HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Posts Tagged ‘India’

ABUSED WOMEN and “HIV”

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/08/22

“HIV” is the worst evil in the world, according to HIV/AIDS believers:
— They want to give drug addicts fresh needles, because cocaine and heroin are so much better, so much more healthy than “HIV”; see COCAINE AND HEROIN AREN’T GOOD FOR YOU! [a Golden Fleece Award, 13 June 2008];
— They will treat Africans for worm infestation only if that makes antiretroviral treatment more efficient; see PARASITIC WORMS are *NOT* GOOD for you!, 24 July 2008; ARE INTESTINAL WORMS GOOD FOR US? ARE THEY GOOD FOR AFRICANS? FOR AFRICAN CHILDREN?, 30 December 2007;
— They will provide food to malnourished Africans only if that helps with antiretroviral treatment ; see DRUGS OR FOOD?, 25 December 2007; FOOD IS GOOD FOR CHILDREN, 8 January 2008;
— “HIV” does ALL SORTS of dreadful things, like instigating bone fractures; see TALKING OF HIV’S MAGICAL POWERS…, 29 DECEMBER 2007.

And so on. No doubt about it, “HIV” — or, of course, “HIV/AIDS” — is the worst evil in the world.

Therefore it makes sense to study — and to acquire research grants to study — whether abused women are at greater risk of “HIV” than non-abused women are. If one finds that they are at greater risk, that would provide a compelling reason to regard the abusing and battering of women as a bad thing and perhaps even to look for ways of helping abused women and of trying to prevent such abuse.

A corollary that seems to me obvious, though apparently not to HIV/AIDS believers, is that if abused women are NOT at greater risk of “HIV”, then there’s no need to give further thought to the plight of abused women?

My e-mail friend Andy D. found this as absurd as I did, and drew my attention to the several news items in which the HIV status of abused women is treated as a matter of the highest newsworthiness:

AIDS infection risk higher in abused Indian women, study says” (John Lauerman, Aug. 12, Bloomberg)
“Indian women who are physically and sexually abused by their husbands are four times more likely to have HIV than other wives . . . . AIDS prevention should focus more on mistreatment of women . . . .
India’s AIDS epidemic is the third largest of any country in the world, and infections among women are rising . . . . Health officials should target wives who are forced to have unsafe sex, along with their husbands, for preventive measures, said study author Jay Silverman, an associate professor of society, human development and health at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
’Sexual abuse of adolescent girls and women is driving the HIV epidemic in India and around the world . . . . We need to make it a major priority for prevention.’
The findings echo a 2004 study of women in South Africa, . . . [where] abused women were 50 percent more likely to be HIV-infected than non-abused women, regardless of their own behavior.
’In many settings, women’s risk of HIV is largely driven by the behavior of their male partners,’ said Kristin Dunkle, an assistant professor of behavioral sciences and health education at the Emory Center for AIDS Research in Atlanta . . . .
About 0.73 percent of women who had been physically and sexually abused were infected, compared with 0.19 percent among non-abused women . . . . Almost all the women, 95 percent, reported that they had no extramarital sexual relations themselves . . . . That points to known patterns in the behavior of abusive husbands that puts their wives and children at higher risk of HIV infection . . . . Sexually abusive husbands may force their wives to have intercourse without condoms, or unprotected anal sex, both of which can significantly increase HIV infection risk . . . . The men may also be having risky sex with women outside the marriage, increasing their own chance of infection . . . . ‘We have to get to the men,’ Silverman said. ‘And we have to provide women with reasonable alternatives if they’re being abused, so they can maintain their children and not become destitute.’
. . . . ‘To be truly successful in addressing the spread of HIV in India, we must think of ways to address the all-too-widespread mistreatment of wives,’ said Donta Balaiah of the Indian Council of Medical Research, who helped write the study. The study was supported by the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, Maryland, and the Indian Council of Medical Research in New Delhi, which funds and promotes research in the country.”

Another version was in CBC News: “Prevent abuse of women to stem rise of HIV: researchers” (August 12) :
“ . . . . despite a lower prevalence of infection among India’s general population, women account for a rising percentage of HIV cases. . . . ‘married Indian women who experienced both physical and sexual intimate partner violence demonstrated an HIV infection prevalence approximately four times greater than that of non-abused women,’ . . . . The risky sexual behaviour of husbands was the major source of women’s infection . . . . They suggested that doctors and public health officials focus on preventing intimate partner violence to help reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS.”

The scientific publication on which these stories are based is Silverman et al, JAMA 300 [2008] 703-710.

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As I said at the outset: The prime reason for trying to do something about abuse of women is apparently to prevent the spread of HIV.

That’s a heartless HIV/AIDS cart-before-horse stupidities. To my mind, any abuse of human beings is a thoroughly despicable and detestable thing, and we should do everything we can think of to prevent it. Naturally enough, the more it can be prevented, the more beneficial COROLLARIES there will be — for the women’s emotional and mental as well as physical health, and that of their family members; and much more. How on earth does “HIV/AIDS” come to take priority over everything else? Perhaps because any mention of it brings the money flooding in?

Note also the HIV/AIDS-typical abuse of statistics and data in this:

“India’s AIDS epidemic is the third largest of any country in the world”
only because India has so large a population. The HIV-positive rate in India is among the lowest in the world. Moreover, the HIV/AIDS guru at the World Health Organization admitted that there had not been and would not be a heterosexually spread epidemic there, see WHO SAYS that WE’VE BEEN VERY WRONG about HIV and AIDS? (Clue: WHO = World Health Organization), 10 June 2008. A year ago, it was conceded that there were about 2.5 million “HIV/AIDS” people in India rather than the 5.7 million estimated earlier (for example, REDIFF: India Abroad — “India’s HIV/AIDS affected reduced to half in revised figures” July 06, 2007; acknowledged in the Silverman et al. article). The earlier number had corresponded to a rate of 0.9%, so the newly estimated rate is 0.4% — as I said, among the very lowest in the world.

However:
“and infections among women are rising”

This illustrates a common way in which statistics are abused for the purpose of misleading. If something starts at zero and then “increases” to barely noticeable, that’s an enormous increase if you express it in percentages!

This device is used pervasively in marketing medicines. “Take XXXXX”, we are assured, and “cut in half” our risk of YYYYY; where YYYYY might be heart attack, stroke, just about anything undesirable. If you are inclined to take this sort of thing at face value, then you should read Malignant Medical Myths by Joel Kauffman (read this for an excellent summary). If the risk of YYYYY is, say, 1%, does it make sense to try to reduce this to 0.5% when the “side” effects of prolonged dosing with XXXXX brings its own tangible risks? The only clinical trials worth attending to are those for which the important data are rarely published: namely, changes (if any) in ALL-CAUSE MORTALITY. If XXXX is good for you, then it should lower ALL-CAUSE mortality, not just the risk of YYYYY.

Silverman et al. further illustrate misleading via numbers with “Despite recent reductions in HIV prevalence among both the general population and many high-risk groups, the percentage of all infections occurring among Indian women (currently estimated at 39%) has continued to rise relative to that among men” [emphasis added].
How impressive that “39%” appears! An enormous “increase”!
But in India the overall rate for women is 0.22% and for men 0.36%, both extraordinarily low by any standards. Yet these trivially low rates allegedly cause India to be “recognized as the source of increasing HIV prevalence among its South Asian neighbors”!
I suppose a prevalence of even 0.4% poses a threat to neighbors like China, Laos, and Pakistan where the prevalence is estimated at 0.1%; let alone to those where it’s estimated at LESS than 0.1% (Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka); but surely the threat is the other way around from Myanmar (1.3%) or even Nepal (0.5%). This is worse than ludicrous.

Silverman et al. reported that “7.68%” (2161) of 28,139 women had been both physically and sexually abused; and “0.73%” (205) tested HIV-positive. A statistical test marked the difference between that 0.73% and the 0.19% among non-abused women as “statistically significant”. Maybe, although we lay people wonder why fewer than 1 in 10 of those “at risk” abused women were actually HIV-positive; but bear in mind that “statistically significant” is not the same as PROVEN. More important, what’s statistically significant is NOT that physical and sexual abuse are CAUSATIVE of testing HIV-positive, only that the two things are CORRELATED; and

CORRELATION NEVER PROVES CAUSATION

Note, too, the usual abundance of assertions about matters that are not known:
“women’s risk of HIV is largely driven by the behavior of their male partners”
— Were all the male partners investigated to arrive at that “largely”?
— And who established “known patterns in the behavior of abusive husbands”?

Where I would thoroughly agree — at least for the purpose of the published study — is that “’We have to get to the men,’ Silverman said”.

I wish the authors had done that, and had tested all the husbands of those abused women of whom 95% had not had extramarital relations, because an essential — but missing — part of the study is to discover, how many of those husbands are themselves HIV-positive. If they aren’t, then they didn’t infect their wives, after all.

My prediction is that very few of those husbands are HIV-positive, certainly many fewer than 95% of them.

Think about it. 0.73% of Indian women are physically and sexually abused and HIV-positive. Each has a husband, so those husbands represent about 0.73% of Indian men (only “about” because the ratio of males to females is not 1 and varies with age). In the overall population of India, however, only 0.36% of men are HIV-positive. Therefore physically and sexually abusive husbands must be twice as likely as other men to be HIV-positive AND ALL OF THOSE MUST HAVE INFECTED THEIR WIVES — a truly remarkable set of circumstances, especially given that the claimed average rate of sexual transmission of “HIV-positive” without use of condoms is about 1 per 1000. It gets only more remarkable when one takes into account that about ¾ of all “HIV transmission” in India is NOT owing to marital sex, if India is at all comparable to Asia as a whole, see HIV/AIDS ILLUSTRATES COGNITIVE DISSONANCE, 29 April 2008. Then the husbands of those poor HIV-positive abused women must themselves be not twice as likely but 8 times as likely as other Indian heterosexual men to be HIV-positive?

The fact of the matter is that testing HIV-positive does not mark infection by a sexually transmitted agent, it is a sign of physiological stress. That physically and sexually abused women are 4 times as likely as untroubled women to be seriously stressed should be no surprise to anyone, not even to researchers who conjure up imaginative grant proposals.

Posted in clinical trials, experts, Funds for HIV/AIDS, HIV absurdities, HIV as stress, HIV risk groups, HIV skepticism, HIV tests, HIV transmission, sexual transmission, uncritical media | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

TO AVOID HIV INFECTION, DON’T GET MARRIED

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2007/11/18

“BANGKOK (AFP) – Married people accounted for more than 40 percent of all new cases of HIV/AIDS in Thailand last year, the country’s health ministry said Thursday, despite an overall decrease in infections” (Google Alert, 12 October 2007).

“UN warns of Thai housewife HIV/AIDS crisis”, Apiradee Treerutkuarkul http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/21Aug2007_news12.php
“In Thailand, up to 40% of the 18,000 new cases found each year are housewives, which was previously identified as a low-risk group. . . . The number was high compared to so-called high-risk groups, such as men having sex with men (28%) and sex workers (10%)…. the situation has worsened in Papua New Guinea, where half of new AIDS cases are housewives. Housewives also account for at least 46% of all new cases in Cambodia”

“Press Release: Secretariat of The Pacific Community – SPC
SPC headquarters, Noumea, New Caledonia, Thursday May 31, 2007: Women are most at risk of contracting HIV from the men they should trust the most – their husbands….
This was the sobering message delivered to delegates at the 10th Triennial of Pacific Women, being held at Secretariat of the Pacific Community headquarters in New Caledonia.”

“‘Uganda: Rising HIV infection – where did we lose it?'”, by Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, New Vision (Kampala), 12 December 2006; http://allafrica.com/stories/200612130724.html
[Earlier, government programs had led to] significant behaviour change, especially among the young generation, by delaying sex, reducing the number of sexual partners, using condoms, testing for their HIV status and seeking improved health services. . . . The 2005 HIV survey by the Ministry of Health shows . . . married couples and rich women . . . to be at high risk.”

“‘Married couples top HIV infection rates in Uganda’, Kampala, 4 December 2006 (Xinhua);
http://www.chinaview.cn 2006-12-04 19:19:03
Apuuli Kihumuro, the director general of the Uganda AIDS Commission said . . . [that] between 1996 and 2005, 42 percent of the 130,000 HIV new infections occurred within wedlock. . . . [presumably] caused by unawareness of their HIV status, engaging in sex with multiple partners and their reluctance to use condoms. [Whereas] ‘The low rates of infection among the youth and unmarried people according to the findings are ascribed to their vigilance in having protected sex'”.

“New Vision (Kampala) 3 July 2007, reported by Fred Ouma
A detailed analysis of the 2004/05 Uganda HIV/AIDS Sero-Behaviourial Survey revealed the need to refocus HIV preventive measures to married people. . . . According to the survey, from an estimated 1.1 million Ugandans living with HIV/AIDS, married people were identified as the most risky group…. Contrary to the common perception that young people were at the greatest risk of HIV infection, the report shows an unprecedented shift, with 74% of new infection among people above 25 years of age. Only 10% of new infections were recorded among single people during the period of the study. New infections were highest (66%) among married, followed by 20% in widowed or divorced.”

” ‘A look at HIV – where are we now?’ Sabin Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 August 2006;
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/08/13/MNGSNKHMRQ1.DTL
In India, for example, 80 percent of women infected with HIV are monogamous married women. ‘The fastest rates of infection are among housewives and young women, because the men who go to sex workers also go home'”

“For a growing number of women in rural Mexico – and around the world – marital sex represents their single greatest risk for HIV infection. . . . because marital infidelity by men is so deeply ingrained across many cultures . . . . These findings are published in the June 2007 issue of the American Journal of Public Health. . . . The article’s lead author, Jennifer S. Hirsch, PhD, associate professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, is principal investigator on a large comparative study showing that the inevitability of men’s infidelity in marriage is true across cultures. . . . in rural Mexico . . . in rural New Guinea and southeastern Nigeria” (http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/marital-sex-biggest-hiv-risk-women-around-world-13170.html)

* * * * * *

The greatest danger of contracting HIV, says the official wisdom, comes from having sex without condoms with someone in a high-risk group, namely, injecting drug abusers or highly promiscuous gay men. Yet at the same time, according to the above reports, it is married women who are the group at greatest risk of contracting HIV–“around the world”: India, Thailand, Cambodia in South-East Asia, Uganda and Nigeria in Africa, Mexico in the Americas, Papua New Guinea and the whole Pacific region . . .
If you can believe that, then you will also send money to Nigeria to someone you had never heard of before and who offers by e-mail to share with you a large unclaimed inheritance. Or perhaps you are already part owner of a Brooklyn Bridge.
These reports, absurdly unbelievable on their face, illustrate several features of the misguided notion that HIV causes AIDS:

  • The media pass along, without further thought or critical comment, press releases from researchers and official institutions, no matter how contrary to plain common sense the “news” may be.
  • Innumerable reported facts and statistics clearly show that HIV-positive is not the sign of a sexually transmitted agent.
  • Not the media, not researchers, not official institutions, seem concerned to consider how reported findings could be consistent with the dogma of “HIV, the virus that causes AIDS”.

Would anyone believe it for even a moment, if it were claimed that married women in many parts of the world are at greater risk of contacting syphilis or gonorrhea or chlamydia, than are adolescents, or than are prostitutes (“sex workers”)? In Uganda, we are being asked to believe, the very same generation which as unmarried singles enabled the infection rate to decrease because of their scrupulously careful sexual behavior became, a few years later and when married, riotously and carelessly promiscuous. When it comes to “HIV/AIDS”, hysteria seems to trump thought every time.
Rather than accept such nonsense, one ought to recall certain established facts:

  • Testing HIV positive does not prove infection by a human immunodeficiency virus.
  • Testing HIV positive signifies only that a few proteins (or bits of genetic material) have been detected that are often found in people who are ill from any one of a large number of conditions, or who display a temporary reaction to a vaccination or a bout of flu, say (see posts of 12 and 16 November).
  • In any given group, the probability that an “HIV-positive” reaction will follow exposure to a given health challenge varies according to individual physiology, which correlates with (among other things) age, sex, and race. In every tested group, the probability of testing HIV-positive varies in predictable fashion with age, sex, and race–see The Origins, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory.
    The variation with age follows qualitatively this general scheme (from The Origins, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory):

agevariations.jpg

This explains in quite straightforward fashion why married women and rich women are the most likely to be HIV-positive, followed by the widowed and the divorced, while the least likely to test HIV-positive are women under 25, adolescent women, and prostitutes: married women are on average of middle age, prostitutes and single women are on average younger, and the divorced and widowed who are likely on average to be beyond middle age.
The older women are, from teens into middle age, the more likely they are to be married; and as shown in the diagram, they are more likely to be HIV-positive; therefore married women are more likely to be HIV-positive than are single women. Beyond middle age, since widowed and divorced women are likely to be older than middle age, it follows again predictably that the widowed and divorced are less likely to be HIV-positive than married women. Women who are rich are likely to be older than those who are poor, since some will have acquired their wealth through marriage. And prostitutes (“sex workers”) are of course likely on average to be younger than married women.
That fits all the facts, and is vastly more plausible than the extent of unsafe promiscuity by husbands that the official view and explanation so readily assumes.
The absurdity of the official explanation is seen yet more starkly when one realizes how difficult it is to contract HIV through sexual intercourse: on average, the chance of becoming HIV-positive after unprotected sex with an HIV-positive person is about 1 in 1000; for citations to this fact in the published literature, see pp. 44 ff. in The Origins, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory.

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The following comment was submitted in error to the ”Re Comments” page, but it seems to belong here:

fraorlando Says:
Tuesday, 11 December 2007 at 2:13 pm e
nteresting. I cannot remember such a high number of infections in this group. If I understand you right, you claim that this is because of accumulated exposure to different immune stressors in married or middle-aged woman, so HIV is a factor of time and number of immune stressors; not an actual virus–but why is it that the same pattern hasn’t shown up in all other countries as well? Also, married woman are not necessarily elderly, maybe this is true in Western countries, where more educated women may marry in their late 20 to early 30’s on average, but I don’t believe in those countries described in your article, where marriage is more a matter of survival and other options are limited. Also, I assume that the curve in your diagram works for every other infectious disease, since, as time passes by, chances increase to get infected by one or the other pathogen–so I cannot see why this is an argument against the viral theory of AIDS?
On another front, though, it’s interesting that HIV does not seem to co-vary with other STDs. But also, diseases are very complex, so my question is if it can be reliably shown that, in epidemiological studies, there are co-variations between every other STDs, but not HIV?
Regards,
Roland

hhbauer responds:
Tuesday, 11 December 2007 at 2:56 pm e
Roland, thank you for insightful comments. I think you were responding to the post on “Getting Married” of 18 November?
My view is that HIV-positive may reflect any one of a large number of stresses, not necessarily an accumulation–see the diagram in “HIV TESTS, 16 November.
I don’t know how many countries would show this pattern, because there have never been truly population-wide studies done. Different countries and different researchers carry out tests for different reasons. All we can do is to try to interpret the data that happen to be available.
Certainly the age at which women get married can be very young in many of the countries from which these reports come. But on average they will stay married until death, whereas on average prostitutes tend to leave that profession before they are at the end of their lives. So married women on average will be older than prostitutes and, under my view, more likely to test HIV-positive at some time or other for some reason or other–especially pregnancy (HIV ABSURDITIES, 9 December).
I don’t believe that the age variation in that diagram is the same for other infectious diseases. As to STDs, adolescents and young adults are generally at highest risk; and certainly children below teenage are hardly at risk for STDs. Non-STD infectious diseases do not show a characteristic difference between males and females. So the fact that these variations of “HIV” show up in every group for which data are available, indicates that “HIV” is some non-specific physiological response.
I have a longer discussion in my book about differences between “HIV” and other STDs, including geographic variations. I don’t know about co-variation of STDs in general, I’m afraid.

Posted in HIV absurdities, HIV risk groups, HIV varies with age, sexual transmission, uncritical media | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »