HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Posts Tagged ‘Anthony Fauci’

Defeating HIV = AIDS

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2010/10/17

There is zero evidence that “HIV” causes AIDS. Incidence of the two doesn’t correlate. “HIV” tests don’t detect viral infection. There are no published articles establishing that “HIV” causes AIDS. “HIV” virions have never been isolated and characterized in pure form, and when they are synthesized by cloning purported HIV genomes they are not infectious and they self-destruct within days (see PMID: 1386485). “AIDS” has been defined as requiring presence of “HIV” and has been expanded over the years to include an increasing number of conditions in which “HIV” tests deliver (false) positives.

The science is quite clear. Experience has shown that this does not influence the mainstream. Those who have suggested anything approaching disbelief in HIV/AIDS theory have been excluded from publication, denied research grants, and personally vilified. Not only is there no incentive for medical scientists or practicing physicians to question the dogma, the penalties for doing so are steep and well known. So how then can this horrific mistake be rectified?

In the very long run, it might just wither away; or perhaps be explained away by some sort of sleight of facts after increasingly widespread distribution of antiretroviral drugs in Africa is seen to be accompanied by increased mortality. But one would prefer not to wait that long. At the Rethinking AIDS Conference in Oakland I suggested these possibilities:

— Politicians might begin to ask, what are we getting for $20 billion annually?
— African Americans might begin to protest that they are not 10-20 times more promiscuous than Asian Americans; Africans might begin to ponder why they are supposed to be 10-100 times more promiscuous than others.
—The media might begin to take up those points.
— A court case or series of them might do the job.

That last possibility may bear fruit sooner than I had thought possible, owing to initiatives being taken by Clark Baker through the Office of Medical and Scientific Justice and its HIV Innocence Project. The aims and rationale of those initiatives are described in this must-read essay posted on 15th October.

Baker draws intriguing parallels between people charged with transmitting or potentially transmitting HIV and people charged with driving under the influence: defense attorneys can cross-examine expert witnesses about technical aspects of the purported data, in particular how valid or reliable the data are — or how unreliable.

Many if not most doctors accept a laboratory report of a positive “HIV” test, especially if accompanied by a CD4 count below 200, as diagnosing infection, even though the tests have not been approved for diagnosis and only the United States regards the CD4 count as a criterion, and even though authoritative sources emphasize that the tests can only be an aid in diagnosis. How would a doctor fare in cross-examination if unaware of those points?
Or unaware that Western Blot is not a confirmatory test but merely a supplemental one?
Or unaware that “positive” in low-risk people is very likely to be a false positive for purely statistical reasons (and not only with “HIV” tests)?
(For details of those see “’HIV’ tests are self-fulfilling prophecies”.)

The questions, “Who proved that HIV attacks cells and causes AIDS? How? Where was this published?”, are routinely evaded by defenders of the orthodoxy; but they could not evade them in court. How could even the most expert witness respond? — “the most rigorous peer review . . . comes from cross-examination . . . in the courtroom” (Sheldon Krimsky, “Protecting scientific integrity”, Chemical Heritage, 27 [#1, Spring 2009] 42-3). Could Fauci or Gallo be reduced to pleading the Fifth, not answering for fear of self-incrimination?  8)

As Clark Baker points out, that so many individuals have been convicted of spreading or potentially spreading HIV is owing to the inexperience of attorneys in such cases, their ignorance of the technical issues and how vulnerable the orthodox theory is to cross-examination. Defendants suffer from the same ignorance — and in the rare case that they didn’t, they were not able to get competent legal representation, as Kim Bannon found.

Nowadays competent representation is available with the help of the HIV Innocence Project and OMSJ. But it is crucial that defendants and their lawyers take advantage of that help before the first substantive arguments in court. After a guilty verdict has been delivered, appeals may fail purely for reasons of legal technicalities; that may have been a critical factor in the Parenzee case in Australia.

*                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *

That doctors don’t know beans about HIV tests should not be surprising. Practicing physicians don’t have time to read research literature, they have to work on the basis of the information fed to them, and that comes from the mainstream during their training and is heavily influenced by drug companies in the “continuing medical education” they are offered later (see, for example, Marcia Angell’s The Truth about the Drug Companies).
That researchers don’t query the basic axioms on which their work is based is not unusual either. It is a mistaken view of science, entrenched by popular dissemination of the myth of the scientific method,  that researchers are continually engaged in setting up hypotheses and testing them. Most science is just routine filling in or cleaning up by standard techniques to produce results that are rarely of any special interest to others — upwards of 90% of research articles are never cited by anyone beside the author (Cole & Cole, Social Stratification in Science, University of Chicago Press 1973: 228; Menard, Science: Growth and Change, Harvard University Press, 1971: 99; Price, Little Science, Big Science . . . And Beyond, Columbia University Press, 1963/1986: Chapter 2).

So the HIV/AIDS “research” industry is no different in essence from any other. Most of the researchers are pursuing esoteric details of the unending array of strains and hybrid strains of “HIV”, or trying to find some clue to what might make a useful vaccine, or synthesizing possible new antiretroviral drugs, and so on. Nothing they do throws light, or is even intended to throw light on the fundamental questions of HIV/AIDS theory. HIV/AIDS researchers are not designing experiments to test the hypothesis that HIV is really the cause of illness. Routine work along standard lines simply accepting the orthodox view is judged worthwhile by those who administer grant funds and those who edit journals and those who review manuscripts for journals. There is simply no incentive to re-examine the basics. The bandwagon has momentum and inertia impervious to attacks from the inside.

