Posted by Henry Bauer on 2011/07/29
An important credential for HIV/AIDS researchers is that they should not think about the wider implications of data or observations, because all too often those conflict with HIV/AIDS theorizing. Two recent examples:
“Swaziland to test entire population for HIV
Published on : 26 July 2011 – 11:24am | By Klaas den Tek
Authorities in Swaziland want to subject the entire Swazi population to an HIV/AIDS screening test. Those eventually found to be HIV positive would then receive antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). It is an ambitious project involving various donors including the Dutch organization, Stop Aids Now! But is it possible to test an entire population? . . .
Nearly 200,000 of Swaziland’s 1.2 million inhabitants are HIV positive, which makes the southern African country the world record holder for HIV prevalence. Moreover, many Swazis have never been tested for HIV before. The number of people living with the virus that causes AIDS could thus be much higher.
HIV/ AIDS expert, Joep de Lange, from the University of Amsterdam, is among the supporters of the project.
According to him, the screening test could lower the prevalence of the pandemic to one percent of the Swazi population” [emphases added].
The CIA Fact Book has the HIV prevalence as 25.9% (estimated, of course). A couple of years earlier it had been estimated to be 38.8% (Deconstructing HIV/AIDS in “Sub-Saharan Africs” and “The Caribbean”, 2008/04/21) . According to the UNAIDS 2008 Global Report, in “Swaziland — HIV prevalence appears to have stabilized at extraordinarily high levels” [my emphasis], namely “the 26% . . . found in adults . . . in 2006 [which] is the highest prevalence ever documented in a national population-based survey anywhere in the world (Central Statistical Office [Swaziland] & Macro International Inc., 2007)” — although among pregnant women, Swaziland had recorded >40% HIV prevalence in 2004.
So much for official statistics. 200,000 of 1.2 million is 17%; CIA says 26% as does UNAIDS, but CIA had nearly 39% just a few years earlier. Believe what you choose and whatever suits the immediate purpose. But furthermore:
Up to 2004, less than 10% of the “HIV-positive” population was getting the benefit of antiretroviral drugs. “In Swaziland, the Global Fund is financing care and support services for 100 000 children orphaned as a result of HIV (Global Fund, 2008)”.
The CIA Fact Book estimates for 2009, 180,000 Swazis living with HIV/AIDS but only 7000 HIV/AIDS deaths.
The death rate should have been much higher, if HIV/AIDS is as deadly as claimed in absence of life-saving antiretroviral drugs.
The Golden Fleece Award for Outstanding Non-Thinking, though, ought to go to expert Joep de Lange for suggesting that universal testing and antiretroviral treatment could bring the prevalence from ~16% down to ~1%. No one has yet suggested that antiretroviral drugs are a cure, that they convert “HIV-positive” to “HIV-negative”. For prevalence to decrease from 16% to 1%, 15% of the population would have to die — that is, 15 of the 16% “HIV-positive” people, i.e. 94% of those “living with HIV/AIDS” — even as they are all being treated with antiretroviral drugs!? And that’s assuming no new infections in the meantime, of course; taking those into account would require an even higher death rate.
This is far from the first time that HIV/AIDS gurus have made such ridiculous claims about projected or even achieved decreases in HIV prevalence in various African regions, for example, Uganda, decreases that simply do not jibe with birth and death rates let alone claimed new-infection rates.
Joep de Lange is one of the most prominent HIV/AIDS gurus. He is Professor of Internal Medicine at Amsterdam, has been engaged in HIV/AIDS matters for more than 15 years, and has been President of the International AIDS Society. Perhaps he was misquoted in suggesting that Swaziland could reduce its HIV prevalence from ~16% to ~1%? Or then again perhaps not, since he apparently swallowed the claim that Uganda had reduced its rate from 30% to 11% (“De eerlijke aidsbestrijder” — The honest anti-AIDS warrior).
The interview was given to a Dutch reporter, so perhaps de Lange was not misreported.
* * * * * *
It’s long been well known that HIV is sexually transmitted, and that people who have contracted some other venereal disease (STD) such as gonorrhea or chlamydia are more prone to acquire HIV as well. It’s remained well known even as the data have shown negative correlations between HIV and STDs. It’s remained well known even as the rate of “HIV” among actors in pornographic films has been virtually zero despite the almost total absence of condom use among those performers. Nevertheless, HIV/AIDS gurus and activists have continued to declaim about the dangers of HIV spread among porn performers and that they should be forced to use condoms. For example, the recent article by Goldstein et al. (“High chlamydia and gonorrhea incidence and reinfection among performers in the adult film industry”, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 38  644-8):
“industry standards for protecting adult film performers lag far behind established worker health and safety standards. Adult film performers routinely engage in anal and vaginal sex without condoms, including prolonged and repeated sexual acts with multiple sexual partners over short periods. 3 These practices often lead to rectal and/or vaginal mucosal trauma with exposure to seminal and vaginal fluids, fecal material, and blood, a combination that is ideal for transmission of human immunodeﬁciency virus (HIV), other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and fecal pathogens. . . . ‘an average popular male in the industry, through partner-to-partner-to-partner transmission, reaches approximately 198 people in 3 days.’ 7 Although the total population of performers at any one time may appear small, they have a very large sexual network and
serve as a bridge population for STD transmission to and from the general population. 6
. . . .
We focused on repeat infections with CT [chlamydia] and GC [gonorrhea] in this analysis because they are generally indicators of (1) participation in higher sexual risk behaviors; (2) higher risk for HIV acquisition and transmission 15 . . . .” [emphases added].
Now here are the data reported by Goldstein et al.:
“Between 1998 and 2008, 17 HIV cases were reported among performers. 4”
For gonorrhea and chlamydia between 2004 and 2008,
Thus 1294 cases of gonorrhea and 2175 cases of chlamydia in the 5 years from 2004 to 2008, in other words ~260 cases per year of gonorrhea and ~ 435 cases per year of chlamydia.
With HIV, by contrast, there were less than 2 per year, under conditions “ideal for transmission of human immunodeﬁciency virus (HIV)”.
We have to do it for ourselves because we obviously can’t rely on the researchers to do it for us.