HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Posts Tagged ‘Senator William Proxmire’

Golden Fleece Award II: MENTAL ILLNESS MAY BE DISABLING

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/06/23

Mental illness and substance use delay HIV treatment” [March 18, 2008]

“People with untreated mental illness or substance abuse, or both together, start HIV treatment later than people without mental illness or substance abuse, according to a study published in the March 1 issue of AIDS Patient Care and STDs. People who are receiving drug treatment for a mental illness, however, do not delay starting HIV treatment. . . . Given that rates of mental illness and substance abuse are more common in people living with HIV, and that these conditions have been found to interfere with adherence to HIV treatment, Mary Tegger, P.A.-C, MPH, and her colleagues from the University of Washington in Seattle set out to determine whether these conditions may also delay the start of antiretroviral therapy.”

Did they take any bets beforehand, as to what the study would find?

Among “all HIV-positive patients receiving primary care at the university’s Harborview Medical Center HIV Clinic during 2004 . . . . Of the 1,744 patients included in the study, 63 percent were found to have a mental illness, 45 percent had a substance use disorder and 38 percent had both. Alcohol was the most commonly abused substance, followed by cocaine and amphetamine. Depression and anxiety were the most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses.”

“Tegger’s team theorizes that there are multiple reasons for the delay in antiretroviral treatment observed in people with mental illness and substance abuse disorders. The team proposes that such individuals are less willing, on average, to comply with treatment recommendations, such as starting antiretroviral treatment.”

On the other hand, any sane and sober person reading the official treatment guidelines might well be inclined to delay treatment forever — see also DEATH, ANTIRETROVIRAL DRUGS, and COGNITIVE DISSONANCE, 9 May 2008; TO AVOID HIV LATER, DAMAGE YOUR KIDNEYS AND LIVER NOW, 19 January 2008; HISTORY OF AZT, 1 January 2008; FIRST: DO NO HARM!, 19 December 2007; WHAT HIV DRUGS DO, 15 December 2007; OFFICIAL GUIDELINES FOR HIV TREATMENT, 14 December 2007; ANTIRETROVIRAL DRUGS: HISTORY AND RHETORIC, 12 DECEMBER 2007; BEST TREATMENT FOR HIV: THIS YEAR’S ADVICE, LAST YEAR’S, OR NEXT YEAR’S?, 10 December 2007.

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Preview:

I’m working on several posts that call for much reading, and I’m away this week at the meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration, presenting the data that show lack of benefit from antiretroviral drugs and absence of “latent period”, see “HIV DISEASE” IS NOT AN ILLNESS, 19 March 2008. Then I’ll get back to working on a deconstruction of the claim that treatments for AIDS have saved at least 3 million years of life; see Anthony S. Fauci, “Twenty-five years of HIV/AIDS”, Manila Times 29 May 2007, relying on Walensky et al., Journal of Infectious Diseases 194 [2006] 11-19; mentioned, unsurprisingly enough, among the News Items on the website of Fauci’s Institute.

Posted in antiretroviral drugs, clinical trials, experts, HIV absurdities | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

COCAINE AND HEROIN AREN’T GOOD FOR YOU! — a Golden Fleece Award

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/06/13

My generation of scientists was familiar with the Golden Fleece Awards bestowed by Senator William Proxmire on federally funded research to find answers that were already known or on topics of no importance. Proxmire would certainly have given an award for the work described by the headline,

HIV-positive illicit drug users have increased risk for opportunistic infections, death, study says (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8 March 2006)

When Google Alerts delivered me this headline, I naturally inferred that the study had found that “HIV”-positive drug users had a poorer prognosis than HIV-negative drug users. That would have made this just another study showing that if you were “HIV”-positive you were more likely to be ill than if you were HIV-negative, given that testing “HIV”-positive is a sign of physiological stress, albeit not necessarily serious enough to worry about unless your physician decided that you needed to take antiretroviral drugs. Moreover it would have been consistent with several reports that “HIV”-positive drug addicts reverted to HIV-negative, as well as to better health, upon conquering the addiction.

Imagine my delight, not to say surprise, on finding that my inference was dead wrong:

“HIV-positive users of cocaine and heroine have an increased risk for opportunistic infections and death compared with HIV-positive nonusers, according to a study published in the January 4 on-line edition of the American Journal of Epidemiology, Reuters reports. Gregory Lucas of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and colleagues surveyed a total of 1,851 HIV-positive individuals every six months starting in 1998. Researchers grouped the participants into different categories: 1,028 ‘nonusers’; 588 ‘intermittent users,’ who had used illicit drugs an average of 14 days in the last six months; and 235 ‘persistent users,’ who had used illicit drugs an average of 27 days in the last six months. After three years, researchers found that the approximate survival rates were 87% for nonusers, 80% for intermittent users and 68% for persistent users. After adjusting for various factors — including age, race, gender and CD4+ T-cell counts — researchers found that the risk of death was almost double in intermittent users and almost triple in persistent users. During periods when users abstained from illicit drug use, the risk of opportunistic infections decreased to the level associated with nonusers, according to the study.”

Imagine that!

Congress, The National Drug Enforcement Agency, indeed all law enforcement entities, as well as the NGOs that preach “Just say NO to drugs”, will be greatly relieved at this proof that their work has actually had a genuinely substantive basis. No longer need they worry, whether they have an objective basis for their animus against cocaine, crack, crystal, heroin, etc., etc.—now it’s been scientifically proven at last that those substances are health-threatening.

“The observed increase in risk might be attributed to the effect illicit drugs have on the immune system…”
Well. Yes, that seems plausible enough.

But let us not overlook that this whole study involved “HIV”-positive people. So the really major question is, how do cocaine and heroin interfere with treating HIV? So, as Jon Stewart of the Daily Show would say, “Here’s your moment of Zen”:

“The observed increase in risk might be attributed to … failure to adhere to antiretroviral therapy”.

So therefore:

Effectively targeting and treating active substance abuse in HIV treatment settings may provide a mechanism to improve clinical outcomes”.

Would anyone disagree?

Would anyone have disagreed before this study was ever done??

Posted in antiretroviral drugs, clinical trials, HIV absurdities, HIV as stress, HIV risk groups | Tagged: , , , , , | 10 Comments »