What may be rather different in the HIV/AIDS case is that the gurus, those who got the bandwagon rolling, are just as uninterested as their camp followers in looking continually at the basic axioms in hopes of getting a better understanding and resolving the increasing number of apparent conundrums. Gallo is an enigma: Does he really believe HIV has been shown to cause AIDS? If so, why does he believe it? Does he not know of the lack of correlation between “HIV” and “AIDS”? Does he not know that idiopathic CD4-T-cell lymphopenia is HIV-negative AIDS? Does he not know that Kaposi’s sarcoma, once the iconic AIDS disease, is not caused by HIV? Does he not wonder why it is that no one has been able to discover how HIV causes depletion of CD4 cells? Has not the failure of 25 years of efforts to find a vaccine led him to reconsider the basic evidence? Why not?

Posted in experts, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV skepticism, Legal aspects | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

GAYnocide in San Francisco

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2010/04/04

In “Predicting rates of ‘HIV-positive’ — and racial cleansing” (2010/03/14), I pointed out that Washington DC was setting out on an unwitting campaign of racial cleansing: testing everyone for HIV and administering toxic drugs to all “HIV-positive” people, irrespective of their state of health, would lead to a disproportionate number of African Americans being killed by the toxic drugs, since black people test “HIV-positive” far more often than others.

Now San Francisco is setting out to cleanse itself of gay men in the same manner:
“City endorses new policy for treatment of H.I.V.” (2 April 2010, Sabin Russell)

“San Francisco public health doctors have begun to advise patients to start taking antiviral medicines as soon as they are found to be infected . . . . The new, controversial city guidelines, to be announced next week by the Department of Public Health, may be the most forceful anywhere in their endorsement of early treatment against H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS. . . . Behind the policy switch is mounting evidence that patients who start early are more likely to live longer, and less likely to suffer a variety of ailments — including heart disease, kidney failure and cancer — that plague long-term survivors.”
As I’ve pointed out before, perfectly healthy people take longer to be killed by toxic drugs than people who are already ill. Testing “HIV-positive” can result from a huge variety of different conditions. Among gay men, one prominent cause may be the practice of rectal douching, which can damage the intestinal microflora that constitute a significant arm of the immune system, acting in particular to control fungal infections — see Tony Lance’s hypothesis of intestinal dysbiosis and his presentation at RA 2009, now available in video format (most conveniently on YouTube).
People who test “HIV-positive” AND have symptoms of illness are surely less healthy than people who test “HIV-positive” and do NOT have symptoms of illness. Up to now, therefore, the less healthy people are, the more immediately they have been put on antiretroviral treatment, and therefore they have died sooner from the drugs’ “side” effects than those who start HAART while they are more healthy. We already know that the majority of adverse events among people on HAART are “non-AIDS” events — “side” effects of the treatment that result in organ failure
[NIH Treatment Guidelines, 29 January 2008, p. 13; ; p. 21, November 2008].

The first thing that any “HIV-positive” person should do
is to try to discover WHY they are testing “HIV-positive”:

Have they recently taken antibiotics? Have they recently had surgery? Been pregnant? Had an anti-tetanus shot? A flu shot? Do they eat healthily and eschew douching? And so on. Almost any unusual physical condition appears able sometimes to stimulate a positive “HIV” test — certainly the use of “recreational” drugs and thereby probably the intake of significant amounts of other drugs as well.

The “variety of ailments — including heart disease, kidney failure and cancer — that plague long-term survivors” do NOT plague long-term non-progressors. Those adverse events were never suffered by AIDS patients in the 1980s, that has happened only since the introduction of antiretroviral drugs. Those ailments — “non-AIDS events” as the NIH Treatment Guidelines classes them — plague long-term HAART-treated “survivors”.

“Studies suggest that in the early years of infection, when a patient may show few signs of immune system failure, the virus is in fact causing permanent damage that becomes evident later.”
“Studies suggest” that only because it is assumed, without any direct evidence, that “HIV” somehow damages every cell in the body — magically, since it has never been found in any cells to any significant degree. Demonstrably “infected” people’s CD4 cells, the purported primary target, are “infected” at a rate of much less than 1%, after all (references cited at p. 176 in Duesberg, Inventing the AIDS Virus).

“For instance, in older patients who finally start taking the drugs, the effects of chronic inflammation take their toll.”
Re “older”: Bear in mind that everything about HIV/AIDS is at a maximum in early middle age, 35-50. There is no indication at all of the postulated latent period, and the mortality of PWAs (People With AIDS) does not increase with age, even as mortality from every other known cause increases dramatically with age above the middle years. In 2004, for example, the mortality of PWAs ≥65 was 1.8% whereas that at ages 25-34 was 1.7%, at 35-44 3.2%, at 45-54 3.8%, and at 55-64 2.6% [How “AIDS Deaths” and “HIV Infections” Vary with Age — and WHY, 15 September 2008; HAART saves lives — but doesn’t prolong them!?, 17 September 2008;  No HIV “latent period”: dotting i’s and crossing t’s, 21 September 2008; Living with HIV; Dying from What?, 10 December 2008]
The “chronic inflammation” is a pure guess. Since it has never been discovered just how “HIV” supposedly kills the immune system, a popular guess nowadays is that it must cause chronic inflammation, chronic stimulation of the immune system, which then by some unknown mechanism destroys itself — even though an earlier speculation that AIDS is an autoimmune disease turned out to be wrong. The logic of “chronic inflammation” is analogous to the invention of the term “immune restoration syndrome” to describe the finding that recovery of CD4 counts and diminution of “viral load” was often accompanied by severe illness or death on the part of the fortunate patient whose treatment had been so successful.
Bear in mind, too, that these speculations about chronic inflammation and the like are largely based on observation of HAART-treated individuals, or at least individuals who are not only “HIV-positive” but also in poor health, because most healthy untreated “HIV-positive” individuals are not being monitored. Long-term non-progressors or elite controllers have remained perfectly healthy for as long as a quarter century while “HIV-positive”, and since they are healthy, their existence as “HIV-positive” has never come to official attention. By contrast, it is beginning to be noticed that HAART produces premature aging
[“Another kind of AIDS crisis”, David France, 2009/11/01].

“Dr. Diane V. Havlir, chief of the H.I.V./AIDS division at San Francisco General Hospital, said the new policy was already in effect for her patients. Although a decision whether or not to take the medicine rests with the patient, all those testing positive for H.I.V. will be offered combination therapy, with advice to pursue it.”
How many of her patients have had the opportunity to hear the reasons offered by Rethinkers for not starting HAART?

“The turning point in San Francisco’s thinking may have been a study in The New England Journal of Medicine on April 1, 2009, that . . . found that patients who put off therapy until their immune system showed signs of damage had a nearly twofold greater risk of dying — from any cause — than those who started treatment when their T-cell counts were above 500.”
Exactly. Those who were ill “from any cause” when they started HAART were twice as likely to die as those who were not ill when they started taking the toxic drugs. What a surprise!

“When the first combinations of AIDS drugs came out in 1996, the thinking was ‘hit early, and hit hard.’ But as patients battled nasty side effects, like diarrhea and disfiguring shifts in body fat, therapy was deferred until T-cell counts fell as low as 200. Today, with safer drugs, quick viral suppression is back in fashion.”
“Safer” drugs does not mean safe, of course. Just read the NIH Treatment Guidelines.

“The field is moving, inexorably, to earlier and earlier therapy,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He called San Francisco’s decision “an important step in that direction.”
Connoisseurs of bureaucratese will recognize the passive voice of “The field is moving, inexorably” as the typical maneuver designed to disclaim responsibility for decisions being made or influenced by the person who deploys the passive-voice statement. “Mistakes were made” is a common enough example; they just happen, no one committed them.
And this “inexorable” move is actually opposed by some highly qualified HIV/AIDS experts like “Jay Levy, the U.C.S.F. virologist who was among the first to identify the cause of AIDS”, who commented that “It’s just too risky”; “The new drugs may be less toxic, . . . but no one knows the effects of taking them for decades”.
“San Francisco’s decision follows a split vote in December by a 38-member federal panel on treatment guidelines. Only half of the H.I.V. experts gathered by the Department of Health and Human Services favored starting drugs in patients with healthy levels of more than 500 T-cells. . . . The risks of early treatment — giving powerful drugs to people at low risk of disease — could outweigh the ‘modest predicted benefit’ . . . . Dr. Lisa C. Capaldini, who runs an AIDS practice in the Castro district, also has strong reservations. . . . [Although] today’s drugs are a vast improvement over earlier therapies, the program, she said ‘is not ready for prime time.’”

But San Francisco pushes ahead,
“advising” everyone to get tested
and “advising” all “HIV-positive” people
to start treatment immediately,
thereby preparing for
genocide of gay men in San Francisco
to accompany
genocide of African Americans in Washington DC

Posted in antiretroviral drugs, experts, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV risk groups, HIV skepticism, HIV tests, HIV varies with age | Tagged: , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Believing and disbelieving

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/07/03

(This is a long post. HERE is a pdf for those who prefer to read it that way).

“How could anyone believe that?” is a natural question whenever someone believes what is contrary to the conventional wisdom, say, that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, or that Loch Ness monsters are real animals.

Since the role of unorthodox views in and out of science has been the focus of my academic interests for several decades, I had to think about that question in a variety of contexts. My conclusion long ago was that this is the wrong question, the very opposite of the right question, which is,

“How does anyone ever come to believe differently than others do?” (1)

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

It’s a widespread illusion that we believe things because they’re true. It’s an illusion that we all tend to harbor about ourselves. Of course I believe what’s true! My beliefs aren’t wrong! It’s the others who are wrong.

However, we don’t acquire beliefs because they’re true, we acquire them through being taught that they’re true. For the first half-a-dozen or a dozen years of our lives, before we have begun to learn how to think truly for ourselves, as babies and children we almost always believe what parents and teachers tell us. Surely that has helped the species to survive. But no matter what the reason might be, there’s ample empirical evidence for it. For instance, many people during their whole lifetime stick to the religion that they imbibed almost with mother’s milk; those who reject that religion do so at earliest in adolescence.

That habit of believing parents and teachers tends to become ingrained. Society’s “experts”  — scientists and doctors, surrogate parents and teachers — tend to be believed as a matter of habit.

So how do some people ever come to believe other than what they’ve been taught and what the experts say?

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

I was prompted to this train of thought by receiving yet again some comments intended for this blog and which were directed at minor details, from people whom I had asked, long ago, to cut through this underbrush and address the chief point at issue: “What is the proof that HIV causes AIDS?”

Whenever I’ve asked this of commentators like Fulano-etc.-de-Tal, or Chris Noble, or Snout, or others who want to argue incessantly about ancillary details, the exchange has come to an end. They’ve simply never addressed that central issue.

And it’s not only these camp followers. The same holds for the actual HIV/AIDS gurus, the Montagniers and Gallos and Faucis. Fauci threatens journalists who don’t toe the orthodox line. Gallo hangs up on Gary Null when asked for citations to the work that made him famous.

Why can’t these people cite the work on which their belief is supposedly based?

Finally it hit me: Because their belief wasn’t formed that way. They didn’t come to believe because of the evidence.
The Faucis and Gallos came to believe because they wanted to, because a virus-caused AIDS would be in their professional bailiwick, and they were more than happy to take an imperfect correlation as proof of causation.
The camp followers came to believe simply because they were happy to believe what the experts say and what “everyone else” believes. Who are they to question the authority of scientific experts and scientific institutions?

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

To question “what everyone knows”, there has to be some decisive incentive or some serendipitous conjunction. I’ll illustrate that by describing how I came to believe some things that “everyone else” believes and some things that “everyone else” does not believe.

The first unorthodox opinion I acquired was that Loch Ness monsters are probably real living animals of some unidentified species. How did I come to that conclusion?
Serendipity set the stage. Reading has been my lifelong pleasure. I used to browse in the local library among books that had just been returned and not yet reshelved, assuming that these would be the most interesting ones. Around 1961, I picked from that pile a book titled Loch Ness Monster, by Tim Dinsdale. I recall my mental sneer, for I knew like everyone else that this was a mythical creature and a tangible tourist attraction invented by those canny Scots. But I thumbed the pages, and saw a set of glossy photos: claimed stills from a film! If these were genuine . . . . So I borrowed the book. Having read it, I couldn’t make up my mind. The author seemed genuine, but also very naïve. Yet his film had been developed by Kodak and pronounced genuine. Could it be that Nessies are real?
I was unable to find a satisfactory discussion in the scientific literature. So I read whatever other books and articles I could find about it. I also became a member of the Loch Ness Investigation, a group that was exploring at Loch Ness during the summers, and I followed their work via their newsletters — I couldn’t participate personally since I then lived in Australia.
A dozen years later, on sabbatical leave in England, I took a vacation trip to Loch Ness. More serendipity: there I encountered Dinsdale. Later I arranged lecture tours for him in the USA (where I had migrated in 1965). Coming to know Dinsdale, coming to trust his integrity, seeing a 35mm copy of his film umpteen times during his talks, brought conviction.
It had taken me 12-15 years of looking at all the available evidence before I felt convinced.

The unorthodox view that underwrites this blog is that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. How did I come by that belief in something that “everyone else” does not believe?
More serendipity. Having concluded in the early 1970s that Nessies were probably real, I became curious why there hadn’t been proper scientific investigations despite the huge amount of publicity over several decades. That led eventually to my change of academic field from chemistry to science studies, with special interest in heterodoxies. So I was always on the lookout for scientific anomalies and heresies to study. In the mid-1990s, I came across the book by Ellison and Duesberg, Why We Will Never Win the War on AIDS (interesting info about this here ; other Ellison-Duesberg articles here).
Just as with Dinsdale’s book, I couldn’t make up my mind. The arguments seemed sound, but I didn’t feel competent to judge the technicalities. So, again, I looked for other HIV/AIDS-dissenting books, and wrote reviews of a number of them. Around 2005, that led me to read Harvey Bialy’s scientific autobiography of Duesberg. For months thereafter, I periodically reminded myself that I wanted to check a citation Bialy had given, for an assertion that obviously couldn’t be true, namely, that positive HIV-tests in the mid-1980s among teenage potential military recruits from all across the United States had come equally among the girls as among the boys. The consequences of checking that reference are described in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory.
As with Nessie, it had taken me more than ten years of looking into the available evidence to become convinced of the correctness of something that “everyone else” does not believe.

So am I saying that I always sift evidence for a decade before making up my mind?
Of course not. I did that only on matters that were outside my professional expertise.

Studying chemistry, I didn’t question what the instructors and the textbooks had to say. I surely asked for explanations on some points, and might well have raised quibbles on details, but I didn’t question the periodic table or the theory of chemical bonding or the laws of thermodynamics or any other basic tenet.

That, I suggest, is quite typical. Those of us who go into research in a science don’t begin by questioning our field’s basic tenets. Furthermore, most of us never have occasion to question those tenets later on. Most scientific research is, in Kuhn’s words (2), puzzle-solving. In every field there are all sorts of little problems to be solved; not little in the sense of easy, but in the sense of not impinging on any basic theoretical issues. One can spend many lifetimes in chemical research without ever questioning the Second Law of thermodynamics, say, or quantum-mechanical calculations of electron energies, and so on and so forth.

So: Immunologists and virologists and pharmacologists and others who came to do research on HIV/AIDS from the mid-1980s onwards have been engaged in trying to solve all sorts of puzzles. They’ve had no reason to question the accepted view that HIV causes AIDS, because their work doesn’t raise that question in any obvious way; they’re working on very specialized, very detailed matters — designing new antiretroviral drugs, say; or trying to make sense of the infinite variety of “HIV” strains and permutations and recombinations; or looking for new strategies that might lead to a useful vaccine; and so on and so forth. Many tens of thousands of published articles illustrate that there are no end of mysterious puzzles about “HIV/AIDS” waiting to be solved.

The various people who became activist camp followers, like the non-scientist vigilantes among the AIDStruth gang, didn’t begin by trying to convince themselves, by looking into the primary evidence, that the mainstream view is correct: they simply believed it, jumped on the very visible bandwagon, took for granted that the conventional view promulgated by official scientific institutions is true.

