The Lazarus Effect and the puzzle of delayed illness in “HIV-positive” gay men
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2014/05/06
Recent comments from CJ and some digging into the past (Reminiscing; not much new under the sun; why gay men and Africans are the predominant victims) brought to the forefront of my mind what has been lurking in the background for quite a long time, the puzzle that is of literally vital importance to some unknown number of gay men: those who are aware of the lack of proof that HIV causes AIDS, who are both “HIV-positive” and healthy for a long time, but who then suffer illness which, for one reason or another, is ascribed or ascribable to “HIV”.
The evidence that HIV does not cause immunedeficiency and AIDS is powerfully strong in a number of ways (The Case against HIV). What first convinced me personally was the accumulated data on “HIV-positive” tests: what those tests detected is neither infectious nor correlated with AIDS (The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory).
But that is overall. Could some small proportion of all the cases nevertheless conform to the mainstream view? Is it possible that HIV is after all what the mainstream says it is, but is responsible for only a small proportion of AIDS cases?
That seems awfully unlikely. Similar arguments apply as against the possibility that data from “HIV-positive” tests might be invalidated by contamination of samples or false positives (p. 39 ff. in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory): the data show extraordinary regularities with respect to sex, age, and race, at all levels of average “HIV-positive” prevalence. There seems no room for a “real HIV” to be lurking in the mass of mistaken “HIV”: if there were, then one or more of those correlations should break down at low prevalence.
Further: Everything the mainstream says about HIV has turned out to be wrong: that it targets T-cells and somehow destroys them indirectly by some occult mechanism, that it’s sexually transmitted, that it hides somewhere during a latent period of a decade or so.
So it seems impossible that the mainstream view could be valid in a tiny proportion of all instances when it is definitely wrong in almost all cases.
If Duesberg is right and HIV is a “passenger” virus, could it be almost always harmless as Duesberg claims and yet harmful to some people some of the time?
If de Harven is right and “HIV” tests pick up circulating DNA and things from endogenous retroviruses (HERVs), could one of those HERVs occasionally become functional, active, harmful?
Such speculations seem unlikely to be true. What an astounding coincidence it would be that everything the mainstream claims has been shown to be unfounded or ill-founded in innumerable instances and yet could be correct in a tiny proportion of instances, so tiny that all the observed correlations are not significantly affected.
I can’t see it.
Doesn’t the lifesaving cART or HAART demonstrate that the mainstream is basically correct?
Not at all. Antiretroviral drugs are not life-saving (Section 7.1.3 in The Case against HIV), indeed the drugs are incredibly toxic. That mortality rates declined almost immediately when HAART was introduced showed not that HAART is good but that it is not as highly toxic as what it replaced (Section 5.1.6 in The Case against HIV).
Moreover, what HAART replaced continues in use, albeit in lower doses, within HAART. Components of that — AZT and its cognate NRTIs and probably NNRTIs and the other kinds of antiretroviral drugs — destroy bone marrow and mitochondria (among other nasty effects) to produce long-term, cumulative, damage, albeit perhaps so gradually that consumers might live for quite a long time, though uncomfortably and in increasingly fragile health.
The Lazarus Effect is hyped by mainstream propagandists as proof that antiretroviral drugs work and transform illness into health: there have been a number of anecdotal accounts over the years of people seriously ill with “AIDS” rising vigorously from their sick-beds within a day or two of starting antiretroviral drugs.
But the Lazarus Effect actually speaks against HIV/AIDS theory, not for it.
HIV is not claimed to cause any direct harm (Section 1.3 in The Case against HIV), only indirectly by supposedly destroying the immune system and allowing opportunistic infections to get a foothold. Antiretroviral drugs are designed to prevent replication of HIV, and there is no reason to expect that such an effect could bring rapid recovery from an illness. Rather, the “antiretroviral” is evidently acting against whatever opportunistic infection or inflammation a somehow weakened immune system allowed. Antiretroviral drugs are known to be magnificently toxic to living cells, and the Lazarus Effect actually demonstrates the antibiotic action of “antiretroviral” drugs. As Drs. Koehnlein and Sacher have pointed out, this gives grounds for prescribing antiretroviral drugs for short periods when it has not been possible to identify the specific cause of an illness. In no way does the Lazarus Effect support HIV/AIDS theory or the use of antiretroviral treatment over extended periods of time (let alone for so-called pre-exposure prevention, PrEP — see Poisonous “prophylaxis”: PrEP [Pre-Exposure Prevention]).
Mainstream shibboleths in relatively recent times have come to include the presumption that “HIV” can somehow cause damage directly to organs including the brain: publications refer to “HIV-associated” dementia, lipodystrophy, arthritis, and more. But those ailments have been “HIV-associated” only since the advent of antiretroviral treatment, and they are actually caused by the antiretroviral drugs (Section 4.3.4 in The Case against HIV); those drugs have legions of toxic effects and are anything but “life-saving” (Section 5 in The Case against HIV).
Another possible explanation for the Lazarus Effect is hormesis: Substances and types of radiation that are harmful at larger doses may actually be beneficial at low doses — the dose-response curve is U- or J-shaped. Thus an initial or short-term “antiretroviral” treatment might appear as life-saving. A common explanation for hormesis is that the poisonous stimulus brings the immune system into action to a degree that more than outweighs the poisonous effect.
