HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Posts Tagged ‘Truvada’

Spinning Truvada

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2012/05/15

Propaganda and spin seek to mislead without actually lying. Drug companies have mastered this strategy to a notable degree. Take the case of Truvada. As my previous post discussed, the data submitted as showing tenofovir successful in preventing “HIV transmission” don’t actually support the claim; and years of experience of using Truvada to treat “HIV infection” have shown that it is toxic, particularly to the kidneys.
Those unpleasant facts are hidden in plain view by adept techniques of spin. For example,  statistically non-significant results are displayed as though they were significant:

Missing is any discussion of whether that difference, which is not at all impressive, actually means anything. But worse than that, only fine print then acknowledges that the difference in fact doesn’t even exist:

I suggest that the average person who has not much familiarity with probability and statistics would not recognize that this fine print completely debunks the claim made in large red-highlighted print.

Caveats are also stated without explaining what they actually mean. For example,

Perhaps only AIDS Rethinkers will immediately recognize this as demolishing a whole raft of mainstream claims. There’s a sub-industry now of the larger HIV/AIDS industry basing its recommendations and actions on the shibboleth that treating “HIV infection” and lowering “viral load” decreases transmission of “HIV”; yet here we’re told that Truvada decreases “viral load”, ¾ of the time to an undetectable level, and yet doesn’t “lower the chance of passing HIV-1 to others”.

“Side” effects are swept under the rug:

What, one might wonder, did all the other studies show? After all, tenofovir is acknowledged to be particularly hard on kidneys, which is not mentioned here. Furthermore, “≥5%” has a superficial appearance of being negligible — 5% is small, after all — when in practice ≥5% might stand for 50% or 80% or 100%; that wouldn’t be lying, just misleading.

That ≥5% is followed immediately by

Some people” — sounds like maybe one or two or three, doesn’t it? Certainly in this context much fewer than 5% . . . .

The main Truvada website is skillfully designed to illustrate that its greatest concern is to help people, with links to more information:

One of the psychological ploys commonly used by drug companies is to make sure “patients” understand that they are permanently in need of medication because the “illness” belongs to them: “managing your HIV” drives home the message that you have no choice about it, it belongs to you, it’s a part of you. Similarly, ads for anti-depressants show cheerful people talking about “managing my depression” (when anti-depressants are hardly better than placebo, and might be beneficial only in the most severe depressions, during which no one would be talking cheerily about managing it).
This personalizing of ownership of a disease with implication of permanent patient-hood is facilitated by making it a non-technical, sort of friendly, everyday thing to have. One of the current fads is to tell everyone whose electrocardiogram shows the slightest occasional flutter that they have atrial fibrillation, and that Pradaxa — for example — can reduce the risk of stroke by a factor of 5. But “atrial fibrillation” is quite a mouthful, so the ads very helpfully tell you that it’s also called “Afib”. Easy to talk about with friends, even sounds quite cute.

Truvada uses another semantic ploy to underscore subliminally what a great medication it is:

Ask anyone in the street what “nuke” means, and they’ll tell you it’s an atomic bomb that can wipe out anything. Clearly we’re being sent the message that Truvada and other NRTIs can wipe “HIV” off our maps.
That’s true, in a sense. But the collateral damage is that they also kill us, albeit a bit more slowly by damaging mitochondria, liver, kidneys, heart . . . .

Posted in antiretroviral drugs | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Unlimited insanity: Truvada to prevent HIV

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2012/05/13

In my memoir of serving as an academic dean, I had written “I would find myself thinking, Now I’ve seen everything; nothing can surprise me anymore, only to experience a novel surprise the next day or the next week”. That’s how I’ve been feeling the last few days as the media have being hyping the approval by the Food and Drug Administration of prescribing Truvada to prevent HIV infection — administering Truvada to perfectly healthy people as supposed prevention.

Truvada is emtricitabine (FTC) plus tenofovir (TDF). In “HAART is toxic: Mainstream concedes it, in backhanded ways”, I cited earlier blogs about the toxicity of tenofovir  and a few salient bits:
— The federal warning that “Tenofovir  . . . alone or in combination . . . may cause serious damage to the liver and . . .  lactic acidosis”
— The manufacturer’s warning that “Lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis, including fatal cases, have been reported with . . . nucleoside analogs, including tenofovir”
— “increasing exposure to tenofovir was associated with a higher incidence of CKD [chronic kidney disease] . . . . and there are numerous studies . . . demonstrating that tenofovir is associated with impaired kidney function”.

For the combination of  FTC plus TDF, the NIH Treatment Guidelines (updated 14 October 2011) cite as advantages superiority in suppressing viral load and also these disadvantages:
“• Potential for renal impairment, including rare reports of Fanconi syndrome and acute renal insufficiency
• Potential for decrease in bone mineral density”
(as well as failure to suppress viral load when combined with nevirapine [!])

Given these serious and quite common toxicities, what is the supposed benefit of PrEP — pre-exposure prevention or prophylaxis — with Truvada?
A couple of years ago I discussed the failure of TDF in a PrEP trial: “Pre-exposure prophylaxis: A flawed clinical trial that no one should take seriously”. The media descriptions of the evidence on which the FDA and its Advisory Panel approved Truvada for PrEP suggest that this evidence is again anything but trustworthy:
“The committee voted 19-3 in favor of approval for the prevention indication — PrEP for HIV-uninfected men who have sex with men and 19-2 with one abstention for HIV-uninfected partners in couples where the other partner is infected. The committee recommended by 12-8 with two abstentions in favor of approving the drug for individuals who engage in risky sexual behavior that could result in their contracting the virus” (Panel recommends approving Truvada to prevent HIV infection, Sandra Young, CNN, 10 May). Those votes mean that the panel judged it a greater risk when HIV-negative men have sex with men, or when the uninfected partner in a couple where the other is infected, than when “individuals . . . engage in risky sexual behavior that could result in their contracting the virus”? What possible basis could there be for such a comparative judgment?
“Committee members also heard concerns about the drug’s side effects, which can include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, loss of appetite and diarrhea, liver and kidney toxicity and loss of bone density”. Those committee members will not be able in the future to deny that they were voting to cause iatrogenic harm to healthy individuals who had other options for protecting themselves.
As history lauds in retrospect the FDA officer who held off from approving thalidomide, so in future we may look back approvingly on the attempt to block Truvada PrEP by one member of the committee:
“Dr. Lauren Wood of the National Cancer Institute said she voted against all preventive applications because clinical studies did not measure the dangers of drug-related renal problems among black people, who are among the hardest impacted by HIV infection and the most susceptible to kidney problems linked to AIDS drugs”.

Two-faced arguments are ubiquitous in the HIV/AIDS Wonderland. Typical of the mainstream Janus-faced propaganda were such comments as, on the one hand,  “What we need currently is additional tools” even though, on the other hand, there already exists a “powerful tool box” which nevertheless hasn’t been any good: “We are not winning the battle” — all these comments are from the same individual.
“”Existing interventions have not reduced the number of new infections annually” (FDA panel backs Gilead’s Truvada to prevent HIV).
“Truvada first made headlines in 2010, when government researchers showed it could prevent people from contracting HIV. A three-year study found that daily doses cut the risk of infection in healthy gay and bisexual men by 42 percent, when accompanied by condoms and counseling” (Truvada for HIV prevention backed by advisory panel, FDA may decide by June). That’s the study I debunked in “Pre-exposure prophylaxis: A flawed clinical trial that no one should take seriously

Apparently this panel of experts was not aware of Nancy Padian’s success, more than a decade ago, in totally preventing infections merely by counseling and advising use of condoms: “We observed no seroconversions  after  entry  into the study” (Padian et al., American Journal of Epidemiology 146 [1997] 350-7) among 175 discordant couples with >280 couple-years of follow-up; and they attributed the lack of transmission to the success of counseling. Since counseling brings no serious physiological side-effects, and the preventive success is 100%, there would seem to be no need for Truvada with its serious side-effects.

The case against approving Truvada PrEP is entirely separate from AIDS Rethinking: Mainstream data speak against administering so toxic a drug to healthy people, no matter how high may be estimated their risk of contracting a virus that supposedly causes illness only after an average latent period of a decade or so, and that is controlled without medication among some proportion of the infected, the “elite controllers”. Truvada PrEP incurs the certainty of early iatrogenic illness in exchange for some probability, which is undoubtedly low, given that the transmissibility of HIV with sex is on the order of 1 per 1000 unprotected acts.

On the PBS NewsHour on May 11, Anthony Fauci was featured. Not a single word was spoken about the toxic “side” effects. Not mentioned was the very low transmissibility, nor Padian’s astounding success with counseling and condoms. The only concerns mentioned had to do with cost and the need to adhere strictly to a pill-a-day. Fauci’s statements were fine examples of bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo, for instance:
“[I]t would add to the armamentarium of proven prevention modalities.
Prevention for HIV is really a comprehensive, multifaceted group of prevention modalities that’s kind of a tool kit. This one can be potentially very effective. So if it’s approved and added to the recognized prevention modalities, it would be an important advance in making available for certain people a very effective way to prevent HIV infection.”

To me, Fauci looked very stiff, as though he was unenthusiastic but trying to make up for it with plenty of “clearly”, “absolutely”, and the like. Could the utter absurdity of this FDA approval perhaps have penetrated his armamentarium of cognitive-dissonance modalities?

As I said at the outset: I thought I was familiar with all the aspects of the HIV/AIDS blunder, only to hear about this scandalous extrapolation of earlier misdeeds: hyping faulty evidence to give official approval to the poisoning of innumerable healthy individuals in a hugely expensive way ($12,000-14,000 annually).

Posted in antiretroviral drugs, clinical trials, experts, HIV risk groups, HIV transmission, sexual transmission, uncritical media | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Another woman survives antiretroviral drugs

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/08/09

Onnie Mary Phuthe is a young Botswana woman who realized the harm that antiretroviral drugs were doing her, stopped taking them, and has regained her health. She forwarded an e-mail she had sent Anthony Brink, to be used publicly ad lib. She had attached copies of her lab reports and prescription history, confirming that she stopped filling the prescriptions.

Onnie has only dial-up Internet service, so blogging is slow and difficult for her; but her strength of character comes clearly through her own words (below, unedited):

“True I want to share the evidence of what the eqivalent to the rat poison did to me it is documented. Feel free to use these any way you see fit. I was on the following treatments to address MY HIV TYPE 1 AND HIV TYPE 2 POSITIVE RESULTS
1st set of arv I took for 6 weeks ( mid aug 2001)
second set in mid August 2001 until feb 2008
feb 2008 to 16/10/2008
16/10/2008 – 16/06/2009

If I die from not taking th arv is far btter for m to accept since the argony and pain sufferering has stopped since I stopped the arv. I have not done any hiv monitoring tests yet, and I will not do them. The peace I have now is more superior that the drugs and follow up that I would need to go throw. This is the basis I have resigned form beong a board mmber of Botswana Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS. I CAN NOT ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO BE ON ARV. IT HAS NOT WORKD FOR ME.  IT MAKES ME FEEL GUILTY OF MURDER TO EVEN SUGGEST THE ARV THERAPY.



Onnie has also joined Facebook and gives more details there, as well as on a blog .


Joyce Ann Hafford died in pregnancy during a clinical trial of antiretroviral drugs. The very purpose of that trial sickens me: “to compare the ‘treatment-limiting toxicities’ of two anti-HIV drug regimens” (Celia Farber, “Out of Control: AIDS and the corruption of medical science”, Harper’s Magazine, March 2006, 37-52). In other words, find the highest dosage that doesn’t kill. To gauge and compare toxicities, of course one has to explore regions where the toxicity is appreciable. It seems obvious that the risk of death in such a trial has to be appreciable.


Quite often I wonder how many others have suffered Joyce Hafford’s fate, or barely avoided it. It’s impossible to know, because it is so easy to write off the death of anyone being “treated” for HIV/AIDS as death owing to HIV/AIDS and not to the “medications” — even as it is acknowledged that more than half of the “serious adverse events” occurring in HAART-treated people are owing to the drugs and not to AIDS (NIH Treatment Guidelines,  November 2008, p. 21); and the average age of death of confirmed HIV/AIDS-theory-believing activists, who surely “comply” better than most with their “treatment” regimens, is tragically low, in the 40s for the men and at age 50 for the women [“AIDS” deaths: owing to antiretroviral drugs or to lack of antiretroviral treatment?, 2 October 2008].

Quite often I wonder how many other healthy women have been subjected to the same sort of ordeal that Onnie experienced for years and managed to survive. We know of Kim Bannon, Maria Papagiannidou, Audrey Serrano, Karri Stokely.
Noreen Martin rejected antiretroviral drugs from the beginning, and provides information about the benefits of low-dose naltrexone as an immune-system booster.

Just after my book was published, I received an e-mail from a lady who wanted to meet and talk about it. She had had surgery for uterine cancer, was told she was “HIV-positive”, and was put on antiretroviral drugs. She remained in hospital for 6 months owing to various drug side-effects, and finally decided to stop taking the pills. Her health recovered, but she continued to wonder whether she should try those drugs again. A friend told her of my book, and she wanted to meet the author to gauge his trustworthiness. I judged her to be in her thirties.


How many more women will experience these emotional and physical devastations before the absurdities of HIV/AIDS theory bring it down?

How many more men, of whom there are surely a far greater number, given the HIV/AIDS preoccupation with gay men and their apparent propensity to test “HIV-positive” so often? It was an enlightening and emotionally difficult experience for me last April, at the meeting Brian Carter organized of Alive-&-Well people in Los Angeles, to see these intelligent, evidently healthy “HIV-positive” men wrestling with the perpetual quandary of whether to believe their own experience and those of their friends or to follow the advice of their physicians.

And what will the many physicians do, who have been in all good faith prescribing these toxic drugs, when they have to accept that they killed their patients by believing what the leading gurus and official institutions of medical science had been telling them?

Posted in antiretroviral drugs, clinical trials, experts, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV risk groups, HIV skepticism, HIV tests, HIV/AIDS numbers | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments »

More clinical trials in Africa

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/07/31

AIDS prevention trial in Zimbabwe targets women
Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:25pm EDT

About 5,000 sexually active women are expected to enrol at sites in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and possibly Malawi as part of the study, conducted by the U.S-funded Microbicide Trials Network.
The study will determine whether some of the antiretroviral (ARV) medicines used to treat HIV can also be used to prevent the disease when given as a vaginal microbicide gel or as an oral tablet taken once daily.
In addition, the study, which will specifically test the ARV tablets tenofovir and Truvada, seeks to find out which of the two approaches women would prefer. Tenofovir was also the active ingredient in the vaginal gel.
‘We think its very unique because nobody has really tested the difference between an oral route of prevention compared to a vaginal route of prevention,’ Dr Mike Chirenje, protocol co-chair for the entire study, told Reuters on the sidelines of an AIDS conference. ‘Its not so much which was best, in so much as what would women prefer (to take),’ he said of a study expected to last three and a half years before first results in 2012.
Recent studies have shown that microbicides can protect women — who represent nearly 60 percent of adults living with HIV in the world’s worst affected sub-Saharan Africa region — from catching the virus.”

Those “recent studies” were not cited, however. For a summary of the failures of microbicide research, see “The Research Trough — where lack of progress brings more grants”, 10 September 2008.  Less than a year ago, it had been noted that “two decades of studying microbicides that would block HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases” had led to “several promising candidates that interfere with the process that allows HIV to replicate” — which is far from preventing “infection” in the first place, which is what microbicides or vaccines are intended to do.

What to say about a trial that will feed antiretroviral drugs for 3½ years to 5000 women who are not even “infected”?

For tenofovir (TDF) it is known, for example, that “Renal impairment, manifested by increases in serum creatinine, glycosuria, hypophosphatemia, and acute tubular necrosis, has been reported . . . . In patients who have some degree of pre-existing renal insufficiency . . . tenofovir dosage adjustment is required. However, because no safety and efficacy data that use the dosage adjustment guidelines for renal dysfunction are available, the use of alternative NRTIs (especially abacavir) may be preferred over dose-adjusted tenofovir in this setting” [p. 33, NIH Treatment Guidelines, 3 November 2008]. In addition to renal damage, “adverse events” of TDF include “asthenia [loss of energy], headache, diarrhea, vomiting, flatulence, Fanconi syndrome [a specific form of renal dysfunction], osteopenia [bone loss not yet as severe as osteoporosis]”. Truvada combines TDF with FTC (emtricitabine) which adds the risk of skin discoloration (p. 131).

The popular paraphrase of the Hippocratic Oath, “First, do no harm”, would seem difficult to reconcile with feeding dangerous drugs to healthy human beings when the only conceivable purpose is to find a means of protection that might be an alternative to the entirely non-dangerous use of condoms — leaving aside the fact that there’s not even a sexually transmitted “HIV” to be protected against.

Posted in antiretroviral drugs, clinical trials, HIV transmission, sexual transmission, vaccines | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

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