HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Posts Tagged ‘AIDS deaths’

“HIV DISEASE”

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2007/12/28

Sharon Stone’s assertion that AIDS is “the fourth leading killer of women in America” (WORLD AIDS DAY…, 22 December) led me to discover that official death statistics now contain the category “HIV disease”.

Perhaps this is a natural progression from the belief that HIV causes AIDS; but it muddies the waters even further by declaring “HIV” to be something that causes harm without specifying what that harm is.

The trouble is that testing HIV-positive can result from a large number of conditions; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has kept expanding the list of “AIDS-defining” diseases, to include just about any medical condition if an appreciable number of people suffering from it have tested HIV-positive. Thus cervical cancer became an AIDS-defining illness in 1993, even though that is said to be caused by human papillomavirus, not by HIV, and even though the incidence of cervical cancer has been decreasing throughout the AIDS era; and tuberculosis now comes in two forms, identical in clinical diagnosis and symptoms and differing solely in “HIV” status—one is tuberculosis, the other is “HIV disease” or “AIDS”.

AIDS, as described and named in the early 1980s, bears little if any relationship to what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now call “HIV disease”. Historians and sociologists of medical science will find it fascinating as well as onerous to untangle how the former was transformed into the latter.

In the 1980s, all people suffering from AIDS were manifestly and seriously ill, expected to die within a matter of months after being diagnosed. By 1997 (the latest year in which the CDC reports detailed this information), more than half of the people “living with AIDS” (PWAs) were not even ill. Out of a cumulative total of 315,000 PWAs, 180,000 had been diagnosed as having AIDS purely on the basis of laboratory tests, amounts of CD4+ cells, even if they evidenced no symptoms of illness; they were “persons reported with immunosuppression as their only AIDS-indicator condition” (CDC Surveillance Report for 1997, p. 18).

“These persons may also have other AIDS-indicator conditions that are unreported”, the document continues. That may of course be so, but in absence of reporting one has to assume that there was nothing to report. Beyond that, the remark illustrates the lack of relevant information that is a major hindrance to understanding what is really going on in “HIV/AIDS”.

For example (WORLD AIDS DAY…, 22 December), official death statistics have it that about 2% of deaths in 2004 among black females aged between 10 and 14 were from “HIV disease”–which means they were HIV-positive when they died, but they might also have had flu, pneumonia, malaria, tuberculosis, or any of the host of other conditions known to be capable of causing a positive HIV-test. Without knowing from what immediate, manifest sickness those young black female teenagers died, it is hardly possible to judge the validity of labeling those deaths as “HIV disease”.

When were these unfortunate teens first found to be HIV-positive? If it was only at death, perhaps it was death that caused the positive HIV-test, for fatal trauma seems to be associated with a high probability of testing HIV-positive (see references cited at p. 85 in The Origins, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory).

If it was at birth, were the children treated with antiretroviral drugs, whose “side” effects could well have resulted in death a decade or so later?

If the children had not been born HIV-positive, how and when did they become “infected”?

These questions are pressing if only because it is only black and Hispanic teenagers who are reported to be so at risk in those early teen years: not Native American, Asian, or white teens (from CDC National Vital Statistics Reports, 56 #5, 20 November 2007):

deathstats2004-2.jpg

Under HIV/AIDS and “HIV disease” theory, one has to accept that these young teens were HIV-positive because of sexual intercourse or needle-sharing, or had been infected by their mothers. Must we accept that African-American and Hispanic communities have so much higher an incidence of child molestation or children using dirty needles to inject drugs than do Native American, Asian or white American communities? Or that African-American and Hispanic men infect their female partners with HIV so much more often than do Native American, Asian, or white men?

Rhetorical as those last questions may be, the earlier ones illustrate the genuine need for specific information that is presently hidden under the umbrella of “HIV disease”.

* * * * * *

Up to 1987, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported 29,000 cases of AIDS and 16,300 deaths: for both cases and deaths, 65% from Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), 20-25% from other opportunistic infections, and 10-15% from Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS). In 1997, 61% of the 60,000 people with “AIDS-indicator conditions” may not have been ill at all, they had no reported symptoms of opportunistic infections, having been diagnosed on the basis of lab tests. PCP accounted for only 15% of “AIDS” cases in 1997 instead of 65% a decade earlier, and KS accounted for only 2.5% instead of 10-15%.

By what sleight of evidence did “AIDS” of the early 1980s become “HIV disease” of the late 1990s?

In 1987, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded the criteria for an AIDS diagnosis to include “HIV wasting syndrome” and “HIV encephalopathy”. Those terms imply that HIV had been found to cause a particular type of wasting and a particular type of brain disease, but that’s not the case; the terms simply mean that some people with those two conditions had tested HIV-positive. But as already noted above, dozens of conditions are known to be associated with testing HIV-positive—autoimmune diseases, herpes, pregnancy, malaria, flu and vaccination against it or against hepatitis or against tetanus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, supposedly the nation’s prime resource for epidemiology, persistently makes the elementary mistake of taking correlations as indicating causation (see, for instance, p. 194 in The Origins, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory). Instead of recognizing that any number of circumstances that disturb the immune system can simulate a positive HIV-test, CDC kept expanding what it called “AIDS-defining” conditions without proof that HIV is the cause of those conditions.

“HIV wasting syndrome” is not even clearly defined. For example, “Involuntary weight loss of greater than 10 percent associated with intermittent or constant fever and chronic diarrhoea or fatigue for more than 30 days in the absence of a defined cause other than HIV infection. A constant feature is major muscle wasting with scattered myofibre degeneration. A variety of aetiologies, which vary among patients, contributes to this syndrome.” That last sentence reveals that the actual causes—note the plural “aetiologies”—vary among those who suffer from the wasting, in other words, the common factor of “HIV” is not the cause, even though the term “HIV wasting syndrome” implies that it is.

Or consider the “fact sheet” at aids.org. “AIDS wasting is not well understood”, and several factors can contribute, such as “low food intake”, “poor nutrient absorption”, “altered metabolism”. Perhaps all those can indeed be caused by a retrovirus, but there are any number of other possible causes as well, which would be invoked readily enough in people who are not HIV-positive.

Or look at what Gay Health News has to say: “symptoms of wasting include weight loss, loss of fat and muscle mass (particularly on the sides of your head), diarrhea, fever, malnutrition, depression, poor appetite and weakness”. Surely no one would suggest that those can be directly caused by a retrovirus!

But the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases asserts that it can: “HIV wasting syndrome [is] . . . defined as unintended and progressive weight loss often accompanied by weakness, fever, nutritional deficiencies and diarrhea. . . . Wasting can occur as a result of HIV infection itself [emphasis added] but also is commonly associated with HIV-related opportunistic infections and cancers”. What this really means is that when HIV-positive people in high-risk groups lose weight, “HIV” is taken to be the reason for the weight loss. How that might come about is no better understood, however, than how “HIV” is supposed to kill immune-system cells.

* * * * * *

Assertions about HIV/AIDS and “HIV disease” are based on a variety of assumptions grounded in the belief that HIV is the sexually transmitted cause of AIDS. That belief has survived the facts that “HIV” has never been isolated from an “infected” person; that a significant number of HIV-positive people never become ill; that a significant number of AIDS patients are HIV-negative; that “HIV” and AIDS are not correlated chronologically, geographically, or in their relative impact on different groups of people; that laboratory tests for viral load and CD4 cells do not correlate with one another and that neither correlates with the patient’s health; and more.

Belief in HIV/AIDS theory also entails acceptance of a variety of implausible things, such as that married women are at the highest risk of infection for a venereal disease (TO AVOID HIV INFECTION, DON’T GET MARRIED, 18 November); that babies are less likely to become infected, the more infected mothers’ milk they imbibe (MORE HIV, LESS INFECTION: THE BREASTFEEDING CONUNDRUM, 21 November); that a venereal disease has remained voluntarily quarantined in the same geographic and social boundaries for more than two decades; that this venereal disease displays demographic regularities not shown by any other venereal disease; that this “virus” mutates more rapidly than any other, yet all mutants remain equally cunning and equally deadly—though some portions of the virus remain sufficiently not-mutated as to allow its ancestry to be traced decades into the past.

Not to mention that this virus kills by means of a quite novel mechanism, a so-called “bystander” mechanism (Rowland-Jones & Dong, Nature Medicine, 13: 1413-5): it is supposed to incite certain unknown others to do the killing via certain unknown signals.

“Bystander”, perhaps. But a better term might be “Abracadabra!” or “Open sesame!” mechanism, since the phenomenon reeks of magic; or perhaps it is a psychic phenomenon akin to extrasensory perception or psychokinesis, where a physical effect is brought about by non-physical means.

Posted in HIV and race, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV in children, HIV risk groups, HIV tests, HIV transmission, HIV/AIDS numbers, sexual transmission | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

WORLD AIDS DAY: SHARON STONE ON LARRY KING, SHARING URBAN LEGENDS (OR CELEBRITY FACTS)

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2007/12/22

“Urban legends” are widely believed stories that circulate without the benefit of supporting evidence. “Celebrity facts” are urban legends expressed in sound bites.

* * * * * *

SHARON STONE: “We will stand for the one child who dies every minute. We will stand for the one person who dies every second of AIDS. “

ELTON JOHN: “It is a huge pandemic that’s affecting the whole world.”

ANGELINA JOLIE: “Every 14 seconds a child becomes orphaned.”

SHARON STONE: “We will not be silent. We will not be silenced. We will stand for those 40 million people who are, at this moment, dying of AIDS”.

[The above from video clips included in the program.]

* * * * * *

[The following from Sharon Stone to Larry King]
“a child is dying every two minutes from AIDS. We have to look at what’s really happening. And I think the biggest number we have to look at is how many people have survived AIDS. Zero.”

“people don’t really believe it can happen to them. I don’t think that people are in the reality of how prevalent AIDS really is and how serious that it really is. . . . it’s the fourth leading killer of women in America . . . half of the people that have AIDS are women.”

Medications prevent mother-to-child transmission: “mothers of HIV [sic] were able to give birth to zero children with AIDS”.

* * * * * *

My valued correspondent Tony alerted me to this interview by Larry King with Sharon Stone, on 27 November, in honor of World AIDS Day. I got a transcript, and the quotes above are taken from that.

Stone is in her “12th year with the American Foundation for AIDS Research, now the Global Foundation for AIDS Research”; earlier she had “worked at the Elizabeth Glaser Foundation here in our community when it was just a very small thing, a local fair. And of course now it’s a worldwide foundation, which is really quite wonderful”.

Well-meaning celebrities often lend their names and their presence to fund-raising and consciousness-raising events of all sorts. How much responsibility do they bear for getting their facts straight?

If the intentions are good, do the facts matter?

If the cause is a good one, do the facts matter?

To what extent does it matter, that every one of the asserted “facts” cited above is at variance with at least one of official data, reality, or plain common sense?

* * * * * *

In the video clip, a child is said to die every minute; in the interview, it’s every two minutes. Does this difference of a factor of 2 matter, halving or doubling the claimed number?

What had struck me most was the adult dying every second. That seems an awful lot. How many does that make in a year?

I checked my rough figuring by means of a calculator, and then checked it again twice to make sure I had my decimal point in the correct place. 1 per second equals 31,500,000 per year. Stone asserted that 31,500,000 adults die each year of AIDS.

According to UNAIDS (update of December 2006), annual adult deaths from AIDS were 2,600,000. Does it matter that Stone’s number is 12 times as large as the UNAIDS figure? (She couldn’t yet have known of the UNAIDS December 2007 update that lowered the estimate from 2,600,000 to 1,700,000.)

* * * * * *

Here’s what the National Statistical Service says about the leading causes of death among women in the United States for 2004 (CDC National Vital Statistics Reports, 56 #5, 20 November 2007):

cdc2004femaledeaths.jpg

Far from being fourth, as Stone told Larry King, AIDS is not even among the TEN leading causes of death.

When the data are broken down by age category, AIDS is not in the top ten for ages up to 19. At ages 20-24, “HIV disease” comes in at #8. Accidents come first, accounting for 40.5% of all deaths in this age group. “HIV disease” is responsible for only 1.4% of all deaths, less not only than accidents but also below assault, cancer, suicide, heart disease, pregnancy and childbirth, and congenital illnesses.

For women between 25 and 34, “HIV disease” has moved up to #6, below accidents, cancer, heart disease, suicide, and assault; it represents 4.4% of all deaths in this age range.

For ages 35 to 44, “HIV disease” is up at #5 but still represents just 4.3% of all deaths. In the next group (ages 45-54), it’s back down to #9, and 1.6% of all deaths. Above age 55, it fails again to make it into the top ten.

Perhaps Stone just misspoke slightly? We’ve all heard that HIV and AIDS in the USA have become a disease of the African American community, with black women particularly at risk. Maybe she meant the fourth leading cause of death among African-American women?

But AIDS doesn’t appear in the top ten there either. It does come in at #8 among 10-14 year-old African-American females, at 2.1% of all deaths in that category. But it’s only at #9 for those aged 15-19 (1.7% of all deaths). It rises to #6 for ages 20-24 (5.5% of all deaths); reaches #1 for ages 25-34 (13.5% of all deaths) before falling to #3 at ages 35-44 (12%), #4 at 45-54 (5%); and disappears again from the “top ten” above age 55.

Add up all the deaths at all ages; “HIV disease” represents 1.5% of all deaths among black females in the United States in 2004. Heart disease claimed 27%, cancer 21%, stroke 7.5%, diabetes 5%. kidney diseases 3%, accidents 2.9%, Alzheimer’s 2.2%, flu and pneumonia 2.1%.
Is the hysteria about the risk of AIDS to black women somewhat disproportionate?

Among white women, “HIV disease” accounted for 0.05% of all deaths.

Among all Americans, both sexes, all races, “HIV disease” accounted for 0.5% of all deaths in 2004.

That’s Elton John’s “huge pandemic . . . affecting the whole world”. Those are the data underlying the official mantras that “everyone is at risk”.

* * * * * *
* * * * * *

Those numbers illustrate yet another stark discrepancy between the actual data about HIV and AIDS and the statements from those who speak for the orthodoxy. I repeat my questions, but now they are rhetorical:

How much responsibility do Sharon Stone, Elton John, Angelina Jolie and other celebrities bear for getting their facts straight?

If their cause is a good one, do the facts matter?

If their intentions are good, do the facts matter?

Celebrities take on these campaigns in the belief that people will pay attention to them, so surely they are responsible for getting things right. Of course it matters what the facts are: it’s the facts that determine whether a cause is a good one or not; and the path to Hell is paved with the good intentions of those who failed to get their facts straight.

* * * * * *

How has it happened that wrong assertions, sometimes patently absurd ones, are swallowed whole by the media, by celebrities, and by the public, on the say-so of a few gurus in white coats?

It could happen because science has become the universal religion and scientists have become priests whose sayings go uncontradicted because of a belief that only they have access to the requisite arcane sources of knowledge. Just ponder what weight the adjectives carry, when it’s said somewhere that “scientific tests have shown…”, or when it’s said that something is “unscientific”. “Scientific” is nowadays a universal synonym for “true”, and “unscientific” is nowadays a universal synonym for “false”.

Another similarity with religion: Anyone who questions the “consensus” disseminated by the white-coated gurus who hold prominent offices is excommunicated. What other word describes so accurately what happened to Peter Duesberg, described in chilling detail in the first chapter of Celia Farber’s “Serious Adverse Events”?

* * * * * *

Those actual data about female deaths in the United States revealed some more numbers that illustrate the failings of HIV/AIDS theory:

1. Why is “HIV disease” a more prominent killer of 10-14-year-old black females than of 15-19-year-old black females?

2. Why is “HIV disease” so much more prominent a killer of black females than of white, Asian, Hispanic, or Native American females?
Here are the rankings (within the top ten) for deaths from “HIV disease”, by age group (corrected 27 December):

deathstats2004-2.jpg

Note, by way of preamble, that Stone said deaths from AIDS, not from “HIV disease”. “AIDS”, “HIV/AIDS”, and “HIV disease” have been made into synonyms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention bear ultimate responsibility for this because, starting in the late 1980s, they expanded the definition of “AIDS” a number of times to include common diseases when the patient happens to test HIV-positive; thus people with tuberculosis have tuberculosis if they are HIV-negative, but they are “living with AIDS” if they are HIV-positive. So a death from “HIV disease” signifies a death from any manifest cause if the person happens to have tested HIV-positive: “all deaths among HIV-positives are counted as AIDS deaths . . . [even if death resulted from] liver failure, a heart attack, suicide, drowning, CMV (cytomegalovirus) infection, or a car accident, or anything else” (“Science Sold Out: Does HIV Really Cause AIDS?” by Rebecca Culshaw, p. 30; the specific example given there is for Massachusetts).

This confusion, or lumping together, of HIV and AIDS is illustrated when Stone said, “mothers of HIV [sic] were able to give birth to zero children with AIDS”, but it is also evident in the official CDC Surveillance Reports, which in several places do not distinguish “HIV-positive” from “living with AIDS”; for example, from the 2004 Report, “Table 1. Estimated numbers of cases of HIV/AIDS, by year of diagnosis and selected characteristics of persons, 2001-2004—35 areas with confidential name-based HIV infection reporting”.

Here then is the reason why black females die so much more often from “AIDS” than do other females. “HIV-positive” is not a sign of infection by an HIV virus, it is a non-specific indication of some sort of physiological stress. In any given circumstances, when exposed to some health challenge or stress, people of African ancestry test “HIV-positive” much more often than others do. So deaths from all sorts of common diseases are labeled “AIDS” deaths more often in the case of black people than with members of other human groups. A comprehensive survey of race-related data and associated discussion are in my book: chapter 5, “HIV discriminates by race”; chapter 6, “What is it about race?”; chapter 7, “Racism”. An earlier and shorter discussion is in an article posted at http://hivnotaids.homestead.com/RACE.html.

Posted in HIV and race, HIV risk groups, HIV varies with age, HIV/AIDS numbers, uncritical media | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »