long-winded way, they end the article saying what would please the AIDS establishment: more study. Had they said what Peter Duesberg said in his 1987 paper in Cancer Research, that any further investigation would be (in so many words) unfruitful . . . . In fact on second thought, I’ll bet that last statement may have been added just to prevent it from looking just that way.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Yes indeed, there’s a disconnect between what they found and what they say should then be done. But that’s normal, people don’t generally declare themselves to be redundant; and scientists can always suggest more research, because there’s never an end to things we don’t yet know.

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