The phenomenon of hormesis has been controversial, but it is being increasingly recognized as genuine. A useful review is “Defining hormesis” by Calabrese and Baldwin (Human & Experimental Toxicology, 21  91-7 ). A specialist society is dedicated to the study of hormesis: the International Dose-Rresponse Society which has published a journal for more than a decade.
A personal speculation: some of the adjuvants used in vaccines might work because of hormesis since such adjuvants as squalene and aluminum salts have been reported as harmful at large doses.
* * * * * * * *
How then to comprehend cases of gay men who have been both “HIV-positive” and healthy for a long time and who then suffer illness which, for one reason or another, is ascribed or ascribable to “HIV”?
Taking the dissident stance that “HIV” is not the cause of immunedeficiency, one recalls that there are innumerable possible cause for immunedeficiency (described comprehensively by Root-Bernstein in Rethinking AIDS—The Tragic Cost of Premature Consensus, Free Press, 1993).
Furthermore, it is not only “HIV-positive” gay men who experience illness that their doctors cannot diagnose specifically (When doctors can’t tell you what’s wrong). It is not impossible, after all, that when gay “HIV-positive” men become ill, that the illness has nothing to do with being gay or with being “HIV-positive”. As we go through life, all of us — women and men, heterosexual and bisexual and homosexual — sooner or later lose health and die.
Still, there is at least one reason why “HIV-positive” gay men may be especially prone to illness: the Nocebo Effect.
It has become generally understood that the Placebo Effect is very real, albeit its mechanism is not understood: Belief that one is being cured can in itself effect a cure *.
It is less widely understood that the same not-understood mechanism can have the opposite, nocebo, effect: Belief that one is going to become ill or to die can in itself bring about illness or death. Not widely enough understood, especially by doctors, is that what a doctor says to a patient can be very damaging when the doctor is simply trying to be straightforward and truthful about conveying bad news **.
This is clearly of great relevance with “HIV/AIDS”, as discussed in The AIDS Cult by John Lauritsen & Ian Young (ASKLEPIOS, 1997), and is clearly pertinent to the puzzle of “HIV-positive” gay men who consider themselves HIV/AIDS dissidents and have been healthy for a long time but then become ill with symptoms associated with AIDS.
It cannot be easy to thoroughly believe the dissident view if one is not a doctor or scientist widely read in the copious technical literature. Most gay men surely find themselves in the dilemma of having to choose who to believe, mainstream doctors and scientists or dissident doctors and scientists. It cannot be easy, when one’s own health and life are at stake, to make such a choice, to believe one group or the other without fully understanding the technical issues, having to take opinions on faith by trusting the expertise and honesty of people who are not known on a personal level.
Surely most gay dissidents have at least occasional doubts, perhaps only subconscious, that perhaps the mainstream could be right after all. That sort of doubting, worrying, would be prime ground for generating stress and a nocebo effect.
* * * * * * * *
This is an attempt to clarify the dreadful dilemma faced by some number of gay men.
In recent correspondence made available for wider distribution, one man in this situation wrote that antiretroviral drugs were effectively treating his cytomegalovirus and toxoplasmosis, at the cost of such “side” effects as : nausea, pain / headache (to the point of continual moaning and pacing), itchy groin/feet (scratched until I bled), insomnia, fatigue, bags under my eyes, bloated, swollen ankles, calves and thighs, diarrhoea, tingling hands, feeling cold”.
The fundamental unresolved problem is how to strengthen a weakened immune system, and medical science seems to offer no help in that direction: “I’ll wean myself off the medications over the coming year, but getting my immune system (specifically my cell-mediated immunity) operating well has been problematic. Let’s see if I succeed the third time around!”.
Dr. Christian Fiala commented that antiretroviral drugs are certainly effective against bacteria, more so than regular antibiotics, and also against viruses, “However you have to be careful that they kill the virus before they kill the patient”. Dr. Claus Köhnlein emphasized that antiretroviral drugs can be useful in extreme cases, but “HIV theory is still the reason for a massive overtreatment because most patients are being treated prophylactically”.
Clarification is needed, I believe; but what’s really needed is help in finding ways to strengthen immunity and to diagnose the actual underlying cause of the weakened immunity in each of these individual cases. That’s where research is needed most desperately.
* Howard Brody with Daralyn Brody, The Placebo Response: How You Can Release the Body’s Inner Pharmacy for Better Health (Harper Perennial, 2001); Arthur K. Shapiro and Elaine Shapiro, The Powerful Placebo: From Ancient Priest to Modern Physician (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000); Anne Harrington (ed.), The Placebo Effect: An Interdisciplinary Exploration (Harvard University Press, 1997).
** For a review of studies, see Nocebo phenomena in medicine: Their relevance in everyday clinical practice by Winfried Häuser, Ernil Hansen, & Paul Enck, Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, 109 (2012) 459-65 (in English). The Skeptic’s Dictionary gives a useful summary (nocebo and nocebo effect). A few anecdotes are cogently recounted on YouTube by Helen Pilcher (The nocebo effect — Helen Pilcher — nothing event).
This entry was posted on 2014/05/06 at 9:12 am and is filed under Alternative AIDS treatments, antiretroviral drugs, HIV as stress, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV risk groups, HIV skepticism, HIV/AIDS numbers. Tagged: delayed illness in “HIV-positive” gay men, hormesis, Lazarus effect. 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.