It is perfectly natural, in other words, for scientists and non-scientists to believe without question that HIV causes AIDS even though they have never seen or looked for the proof.

What is not natural is to question that, and the relatively small number of individuals who became HIV/AIDS dissidents, AIDS Rethinkers, HIV Skeptics, did so because of idiosyncratic and specific reasons. Women like Christine Maggiore, Noreen Martin, Maria Papagiannidou, Karri Stokely, and others had the strongest personal reasons to wonder about what they were being told: since they had not put themselves at risk in the way “HIV” is supposedly acquired, and since they were finding the “side” effects of antiretroviral drugs intolerable, the incentive was strong to think for themselves and look at the evidence for themselves.
Many gay men have had similar reason to question the mainstream view, and some unknown but undoubtedly large number of gay men are living in a perpetual mental and emotional turmoil: on one hand much empirical evidence of what the antiretroviral drugs have done to their friends, on the other hand their own doctors expressing with apparent confidence the mainstream view. So only a visible minority of gay men have yet recognized the failings of HIV/AIDS theory.
One of the first to do so, John Lauritsen, was brought to question the mainstream view for the idiosyncratic personal reason that, as a survey research analyst, he could see that the CDC’s classification scheme was invalid.
Among scientists, Peter Duesberg recognized some of the errors of HIV/AIDS theory because he understood so much about retroviruses and because he had not himself been caught up in the feverish chase for an infectious cause of AIDS. Robert Root-Bernstein, too, with expertise in immunology , could recognize clearly from outside the HIV/AIDS-research establishment the fallacy of taking immunedeficiency as some new phenomenon. Other biologists, too, who were not involved in HIV/AIDS work, could see things wrong with HIV/AIDS theory: Charles A. Thomas, Jr., Harvey Bialy, Walter Gilbert, Kary Mullis, Harry Rubin, Gordon Stewart, Richard Strohman, and many others who have put their names to the letter asking for a reconsideration.

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

To summarize:

Mainstream researchers rarely if ever question the basis for the contemporary beliefs in their field. It’s not unique to HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS researchers and camp followers never cite the publications that are supposed to prove that HIV causes AIDS for the reason that they never looked for such proof, they simply took it for granted on the say-so of the press-conference announcement and subsequent “mainstream consensus”.

The people who did look for such proof, and realized that it doesn’t exist, were:
—  journalists covering “HIV/AIDS” stories (among those who wrote books about it are Jad Adams, Elinor Burkett, John Crewdson, Celia Farber, Neville Hodgkinson, Evan Lambrou, Michael Leitner, Joan Shenton);
—  directly affected, said-to-be-HIV-positive people, largely gay men and also women like those mentioned above;
—  individuals for a variety of individual reasons, as illustrated above for John Lauritsen and myself;
—  scientists in closely related fields who were not working directly on HIV/AIDS.

That last point is pertinent to the refrain from defenders of HIV/AIDS orthodoxy that highly qualified scientists like Duesberg or Mullis are not equipped to comment because they have never themselves done any research on HIV or AIDS. But that’s precisely why they were able to see that this HIV/AIDS Emperor has no clothes — scientists working directly on the many puzzles generated by this wrong theory have no incentive, no inclination, no reason to question the hypothesis; indeed, the psychological mechanism of cognitive dissonance makes it highly unlikely that scientists with careers vested in HIV/AIDS orthodoxy will be able to recognize the evidence against their belief.
More generally, this is the reason why the history of science contains so many cases of breakthroughs being made by outsiders to a particular specialty: coming to it afresh, they are not blinded by the insider dogmas.

So there is nothing unique about the fact that the failings of HIV/AIDS theory have been discerned by outsiders and not by insiders, and that the insiders are not even familiar with the supposed proofs underlying their belief. Nor is it unique that the dogma has many camp followers who never bothered to look for the supposed proofs of the mainstream belief. What is unique to HIV/AIDS theory is the enormous damage it has caused, by making ill or actually killing hundreds of thousands (at least). The annals of modern medicine have no precedent for this, which is another reason why thoughtless supporters of HIV/AIDS orthodoxy may feel comfortable with it despite never having sought evidence for it.

So here’s the question to put to everyone who insists that HIV causes AIDS:

HOW  DID  YOU  COME  TO  BELIEVE  THAT?
WHAT  CONVINCED  YOU?

————————–
Cited:
(1) Henry H. Bauer, Beyond Velikovsky: The History of a Public Controversy, University of Illinois Press, 1984; chapter 11, “Motives for believing”.
(2) Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, University of Chicago Press, 1970 (2nd ed., enlarged; 1st ed. 1962)

Posted in experts, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV skepticism, prejudice | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Measuring VIRAL LOAD WITHOUT VIRUS: Where are the virions?

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/08/10

A continuing puzzle, at least for this lay person, is why HIV/AIDS researchers have never bothered to extract virions—whole particles of HIV—from HIV-positive people or from AIDS patients. Soon after “infection”, after all, the former are supposed to be teeming with virus, and AIDS victims are supposed to be full of virus (again) by the time opportunistic infections get a foothold; according to Fauci et al., there are then about 1,000,000 million and 100,000 “HIV RNA copies”, respectively, in each milliliter of plasma, each copy supposedly representing a virion:

Since primary infection and “acute viral syndrome” are often unaccompanied by any clinical symptoms—at best (or worst) mild flu-like signs or rashes—I had long thought that it would be unfair to chide mainstream researchers for failing to extract genuine virus at that stage. But, it turns out, some researchers have been able to carry out sophisticated studies of blood drawn during those critical initial weeks of primary infection.

Gasper-Smith et al. report on “Induction of plasma (TRAIL), TNFR-2, Fas ligand, and plasma microparticles after Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) transmission: Implications for HIV-1 vaccine design”, Journal of Virology 82 [2008] 7700-10. They conclude that “Release of products of cell death and subsequent immunosuppression following HIV-1 transmission could potentially narrow the window of opportunity during which a vaccine is able to extinguish HIV-1 infection and could place severe constraints on the amount of time available for the immune system to respond to the transmitted virus”.

The researchers had been able to obtain from ZeptoMetrix Corporation of Buffalo (NY) “seroconversion panels” consisting of “sequential aliquots of plasma (range, 4 to 30 aliquots) collected approximately every 3 days during the time of acute infection with HIV-1”; they cite, for the availability of these seroconversion panels, Fiebig et al., “Dynamics of HIV viremia and antibody seroconversion in plasma donors: Implications for diagnosis and staging of primary HIV infection” , AIDS 17 [2003] 1871-9.

Here, it seemed to me, had been an ideal opportunity to extract veritable whole particles of HIV generated during the acute initial infection. But the only mention of “virion” in the Gasper-Smith article is in this sentence: “While the average peak HIV-1 VL level was 1,421,628 copies/ ml, the average total MP peak level was 606,881,733/ml. Thus, at the times of maximum VL and MP levels, the average number of MPs was 427 times larger than the average number of virions”. “VL” of course is viral load. “MP” is not military police (or, as Lucas reminded me, Members of Parliament), it is “microparticles”:

“MPs are small membrane-bound vesicles that are released from the surface of apoptotic cells by exocytic or budding processes; . . . . MPs, which circulate in the blood under many clinical conditions, are part of a spectrum of subcellular structures that are released from cells and can be distinguished from exosomes . . . . MPs have immunomodulatory activities and can promote immune cell death; exosomes are also immunologically active, can suppress immune responses . . . , and have been reported to have been found at elevated levels in cases of chronic HIV-1 infection . . . . If elevations in levels of immunosuppressive molecules, coupled with early CD4+ T-cell death, occur early following HIV-1 transmission, then these events could potentially define a protected time during which HIV-1 is able to replicate while anti-HIV-1 T- or B-cell responses are suppressed” [emphases added].

Gasper-Smith et al. counted and extracted and studied the MPs by flow cytometry and electron microscopy. Why did they not also study HIV particles? Did the freezing and storing of the plasma destroy HIV virions while leaving MPs intact?

There were 427 times as many MPs as copies of RNA supposed to stem from HIV. MPs can “promote immune cell death”. How do we know that the CD4 cells supposedly killed by HIV weren’t killed by the MPs?

Though phrased rhetorically and left unanswered, I intend those questions to be taken quite seriously. If I wanted to be flippant or sarcastic, I might have commented once again on the peculiar penchant among HIV/AIDS researchers to imply that their measurements are accurate to an impossible number of significant figures when they report MPs of “606,881,733/ml”. That’s one of the drawbacks of the digital age, I suppose. In the good old days when we read measurements off scales with pointers, we weren’t tempted to write down meaningless numbers.

Perhaps Fiebig et al., cited by Gasper-Smith et al. for the brilliant idea of getting those stored samples from blood donors, had looked for whole particles of HIV?

“Because of the difficulty in obtaining blood samples representing early acute HIV infection from clinical patients, most patients do not come to medical attention until weeks to months after infection, we resorted to stored, frozen plasma collections from plasma donors, who unrelated to donating became infected with HIV, and were deferred from further donating. As plasma donors donate on average twice a week, and every donation is tested for HIV and held for 60 days before release, their archived samples provide a unique record of the infection from timepoints before viral exposure until seroconversion and beyond. . . . Plasma donations (600-800 ml) from source plasma donors were routinely collected at approximately twice weekly intervals and stored frozen at -20oC or less.”

Plenty of material to work with, it would seem—600 ml is well over a pint, and ought to contain many millions of HIV virions, at “1,421,628” per ml.

But, NO. In the Fiebig article, there’s not a single mention of “virion”. They used ELISA, p24 antigen, and HIV-1-RNA tests to determine how much “HIV” was present.

—————————

Is the failure to even try to extract virions somehow related to the fact that Gallo was more often able to “isolate” HIV from “pre-AIDS” patients than from those who actually had AIDS? Here’s from the Abstract of Gallo’s ground-breaking article that followed the press conference announcing discovery of the probable cause of AIDS:

“Peripheral blood lymphocytes from patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or with signs or symptoms that frequently precede AIDS (pre-AIDS) were grown in vitro with added T-cell growth factor and assayed for the expression and release of human T-lymphotropic retroviruses (HTLV)” (Gallo et al., Science 224 [1984] 500-3).

That’s what Gallo means by “isolation”, as other rethinkers have often remarked. It’s not the commonly used meaning of the word, namely, “extraction” or “separation from”. And it’s not as though the “assaying” involved separating virions from those cultures, either.

“Retroviruses . . . were isolated from a total of 48 subjects including 18 of 21 patients with pre-AIDS, three of four clinically normal mothers of juveniles with AIDS, 26 of 72 adult and juvenile patients with AIDS, and from one of 22 normal male homosexual subjects”.

Why from more pre-AIDS than from actual AIDS patients?

The Abstract ends with “These results and those reported elsewhere in this issue suggest that HTLV-III may be the primary cause of AIDS” [emphases added].

From that modest suggestion, the dogma that HIV causes AIDS evolved without the benefit of direct isolation—extraction, separation—of whole infectious virions from even a single HIV-positive or AIDS-suffering person, or from plasma preserved from periods of “acute viral syndrome”.

Posted in HIV skepticism, HIV/AIDS numbers | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

HIV/AIDS SCAM: Have antiretroviral drugs saved 3 million life-years?

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/07/06

In the previous post [Antiretroviral therapy has SAVED 3 MILLION life-years, 1 July 2008], I showed that the impression conveyed by “millions” is misleading. The claim actually amounts to an estimate that HAART has saved, at an annual cost of about $20 billion, only about 13% of AIDS victims, in other words about 1 in 8, which is hardly what’s implied by the commonly used description of HAART as “lifesaving”.

I referred also in that earlier post to “dishonesty” in the Walensky et al. article. That charge reflects the fact that only a by-the-way sentence on the fourth page of the article modifies drastically the claim, made in the Abstract, of “at least 3.0 million” life-years saved: “Of these, 1,184,851 years have already been realized, and 1,629,041 years are being accrued by current patients”. The claimed 3 million turns out to be less than 1.2 million! Yet that is once again fudged or masked by the last sentence of the article: “Ten years after the introduction of potent combination ART, at least 3 million years of life have been saved in the United States” [emphasis added]. Counting projected future savings as already in hand might not survive an independent audit.

Repeating the calculations in the earlier post with the lower figure of 1.2 million of actually realized savings, we find that there were saved by 2003 not 13% of patients but only 6%, at expenditure of more than $180,000 per saved life-year, or $12.5 million per life; and our productivity in GDP terms then represents a measly return of 0.36% on this human capital. Such are the numbers that Fauci apparently believes to justify current expenditure on HIV/AIDS. One can be sure, moreover, that the computer model was designed and the calculations made with a view to presenting as rosy a picture as possible. If this is the best they can come up with, then it’s time to stop talking about HIV/AIDS as a manageable, chronic but not fatal disease.

Not only is the claimed benefit of treatment much less than impressive, the claim actually lacks any solid foundation whatsoever. It relies on a computer model that makes a number of unjustifiable assumptions, and it ignores such central issues as the acknowledged toxicity of the antiretroviral treatment as well as how the definition of AIDS has changed, and thereby the health-state of people being treated.

Here is the essence of the Walensky article: “The Cost-Effectiveness of Preventing AIDS Complications (CEPAC) model was used to estimate per-person survival benefits. CEPAC is a widely published computer-based state-transition simulation model of HIV disease that incorporates CD4 cell count; HIV RNA level; ART efficacy; OI incidence, treatment, and prophylaxis; and other important clinical information [16–18, 21]. “State transition” means that the model characterizes the progression of disease in an individual patient as a sequence of transitions from one ‘health state’ to another. . . . In the model, the level of HIV RNA determines the rate of CD4 cell count decline, and the absolute CD4 cell count governs the monthly risk of OIs and death”.
One hardly needs to read any further, given that Rodriguez et al. (JAMA 296 [2006], 1498-1506) found a lack of correlation between “HIV RNA level”—otherwise known as viral load—and the rate of CD4 decline. This fact alone would be enough to vitiate the model; but there are also no valid studies of ART efficacy using untreated controls. As to prophylaxis of opportunistic infections, more is said below.

Walensky et al. considered “6 distinct eras of HIV/AIDS treatment from 1989 to 2003”. But about 50,000 AIDS deaths had already been reported up to 1989 (CDC 1990), about 35,000 of those during the AZT monotherapy years of 1987 and 1988. Some (or most or perhaps even all) of those deaths were caused or hastened by the AZT, and those lost life-years should surely be subtracted from the savings calculated from 1989 on, since HAART typically incorporates AZT or an analog of it, albeit at much lower doses than in the monotherapy era. Instead, Walensky et al. apparently seek to hide AZT toxicity by saying that “we excluded the early benefits of antiretroviral mono- and dual-drug therapy when survival benefits were more limited”, a fine illustration of double-speak: “more limited benefits” here stands for “no benefit, just caused harm”.

The first era commences with “prophylaxis for Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP) starting in 1989”, ignoring that Michael Callen and Josef Sonnabend had pioneered prophylaxis against PCP in AIDS victims years earlier. Callen cites data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that more than 30,000 people had died of PCP by February 1989 even though the possibility of prophylaxis had been known since 1977. Callen himself had urged Fauci in May 1987 to recommend prophylaxis, but Fauci refused; nearly 17,000 PCP deaths occurred between May 1987 and February 1989 (pp. 30-31 in Michael Callen, Surviving AIDS, HarperCollins 1990). That is in direct contradiction to the claim that “88% of eligible patients in the pre-ART era were receiving OI [opportunistic infection, includes PCP] prophylaxis” (Walensky et al., p.12). How many of those 30,000 or 17,000 PCP deaths should be subtracted from Walensky’s 3 million — or actually 1.2 million — saved years of life? 30,000 lives lost to PCP, after all, already represent more than 2 million life-years, and even 17,000 lives amount to over a million-and-a-quarter life-years, either of which would wipe out entirely all the life-years claimed to have been saved between 1989 and 2003.

Walensky et al. cite an estimate that only 57% of known “HIV-positive” people are receiving treatment, and they assert that additional life-year-savings would result if more were being treated. But how many of the non-treated are avoiding antiretroviral drugs by choice? Certainly among gay men, knowledge of the fearsome “side”-effects of antiretroviral drugs has been widespread for two decades. Moreover, any reader of the official Treatment Guidelines learns that “In the era of combination antiretroviral therapy, several large observational studies have indicated that the risk of several non-AIDS-defining conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, liver-related events, renal disease, and certain non-AIDS malignancies . . . is greater than the risk for AIDS”. How then could Walensky et al. legitimately ignore these toxicities, as they do: “The analysis did not account for later ART-related toxicities that may result in, for example, cardiac disease or diabetes”. They wave aside the iatrogenic harm from ART even further by opining that “hyperlipidemia reduces overall life expectancy by ~1 month”. When your doctor tells you that your cholesterol is too high and that you should begin a lifelong course of expensive statin drugs — whose deleterious “side” effects also call for regular doses of Coenzyme Q10, which few doctors will tell you, however —, try responding that you have it on good authority that the potential benefit of conquering hyperlipidemia is only about 1 month of extra life. Let me know what your doctor says to that.

————————-

Noted by Walensky et al. is that “after 1992, ~70% of new AIDS diagnoses were made according to a CD4 cell count criterion of <200 cells/mm3 alone”. This criterion for an AIDS diagnosis is unique to the United States, and patients thus diagnosed may display no symptoms of illness. Thus up to 70% of “AIDS” patients receiving antiretroviral drugs in the United States since 1993 have been clinically healthy when they begin “treatment”. It would then be hardly surprising that survival rates increased from the years before 1993 when this CD4-count criterion was introduced, for initially healthy people will surely survive toxic drugs longer than people who are already ill: “projected per-person survival after an AIDS diagnosis increased from 19 months (1.6 years) in the absence of treatment to 179 months (14.9 years) by 2003, a gain of 160 months (13.3 years)” [emphasis added]. The all-knowing computer model can apparently be sure already in 2003 that patients will survive on average into 2018. But even this projection hardly justifies the assertion that AIDS is now “a highly treatable chronic condition”, given that even by 2004 — 8 years into the “lifesaving” HAART era — most deaths from “HIV disease” were still occurring among people around 40 years of age, just as two decades earlier [Table 42, p. 236, in “National Center for Health Statistics: Health, United States, 2007 with Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans”, Hyattsville, MD, 2007; see “HIV DISEASE” IS NOT AN ILLNESS, 19 March 2008].

Puzzling is the statement that “Mean per-child survival gains for the averted infections ranged from 60.5 years if the child was born before 1996 (before combination ART) to 45.8 years during 1996-1999, when combination ART was available”. If ART is better, why is the survival gain from it only ¾ of the earlier survival gain from pre-ART prophylaxis of opportunistic infections?

——————-

It also remains for me a continuing mystery that so many AIDS researchers, reviewers of HIV/AIDS manuscripts, and editors of journals that publish this material are so lacking in elementary numeracy as to pepper their articles with numbers like “832,179 years in ART 3”, “2,813,892” years saved, and so on. Numbers no less than words should convey meaning. The only thing conveyed clearly by “2,813,892” is that the writers take computer outputs as sacrosanct and don’t think about what the numbers mean. Those extra digits are not only meaningless, they positively distract the reader, making necessary a mental rounding-off to recognize that the substantive claim is “about 2.8 million”; not many people, after all, are used to digesting 7-digit numbers and savoring their significance. In the Walensky et al. article, the mystery of this abusive mathematical incompetence is only deepened by the fact that the authors’ affiliations include departments of epidemiology and biostatistics.

——————-

Walensky et al. “employed a model-based approach, conducting repeated analyses to explore the clinical consequences of alternative patient-care-innovation pathways”. The whole article deals not with actual patients but with “hypothetical patients”. This fulfills the suggestion, reported in a previous post, that one no longer needs human beings for clinical studies, computers can conveniently substitute [VIRTUAL HIV/AIDS RESEARCH AND TREATMENT, 17 June 2008]. The most convenient thing about this, of course, is that it’s much easier to get the results you want from a computer model you have yourself designed than from observations of real people.

Here’s the point to bear in mind whenever the gurus parade the outputs of their computer models:
A computer model can be guaranteed to mimic reality faithfully only if everything about that reality is already known in every detail. But if that is so, then one doesn’t need a computer model. Computer models are experiments carried out on surrogates of reality, surrogates that are unavoidably simplified and based on assumptions about reality. In the Walensky et al. case, the model incorporates assumptions about what happens to a person with a given viral load and CD4 count under no treatment, and what happens to individuals with given viral loads and CD4 counts under a variety of treatment regimens: all of which are based on guesses, because clinical trials with proper controls have never been carried out to determine properly the parameters needed for such a model. Moreover, as earlier mentioned, the article by Rodriguez et al. found no correlation between “viral load” and subsequent decline in CD4 counts. Further, the article ignores the well established phenomenon of “long-term non-progressors” or “elite controllers”, individuals who demonstrate that being “HIV-positive” does not necessarily lead to destruction of the immune system, illness, and death. How could the fates of non-treated “patients” be modeled when this phenomenon is ignored? When it is not even known what proportion of people are potentially elite controllers?

The outputs of this model deserve no credence whatsoever. The claim of more than 3 million saved life-years is utterly bogus. Even were it not bogus, it would reveal the claimed benefits of antiretroviral therapy to be at best marginal and procured at egregiously excessive cost.

Posted in antiretroviral drugs, clinical trials, experts, Funds for HIV/AIDS, HIV absurdities, HIV/AIDS numbers | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: