HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Posts Tagged ‘racially biased HIV tests’

Race, HIV, media pundits

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2014/03/09

People carrying black-African genes test “HIV-positive” at far greater rates than do people without that genetic ancestry. HIV/AIDS theory “explains” that by postulating greater rates of careless “not-safe-sex” promiscuity and infected-needle-sharing drug injection. Thereby HIV/AIDS theory postulates significant genetic determination of behavior, which in other contexts is dismissed as pseudo-science.

Moreover, actual observations and studies have repeatedly shown that the facts vitiate that proposed “explanation”: Africans and African-Americans indulge in risky behavior at lower rates than do white Americans (pp. 77-9 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory).
The conclusion is inescapable: HIV/AIDS theory is radically wrong about how “HIV-positive” is transmitted.

But that inescapable conclusion continues to escape mainstream practitioners and researchers and such media pundits as Donald G. McNeil Jr. of the New York Times (Poor Black and Hispanic men are the face of H.I.V.):

“The AIDS epidemic in America is rapidly becoming concentrated among poor, young black and Hispanic men who have sex with men”
NO. There’s nothing recent or rapid about it. The racial disparities have always been there (Chapters 5 & 6 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory).
Furthermore, it is black WOMEN who are most affected compared to others, 20 times more likely to be “HIV-positive” than white women, whereas for males the ratio is (“only”) 7.

“Nationally, 25 percent of new infections are in black and Hispanic men, and in New York City it is 45 percent”
Yes, of course, because it’s blackness that contributes overwhelmingly to testing “HIV-positive”. Hispanics in New York are primarily of black Caribbean-African stock, whereas West-Coast Hispanics are largely non-black, of Latin-American stock. Therefore national-average rates of “HIV-positive” among Hispanics are lower than East-Coast Hispanic rates of “HIV-positive” (pp. 57-8, 71-2 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory).

“Nationally, when only men under 25 infected through gay sex are counted, 80 percent are black or Hispanic — even though they engage in less high-risk behavior than their white peers” [emphasis added]; “a male-male sex act for a young black American is eight times as likely to end in H.I.V. infection as it is for his white peers. That is true even though, on average, black youths in the study took fewer risks than their white peers: they had fewer partners, engaged in fewer acts of sex while drunk or high, and used condoms more often”.
So McNeil is even aware of this conundrum which falsifies the central axiom of HIV/AIDS theory, namely, that HIV is transmitted as a result of risky behavior. Yet he does not follow this statement of fact with any explanation of this paradox which contradicts and falsifies mainstream views.
Instead, McNeil passes on without comment the usual meaningless weasel-words about some unspecified “intervention”:
“Critics say little is being done to save this group, and none of it with any great urgency. ‘There wasn’t even an ad campaign aimed at young black men until last year — what’s that about?’. Phill Wilson, president of the Black AIDS Institute in Los Angeles, said there were ‘no models out there right now for reaching these men’”.
What conceivable use could any models be, when it’s acknowledged that these supposedly at-high-risk people already practice less risky behavior than the no-high-risk white folk?
Still, of course there’s no harm in asking for more money even in absence of any clue what to do with it:
“With more resources, we could make bigger strides”.

What the mainstream says about the high rates of black “HIV-positives” is pitifully, woefully inadequate; it misses the whole point. It suggests that although their behavior is less risky, black folk have “other risk factors. Lacking health insurance, they were less likely to have seen doctors regularly and more likely to have syphilis, which creates a path for H.I.V.”
But it’s yet another counterfactual canard that syphilis and other STDs make it more likely that someone will “contract” “HIV”, i.e. become “HIV-positive”: there is simply no correlation between incidence of STDs and of “HIV” (pp. 31-5, 109 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory).
As to insurance, what is the evidence that having health insurance makes for lower rates of being or becoming “HIV-positive”? This is simply hand-waving bullshit* emitted because no sensible explanation can be offered.
As to seeing doctors regularly, what is the evidence that seeing doctors regularly makes for lower rates of being or becoming “HIV-positive”? Quite the opposite, in fact: The largely white gay men who first contracted “AIDS” had mostly been seeing doctors very often because of their constant need for treatment after suffering all sorts of illnesses. Dr. Joseph Sonnabend, with a practice of largely gay clients in New York in the 1970s, had in fact warned his regular customers that if they did not change their lifestyle something drastic and awful would befall them.

And then, “Other risk factors include depression and fatalism” — What, pray, is the mechanism by which those conditions produce “HIV-positive”? Among people who are acknowledged to behave less riskily than those who are not at high risk of becoming “HIV-positive”?

Another popular non-explanation is that blacks become “HIV-positive” more often because “HIV-positive” is so much more common in the black community: It’s more common because it’s more common.

I cannot imagine a higher degree of hypocrisy, intellectual vapidity, sheer unwillingness to draw obvious conclusions from undisputed facts, than is demonstrated without fail and without end by mainstream researchers, doctors, and pundits when confronted with the plain fact that blackness makes for being “HIV-positive”.

Not that this perverse behavior is much different from behaving as though testing “HIV-positive” proved infection by “HIV” when standard authorities have long stated quite forthrightly that there is no gold standard “HIV” test, no test capable of demonstrating actual infection by “HIV”, and that the rates of false positives are inevitably high (Stanley H. Weiss & Elliot P. Cowan, “Laboratory detection of human retroviral infection”, chapter 8 in Gary P. Wormser (ed.), AIDS and Other Manifestations of HIV Infection, 2004 (4th ed.).

No technical expertise is needed to recognize the sheer unadulterated nonsense of talking about “risk factors” when the known end-result is less risky behavior. How can any number of purported risk factors be alleged to heighten risk when the facts show that the risk is lower of the only behavior that supposedly transmits “HIV”?

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* Words uttered without regard to their truth — Harry Frankfurt, On Bullshit, Princeton University Press, 2005.

Posted in experts, HIV absurdities, HIV and race, HIV risk groups, HIV skepticism, HIV tests, HIV transmission, HIV/AIDS numbers, prejudice, sexual transmission, uncritical media | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Racist stereotypes are inherent in HIV/AIDS theory

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2010/02/08

“HIV” is spread primarily through sexual intercourse, according to official dogma. Particularly as a result of promiscuity, carelessness, irresponsibility in sexual behavior.
Africans and African Americans test “HIV-positive” at rates far exceeding those of any other identifiable racial group, and they do so in every social and economic sector: among repeat blood donors, pregnant women, gay men, newborns, military cohorts, applicants for marriage licenses, in prisons, in hospitals . . . . (see, for example, Tables 6-8, 10, 21, 22, 28 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory). Caribbean “Hispanics”, who have on average much African ancestry, test “HIV-positive” at a higher rate than Mexican “Hispanics” who have on average little African ancestry (pp. 71-3, ibid.).

A natural inference, a straightforward syllogism, leads to the conclusion that people of relatively recent African ancestry are, anywhere and everywhere, genetically predisposed to be carelessly and irresponsibly sexually promiscuous to a greater extent than other human beings. (“Relatively recent” means in the last couple of hundred thousand years, because ALL human beings are of African ancestry before that relatively recent diaspora of Homo out of Africa. So one has to postulate that such a purported genetic predisposition evolved during this recent period.)

If that conclusion seems obviously and absurdly wrong, as it does to me, then there’s something wrong with one or both of the first two parts of the syllogism: Either blacks do NOT always test “HIV-positive” significantly more often than others, or “HIV” is not spread primarily through sexual intercourse.

But the truth of one part of the syllogism is not controversial: Blacks do always test “HIV-positive” significantly more often than others. That’s mentioned frequently in publications of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and elsewhere, for example:
“In 2006, blacks made up 12% of the population aged >13  years but accounted for 46% of the number of persons  estimated to be living with HIV (1). Both the estimated  HIV  prevalence  and  incidence  rates  for  black  men  and  women were higher than those for any other racial/ethnic  population (1,2). Among black males, male-to-male sexual  contact accounted for 63% of new infections; among black  females, high-risk heterosexual contact accounted for 83%  of new infections (3) . . . .
during  2004–2007,  85% of diagnoses of perinatal HIV infection were in blacks or  African Americans (69%) or Hispanics or Latinos (16%). The  average  annual  rate  of  diagnoses  of  perinatal  HIV  infection  during 2004-2007 was 12.3 per 100,000 among blacks, 2.1 per  100,000 among Hispanics, and 0.5 per 100,000 among whites” (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 59[4], 5 February 2010).

That leaves only these possibilities: Either “HIV” isn’t spread primarily through sex, or blacks are, anywhere and everywhere, irresponsibly sexually promiscuous to a significantly greater extent than others — including among women and among gay men, and even among repeat blood donors, who are normally regarded as being the most tightly screened against all sorts of infections and thereby screened against unhealthy behavior. The incredible degree of postulated promiscuity is illustrated by the calculation performed by James Chin, former epidemiologist for the World Health Organization: To explain the asserted prevalence of “HIV” in sub-Saharan Africa, one has to accept that 20-40% of all sexually active adults have several sexual partners simultaneously and change them frequently enough that, in the course of a year, each has as many as 100 different partners (pp. 64-65 and elsewhere in The AIDS Pandemic).

When I first noted this conundrum, these inexplicable racial differences in testing “HIV-positive”, I had asked the CDC about it; and I had been flabbergasted at their response, that “The ‘characteristic differentiation by race’ that you note is compatible [emphasis in original] with a behavioral explanation” (p. 75 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory). CDC was apparently willing to accept as accurate the traditional racist stereotype of irresponsibly promiscuous sexual behavior by black people.

But it’s not just common sense or politically correct thinking that rejects that stereotype, the latter is demonstrably refuted by actual observations and studies that have found African Americans and Africans are if anything LESS likely than Caucasians to indulge in sexual excesses; I give a few references for that conclusion in chapter 7 of The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory.

Empirically speaking, then, one has the following:
Black people test “HIV-positive” much more often than others, irrespective of region or social or economic factors — irrespective, in other words, of cultural factors.
Black people are not significantly more sexually careless and promiscuous than others.

Therefore, testing “HIV-positive” is not in general the result of sexual behavior.

Why then do black people test “HIV-positive” much more often than others?

As Ruth Benedict pointed out long ago, there is nothing racist about acknowledging that there are physical and physiological differences associated with the generally recognized racial groups; that just reflects that some genes that influence physiology are often associated strongly with some genes that influence hair color, skin color, eye color. The racial disparities in testing “HIV-positive” simply reflect some racial difference in physiology [“Racial disparities in testing ‘HIV-positive’: Is there a non-racist explanation?”, 4 May 2008].

That conclusion entails, of course, that testing “HIV-positive” is not necessarily an indication of infection by the putative “HIV”. That’s well known to AIDS Rethinkers, though it is not part of the conventional wisdom. Still, it’s plain enough from the technical literature, which reports “false positives” from such events as vaccinations and a host of other conditions (Christine Johnson, “Whose antibodies are they anyway? Factors known to cause false  positive  HIV  antibody  test  results”, Continuum 4  [#3,  Sept./Oct. 1996]).

It remains to be explored, what precisely the race-associated physiological factors may be that conduce to testing “HIV-positive”. One was already cited in my book (p. 100), that blacks react more strongly than others to the antigen p24, p24 being one to which “HIV” tests are sensitive (for example, the 4th generation rapid HIV diagnostic test, Determine® HIV 1/2 Ag/Ab Combo, marketed by Inverness Medical for “separate detection of HIV p24 antigen . . . . During HIV infection, the p24 antigen is produced during the first few weeks . . . . excellent sensitivity of 100% for patients at chronic stage of infection and a specificity of . . . 99.66% for. . . HIV-1 p24 antigen”).
Tony Lance has gathered many references that illustrate the connection between intestinal dysbiosis and testing “HIV-positive”, and he has found a host of publications connecting disturbances of the vaginal microflora in women to both pregnancy and testing “HIV-positive” (for example, Shin & Kaul, “Stay It with Flora: Maintaining Vaginal Health as a Possible Avenue for Prevention of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Acquisition”, J. Infect. Dis. 197 [2008] 1355-7). Recently Tony drew to my attention a report of racial disparities in bacterial vaginosis (BV) that run parallel to racial disparities in testing “HIV-positive”:
“Curiously,  the  incidence  of  BV  varies markedly among racial and ethnic groups (Rajamanoharan  et  al.,  1999;  Royce  et  al.,  1999),  ranging from 6% in Asians and 9% in whites, to 16% in Hispanics  and  23%  in  African  Americans.  The reasons for differences in the incidence of BV among racial  groups  are  unknown,  but  they  cannot  be explained  by  differences  in  socio-demographics, sexual  activity,  health  behavior  or  hygiene alone (Goldenberg et al., 1996; Royce et al., 1999)” [emphasis added; Xia Zhou et al., “Differences in the composition of vaginal microbial communities found in healthy Caucasian and black women”, The ISME Journal, 1 [2007] 121-33).
Goldenberg  et al. (1996). “Bacterial colonization of the vagina during pregnancy in four ethnic groups. Vaginal infections and prematurity study group”. Am J Obstet Gynecol 174: 1618-21.
Rajamanoharan et al. (1999). “Bacterial vaginosis, ethnicity, and the use of genital cleaning agents: a case control study”, Sex Transm Dis 26: 404-9.
Royce et al. (1999). “Race/ethnicity, vaginal flora patterns, and pH during pregnancy”, Sex Transm Dis 26: 96-102.

At any rate, there is nothing implausible about racial differences in physiology, and there are reports that connect such racial differences to a greater tendency for testing “HIV-positive” among Africans and African Americans.

That racial differences in testing “HIV-positive” are not the result of differences in behavior is indicated independently and more directly by the manner in which “HIV” tests are calibrated: the calibration itself builds in a racial bias. The “null” reading — “HIV-negative” — is based on “normal controls” who are presumed to be uninfected; and the population from which such controls are drawn are repeat blood donors, since those are routinely screened for a variety of infections and represent people least likely to be “HIV-infected” (Weiss & Cowan, see “HIV” tests are demonstrably invalid, 19 May 2009). But with tests calibrated in this manner — initially in the United States, and all subsequent tests are based on those — it turns out that repeat blood-donors of different racial groups test “positive” at significantly different rates: African-American blood donors tested “HIV-positive” 14 times more often than white American blood donors, and in Africa the ratio was 23 (pp. 51 and 76 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory).
Now, blood donated by repeat blood-donors of every race is screened in the same fashion. There is no basis for rejecting repeat blood-donors who are black as inherently more likely to harbor undetected infections. The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that “HIV” tests ought to be calibrated separately for every identifiable group in which, using the presently available tests, repeat blood-donors react at a significantly different rate than the overall average. As it stands, however,

“HIV” tests are racially biased
and
overestimate “HIV infection” among blacks
by a large factor

If tests were calibrated separately for each racial group, the prevalence of “HIV-positive” in sub-Saharan Africa might well turn out to be little if at all different from the prevalence elsewhere. A hint in that direction is that in many countries the rate of “HIV” prevalence among blood donors parallels the overall rate in the country (Sedyaningsih-Marnahil et al., “The use of blood donor data for HIV surveillance purposes. A global perspective”, Int Conf AIDS, 7-12 July 2002; 14: abstract no. WeOrC1268).

The present willingness on the part of HIV/AIDS theorists and the media — thereby inscribed into the conventional wisdom — to accept a behavioral explanation for racial disparities in testing “HIV-positive” illustrates that racist stereotypes about sexual behavior remain deeply albeit subconsciously ingrained, and that such subterranean ideological racism influences interpretations and activities by such agencies as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Posted in experts, HIV absurdities, HIV and race, HIV risk groups, HIV skepticism, HIV tests, HIV transmission, HIV/AIDS numbers, prejudice, sexual transmission, uncritical media | Tagged: , , , , , | 24 Comments »

DECONSTRUCTING HIV/AIDS in “SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA” and “THE CARIBBEAN”

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/04/21

Sub-Saharan Africa is being ravaged by HIV/AIDS, so we are incessantly reminded by the media, UNAIDS, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, innumerable charities named for or supported by prominent celebrities, and innumerable activists and activist groups. Disseminating global and regional numbers, UNAIDS invariably refers to “sub-Saharan Africa” as though it were an entity analogous to Asia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Latin America, North America, Western Europe, Oceania, or Middle East and North Africa.

But those incessant expressions of grave concern may be the only thing that unites “sub-Saharan Africa”, because little if anything is really common to every one of those 40-odd countries, HIV/AIDS perhaps least of all. In sub-Saharan Africa, as also in the Caribbean, the reported “HIV prevalence” varies widely— indeed wildly—from country to country; whereas in the rest of the world, HIV prevalence is rather uniformly distributed within and between the regions of Asia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Latin America, North America, Western Europe, Oceania, Middle East and North Africa—where, at significantly less than 1%, “HIV” is also much less than in “sub-Saharan Africa” and “the Caribbean”.

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Caribbean

The UNAIDS report for 2006 gives the “HIV-positive” rate for the Caribbean as 1.6% (± 0.6), but for individual islands what’s reported is between 0.1% and 3.8%. There is no obvious reason why the average of such widely varying numbers should mean anything. Looking at the countries separately, there appears once again something like a correlation with race, in particular African ancestry:

Note particularly the differences between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which share a land border but differ drastically in levels of “HIV” and in their proportions of people of African ancestry.

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Sub-Saharan Africa

“Sub-Saharan Africa” displays a similar non-uniformity of “HIV”-positive rates, ranging from highs of 38.8% and 37.3% in the south [sic–these extraordinary numbers are not typos] to 1% or less in Senegal in the West and Somalia in the East:

These variations in “HIV” are more clearly discernible if country names are omitted:

and the trends may be seen even more readily if numbers are replaced by varied intensity of shading (≤ 1%; 1-3%; 3-6%; 6-9%; 9-13%; 13-20%; 20-25%; ≥ 25%; no data were found for Western Sahara; the 3 white blots in the mid-eastern section are bodies of water):

This does not look much like the distribution of something infectious or contagious, something supposed to spread primarily via sexual intercourse; particularly not when the purported agent of infection is said to have affected human beings for the first time in West Central Africa http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/short/24/8/1853 or Cameroon (Keele et al., Science, 313 [2006] 523-6) early in the 20th century, jumping in some manner from chimpanzees; the highest frequencies of positive tests–by far–are in the extreme south, not around Cameroon.

Whereas this distribution does not look like the spread of an infection, it does look rather plausible as the distribution of human genetic haplotypes. Certainly it bears a resemblance to the distribution of language families in Africa:

There has been considerable controversy over the purported connection between language and human genetics, but there may well be a correlation over time-spans on the order of centuries or a millennium or two. In this instance, there is a plausible similarity with the great Bantu migration that began a millennium or two ago:

Overall, there seems to be a correlation between the distribution of “HIV” in Africa and the genetic connections suggested by Cavalli-Sforza (Genes, People, and Languages, North Point Press [Farrar, Straus & Giroux], 2000):

Note particularly the distance between Bantu and West African, and even more between those and Ethiopian, and especially San, the “Bushmen of the Kalahari”, who have a low rate of “HIV-positive” yet dwell in the region of (Bantu-populated) Botswana and Swaziland where “HIV” ≥ 35%.

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In the United States, the geographic distribution of “HIV-positive”—which has remained constant since testing began—can be calculated with good accuracy from the regional variations in racial composition of the population (see p. 66 ff. in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory). With only 4 levels of shading in each of the following two maps, by chance just 12 states (48/4) would have the same color in both maps; but here, 31 states are shaded the same in both figures, much better than chance. This is consistent with the conclusion that the racial composition of the population is the chief determinant of rates of testing “HIV”-positive.

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The geographic correlations described in this post are perhaps suggestive more than probative. However, there is obviously no justification for talking about HIV/AIDS in “sub-Saharan Africa” as though something were common about it throughout that region. “AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa” is a sound-bite useful for propaganda; but like so many sound-bites, it is drastically misleading.

It is not just suggestive, however, but quite solid fact, acknowledged in innumerable official reports and mainstream publications, that “HIV” in the United States affects people in the officially used racial and ethnic groups quite differently, and persistently in the sequence

Asian < white < Native American < Hispanic < black

There is evidently some sort of genetic basis for the tendency to test “HIV”-positive. Or one might put it like this:

“HIV” tests are racially biased.

Posted in HIV and race, HIV risk groups, HIV transmission, HIV/AIDS numbers, sexual transmission | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »