HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Archive for March, 2017

Why do gay men test “HIV-positive” more frequently than others?

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2017/03/29

AIDS was first noticed and described among gay men.

In 1984, it was concluded, officially but mistakenly, that AIDS was caused by HIV.

That AIDS is not caused by HIV follows from innumerable pieces of evidence (The Case against HIV http://thecaseagainsthiv.net), for example that the incidence of AIDS does not correlate with instances of “HIV-positive” (1).
Why then do gay men test “HIV-positive” more often than others?

That is of more than academic interest. If there is some inherent connection between HIV and gay men, and since AIDS is inextricably connected historically to gay men, the two connections reinforce the mistaken conventional wisdom that HIV causes AIDS.

Well: Do gay men really test “HIV-positive” more often than others?

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, “Gay and bisexual men are more severely affected by HIV than any other group in the United States. From 2005 to 2014, HIV diagnoses decreased in the United States by 19% overall, but increased 6% among all gay and bisexual men … . Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men made up an estimated 2% of the population but 55% of people living with HIV in the United States in 2013. If current diagnosis rates continue, 1 in 6 gay and bisexual men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime, including 1 in 2 black/African American gay and bisexual men, 1 in 4 Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men, and 1 in 11 white gay and bisexual men” (“HIV Among Gay and Bisexual Men” [Page last updated: September 30, 2016] ).

In New Zealand, it is claimed that 1 in 15 gay and bisexual men are “HIV-positive” (New Zealand AIDS Foundation, “Three reasons gay guys are more likely to get HIV”) — the three reasons given include anal sex and the statistical likelihood of having sex with “HIV-positive” men.

A survey of global data for the years 2007-2011 reported (2) relative rates of “HIV-positive” for gay men as compared to all adults, in different regions of the world, showing consistently higher prevalence among gay men; once again the authors suggest that the greater likelihood of transmitting HIV by anal sex is the reason.

But since we know that HIV is not sexually transmitted (see section 3 in The Case against HIV), what could be the real reason for this disparity?

When greater incidence of “HIV-positive” among gay men is cited in terms of numbers found to be positive, one can suspect that it is because gay men are more likely to be tested in the first place; but no such explanation in terms of sampling bias can be invoked when the disparity appears to be in relative rates.

We know also that positive “HIV” tests are not proof of the presence of the purported retrovirus HIV; and we know that innumerable physiological circumstances may produce a “positive” result on an HIV test, see sub-section 3.2.2 in The Case against HIV). Those circumstances include many types of infections and ailments, as well as some conditions that are not ill health , say pregnancy or vaccinations, or some quite non-specific indications of perhaps quite minor threat to health, say oxidative stress.

It is not easy to see, however, why any or all of those “false positives” should be more common among gay men across cultures and regions. Perhaps anal sex, with possible tissue damage and transfer of semen, could induce release of substances reflective of physiological stress. Where antibody “HIV” tests yield an indeterminate result, it is known that heterosexual men and women tend to be reported as negative but gay men as positive. Perhaps too there is a nocebo effect: gay men have been indoctrinated to worry about “getting HIV”, and such worry is likely to be greatly exacerbated when anticipating or undergoing testing. Perhaps social persecution has also brought on average a higher rate of anxiety and somehow unhealthy living among gay men.

No combination of those possibilities seems adequate to explain the reported variations in rates, however. Moreover, as to anal sex, it is unlikely in the extreme that this is in itself notably dangerous to health: humans have been practicing anal sex for millennia, and if it were a significant risk to health, that would surely have been noticed very long ago.

Could it be that there is a biological, genetic basis for a tendency toward homosexuality? That suggestion has been ventured at times, albeit without convincing proof coming to hand as yet (3).

It is quite certain, though, that the tendency to test “HIV-positive” is strongly determined by genetics: the relative rates of testing “HIV-positive” are universally race-associated (chs. 5 & 6 in [1]), and substances taken to be characteristic of HIV are characteristic of commonly occurring human endogenous retroviruses, HERVs (4).

I find it amazing that mainstream researchers venture hand-waving non-explanations (5) for the much greater incidence of “HIV-positive” among African Americans than among white Americans, even though “risky” behavior is less among African Americans, and national rates of “HIV-positive” are highest in countries with a large proportion of people of African ancestry, namely Africa and the Caribbean. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has published innumerable data showing persistent and consistent variations by race, for instance (above) the rates of 1 in 11 for white Americans, 1 in 4 for Hispanics, and 1 in 2 for black Americans.

But the most likely reason why gay men test “positive” is also a major reason for the “AIDS” illnesses and deaths in the early years: INTESTINAL DYSBIOSIS; search this blog for all the posts describing this condition and confirming the plausibility of this hypothesis.

Why all this matters so much

The continuing refrain in the media about the prevalence of “HIV-positive” among gay men reinforces the mistaken notion that “HIV-positive” is dangerous to health, in particular that it presages overt illness, AIDS, and death. At the very least this strengthens the force of the mainstream dogma and makes it more difficult to present the Rethinking case. Very likely it exerts a nocebo effect that itself contributes to poor health.

It needs to be said, shouted, over and over again:

“HIV-positive” does not mean definitely ill, it does not mean infected by HIV, and anyway HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. Anyone, gay or not, who is told they are “HIV-positive”, should consult a physician who is not indoctrinated into HIV=AIDS, see Rethinking AIDS Medical Professional List.

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  1. Henry H. Bauer, The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory, McFarland 2007.
  2. Chris Beyrer, Stefan D. Baral, Frits van Griensven, Steven M. Goodreau, Suwat Chariyalertsak, Andrea L. Wirtz & Ron Brookmeyer (2012). “Global epidemiology of HIV infection in men who have sex with men”, The Lancet,  380 (9839) 367-77.
  3. Brian P. Hanley (2011). “Dual-gender macrochimeric tissue discordance is predicted to be a significant cause of human homosexuality and transgenderism”, Hypotheses in the Life Sciences, 1 #: 63-70.
  4. Etienne de Harven (2010). “Human endogenous retroviruses and AIDS research: Confusion, consensus, or science?”, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, 15: 69-74.
  5. Gregorio A. Millett, John L. Peterson, Stephen A. Flores, Trevor A. Hart, William L. Jeffries 4th, Patrick A. Wilson, Sean B. Rourke, Charles M. Heilig, Jonathan Elford, Kevin A. Fenton & Robert S Remis (2012). “Comparisons of disparities and risks of HIV infection in black and other men who have sex with men in Canada, UK, and USA: a meta-analysis”, The Lancet, 380 (9839): 341-8.
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Posted in antiretroviral drugs, HIV and race, HIV as stress, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV risk groups, HIV skepticism, HIV tests, HIV transmission, HIV/AIDS numbers, sexual transmission, uncritical media | Tagged: | 5 Comments »

The scourge of Wikipedia

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2017/03/07

Searching my files, I see that Wikipedia has featured quite often on my blogs; the article titles illustrate some of the stimuli:

Knowledge, understanding — but then there’s Wikipedia;  The Wiles of WikiHealth, Wikipedia, and Common Sense; Facebook: As bad as Wikipedia, or worse?Lowest common denominator — Wikipedia and its ilkThe unqualified (= without qualifications) gurus of Wikipedia; Another horror story about Wikipedia; The Fairy-Tale Cult of Wikipedia;  Beware the Internet: Amazon.com “reviews”, Wikipedia, and other sources of misinformation.

Four decades ago, as the Internet was coming into general use, the anticipated benefits and drawbacks were being discussed quite assiduously, at least in academe. Enthusiasts pointed to the advantages of low-cost, rapid publication of research; skeptics wondered what would happen to peer review and quality control. But I am not aware of any voices that foresaw just how abominable things would become as the cost of blathering on-line is virtually zero and there is no control of quality, no fact-checking, no ethical standards, and pervasive anonymity. No one seems to have foreseen the spate of predatory publishing of purportedly scientific research.

It has always been almost impossible to undo the consequences of lies, as too many people believe that the presence of smoke always proves the presence of fire; now, in the Internet age, it has become totally impossible to eradicate the influence of lies because of the speed with which they spread. I have too many friends who pass along stuff that strikes me immediately as unlikely to be true, and that snopes.com reveals to be not true, yet this stuff comes to me no matter how often I ask my friends to check snopes first.

I don’t use Twitter, Snapchat, or any other social media, though I am formally listed in LinkedIn and Facebook after I didn’t want to offend friends who asked me to join. Having tried Facebook and found it nothing but time-wasting obsession with trivia, I tried to disconnect from it. It wasn’t straightforward, but eventually I seemed to have succeeded as a screen assured me that I had successfully closed my account. But the next statement undercut that: I was assured that any time I wanted back in, I could log on with my old password and would fine all my material still there. When Facebook boasts of its huge membership, I wonder how many of those they count belong to my group, people who don’t use it at all and tried to get off.

At any rate, I recognize purely as a outsider how the damage done on the Internet is abetted and exacerbated by Twitter, with its encouragement of thought-bites to shorten attention spans even more, or by something like Snapchat where evidence disappears as soon as the alternative fake news has been disseminated. The contemporary political hullabaloo about fake news and alternative facts brings home that a sadly significant portion of the population exercises no skepticism or critical thought when statements are emotionally congenial.

All this is whistling in the wind, so I was pleased to find a large-circulation British newspaper laying out the faults of Wikipedia in considerable detail: “The making of a Wiki-Lie: Chilling story of one twisted oddball and a handful of anonymous activists who appointed themselves as censors to promote their own warped agenda on a website that’s a byword for inaccuracy”.

Admittedly, the Daily Mail is no TIMES, and some of its content competes with tabloids and the ilk of National Enquirer; and its ire was aroused not by the intellectual damage done by Wikipedia but by a smear that labeled the Daily Mail as an unreliable source — shades of pots and kettles.

The Daily Mail story, credited to Guy Adams, deserves wide dissemination for its valuable analysis that includes detailed biographical information about someone who might well be iconic of trouble-making trolls on the Internet; and for its exposure of how Wikipedia is impervious to correction, is controlled by largely anonymous and often self-appointed “editors”, and is rather scandalously dishonest about its finances: the governing Foundation, which advertises itself as non-profit and solicits for donations on many Wiki pages, has about 280 staff with average salaries of ~$110,000, a former executive director having garnered ~$320,000.

The British Guardian did neither itself nor the public a service by covering the Wikipedia dissing of the Daily Mail by treating Wikipedia as though it were more factually reliable and more ethical than it is: Jasper Jackson, “Wikipedia bans Daily Mail as ‘unreliable’ source” (8 February 2017). People who have tried to get errors corrected on Wikipedia are unlikely to agree that “No matter how hard Wikipedia’s volunteers work, wrong and sometimes defamatory entries will inevitably appear, with editors engaged in a game of whack-a-mole to correct them” (Jasper Jackson, “‘We always look for reliability’: why Wikipedia’s editors cut out the Daily Mail”, 12 February 2017). Some of the editors work to preserve the defamatory stuff. See my blog posts cited above for illustrations.

 

Posted in uncritical media | Tagged: , , | 15 Comments »