HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Posts Tagged ‘Western Blot’


Posted by Henry Bauer on 2007/11/16

My first post on this blog made this point: The central issue as to HIV/AIDS is whether HIV tests detect a viral infection. The day after I posted, I received a very informative e-mail from Darin Brown with useful detail about HIV tests.

I wrote on November 12 that it has never been shown that a positive “HIV test” corresponds to the presence of virus particles. That’s a hard fact to swallow, since the whole world seems to assume–at least, the whole official world and the mass media do–that a positive HIV-test indicates actual active and health-threatening infection. To make more believable that the conventional wisdom is wrong about this, let’s look more closely at how these tests were invented and what they really do.

Neville Hodgkinson (among others) has pointed out that the apparent correlation of AIDS with finding HIV antibodies (= a positive HIV test) is the result of a circular, illogical, and unjustifiable set of procedures and assumptions (“The circular reasoning scandal of HIV testing”, 21 May 2006,

Virus particles have not been isolated from AIDS patients, nor from the cultures in which their immune-system cells were stimulated in the attempt to grow the virus. But filtered material from these cultures contained “some 30 proteins . . . that gathered at a density characteristic of retroviruses” and some of these were assumed to come from HIV. Which ones? “They selected those that were most reactive with antibodies in blood samples from AIDS patients and those at risk of AIDS”! So “HIV” antigens (proteins) were not “identified” in relation to HIV itself– remember, pure particles of HIV have never been isolated; rather “HIV antigens” were chosen, defined, by their relation to antibodies occurring in AIDS patients. “AIDS patients are then diagnosed as being infected with HIV on the basis that they have antibodies which react with those same antigens. The reasoning is circular.”

There are two types of tests. The more recent and less frequently applied type uses the polymerase chain reaction, PCR, to look for bits of RNA or DNA said (but not proven) to be characteristic of HIV; the inventor of PCR, Kary Mullis, concurs with what the manufacturers of PCR tests say in their instructions: these tests cannot be used to diagnose infection by HIV. Hodgkinson’s comment applies to the more traditional tests which look for proteins said (but not proven) to be characteristic of HIV–the so-called ELISA and the so-called Western Blot tests. The accepted “best practice” is to use ELISA and to confirm a duplicated positive result by the Western Blot.

But the Western Blot is no better than the ELISA. It is anything but well defined or unambiguous.

“HIV” proteins are named by two properties, their molecular weight (for instance, p24) and the viral genes thought to code for their production (env, gag, pol). “Env” proteins include p160, p120, p41; “pol” comprise p68, p53, p32; “gag” have p55, p39, p24, p18.

A naïve lay person might assume that, since HIV tests are looking for actual virus, they would be looking to find all those proteins, moreover in the fixed proportion to one another, since that’s how they presumably occur in virus particles. The standard practice is grossly otherwise, however, quite shockingly otherwise: in different countries, and even in different laboratories in a given country, what is called a “positive” Western Blot may be pronounced upon finding only a few of these proteins!

Valendar Turner of the Perth Group has written detailed analyses of the Western Blot: “in Australia a positive test requires particular sets of four bands [one band per protein]. In the USA, different sets of two or three suffice, which may or may not include the bands required in Australia. In Africa only one designated set of two is required. Put simply, this means that the same person tested in three cities on the same day may or may not be HIV infected” ( In an affidavit for a law suit in Australia in 2006, Turner had this instructive diagram:


(click for larger image)

The naïve lay person might imagine, in line with ordinary common sense, that it would be enough to discredit the tests, that a person can be pronounced HIV-positive in one country but HIV-negative in another on the basis of tests with the same name. But this ambiguity also implies much more, namely, it raises the question whether these “HIV” proteins are even characteristic of HIV. Why does (for example) Australia require that four of the proteins be present? Because one or two of these supposedly “HIV specific” proteins are often found in perfectly healthy, “HIV-negative” people. So those one or two proteins are not specific to HIV, and finding them does not mean that lurking HIV has been detected. So, then: what research has shown that the presence of four of these proteins means that HIV has been lurking?

None! It has never been shown that one can isolate actual virus particles from samples “positive” by Western Blot. Anyway, the very fact that criteria are so different in different places shows that the choice of what to regard as a positive test is a matter of judgment, not of soundly based scientific knowledge. The fact that different criteria have resulted from the judgment of different experts indicates further that none of them represents objective science.

In any case, as said earlier, if actual virus particles were present, and their protein composition were what it is assumed to be, then all these proteins should be found in the same proportion. They are not. A positive Western Blot does not demonstrate the presence of virus.

Perhaps the most consequential corollary is this: so-called “HIV” proteins are often found in people not classed as infected by HIV. What do these proteins signify?

An analysis of the totality of HIV tests in the United States reveals that the probability of testing HIV-positive increases as there are more obvious challenges to health. People ill for any of many reasons are likely to have some of those “HIV” proteins in their blood and therefore to come up “positive” on an HIV test. The diagram below shows how the frequency of positive HIV-tests varies between different social groups. The progression from left to right corresponds to the likelihood that people in that group are experiencing a health challenge; it makes no sense in terms of the frequency of occurrence of a sexually transmitted infection.


 (from The Origins, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory, McFarland 2007)

A “positive HIV test” can therefore mean many different things, in terms of the actual substances that have been detected: anywhere from almost any two to almost any four of a set of ten proteins. Turner offers a nice analogy:
“. . . imagine this experiment. In place of the AIDS patient cell culture [with the proteins suspected to be from HIV] someone hands you a test tube containing milks obtained from half a dozen different animals. In other words, a mixture of several different proteins but you don’t know from which animals. Now in place of a mixture of antibodies from AIDS patients you obtain a second test tube containing a number of different acids. You add the mixture of acids to the mixture of milks and produce curdles [a positive finding]. Now you claim you’ve isolated [shown the presence of] a cow.”
The point is that a “positive” ELISA or Western Blot only shows the presence of some mixture of a few of those “HIV” proteins–some or all of which are also found at times in people certainly not infected by HIV. That’s why positive HIV-tests have been found in people with dozens of different conditions other than AIDS, see
“HIV” tests do not detect HIV and they are not proof of infection by HIV.

* * * * * *

This is why HIV testing is dangerous to life and liberty. Dangers to life are these:

  • A positive HIV test does not demonstrate active infection by a deadly virus.
  • However: innumerable people have been incorrectly told, on the basis of these tests, that they are infected and that without antiretroviral treatment they will get AIDS and die.
  • For those who immediately get treatment, the toxicity of the drugs is likely to produce death within a decade or so, and in the meantime the drugs often produce ghastly side-effects.
  • Those judged not to need treatment yet are not really much better off. As soon as they become ill for any reason, no matter how minor–flu or diarrhea, say–this is likely to be taken as a sign that the HIV is starting to do its nasty work, and their toxic treatment regimen will begin.

But even without the physical dangers of antiretroviral treatment, the psychological impact of being told that one is HIV positive can be devastating. Testimonials to that–if any were needed–are legion. Imagine what it’s like to be told that you have a fatal and incurable illness. Imagine what it’s like, to be told that you have a sexually transmitted disease when you know that you have done nothing that makes contracting such an infection possible.
As to danger to liberty: Medical personnel have been accused of negligence, or incompetence, or evil intent, when patients under their care became “HIV positive”. The case of the Bulgarian nurses in Libya is the most notorious example, but there are instances from other countries as well, where doctors and nurses have lost their jobs because some patients became HIV positive.

* * * * * * *

There will be many illustrations in later postings on this blog, of the damage done by the assumption that HIV tests detect HIV, as well as many illustrations of the most implausible claims being given credence just because the media and officialdom do not doubt that positive HIV tests denote infection by a virus.
For more about the lack of validity of HIV tests and the dreadful consequences of that, see for example the Perth Group; material collected on the website of the Alberta Reappraising AIDS Society and of HEAL Toronto; essays by Liam Scheff.

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