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I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing that ever interfered with my learning was my education. I am Freeman Dyson, and I approve of this blog, but would warn the author that life as a heretic is a hard one, since the ignorant and the half informed, let alone those who should know better, will automatically trash their betters who try to enlighten them with independent thinking, as I have found to my sorrow in commenting on "global warming" and its cures.
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New mainstream coverage of rethinkers


Piece in Charlotte SC paper lays out issue fairly

Remarkably clear account by Greg Hambrick

Is South Carolina a hotbed of enlightened comment on national issues which are distorted by power and money in the power centers of this country?

Suddenly the Charleston City Paper, an arts and entertainment weekly in Charlotte, has published this morning (Wed Mov 29) Rethinking AIDS: Doubters abandon traditional HIV/AIDS theories and treatment, a very matter of fact, well written and surprising reliable account of the vexed HIV?AIDS dispute in which reporter Greg Hambrick doesn’t seem to have heard of Dr Anthony Fauci of NIAID and his edict that no media coverage of this topic is allowed.

Telling both sides

Instead of kow towing to the mainstream wisdom as a matter of course and repeating all their quotes deploring HIV debunkers as scientific Luddites, Greg swiftly balances any rude remarks from spokesmen of the official line with a counter quote from an HIV critic such as Peter Duesberg or Henry Bauer.

The scientific evidence is overwhelming and compelling that HIV is the cause of AIDS, says Jennifer Ruth, spokeswoman with the National Center for HIV, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention.”Infection with HIV has been the sole common factor shared by AIDS cases throughout the world among men who have sex with men, transfusion recipients, persons with hemophilia, sex partners of infected persons, children born to infected women, and occupationally exposed health care workers,” Ruth says.

Henry Bauer, a retired chemistry and science professor and an ardent rethinker, says history has shown reversals in science when the orthodoxy was challenged by mounting questions.

“When the questions get to a critical mass, it’s a revolution,” he says. “But it’s often a bloody revolution.”

For someone presumably new to the topic Greg has done a nifty job of summarising the to and fro so that any newcomer can catch up with what is going on, and we expect this piece will have some influence in helping to keep the sputtering debate going.

Noreen Martin’s breakaway

The heroine of the piece is none other than Noreen Martin, who has been active in comments here recently as well as on Hanks You Bet Your Life.

Everything known about AIDS suggests that Noreen Martin is near death. The 53-year-old Lowcountry woman was diagnosed with AIDS three years ago. Her viral load, the rate of HIV in her blood, is at more than 100,000 — 200 to 500 is good and an undetectable number is even better. Her CD4 rate that gauges the number of “helper” cells in her system is at 136 — healthy people run between 600 and 1,200. Martin’s doctors have begged her to take antivirals, but she’s refused the drugs since March and the numbers keep heading in the wrong direction.The puzzler is that Martin looks great. She feels great. She says it’s no surprise. She claims it’s because everything known about AIDS is wrong. She says HIV is a harmless retrovirus that can’t be sexually transmitted, that AIDS medicine can cause the very disease it is expected to fight, and that the government knows this and is ignoring the facts.

The only big blot on the page is the inevitable paragraph on Christine Maggiore reporting that her daughter Eliza died from an “AIDS related” illness, which of course as anyone who is familiar with the case knows is not true, whatever the incompetent and politically influenced coroner might have announced (she died of allergy to a common antibiotic).

This is a great pity since it goes without saying that this misreporting of Christine’s tragedy gives the naive reader a strong impression that rethinkers are flouting conventional wisdom at a heavy cost, in this case the death of a young daughter.

Then there is the tribute Martin pays to antiretrovirals saying they probably saved her life. This is another statement that will stick in the mind of the reader as proof that the established paradigm is correct after all.

The matter is more complicated than that, as readers of this blog will appreciate, since long term use of the drugs is universally acknowledged dangerous to the health especially of the liver, sometimes causing fatalities (half or more of US AIDS patients who die actually die of drug related symptoms such as liver failure not on the list of AIDS symptoms).

Short term use yields effects which patients are convinced are beneficial but which may simply reflect the effect of poison on infections, although the power of protease inhibitors to restore trace element balance in support of the immune system is a known benefit (this may be because the medication as a broad spectrum antibiotic kills infections interfering with digestion). There are also known antioxidant effects.

“It didn’t cure me, but it certainly helped,” Martin says. “On the chelation days I could at least get off the couch.”But her overall health continued to decline and when she finally got to the infectious diseases doctors, they rushed to get her on an antiviral medicine that Martin concedes likely saved her life.

“I had about three different viruses going on at the same time, so these things were a godsend,” she says, though noting that the success of the medicine was in tandem with healthy living and natural supplements.

But her doctors weren’t supportive of Martin’s alternative supplements, which sent her looking elsewhere for answers and eventually to the rethinkers movement.

“The more I read, the more things just weren’t adding up,” she says.

