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AIDS at 30: Lawrence Altman still brewing Anthony Fauci’s deadly medicine

May 30th, 2011

Times’ AIDS guru, not yet out to pasture, recycles confused rubbish peddled by NIAID chief

Blind to their destruction of objective research, he still praises gay activists as positive influence on AIDS drugs pipeline

Even lack of a vaccine after 30 years doesn’t tell Larry anything

Lawrence K. Altman has happily hewed to the party line in HIV/AIDS for 30 years now, and has never recognized any difficulties with this medical fairy tale for children except as gaps which he is confident will be filled during the next thirty years of the global epidemic.  Larry Altman, who we mistakenly thought would have been let loose by now in a grassy meadow far away from the New York Times, that key center of influence on the opinions of the complacent, has apparently offered or been asked to mark the 30th anniversary of AIDS by writing up his resolutely incurious understanding – actually his ludicrous misunderstanding – of what we have found out over three decades of research about the dread disease.

This effort at reconciling the gross inconsistencies of the HIV/AIDS fable ran today in the Science section, as follows. It is accompanied by an unhappy photograph of an early gay victim in a wheelchair covered with purple Kaposi’s sarcoma lesions (we use the word ‘victim’ advisedly, see below):

30 Years In, We Are Still Learning From AIDS

May 30, 2011
30 Years In, We Are Still Learning From AIDS
By LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN, M.D.
At first it seemed an oddity: a scattering of reports in the spring and early summer of 1981 that young gay men in New York and California were ill with forms of pneumonia and cancer usually seen only in people with severely weakened immune systems.

AIDS-at 30 NYTimes oatientIn hindsight, of course, these announcements were the first official harbingers of AIDS — the catastrophic pandemic that would infect more than 60 million people (and counting) worldwide, killing at least half that number.

But at the time, we had little idea what we were dealing with — didn’t know that AIDS was a distinct disease, what caused it, how it could be contracted, or even what to call it.

As AIDS has become entrenched in the United States and elsewhere, a new generation has grown up with little if any knowledge of those dark early days. But they are worth recalling, as a cautionary tale about the effects of the bafflement and fear that can surround an unknown disease and as a reminder of the sweeping changes in medical practice that the epidemic has brought about……..

(For rest of article all at once, click this SHOW icon, and the Hide icon below when you want to hide it again)

Reports of the initial cases were confusing. The first federal announcement, 30 years ago this week, concerned “five young men, all active homosexuals,” with pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, or P.C.P., a disease “almost exclusively limited to severely immunosuppressed patients.” Initial suspicion fell on a known infectious agent, cytomegalovirus.

A month later, on July 3, 1981, I wrote The New York Times’s first article about AIDS, this one headlined “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals.” (“Gay” had yet to be accepted by The Times’s style manual.) The cancer was Kaposi’s sarcoma, and until then it had seldom been seen in otherwise healthy young men.

As it gradually became clear that the underlying illness was neither pneumonia nor cancer but a sexually transmitted disease that was profoundly damaging the immune system, experts argued their many theories about the cause. A popular one held that the impact of combinations of microbes overwhelmed the immune system. Other theoretical causes included sperm deposited in the bowel, or some chemical that would damage the immune system.

It took three years to conclusively identify H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, and longer to settle disputed claims for the discovery. When doctors learned that it took about a decade to get sick from AIDS after H.I.V. first entered the body, they realized that people had been unwittingly transmitting the virus for years, spreading it to thousands of people in many countries, who in turn spread it to thousands and ultimately millions more.

Epidemiologists quickly showed that H.I.V. could be transmitted through heterosexual sex; from infected women to their newborns; in transfusions of blood and blood products; and via contaminated needles.

Patients and doctors feared the disease, often for different reasons.

Many doctors, uncertain whether AIDS was an infectious disease, refused to do essential procedures on their patients; sometimes superiors had to order them to. And while most doctors did treat their patients professionally and compassionately, they did fear they might catch the disease because no one knew how it was communicated. A few health care workers were infected when they accidentally stuck themselves with contaminated needles.

Compassionate care for the dying has always been a difficult issue for doctors of any age. But in the AIDS epidemic, many medical students and doctors in their 20s and 30s suddenly had to cope with dying patients their own age. Many senior medical school professors were ill prepared to advise them.

For doctors, nurses, patients and anyone who might be deemed at risk, the anxiety was pervasive. Might the first coughs or sneezes from a common cold or some other respiratory infection actually be a sign of P.C.P.? Might a small skin blemish represent Kaposi’s sarcoma?

Federal health officials and experts came up with a succession of names for the disease before they settled on acquired immune deficiency syndrome in 1982. (Some of the early efforts smacked of discrimination, like GRID, for gay-related immune deficiency.) But whatever it was called, it carried a bitter stigma.

Some patients were shunned by friends and relatives. Customers avoided restaurants for fear that gay waiters would spread the virus. Some parents, fearing their children might catch AIDS from infected classmates, kept them out of school. Ryan White, a teenager with AIDS in Indiana, spoke up for all infected children and became a national hero before his death in 1990. His case also helped the medical profession address its obligation to care for all patients.

Communications to the public often lacked clarity. Because health officials and journalists used the phrase “bodily fluids” instead of specifying semen, blood and vaginal secretions, many people feared they could contract AIDS from toilet seats or drinking fountains.

AIDS appeared shortly after the eradication of smallpox, which had renewed declarations of the demise of infectious diseases. As a result, public health leaders were not well prepared to deal with a newly recognized deadly disease.

A common attitude was that all diseases were known, and all that remained for scientists was to fill in the blanks. For example, a newly recognized condition like Legionnaires’ disease was really a form of pneumonia. Yet it did not seem to occur to many scientists that novel agents might also be at work — even though viruses like Ebola, Lassa and Marburg, which cause hemorrhagic fever, had been discovered in just the past decade or so.

In covering the emerging AIDS epidemic along with developments like these, I tapped my training in infectious diseases and epidemiology. I joined my doctor friends in late-night telephone bull sessions to discuss the mysteries of AIDS. Some experts thought the agent must be a drug or chemical because no infectious agent fit. (The closest was hepatitis B, which became a model for research and precautions to protect people.) And some toxicologists used similar exclusionary reasoning to say no known drug or chemical could be responsible, so the cause must be an infectious agent.

Many published papers were flawed, despite leading medical journals’ sometimes arrogant insistence on a high standard of peer review. In December 1981, The New England Journal of Medicine published a long editorial exploring possible causes of AIDS. It never considered the possibility of a previously unknown microbe — a glaring omission and a leading example of scientists’ widespread failure to think outside the box.

Not long after, AIDS was finally linked to a relatively novel class of infectious agents called retroviruses. But the name, HTLV-3, placed it in the wrong category, and the incorrect classification caused confusion until the agent was correctly identified as H.I.V.

Discoveries of AIDS and H.I.V. were greatly aided by newly developed laboratory tests. One test provided the crucial clue that the virus that caused AIDS was a retrovirus.

At the time, use of the CD4 blood count to detect serious abnormalities of the immune system was limited to a few research centers. Now, the CD4 and similar blood tests are standard in monitoring the treatment and severity of H.I.V.

Soon after the discovery of AIDS, scientists developed a molecular technique called P.C.R., for polymerase chain reaction, that can copy a single piece of DNA and multiply it countless times. P.C.R. has become a standard in monitoring an infected patient’s response to antiretroviral therapy.

In 1981, drugs against any virus were rare, and none were available for H.I.V. Now, more than 30 licensed drugs widely available in the developed world have turned AIDS from a death sentence to a chronic disease, though not necessarily an easy one to live with.

For several years, infected patients had to adjust their activities to the frequency and time of day they needed to take their medications. Now, only one multidrug pill each day may suffice for many. These antiretrovirals keep the infection in check, but do not cure it, and must be taken for a lifetime. New research shows that the drugs not only are therapeutic but also greatly reduce H.I.V. transmission.

For the patients who died in the early years, the wait for effective treatments — a decade or so after the first reports of the disease — was far too long. But that is a relatively short time in the history of medicine to develop treatments and preventions; after all, many incurable cancers and other diseases have been known for centuries.

The relative speed with which the therapies were developed owes much to the efforts of cadres of activists who demanded that the Food and Drug Administration loosen the rules for clinical trials and speed its drug approval process.

Efforts to develop anti-H.I.V. drugs have paid handsome dividends by leading to development of other drugs to treat other viral infections, like the liver diseases hepatitis B and C and certain types of herpes viruses.

Also, AIDS advocacy has spurred leaders of campaigns against breast cancer and other diseases to adopt similar strategies.

Soon after the discovery of AIDS, health officials mandated infection-control measures for health care workers — wearing gloves and sometimes masks, gowns and other gear — to reduce risks from examining patients and handling blood and other specimens.

The AIDS epidemic also has put new emphasis on widespread public education, in schools and elsewhere, about sexually transmitted diseases. It has helped change medical practice by alerting doctors to the importance of asking about a patient’s sexual orientation and sexual history, matters not previously part of routine patient-doctor discussions.

The epidemic has brought a new focus on the power of epidemiology to identify a disease’s transmission patterns long before discovery of its cause. In the early days, epidemiologists provided the evidence to show that AIDS could be transmitted through contaminated blood transfusions, a fact many blood bank officials initially refused to accept. Later, lessons learned from AIDS were instrumental in helping control tuberculosis and curbing the spread of SARS.

Yet AIDS still presents extraordinary challenges — not least to journalists trying to chronicle the epidemic’s unfolding story, to remind a new generation of the importance of safe sex, and to follow the sometimes halting effort to make effective drugs available to all who need them.

One of the most daunting challenges is to stay vigilant until AIDS is at last conquered. Consider that it has been almost a quarter century since federal health officials confidently predicted that a vaccine would be available in the late 1980s — a promise that has yet to be fulfilled.

——————————

Reporting without checking

This bundle of misinformation is what results when a reporter won’t question his sources, and assumes that those in high position must be informing him accurately, when in fact they are selling him a bill of goods. Surely only those who can no longer think for themselves could read this piece of propaganda without being roused to ask questions about the inconsistencies with conventional science, let alone common sense, which plague every part of it.

But of course a well known effect is at work. That Larry Altman after a quarter century of retailing this twaddle is still incapable of questioning himself as he offers the same old junk food to unsuspecting Times readers is a testament to how powerfully confirmation bias works its wonders even in the brain of a reporter specially assigned by Times editors to tease out the true story of AIDS for nearly three decades. If Altman ever did question any of the pap that serves as the comforting but ridiculous paradigm in this field, where all AIDS=HIV/AIDS by definition, none by proof, he has long lost that power to contemplate any alternative.

So blatant is his incapacity to assess what he writes as he writes it that his piece boasts holes big enough for an elephant to pass through them untouched. The holes represent the complete absence of any good reasons to suppose that HIV causes AIDS. Yet in the Alice in Wonderland world of HIV/AIDS, where this still utterly unproven paradigm rules, and where patients are eager to take drugs of no proven benefit that will harm them potentially fatally in the long run, and where all research assumes truths that no research has ever tested, or if it ever has tested them has found the opposite, Larry still cannot see how often his own story contradicts its own assumptions within the space of two sentences.

Let’s deconstruct what he has written, and see if any of it makes sense:

Why US AIDS was no surprise at all

May 30, 2011
30 Years In, We Are Still Learning From AIDS
By LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN, M.D.
At first it seemed an oddity: a scattering of reports in the spring and early summer of 1981 that young gay men in New York and California were ill with forms of pneumonia and cancer usually seen only in people with severely weakened immune systems.

What, the reader may well ask, is odd about the fact that gay men newly liberated from oppressive public prejudice and celebrating that freedom with wild, prolonged and incessant sex parties in clubs mightily fueled by novel pills (“poppers” of amyl nitrite and butyl nitrite) known to cause cancerous lesions and by other stimulants, along with a lowered appetite for nutritious food providing trace elements crucial to immunity, should come down with crashing immune systems?

Hot air statistics

In hindsight, of course, these announcements were the first official harbingers of AIDS — the catastrophic pandemic that would infect more than 60 million people (and counting) worldwide, killing at least half that number.

Larry, lacking, as far as we know, any training as a journalist per se but having won at least one award for learning on the job, is oddly, at this advance stage of his illustrious career, still not professionally inclined to question authority, let alone read academic studies and reviews of how untrustworthy official statistics from the UNAIDS and the CDC have always been, and how these impressive global numbers, especially in Southern Africa, blatantly contradict national statistics which record burgeoning population growth that shows no sign of any HIV/AIDS epidemic slowing it down.

More crucially, in trumpeting this claimed huge expansion in a supposed global AIDS epidemic, he is still blind to the singular fact that there has not ever been any expansion of the number of Americans infected by HIV during the entire period of the supposed epidemic here in the US. The number of HIV positives in the US remains roughly one million, as it was over twenty five years ago when first estimated. There has been no expansion of HIV infection here for the entire duration of the HIV/AIDS scare.

In this United States, clearly, there is something entirely different going on, compared with what is supposedly detected in Africa and Asia, a huge discord which Altman never mentions. Here, AIDS is overwhelmingly confined to gays, and quite visibly not an infectious epidemic. Elsewhere, it is supposedly a rampantly infectious epidemic and wholly heterosexual. To imply that all of it is global HIV/AIDS is clearly not credible, on this basis alone.

Baffled by the obvious

But at the time, we had little idea what we were dealing with — didn’t know that AIDS was a distinct disease, what caused it, how it could be contracted, or even what to call it.

Yes, it is true, all of these things remained to be imagined, claimed, consolidated and enshrined as a new, unproven but globally accepted paradigm, then rendered politically armor plated, and impervious to full dress expert reviews in the most reliable peer reviewed journals which rejected them utterly.

These damning reviews were written by the best scientist in the field. Having passed exceptionally hostile peer review they were published and were evidently reckoned overwhelming enough that no reply was ever attempted by defenders of the HIV=AIDS faith in the same journals. Instead, as funding of HIV/AIDS research quickly ballooned to very generous levels, they and their unfortunate author were ignored, derided, badmouthed to the media, and set aside, without actual refutation, but with intense personal hostility to those who even mentioned any of this doubt, especially at NIAID.

Meanwhile the historical and scientific novelty of the AIDS paradigm in almost every respect was and still is a clear signal that the sickness was being misinterpreted, and that the critics who urge a return to a less fantastic story more in line with history and standard medicine should have been and should even now be listened to.

All of this has been largely missing from the work of Larry Altman and the reporters and commentators on AIDS at the New York Times for two decades. There has never been a single investigative inquiry by them into the validity of HIV=AIDS and the debate and politics surrounding the issue. The editors of the Times, and its reporters, have all taken their lead from Larry Altman, who has in parallel with the attitude of the scientists and bureaucrats who lead the field, has always virtually ignored it.

How scientific nonsense endures

As AIDS has become entrenched in the United States and elsewhere, a new generation has grown up with little if any knowledge of those dark early days. But they are worth recalling, as a cautionary tale about the effects of the bafflement and fear that can surround an unknown disease and as a reminder of the sweeping changes in medical practice that the epidemic has brought about.

A cautionary tale indeed, but one we’d unreservedly characterize as a scientifically shameful cautionary tale of how the politics of funding and pressure from activists can enable a prima facie ridiculous and scientifically implausible solution to the mystery of a novel disease phenomenon first named “GRID” (Gay Related Immune Deficiency”, renamed AIDS, renamed HIV/AIDS) to become a global paradigm, immune to one of the most powerful scientific critiques ever mounted in the biology of disease, an intellectually irresistible critique incessantly explained in the scientific literature, in the media, on the Web, and in over 30 books, over 24 years, to no avail whatsoever.

There is no more impressive example we know of in science of how paradigm politics can defend a bad idea and exhaust endless intelligent rebuttal of it.

Alison Gertz on the basis of what she was told, believed that she had contracted HIV is one bout of sex six years before she was diagnosed HIV positive in 1988 at the age of 22.  The unfortunate girl became an activist on behalf of the tall medical tale she had been sold, and died after four years of being given AZT (which had to be stopped when she developed too severe a reaction) and DDI.   If only she had been born later, she might have been a little more skeptical about the claims of her doctors that HIV could be transmitted so easily, since the current most optimistic estimate is that it is successfully transmitted in only one in a thousand heterosexual bouts.

And here we must point out one relevant aspect of this successful repression of skeptical opposition to the HIV=AIDS claim. Larry Altman himself must take much responsibility for the enduring lack of public debate on this issue, since he is primarily responsible for allowing the phrase “HIV, the cause of AIDS”, to replace “HIV, a probably cause of AIDS”, and to become standard boilerplate in every Times article on AIDS only a few weeks after the notion was suggested by Dr Robert Gallo, then of NIH, at the famous press conference Margaret Heckler, Reagan’s Health Secretary, held in 1984 to celebrate his four upcoming Science articles which suggested this “probability” on the basis of data which indicated precisely the opposite.

This misleading “fact”, a phrase by which the Times takes sides in an ongoing debate in the scientific literature that has not been settled there at all except by sweeping it under the carpet, should properly have been stated as “HIV, the virus claimed to be a cause of AIDS”. But because Altman and his editors soon adopted the boilerplate phrase “HIV, the cause of AIDS”, they enabled one side of a scientific issue – in which their own expertise was limited, and which had no answer to its scientific critics – to prevail politically, and for ignorance to triumph and rule a medical field for decades, ruining lives and often taking them.

The newspaper’s editors and reporters were not qualified to take a position on an issue that the best minds in the field could not agree upon. Yet this partiality has infested the newspaper’s columns ever since a week or two after that 1984 NIH press conference of Robert Gallo, whose claim that HIV was “a probable” cause did not go as far for very good reason. One of them is that he had found evidence of it in barely one third of the patient blood samples he tested.

Altman’s dereliction of reportorial duty is that he has never made clear the manifold problems with this scientific belief, which is still completely unproven and remains a claim on the order of superstitious group fantasy, without any more evidence for it than it had originally, and a continually gathering pile of evidence against it

Thanks to Larry Altman and his obsequious fellow traveling with Anthony Fauci of NIAID, and Nobel prize winner David Baltimore, the notoriously scientifically and morally questioned ex President of Rockefeller University and more recently of CalTech, however, this fact, the blatant scientific fact that HIV=AIDS is a notion which has nothing scientific yet to recommend it, remains wholly unknown to the many members of the media and general public that rely on the Times as their filter for acceptable wisdom.

Why AIDS just had to be infectious

Reports of the initial cases were confusing. The first federal announcement, 30 years ago this week, concerned “five young men, all active homosexuals,” with pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, or P.C.P., a disease “almost exclusively limited to severely immunosuppressed patients.” Initial suspicion fell on a known infectious agent, cytomegalovirus.

Heralding things to come, the built in bias of career disease specialists – and gay activists, as it happened – toward a solution involving an infectious agent showed itself very early. Toxic agents, such as the recreational drugs widely used in the new gay night club culture that mushroomed in the early 80s, should have been the first candidates that they might have considered responsible for wrecking immune systems.

But a solution for GRID blaming drug overdosing would not enhance the careers of either group. Drugs were also unpopular culprits because they would not attract funding for research by suggesting AIDS threatened the general public, and might reinforce prejudice against gays for a small sub group’s “life style” excesses and self-damaging behavior.

Why US AIDS is not infectious

A month later, on July 3, 1981, I wrote The New York Times’s first article about AIDS, this one headlined “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals.” (“Gay” had yet to be accepted by The Times’s style manual.) The cancer was Kaposi’s sarcoma, and until then it had seldom been seen in otherwise healthy young men.

As it turned out, drugs such as amyl nitrite (mentioned in the piece, which is worth rereading today) were very much linked to Kaposi’s sarcoma. “Poppers” were a new club drug then, and whole books were soon written about how they could account for the expansion of Kaposi’s sarcoma. In fact, the eventual decline of popper sniffing in gay clubs correlated with a decline in Kaposi’s sarcoma in patients presenting AIDS symptoms, and it has not since been a leading marker for AIDS.

Nothing could signal more clearly that the ailments of GRID and US AIDS arose from drug use by gays, and explain why it has always been a gay disease in the US, despite continuing failed efforts to find it in significant numbers of women and blacks, however artificially blown up by HIV/AIDS propagandists like the nattily dressed and always friendly Anthony Fauci, director of NIAIDS since 1984. As noted above the number of HIV positive people in the US has remained steady at around a million for the duration of the supposed “epidemic”.

Turning a blind eye to drugs as cause

As it gradually became clear that the underlying illness was neither pneumonia nor cancer but a sexually transmitted disease that was profoundly damaging the immune system, experts argued their many theories about the cause. A popular one held that the impact of combinations of microbes overwhelmed the immune system. Other theoretical causes included sperm deposited in the bowel, or some chemical that would damage the immune system.

The reason experts argued so much was because the evidence that it was an infectious disease was so unconvincing. In fact it became clear soon enough that AIDS was not a heterosexually transmitted disease, and that is why the much publicized fear of a heterosexual epidemic in the US never transpired.

The rage for drugs in gay clubs sufficed to account for what was evidently (to any objective outside observer uninvolved in the politics and economics of the new AIDS health industry) a behavior based phenomenon, which now explains without difficulty why it has remained for a quarter century overwhelmingly confined to gays in the US, despite the best efforts of paradigm propagandists to extend it to more women and blacks.

To President Clinton: Why the drugs don’t in fact “work”

Of course, anyone gay or straight who was or is reckoned HIV positive is liable to be given AIDS drugs which were then quickly fatal in themselves, though less rapidly as time wore on, because AIDS have been reduced in dose and lethality, so patients with strong constitutions have been able to live much longer. Those with the strongest constitutions, such as Magic Johnson, have survived indefinitely, often helped by quietly taking “drug holidays” when the side effects become too drastic.

The continuing change to less deadly drugs has resulted in patients doing better, and thus been hailed by all as proof that it must be HIV that causes AIDS and that “the drugs work, don’t they?” (as President Clinton famously remarked to us at Science Guardian when told that he should know that Thabo Mbeki was right). But all it shows is that people live longer on smaller doses of less lethal medications.

This mistake is global, but still rather foolish. Give people weaker medications with fewer side effects, and naturally they are going to do better, even where the feared disease agent in fact does nothing at all injurious.

Contradicting their own findings

Which pill to take when used to be a conundrum for AIDS patients, but as their regimen was simplified and the dosage reduced, their health took longer to decline, and the new drugs were celebrated as more effective, even though all that is known for certain is that they are less poisonous.

It took years to conclusively identify H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, and longer to settle disputed claims for the discovery. When doctors learned that it took about a decade to get sick from AIDS after H.I.V. first entered the body, they realized that people had been unwittingly transmitting the virus for years, spreading it to thousands of people in many countries, who in turn spread it to thousands and ultimately millions more.

Sorry to say it, but if Altman really believes in this fairy tale this is schoolboy level gullibility on the part of the Times’s medical correspondent on HIV/AIDS. Having looked and looked for a microbe that might be causing the radical immune collapse of AIDS, ambitious and underfunded scientists finally had a candidate in a species of virus (a wisp of RNA called a retrovirus) which had not been know to cause anything in anybody to that date (except that only after manipulation in the lab a scientist named Peyton Rous had succeeded in causing cancer in chickens in 1910).

There was evidence of a retrovirus discovered in the blood of AIDS patients in France and in the US, but in too few of them (one third) to make it the candidate agent for causing AIDS. That is why the original discoverer, Luc Montagnier, never made the causaL claim, and why even his rival Robert Gallo at the NIH never made it as forthrightly in his press conference or in the four papers he was about to publish in Science.

In fact, it was none other that Lawrence Altman himself who decided early on to represent HIV as “the cause of AIDS” in covering the topic, though he was not quite the first reporter to do so. In other words, it was Altman who led the media and thus even the scientific community into believing HIV was the newly discovered cause of AIDS, allowing Robert Gallo to clinch the deal.

AIDS vaccine - after thirty years, still around the corner.  Only HIV/AIDS skeptics can explain why.When Luc Montagnier finally won the Nobel two years ago for discovering “HIV, the cause of AIDS”, the dispute over who discovered the notorious virus was indeed finally settled, and the unfortunate Gallo, snubbed in his long campaign to rob Montagnier of his glory by sharing it with him for discovering it as well (in two Federal Express packages Montagnier sent him, as it happens), humiliated – but not yet for backing entirely the wrong horse as the cause of AIDS, which will be the final outcome of this grotesque story. When that happens, at least he will have the satisfaction of pulling down Montagnier with him, though it has always been clear that Montagnier has never believed in the status of HIV as the sole cause of AIDS, since he has always said that cofactors were needed.

In fact, in a recent unusually revealing documentary, House of Numbers, he was recorded helpfully informing the director, Brent Leung, that by itself HIV should be conquered and disposed of by the immune system of a healthy person in a few weeks.

Altman does not read PubMed, it seems

Epidemiologists quickly showed that H.I.V. could be transmitted through heterosexual sex; from infected women to their newborns; in transfusions of blood and blood products; and via contaminated needles.

More evidence that Lawrence Altman is unfamiliar with the basic journal literature in the field. The largest study in HIV/AIDS on transmission rates was famously carried out by HIV/AIDS research general Nancy Padian over six years with 250 “discordant” (one HIV positive) heterosexual couples, nearly fifty (47) of which took no precautions of any kind, found not a single case where transmission occurred. Not one. Contrary to all the false denials that have been mounted since by paradigm propagandists, including rather sadly the author of the study, Padian herself, who was apparently was later persuaded by John Moore of Cornell and other administrators of the egregiously misnamed site AIDStruth.org, to try and fudge her embarassing conclusion even more awkwardly than she normally does.

This powerfully suggests that all studies showing changing heterosexual transmission are also “flawed” in some way, presumably as a result of the confirmation bias shared by all HIV/AIDS researchers, protecting the standard assumptions that heterosexual transmission is often seen and that the transmitted agent for AIDS is HIV. The first is disproved by Padian and the second lacks any proof at all, after a quarter century of multi billion dollar research.

How public alarm abated despite Times’ tale

Patients and doctors feared the disease, often for different reasons.

Many doctors, uncertain whether AIDS was an infectious disease, refused to do essential procedures on their patients; sometimes superiors had to order them to. And while most doctors did treat their patients professionally and compassionately, they did fear they might catch the disease because no one knew how it was communicated. A few health care workers were infected when they accidentally stuck themselves with contaminated needles.

Fear ruled, powerfully reinforcing the superstition of infectious AIDS. But none of those health workers got AIDS symptoms aside from the effects of taking AIDS drugs, which as noted were and still are eventually lethal to all but the strongest constitutions. Instead, it soon became clear that HIV was not transmitted by any behavior short of mingling certain bodily fluids.

Some patients were shunned by friends and relatives. Customers avoided restaurants for fear that gay waiters would spread the virus. Some parents, fearing their children might catch AIDS from infected classmates, kept them out of school. Ryan White, a teenager with AIDS in Indiana, spoke up for all infected children and became a national hero before his death in 1990. His case also helped the medical profession address its obligation to care for all patients.

Communications to the public often lacked clarity. Because health officials and journalists used the phrase “bodily fluids” instead of specifying semen, blood and vaginal secretions, many people feared they could contract AIDS from toilet seats or drinking fountains.

AIDS appeared shortly after the eradication of smallpox, which had renewed declarations of the demise of infectious diseases. As a result, public health leaders were not well prepared to deal with a newly recognized deadly disease.

AZT - as American as Coke, in the early days of AIDS - killed off a hundred thousand or more gay activists, playwrights, composers, photographers, novelists, and other contributors to the culture of this fair democracy, according to some estimates, and one big reason for the genocide was because Lawrence Altman and other writers on the science and medicine of HIV/AIDS failed to do their duty and cover the internal scientific debate on the cause of AIDS impartiallyIn fact, fear of AIDS as a readily transmissible disease soon gave way to the opposite idea, that it is very difficult to transmit, because experience taught that it didn’t seem to transmit at all outside of sex and blood transfusions (and eventually Nancy Padian showed it didn’t transmit at all within heterosexual couples). Despite the expensive barrage of leaflets and advertisements kept up by HIV/AIDS promoters in government and NGOs for twenty four years, the public fear of AIDS transmission seems to have dwindled to very low levels as a result, possibly an instance where the ordinary American is better taught by social gossip than by medical authorities.

In fact Ryan White did not die of AIDS symptoms, but of symptoms associated with his hemophilia, worsened by the assault of AIDS drugs, which at the time consisted of heavy doses of AZT, a DNA chain terminator which kills all dividing cells it comes into contact with, and which in the doses given then reliably killed almost all patients within three or four years, in a period where HIV was acknowledged to take on average ten years before mysteriously becoming active. What logic impelled giving people medications that killed them faster than the supposed disease agent was never explained.

How Larry helped fuel disease alarm

A common attitude was that all diseases were known, and all that remained for scientists was to fill in the blanks. For example, a newly recognized condition like Legionnaires’ disease was really a form of pneumonia. Yet it did not seem to occur to many scientists that novel agents might also be at work — even though viruses like Ebola, Lassa and Marburg, which cause hemorrhagic fever, had been discovered in just the past decade or so.

It certainly occurred to the new breed of retrovirologists, like Robert Gallo of NIH, who after the failure of the War on Cancer to find a link between retroviruses and cancer were left without any funding leverage unless they could find another culprit supposedly responsible for a public threat. Gallo was so keen to find a retrovirus that caused harm to the general public that he discovered one that he claimed (to this reporter) caused leukemia in one in 100 carriers in fifty years, and having devised a test for this (HTLV-I) has reportedly enjoyed $100,000 annually in royalties for it ever since, after his earlier discovery of a human retrovirus turned out to be an embarrassing mistake involving contamination of his samples with monkey and baboon virus.

In covering the emerging AIDS epidemic along with developments like these, I tapped my training in infectious diseases and epidemiology. I joined my doctor friends in late-night telephone bull sessions to discuss the mysteries of AIDS. Some experts thought the agent must be a drug or chemical because no infectious agent fit. (The closest was hepatitis B, which became a model for research and precautions to protect people.) And some toxicologists used similar exclusionary reasoning to say no known drug or chemical could be responsible, so the cause must be an infectious agent.

Altman is referring to his training bout with the CDC, which evidently left him with a bias toward infectious disease as a solution to a new outbreak of spreading symptoms, rather than toxic substances habitually imbibed by a sub group, the more obvious fit in this case.

Some day Altman should let us know what this marvelous exclusionary reasoning was that decided toxicologists to rule out drugs. Sometimes it seems that to prove points against HIV/AIDS is rather like the train that runs through a district in Bangkok where the tents and stalls mounted on the tracks are quickly removed for its passing, and as quickly replaced. You can find this remarkable little video at this link.

Why does this remind us of the effort to prove points against HIV/AIDS? Because the removal of the tents and stalls seems the perfect metaphor for the removal of HIV/AIDS claims in the face of logical challenges which cannot be answered, after which they are replaced once the challenger moves on.

So how come you think they became less flawed later, Larry?

Many published papers were flawed, despite leading medical journals’ sometimes arrogant insistence on a high standard of peer review. In December 1981, The New England Journal of Medicine published a long editorial exploring possible causes of AIDS. It never considered the possibility of a previously unknown microbe — a glaring omission and a leading example of scientists’ widespread failure to think outside the box.

Here Altman acknowledges that many published papers in early AIDS were flawed. Congratulations are due! This unusual admission is a graceful concession to those who worry about the flaws in almost all the major papers backing the paradigm wisdom that HIV=AIDS. There is nothing in HIV=AIDS publishing that does not have to be carefully examined, even though it is all labeled peer-reviewed. Confirmation bias has probably piled higher in HIV/AIDS that any other field of science.

But was it a “glaring omission” to doubt that a new microbe had emerged? We would say it was not a glaring omission at all, but a very reasonable view that a new microbe unknown to history is unlikely to appear suddenly in an urban US group known for its attention to health care and high standards of self-presentation.

Renamed is not the same as correctly identified, Larry

Not long after, AIDS was finally linked to a relatively novel class of infectious agents called retroviruses. But the name, HTLV-3, placed it in the wrong category, and the incorrect classification caused confusion until the agent was correctly identified as H.I.V.

In fact, the initial name and classification reflected Robert Gallo’s desperate effort to adopt Luc Montagnier’s discovery as his own, and the final nomenclature – Human Immunodeficiency Virus – was simply a successful political move to forestall any further questioning of HIV as the cause of Human Immunodeficiency. The walling off of any skeptical inquiry was clinched when AIDS was renamed HIV/AIDS. It is hard to question HIV is the cause of HIV/AIDS, since it is by definition.

The correct question which is rarely asked, as a consequence of this smart maneuver, is what causes AIDS which is not HIV/AIDS, ie AIDS symptoms which are shown without HIV being detectable. There is an awful lot of this – HIV is not detectable in almost all cases of AIDS, even patients who are at death’s door (when it supposedly rises in level somewhat, though we have yet to encounter a peer reviewed journal paper which shows this. In fact, it appears to be an invention). There is on the other hand virtually no HIV detectable in HIV/AIDS, either. As you may recall, the HIV test is for the antibodies to HIV, not for HIV itself.

This reality has a kind of fairy tale absurdity which paralyzes the critical faculty and prevents people from moving to the obvious conclusion, which is that all AIDS is not HIV/AIDS but caused by something else – most obviously in this country, where it is effectively confined to gays, by the excessive drug taking of gays who like to go to extreme night clubs and “party” all night, which eventually resulted in Kaposi’s sarcoma from the nitrites and immune crashes from the drug overloads.

If you are wondering what this has to do with African “HIV/AIDS”, the answer, Larry, is nothing. African AIDS is nothing but an entire rewriting of other diseases and malnutrition or both so they are umbrella-ed under the rubrick “HIV/AIDS”, objective analysts which results in statistics reaching into the scores of millions and the massive release of funding from the US government and other misled organizations, as against the relative trickle available for the diseases they really represent. The relevant HIV/tests on which these helpful statistics are based cross react with the virulent TB epidemic now scouring Africa and many other less fantastic threats than HIV/AIDS, if they are done at all.

What’s in a name? In this case, unfortunately, nothing but naming makes it so.

No, Gallo did NOT show HIV the cause

Discoveries of AIDS and H.I.V. were greatly aided by newly developed laboratory tests. One test provided the crucial clue that the virus that caused AIDS was a retrovirus.

And whose test was that, pray? The HIV blood test developed by none other than Robert Gallo of the NIH? Robert Gallo, having successfully fought for a share of the credit for discovering HIV with Luc Montagnier, became the most referenced man in science for a time. But Gallo lost out in the end, it may be noted. Not only was his lab work discredited in an official inquiry, but he was passed up for the Nobel prize for discovering the “AIDS virus” which was awarded only to Montagnier two years ago.

More specifically to your sentence, which is misleading to an extent which shames the respectable newspaper to which you are consigning this balderdash, the test proved nothing of the sort. Gallo was able to get a positive reaction in only one third of the samples he tested from AIDS patients, and his four papers making this claim in Science, which were published well after his press conference announcing his discovery of “a probable cause of AIDS”, thus provided conclusive proof that a retrovirus was NOT the cause of AIDS.

Trumpeting a questionable measure

At the time, use of the CD4 blood count to detect serious abnormalities of the immune system was limited to a few research centers. Now, the CD4 and similar blood tests are standard in monitoring the treatment and severity of H.I.V.

A much questioned test of health, that CD4 count, let alone the body’s response to HIV, with very good reason. After all, the impact of HIV on CD4 cells was established early on by lab research as nil, since active HIV could only be found in as few as one in 10,000 CD4 cells in AIDS patients. Indeed, it is very difficult to find any HIV in the blood of AIDS patients, even dying ones. It is antibodies, rather than HIV, which are found in AIDS patients. That CD4 count reflects any influence of HIV is scientifically absurd, and any reporter should have noticed this, let alone the Times advisor on HIV/AIDS for 27 years.

PCR is not a quantifiable measure, Larry

Soon after the discovery of AIDS, scientists developed a molecular technique called P.C.R., for polymerase chain reaction, that can copy a single piece of DNA and multiply it countless times. P.C.R. has become a standard in monitoring an infected patient’s response to antiretroviral therapy.

Here, Larry, you contradict yourself in the two sentences. A means of multiplying the tiniest amount of DNA into a substantial volume overnight, PCR is not a quantitative measure, but one which involves establishing the presence of any piece of DNA by multiplying it countless times, until there is enough, for example, to test and prove the guilt or innocence of an accused or convicted rapist or murderer. By last count, in fact, the Innocence Project by using PCR has sprung more than 263 innocent prisoners, some of them from Death Row and often after decades of false imprisonment.

Thus PCR is by definitionin effect useless in monitoring a patient’s response to therapy since it is capable of answering only the question of presence or absence of the relevant item, not how much of it.

More problematical is the simple fact that there is never enough HIV in any patient to cause their AIDS related problems – only PCR will find any in even dying patients. That is why the “AIDS test” is for HIV ANTIBODIES, which are held to be an indication of how the 9 kilobase HIV will somehow rise up from nowhere and decimate your immune system after as long as ten or even twenty years, a prima facie absurdity given that there is no HIV present to do this trick.

This is the first time in the history of disease where the presence of antibodies is taken to be a threat, rather than proof that the invasive agent has been defeated by the immune system for good. If you carry antibodies to a common cold, it is because you have conquered it and it will never threaten you again.

But the scientists of HIV/AIDS claim that in the case of antibodies to HIV, they will eventually rise up and kill you, and they are transmissible in gay sex or via shared needles. On this blatantly fallacious idea, the entire HIV/AIDS scheme now rests.

That the general public, let alone scientists, officials, healthworkers, patients, and the renowned if aging New York Times AIDS medical science guru, have been sold this bill of goods so easily by a small pack of analytically not very bright purported professional scientists is one of the marvels of confidence tricksterism of the past century, dwarfing the achievement of Bernard Madoff by several dozen times.

Weaker drugs are less lethal, not more effective

In 1981, drugs against any virus were rare, and none were available for H.I.V. Now, more than 30 licensed drugs widely available in the developed world have turned AIDS from a death sentence to a chronic disease, though not necessarily an easy one to live with.

A feast for drug companies indeed, but what has really happened? AZT was the first drug applied to HIV/AIDS victims, and it was so effective in killing them off faster than HIV supposedly did ie in two or three years rather than up to twenty, it was reduced as a part of the new cocktails which were introduced in the mid 1990s. But 2006 it was removed from the standard regimen. Meanwhile, the drugs added – protease inhibitors – were less toxic, so the natural result was that the patients did better, although in the end the numbers that die is currently 17,000 in the US, according to the CDC , not much fewer than the peak.

In other words, a lethal drug was replaced by less toxic onslaughts on the body which allowed patients to live longer and better – before they died.

Why did this happen? A prime cause was gay politics where a cause for AIDS which also threatened the straight population took gays off the hook for their extreme clubbing and triggered massive federal funding, which afterwards reached colossal heights domestically and internationally before a recent retrenchment.

By the late 1980s, AZT studies had been cut short by gay activists on the supposition, never demonstrated, that AZT would slow the onset of AIDS in an HIV positive person. If anything, AZT in standard dose guaranteed AIDS symptoms and an early death.

The great drug illusion in AIDS

Their clamor for the drug, which must have pleased its suppliers when it allowed them to abandon the expensive studies to see if it really worked, was appeased by prescribing it in quantities which killed the typical patient in three years or less, rather than the ten years or more they could look forward to from HIV alone. Reporters were never told why this was a worthwile tradeoff.

The damage it did in its own right was so obvious – even though patients would take “holidays” from the unbearable regime – that when David Ho came up with the idea of combining (other) protease inhibitors with AZT, and the effect was to lower the dose and the damage wrought by AZT, he was celebrated with a Time cover.

Ever since, the proportion of AZT included in the cocktail has been lowered as other drugs have come in, and in 2006 AZT was removed from the standard advised regimen completely. The result is that the drugs have done less and less damage, and this has been taken as proof that they “work, don’t they?”.

Here at Science Guardian this is known as “President Clinton reason” for still believing, in the face of all the evidence, that HIV is the cause of AIDS. For this is how he put it to us in 2007, when we met him briefly in person at CGI and had a chance to tell him that Thabo Mbeki, the President of South Africa, was right to question the cause of AIDS, according to the relevant scientific literature.

Told that the drugs worked, he naturally concluded that their supposed target, HIV, was thus proven to be the cause of HIV/AIDS. Given that his political image is so tautly tied to bringing drugs to African AIDS victims to supposedly cure them, we haven’t attempted to enlighten him since.

But the truth seems to be that, given that there is no reason yet proved and demonstrated in reputable scientific journals to believe that HIV is the cause of any AIDS symptoms of any kind, the beneficial effect of drug cocktails and new AIDS drugs is simply a result of the fact that they are less harmful than before, so those who take them survive longer than they did.

They die in the end, however, as is shown by the CDC figure for deaths annually from AIDS: 17,000 in the US (the WHO estimates 22,000). And what are the symptoms they die from? In half the cases, they are liver and kidney damage, which is caused by drugs, and is not on the list of HIV/AIDS symptoms.

Same number dying, Larry

For several years, infected patients had to adjust their activities to the frequency and time of day they needed to take their medications. Now, only one multidrug pill each day may suffice for many. These antiretrovirals keep the infection in check, but do not cure it, and must be taken for a lifetime. New research shows that the drugs not only are therapeutic but also greatly reduce H.I.V. transmission.

Like so many studies in HIV/AIDS this latest result runs contrary either to scientific sense or previous research, in this case that HIV heterosexual transmission has been proven to be effectively nil by Nancy Padian, as noted above, and there is very little actual HIV in anyone with HIV antibodies in the blood, which is what the tests look for. Even Anthony Fauci would not, one presumes, claim that HIV antibodies are transmitted from one person to another.

How lazy reporters helped patients die

For the patients who died in the early years, the wait for effective treatments — a decade or so after the first reports of the disease — was far too long. But that is a relatively short time in the history of medicine to develop treatments and preventions; after all, many incurable cancers and other diseases have been known for centuries.

In the absence of a paradigm which according to unrefuted reviews in the scientific literature superstition rather than science, they could have received appropriate treatment; they could have been weaned from drugs and given appropriate natural remedies to boost their failing immune systems with the many constituents of good food now indicated from copious mainstream studies in the past decade to improve health and bodily processes without the harmful side effects of artificial commercial drugs.

They could have been well treated and cured by following this path if reporters such as yourself, Larry, had developed the minimal investigative critical faculty called for in a period where huge sums in the hundred of billions have distorted thinking in AIDS science and medicine to an extent that the rest of the media and the world join them in blindly following the self serving claims of Anthony Fauci of the NCI and other AIDS scientists whose careers are invested in HIV.

Praising activists for pushing poison

The relative speed with which the therapies were developed owes much to the efforts of cadres of activists who demanded that the Food and Drug Administration loosen the rules for clinical trials and speed its drug approval process.

In other words, loosening the rules requiring proper evidence for public policy, and valid research to justify dangerous medication. Thus the paranoia of gay activists fearful that officials were slow to come to their aid and complete the studies needed to protect them against wrongly targeted medicine that does them real harm led to the triumph of ignorance, and the enthronement of error, guaranteeing their illnesses and death.

They speeded up the safe release of therapies, you think? On the contrary, it is activists who blocked the research needed to check the real effects of AZT on AIDS patients and battled against the skeptics who wanted real answers to the unrefuted reviews in the top peer reviewed literature which rejected HIV as the cause of AIDS. They were never answered let alone refuted on the same level in the same journals, despite promises to do so, but instead were argued against in other journals and on the Web without peer review, and the debate quickly silenced with great political hostility and ostracism.

The age of ignorance victorious – and dead

Efforts to develop anti-H.I.V. drugs have paid handsome dividends by leading to development of other drugs to treat other viral infections, like the liver diseases hepatitis B and C and certain types of herpes viruses.

Also, AIDS advocacy has spurred leaders of campaigns against breast cancer and other diseases to adopt similar strategies.

Soon after the discovery of AIDS, health officials mandated infection-control measures for health care workers — wearing gloves and sometimes masks, gowns and other gear — to reduce risks from examining patients and handling blood and other specimens.

The AIDS epidemic also has put new emphasis on widespread public education, in schools and elsewhere, about sexually transmitted diseases. It has helped change medical practice by alerting doctors to the importance of asking about a patient’s sexual orientation and sexual history, matters not previously part of routine patient-doctor discussions.

Matters not previously part of routine patient-doctor discussions for good reason. Whether an AIDS candidate is reckoned HIV positive following a test is now often contingent on answers to questions on his race, sexual orientation and economic and social status. Which is prima facie absurd, as if the 9 kilobase virus could know what sex it was inhabiting, and how rich and educated the body was. This is just one of the unscientific absurdities of HIV/AIDS lore, practiced without self-consciousness by the medical profession, which somehow fails to alert the public to the specious nature of the ruling paradigm.

Certainly the development of anti-HIV drugs sparked a rush to produce drugs for other, less fantastic viral diseases, effective or not, and advocacy for breast cancer and other causes, well informed or not. Public education efforts in HIV/AIDS currently just demonstrate that a false paradigm led by scientists can be fully propagandized without leading to any criticism that might question it, let alone threaten its dominance.
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Empowering bad epidemiology

The epidemic has brought a new focus on the power of epidemiology to identify a disease’s transmission patterns long before discovery of its cause. In the early days, epidemiologists provided the evidence to show that AIDS could be transmitted through contaminated blood transfusions, a fact many blood bank officials initially refused to accept. Later, lessons learned from AIDS were instrumental in helping control tuberculosis and curbing the spread of SARS.

The statement that AIDS, rather than HIV, could be transmitted through blood transfusion, is exactly what did not ever prove out in studies, which were also logically adulterated by the assumption that HIV caused AIDS symptoms.

The new focus that AIDS has brought to epidemiology is that its practitioners are not always qualified by analytical skill even to detect the difference between an infectious epidemic and the results of taking toxic drugs for recreational or medical purposes by a sub group.

The real challenge is for reporters to think

AIDS poster urging the use of condoms, which have no relevance to HIV/AIDS in fact, since HIV is effectively non transmissible in heterosexual bouts, as the AIDS research general Nancy Padian demonstrated very conclusively indeedYet AIDS still presents extraordinary challenges — not least to journalists trying to chronicle the epidemic’s unfolding story, to remind a new generation of the importance of safe sex, and to follow the sometimes halting effort to make effective drugs available to all who need them.

The extraordinary challenge to journalists from Altman to the least influential science writer in HIV/AIDS is primarily to retain their objectivity and not take sides in a scientific debate on the cause of AIDS which is beyond their expertise or analytical skills. And to study and understand the objections raised to the standard wisdom and why they deserve respect, rather than ignore or dismiss them simply because those at the top of the field that deny them vociferously.

In particular, there is no excuse for Altman to assume that the unproven claims of the ruling clique in HIV/AIDS are valid. His reason, presumably, is that his job is in effect in their hands, since Anthony Fauci at the NIH is his prime source on the state of established AIDS science and he cannot afford to offend him by respecting even the published, peer reviewed papers objecting to what the NIH tells the general public about HIV/AIDS. Fauci has famously added to this caution by noting in an in house NIH publication early on in the epidemic that any mention of the alternative or dissident view of HIV/AIDS would not be countenanced by the NIH, which would view the culprit as journalistically unqualified. In other words, never return his or her calls.

Altman has no right to endorse the drugs as “effective”, in fact. This growing enthusiasm to provide AIDS drugs with acknowledged damaging side effects to wider and wider groups of HIV positive people – not only to more and more blacks found with wider testing, but also to all HIV positive people now, on the new theory that it cuts down on the spread of the virus to others – should be tempered by first establishing that the target is valid. HIV is still unproven as the cause of AIDS symptoms, as well as being subject to a host of counter arguments which have never been properly addressed, let alone refuted.

In fact, currently the single remaining basis for assuming that HIV is the cause of AIDS, let alone the proven cause of AIDS, is the supposed fact that “the drugs work, don’t they?” as Clinton asked. As noted, however. this “President Clinton” factor is merely an illusion which comes from the reduction in dosage and side effects over the years. The truth according to the serious literature of the scientific field of HIV/AIDS is that they have not been proved to work to any benefit of the patient, while producing serious side effects (though we should note that there are minor oddities in the effect of protease inhibitors, which according to some papers do actually achieve small short run benefits in enhancing trace elements useful to the immune system, as well as having an initial cleansing effect, but that is all, studies show.)

Wake up, Larry, the vaccine is HIV itself

One of the most daunting challenges is to stay vigilant until AIDS is at last conquered. Consider that it has been almost a quarter century since federal health officials confidently predicted that a vaccine would be available in the late 1980s — a promise that has yet to be fulfilled.

This is one of the most specious, if not downright silliest statements in the AIDS canon, which Larry parrots thoughtlessly. Even though a moment’s thought reveals to any outside observer why no vaccine against HIV has emerged in 27 years of expensive research (the HIV vaccine is one of the greatest arms of this boondoggle). HIV already vaccinates any individual exposed to it!

This is obvious from the simple fact that HIV is virtually undetectable in the human body after one has been exposed to it, even when one is near death supposedly from “HIV/AIDS”. As noted several times above, the test is for the antibodies to HIV, not HIV itself, and its minimal presence or even absence in patients is why.

Since HIV already engenders antibodies to itself invariably and reliably, it is undoubtedly the most effective vaccine against HIV that is scientifically possible. Any search for a vaccine is either stupid or calculatedly venal, at the expense of the public purse and health, and should be the first budget item removed from the NIH accounts.

How Larry could conquer his AIDS challenge

The daunting challenge to journalists covering HIV/AIDS is actually a rather simple one: To consider the alternative.

The duty of any science or medical writer in covering HIV/AIDS is to report both sides of theory, not promote one side by ignoring the other. To be, in fact, objective.

If Altman would be objective, as is his duty, he might see the elephant in the room, and others might see it too.

The elephant is this: It has apparently not yet occurred to this otherwise thoughtful medical writer that the instant resolution of all the paradoxes and prima facie absurdities in the HIV/AIDS scheme lies in simply rejecting the supposedly essential premise that HIV=AIDS, which is nothing more than a cause by definition.

Among the absurdities that would be instantly resolved is the problem in finding a vaccine. Since AIDS patients do not test positive for HIV (except with the magnification of PCR) but for HIV antibodies, we would not be trying to find a substance that would cause antibodies to be created against HIV by an immune system that has already created so many antibodies against HIV that HIV cannot be detected in any patient except with PCR.

In other words, it has already made plenty of the very antibodies which a vaccine would provoke, and they have proved very effective. The best vaccine against HIV, in fact, is none other than HIV.

Of course, a vaccine may create antibodies in people who have not been exposed to HIV at all. The drug companies should find this result very attractive. For then of course the subjects could be counted as HIV/AIDS patients and given expensive AIDS drugs, currently running in the US at about $15,000 a year.

But we are sure that even the challenged critical faculties of the man who instructs the editors of the New York Times in the mysteries of HIV/AIDS would not accept that notion. Right, Larry? Larry?

A very sorry performance

All in all, a very sad demonstration that in 27 years, the sheer twisted absurdity of the HIV=AIDS paradigm has not been made manifest to the renowned medical reporter on the leading print and Web news platform in the world. So much for all the often superbly written articles and more than thirty books, and Web sites, published on the enlightened side of this issue, not to mention our own brief attempt to warn Altman at the Montreal AIDS Conference that he should pay more attention to the leading reviewer of HIV and AIDS, Peter Duesberg of Berkeley.

Apparently, none of this has engaged the curiosity of Lawrence Altman, the highest placed reporter in AIDS, whose chief source on the topic is evidently none other than Anthony Fauci, along with his CDC friends, and perhaps even the redoubtable Robert Gallo.

One might say that this cooperation with falsity, with a lethal scam in the field of public health that has cost so many human lives, is a disgrace to any reporter, let alone one in high position, and one with training in medicine and epidemiology. It is certainly an embarrassment to the Times which, when the truth is finally out at some uncertain point in the future, will have this blot on its record forever, a stain to match or even outdo its failure to report on the true state of the USSR under Stalin.

Why it isn’t wholly Larry’s fault

But this would overlook the many social pressures and human frailties which combine to produce such a dismal outcome, which we suppose would undoubtedly produce it in any other human being who gained such a position.

One social mechanism which we feel is at the root of the problem and generally overlooked is the topic of our next post, which we promise will be as unsually short as this one is unusually long.


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