You are ill — because we say you are
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2010/10/04
Untold millions of people around the world are both “HIV-positive” and perfectly healthy.
UNAIDS estimates around 30-35 million total “HIV-positives” globally.
It’s claimed by UNAIDS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that no less than ¼ and up to ½ of those don’t know they’re “HIV-positive”. So those who don’t know their “poz” status number anywhere between about 8 and 18 million.
Once you are ill, of course, you find out whether you’re “poz”.
Therefore a significant proportion of those 8-18 million are perfectly healthy “HIV-positives” — “elite controllers” or “long-term non-progressors”, according to the orthodoxy.
A more precise calculation using the more precise numbers available for the United States from the 1980s forward, for deaths as well as for “infection” rates, reveals that about 50% of all “HIV-positives” — those who would test “poz” if there were universal testing — are long-term non-progressors or elite controllers — because if they were not, then the numbers of deaths since the early 1980s would have been far larger than they have been.
A better way of putting this is that “HIV” tests cannot diagnose purported infection by HIV, as stated in test kits and pointed out in authoritative texts (“HIV” tests are self-fulfilling prophecies, 10 May 2009). A whole host of physiological conditions can deliver a “positive” “HIV” result; among the most common ones are drug abuse, tuberculosis, pregnancy, and being of African ancestry.
So to the case of Nadja Benaissa, a popular singer recently convicted in Germany of having sex while “HIV-positive” and actually infecting one of her lovers. I read about this while I was in Montreux (see “Why ethics matters in science”, 2010/09/28), and was struck by these details:
1. The prosecutor recommended only a suspended sentence because the “crime” had been committed long ago when she was much younger.
Indeed! Nadja radiates health, despite having been “HIV-positive” for a long time, and she shows none of the “side” effects that would be so visible were she on antiretroviral treatment.
2. Nadja was a drug addict when she became pregnant at age 16, a dozen years ago: so she had at least 2 of the most common reasons for testing “HIV-positive”. (I’ve lost the clipping of that story; it was probably on or about August 26 or 27 in either the International Herald-Tribune or USA Today, photocopies of which were available in my hotel).
Comprehensive analyses of this case are available at the Office of Medical and Scientific Justice, OMSJ —. “Nadja: German show trial for the HIV/AIDS paradigm” and “Nadja’s choice”.
There’s always too much too read. My Blogroll is already too large for me to scan routinely, but I hope readers of this blog do sample those links periodically. I recently added OMSJ because of its up-to-date and comprehensive coverage. Rethinking AIDS and ARAS are also indispensable for keeping up with what’s happening.
Back to the theme: “You are ill — because we say so”:
Uncountable millions of people are ill with HIV/AIDS solely because they’ve been told they are, either on the basis in Africa of the non-specific Bangui definition or elsewhere on the basis of unapproved “HIV” tests — approved for screening blood, not for diagnosing individual infection; and in the United States on the basis of low CD4 counts in peripheral blood, which have never been shown to be a health hazard and which are not accepted as a relevant criterion outside the USA.
“HIV” tests become self-fulfilling prophecies because antiretroviral treatment is capable of producing the clinical symptoms associated with AIDS; as well as a host of additional ones, like “HIV lipodystrophy” or various cancers, none of which were part of the AIDS syndrome in the early 1980s and only became part of it after antiretroviral drugs were introduced.
* * * * * * * *
The general circumstance that healthy people are told they are ill is by no means confined to HIV/AIDS, however; it has become quite routine as a result of the dominance of pharmaceutical industry in the funding of research and of clinical trials and in advising regulating agencies. Most at risk are all people healthy enough to grow older.
Increasingly, advertising by drug companies is designed to convince us that we are suffering from ailments that require treatment. We used to experience occasional heartburn when we had eaten too heartily, but nowadays any such occasions are signs of “acid reflux disease” that calls for taking the purple pill, and not just on a few occasions as we used to with Gelusil or Rolaids, but for life — that’s how drug companies can make real money, selling stuff that we are supposed to take lifelong.
Pre-menstrual tension becomes “premenstrual dysphoric disorder” that calls for Sarafem. Shyness becomes “social anxiety disorder” or “generalized anxiety disorder” to be treated by Paxil. Not getting an erection on demand becomes “erectile dysfunction” (Marcia Angell, The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What To Do About It, 2004, pp. 86-9). In other words, pharmaceutical companies are nowadays not in the business of selling curatives, they are in the business of Selling Sickness (Ray Moynihan & Alan Cassels, Nation Books [New York] & Allen & Unwin [Sydney, Australia], 2005).
“Erectile dysfunction” is what happens to males who are lucky enough to live long enough. Females as well as males who are lucky enough to live long enough experience increasing blood pressure as a normal corollary of ageing; yet the medical industry seems obsessed with blood-pressure tests at every opportunity and the designation of arbitrary values that everyone should have irrespective of age; and to attain those levels there’s a host of drugs to be prescribed; and over the years the advisory bodies keep lowering what the “desirable” pressures are. To reach younger people, there was even invented the condition of “prehypertension” (Moynihan and Cassels 2005: 86).
So too with blood sugar and pre-diabetes, and with cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Yet the primary scientific literature reveals that as we age, higher cholesterol is better than lower: in a trial of simvastatin, all-cause mortality was lower at cholesterol levels of 180-280 than at levels <180; and all-cause mortality was less with LDL levels of 120-200 than at levels <120 (Matsuzaki et al., Circulation Journal, 66  1087-95; cited in Joel Kauffman, Malignant Medical Myths).
That book, Malignant Medical Myths, is by an impeccable researcher of the primary literature, an organic chemist formerly at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (earlier the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy & Science). The book exposes myths also about daily aspirin, low-carb diets, fluoridation, exercise, cancer treatments, dangers of low-level radiation, and more; all meticulously documented.
The successful marketing of drugs to be taken lifelong for conditions that are not illnesses owes something to the fact that a little learning is a dangerous thing, and something more to the perennial fallacy of taking correlation as an indication of causation. High blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol are “risk factors”: they are statistical correlations. In some studies of large numbers of people chosen at random, high blood pressure and high cholesterol appeared to correlate with heart disease. That’s precisely what you would find if the studies were not controlled by age-matched samples, because heart disease, blood pressure, and high cholesterol all normally become more common with increasing age: AGE is the cause and the others are symptoms. Ageing involves a great many changes in physiology, and one can reasonably doubt that lowering blood pressure or cholesterol levels or blood sugar can reverse ageing.
A little learning about risk factors — correlations — can be a dangerous thing for people, albeit a bonanza for drug companies.
This entry was posted on 2010/10/04 at 10:46 am and is filed under antiretroviral drugs, clinical trials, experts, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV risk groups, HIV skepticism, HIV tests, HIV transmission, Legal aspects, sexual transmission. Tagged: risk factors, selling sickness. 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.