The even handed competence with which Greg Hambreck has covered the issue is generally impressive, though, especially since his last story on AIDS in September, Kicking AIDS Local photographer captures fight for Africa’s future was the usual stenographic piece acting as a mouthpiece for establishment thinking about AIDS in Africa.

Moore and Padian’s false claims

What good will this piece do? Given the extensive coverage of John P. Moore of Cornell, perhaps not as much as it might. This professional spanner-inserter is allowed to do a muted version of his usual smear job and the piece goes on to repeat the false claims on the AIDSTruth.org site, in particular the laughable attempt of Nancy Padian to disavow the conclusion of her own study which found no transmission whatsoever in six years between fifty seven heterosexual discordant couples that didn’t use condoms.

Earlier this year, after what they saw as a one-sided story on rethinkers in Harpers magazine by a writer immersed in the rethinkers movement, Moore and other HIV scientists and doctors began the website www.aidstruth.org to refute the claims in the article. They have since updated the website to combat other claims by the rethinkers, whom they refer to as “denialists.””These people are basically being persuaded to kill themselves,” Moore says.

On the other hand readers are not going to miss the figure that Noreen draws attention to, the 1 in 1000 acts rate of transmission that the study found (after finding no transmissions during the study, transmission before the study was guessed at probably to provide some figure higher than zero, which would have been far too embarassing to the paradigm and lost Padian her high status among the officers of the palace guard of that unfounded theory).

And Hambrick does quote Noreen’s prize remark that scores a bullseye on the prima facie ridiculous core at the heart of the HIV∫AIDS panic, the claim that a fatal epidemic is being transmitted by the HIV antibodies that the test detects, which as we know are normally accompanied by a virtual absence of virus, if any at all:

“Everybody’s immunity is different,” she says. “I can’t give somebody my immunity any more than I could give them my toothache.”

But the Padian rebuttal is then given play and the reader is likely to conclude that Padian is the one with the authority:

It’s Padian herself who refuted these arguments earlier this year on www.aidstruth.org. She notes that her study regarded couples that were counseled to use protection, not avoid it.”Individuals who cite the 1997 publication … in an attempt to substantiate the myth that HIV is not transmitted sexually are ill-informed, at best,” she stated. “Their misuse of these results is misleading, irresponsible, and potentially injurious to the public.”

Padian notes that HIV transmission between couples can be as high as 20 percent, depending on risk factors including other sexually transmitted diseases. Cornell professor Moore says that Padian is not alone and that certain lines from scores of studies have been selectively cited to further the rethinkers movement.

“Then these things become urban legends,” Moore says.

Report likely to please both sides

Equally misleading statements are quoted from the NIH Web site, so all in all it seems unlikely that the article will be thought of as anything but buttressing the defense of the paradigm by the average HIV∫AIDS official or health worker, while the AIDS critics will probably be pleased at receiving a modicum of balanced coverage.

We like to believe that this rather exemplary article may even be included in the information handed out on Friday (World AIDS Day) at the booths on campus at the College of Charleston’s North Campus, Trident Technical College’s Main Campus, The Citadel, and at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Hambrick is unusually evenhanded and clear, and writes in a dispassionate, business like style which may allow it to be mistaken as standard information on the paradigm, which it is in a way, a good guide to its claims and flaws as well as first class journalism easily followed even by readers who have never heard of the controversy before. Let’s hope it is widely distributed.

Meanwhile critics have a chance to set the record free from the misleading statements of Moore and Padian in Comments on the Web under the article, with Professor Bauer already having corrected a few errors, none of which, he says, “should detract from my praise of Greg Hambrick for a balanced account of an enormous and difficult topic”.

Well done Greg Hambrick, and all those like Professor Henry Bauer and Noreen Martin who briefed him so he got the picture so well.

Rethinking AIDS: Doubters abandon traditional HIV/AIDS theories and treatment:

(show)
Charleston City Paper

Charleston SC Newspaper –

Arts Entertainment Weekly

NOVEMBER 29, 2006

FEATURE STORY | Rethinking AIDS

Doubters abandon traditional HIV/AIDS theories and treatment

BY GREG HAMBRICK

Everything known about AIDS suggests that Noreen Martin is near death. The 53-year-old Lowcountry woman was diagnosed with AIDS three years ago. Her viral load, the rate of HIV in her blood, is at more than 100,000 — 200 to 500 is good and an undetectable number is even better. Her CD4 rate that gauges the number of “helper” cells in her system is at 136 — healthy people run between 600 and 1,200. Martin’s doctors have begged her to take antivirals, but she’s refused the drugs since March and the numbers keep heading in the wrong direction.

The puzzler is that Martin looks great. She feels great. She says it’s no surprise. She claims it’s because everything known about AIDS is wrong. She says HIV is a harmless retrovirus that can’t be sexually transmitted, that AIDS medicine can cause the very disease it is expected to fight, and that the government knows this and is ignoring the facts.

