HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

0.1% prevalence of “HIV” “infection” — Cause for great concern

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2011/12/21

The Lehrer News Hour tonight (Wednesday 21st December 2011) had a segment on imams in Morocco being trained to “educate” their flocks on the danger posed by HIV and how best to avoid it — a delicate task in a Muslim country where any form of extramarital sex is not to be talked about.

The prevalence of “HIV” in Morocco is 0.1% (~23,000 in a population of 30 million).

Strikes me as an outstanding tribute to the efforts of the international HIV/AIDS industry, to stimulate so massive an “educational” campaign in a region where there is hardly a trace of a reason for concern. How much time and money was expended, I wonder, to get this program going?

And of course the news program made no comment on the discrepancy between negligible prevalence and massive initiative.


7 Responses to “0.1% prevalence of “HIV” “infection” — Cause for great concern”

  1. Send in the marines!

    • Whoa! Does HIV classify as a WMD? Is AIDS part of the Axis of Evil?

      Kidding aside, this post made me laugh. I like the “Cause for great concern” part. One of those types of humor where you laugh and shake your head in dismay at the same time. One of my personal directives, is to try and find humor as much as possible, as it makes the troubled world a bit more palatable.
      Then again, this story borders on the absurd.

      >>How much time and money was expended, I wonder, to get this program going?

      Whenever I want reassurance of the absurdity of some of this AIDS stuff, I think about the pie graph denoting the disparity in research funding for diseases versus mortality rates, and how much of that pie has been devoured by AIDS funding.

      Notice also it is prevalence of HIV, not necessarily AIDS. Wonder how many people are classified as AIDS cases? And how accurate are these statistics even with HIV positivity?

      Side Note:
      I’m a first time poster, but long time reader of this blog. Also own Origin, Persistence, and Failings.. it was money well spent, and I can use it for future references, no computer required!

      I would like to thank you, Dr. Bauer, for the interesting and informative work you do here and elsewhere, on AIDS and the always valuable insights on science philosophy in general. It’s imperative in understanding scientific controversy to at least have a grasp on the history of science, how it operates, the mistakes made, etc.

      Also, a thank you to David Crowe, for all the work he does on this subject as well. Heard your recent interview on Bob Tuskin’s show, and have heard many other interviews, including the somewhat hilarious (bizarre?) “debate” between you and Dr. Boyd Graves. Still not sure what to think of his abrupt, uh, departure from the debate.

      Although I’m a bit reticent to make heroes out of people or ideas, you are both heroes enough for bringing valid questions to bear on prevailing paradigms.

      Okay, no more flattery, I promise! 😉

      • Henry Bauer said

        Skeptical Guy:
        Thanks! It’s really appreciated, to hear that we’re not talking into a vacuum out there….

  2. SkepticalGuy said

    No problem. As for vacuum, not in MY vicinity. Most of the people I associate with, particularly family and close friends, have heard about this from me. My mom surprised me one day: she had kind of dismissed the alternative theories of AIDS when I had brought them up before, and one day she recommended this book to me, “Wrongful Death: The AIDS Trial” by Stephen Davis. I find the phenomenon funny, that I can try and point things out, but it takes an outside source to convince her of something. I think it has to do with her status as parent, and me as the child, perhaps?
    Or, maybe the vacuum you refer to is the lack of comments on your blog recently? It seems that they have been more scarce as of late, but maybe I’m mistaken.
    Many times wanted to comment on a story here, but hadn’t taken the initiative to “break the ice” as it were. I hope I can contribute something valuable. I find sometimes that the comment sections for articles add a lot to the subject in question, to spur debate and whatnot.

    Now, please excuse the lack of brevity here, but a number of things are brought to my mind about the Morocco/North African HIV data: in my previous comment I mentioned the obvious (obvious to frequent readers here) difference between HIV and AIDS, which I still see a lot of people confusing the two in everyday life, and the 23,000 people who supposedly are HIV positive.

    In your book on page 73 (Table 20) your data on North African and Middle East HIV prevalence is pretty much identical to the Moroccan numbers: between 0.1 and 0.2. I couldn’t find anything on specific racial types for that region, although it isn’t uniform throughout by any means. I would think some of the Berbers in Northwest Africa might throw a wrench in the idea of genetic uniformity, depending on how different the racial group is. Wikipedia’s article on Berber People has a map of their genotype in Africa. Not meaning to ramble here, but your post made me wonder about HIV racial differences in non-black Africa as well as Middle Eastern peoples.

    According to on North Africa and Middle East:
    “Reliable data on the epidemics in the Middle East and North Africa remain in short supply, creating difficulty in tracking recent trends with confidence. Nonetheless, according to available evidence, the number of new HIV infections in the region increased from 36 000 in 2001 to 75 000 in 2009 bringing the number of people living with HIV in the region to an estimated 460 000 at the end of 2009. Epidemics in the region are typically concentrated among injecting drug users, men who have sex with men, and sex workers and their clients.”

    Their PDF summary of statistics at states about AIDS:
    >> AIDS-related deaths in the region rose from 8300 [6300–11 000] in 2001 to 23 000 [20 000–27 000] in 2009.

    I don’t know how that correlates with population increase or increased testing, but a near 3 fold increase seems fairly significant in only 8 years. However, that total number seems very *insignificant* compared to the overall population of such a large and varied region.
    From the population stats I can find, both North Africa and Middle East combined are approximately 400 million. That would put the AIDS mortality per capita at around… I might have made a mistake, but approximately .00006%?!?! Probably about the same with the U.S.
    Whatever amount the well-meaning (or ill meaning?) non-profits are expending on AIDS programs in the region, it’s probably way too much. Certainly NOT a great cause for concern, to put it mildly!

    Any thoughts about HIV prevalence and AIDS in this area? I notice the “epidemics” as they call them are in the usual categories: ” injecting drug users, men who have sex with men, and sex workers and their clients.”
    You also mentioned the more traditional, sometimes oppressive, sexual mores in those countries. I wonder how that affects testing, and would we see more, to use your own terminology, F(HIV), in a more liberalized society? I also wonder if any recent programs funded by the Western establishment through the UN and other avenues may have increased the amount of testing and contributed to an increase in positive cases, if we go by the idea that getting tested more often by its very nature increases the chances of being HIV-positive?

    Interestingly, that PDF I linked above states that around 14% (estimated) of the IV drug users in Iran are HIV positive! Doesn’t that seem unusually high? When compared to such statistics as you linked in your book from the CDC(1998), where IV drug users were positive 7.3% and 3.2% for homosexual and heterosexual drug users, respectively, it makes me wonder how reliable that data is from Iran. Emphasis on “estimated”, but wonder what criteria they use for their estimation?

    Tried to keep it brief here, but as you can see, my mind is cluttered with such questions! Maybe someone will appreciate the attempt to flesh out this particular area.

    By the way, for any readers who haven’t seen it before:
    Good breakdown of funding per disease and mortality, showing the huge disparity regarding AIDS.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Re “vacuum”: I think it’s similar to what I got used to from teaching, and also from publishing books — after a while you realize that only a tiny fraction of those who appreciate it ever get around to letting you know. So you come to really treasure those few expressions for reminding you of “the silent numbers”.
      I haven’t tried to look at sources for detailed genetics except in connection with “HIV”, for example in “Mainstream duffers clutch at Duffy straws: African ancestry and HIV”. To first approximation, it seems that Bantu genes, associated with very dark skin color, have high probability of giving a positive “HIV” test.
      Re IDU, Tables 23 and 24 show ranges of “HIV+” up to 37% and 65% from two separate sources, and Figure 22 reports that IDU, gay men, and TB patients may all have very high rates.
      I think for most of your questions, data probably aren’t accessible to give good answers — there are too many variables. One of them that you mention is the rate of testing: one really can’t reliably compare numbers without knowing what the rates were in each case. Another uncertainty is the criteria used for what an “AIDS death” is; I firs learned from Rebecca Culshaw’s excellent book that even people dying in accidents might be categorized as an AIDS death if they happened to be HIV+! And a BIG variable, of course, that you also mention is that so many reported numbers are ESTIMATES, arrived at how??

      • SkepticalGuy said

        Thanks for the link. I think I may have read that one some time ago, having been a silent follower since at least 2009, but I read it again.
        So, really dark Africans have higher rates of positivity? I wonder about white people getting a good suntan! Okay, that’s silly…

        Some of it, in particular the gene that makes one simultaneously more susceptible as well as more resistant to HIV is as interesting as the drug Francis mentioned recently, rapamycin, that kills immune cells, while apparently being helpful in cases of supposed immune suppression.
        You also mentioned CCR5. I had heard discussion of that on How Positive Are You podcast. In fact it might have even been the same episode where they mentioned what you note above, that auto accident victims were marked down as “HIV+ death” which apparently then morphed into “died of AIDS”.
        What do they call THAT? Rounding up? Statistical adjustments or homogenization???

        I don’t recall which organization was compiling those numbers. Maybe you do?

        As you’ve posted before, some of the astronomical rates of HIV infection in some countries should have wiped people out like a medieval plague by now, one would think. Then again, logic doesn’t seem to apply much to AIDS science.

      • Henry Bauer said

        SkepticalGuy: Culshaw cited the Massachusetts Dept of Public Heath for counting as AIDS deaths any HIV+ person who died

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