It should be said early that this is not the generally accepted understanding of HIV and AIDS. The Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute of Health point to thousands of studies that show HIV is primarily a sexually transmitted disease that depletes the body’s immune system, opening it up to one or more AIDS-defining opportunistic infections.

At first glance, “AIDS rethinkers” like Martin seem to be buying into an elaborate conspiracy theory. Most rethinkers contend that the man who discovered HIV stole it from the French, many gay men get AIDS because of poppers and other recreational drug use, and most notably, there’s no AIDS epidemic.

Their argument is based on one disputable fact: No scientific study has been done that proves that HIV causes AIDS.

An argument that is contested, of course, by HIV and AIDS researchers. There are thousands of articles that prove the connection between the virus and AIDS, says Cornell University professor John Moore, even if there isn’t a singular paper that draws the line between the two.

“It’s like a moon rocket,” he says. “You’re not going to go to the web and find one five-page paper on how to build a moon rocket, but you know that it has been done.”

The scientific evidence is overwhelming and compelling that HIV is the cause of AIDS, says Jennifer Ruth, spokeswoman with the National Center for HIV, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention.

“Infection with HIV has been the sole common factor shared by AIDS cases throughout the world among men who have sex with men, transfusion recipients, persons with hemophilia, sex partners of infected persons, children born to infected women, and occupationally exposed health care workers,” Ruth says.

Henry Bauer, a retired chemistry and science professor and an ardent rethinker, says history has shown reversals in science when the orthodoxy was challenged by mounting questions.

“When the questions get to a critical mass, it’s a revolution,” he says. “But it’s often a bloody revolution.”

“Rethinkers”

The underground scientific controversy over AIDS began in the disease’s earliest days. On June 5, 1981, the Centers for Disease Control reported the deaths of five gay men in Los Angeles from a rare type of pneumonia and a month later, they reported more than two dozen cases of gay men with Kaposi Sarcoma, another very rare disease. As the AIDS table grew to include drug users and hemophiliacs, scientists scrambled to find answers.

Rethinkers say American Robert Gallo claimed in 1984 to have found HIV, but his findings were based on a French group’s 1983 study of the virus. Gallo’s perceived deception is a sticking point for rethinkers because they say it is only the first in a string of lies regarding the disease.

In 1986, the Australian-based Perth Group claimed there was no proof that HIV existed. A year later, American scientist Peter Duesberg joined the argument, acknowledging that HIV existed but claiming it was harmless and that AIDS did not show signs common to contagious diseases.

“It’s so anti-scientific when you read these studies,” Duesberg says of more than 20 years of AIDS research. “As a scientist, you have to ask all the questions.”

Duesberg’s theory would gather support over the years as reports on his ideas continued to grow. But they were far outpaced by studies that furthered the popular counterargument that HIV depletes T-cells, which work to fend off disease in the body, ushering in AIDS typically within a decade of transmission.

Those only modestly familiar with HIV and AIDS can be excused for not hearing about rethinkers, but a quick search for information on HIV or AIDS on the internet will show various chatrooms, blogs, and internet sites dedicated to furthering Duesberg’s message.

Bauer has been collecting HIV and AIDS data compiled since the onset of the disease.

“What that data shows is that the rate at which Americans test positive for HIV has been the same for 20 years,” he says. “Therefore it’s not a spreading epidemic.”

The Centers for Disease Control’s findings mirror Bauer’s claim, noting that the number of people diagnosed with HIV or AIDS in 2004 was about the same as it was in 2001 in the 35 states that compile these figures. But a recent United Nations AIDS report notes that HIV infections continue to grow in Africa, but now at a slower pace than eastern Europe and central Asia, where there were 270,000 infections in 2006 compared with 170,000 in 2004. With the expectation that many HIV-positive people don’t know they’re positive, UNAIDS estimates that 39.5 million people are living with HIV worldwide and 4.6 million people were infected in 2006 alone.

The rethinkers movement received attention in 2000 when the government of South Africa began a public debate on HIV, AIDS, and antiviral medicine and called in Duesberg and other rethinkers to help determine how the country would combat the disease. AIDS activists have since worked around the government to get antiviral medicine and HIV education to the people.

Australia will soon have its own debate over the validity of HIV. That country’s Supreme Court recently heard arguments in a case where an HIV-positive Australian man claimed that he could not have infected a woman and endangered two other sex partners because HIV hasn’t been proven to exist.

The rethinkers movement took a blow last year when outspoken rethinker Christine Maggiore, who had refused antiviral medicine for years, even while pregnant, and decided against testing her two small children for HIV, lost her three-year-old daughter to an AIDS-related illness. Her son has since tested negative.

AIDS rethinkers exchange news on these stories and various AIDS findings through a growing number of websites that offer support for rethinkers, which heartens Martin.

“When I did it, I had to do it the hard way,” she says.

Noreen’s Story

Among a varied collection of antique books in Noreen Martin’s library is an old, thick book from the Library of Health that she considers one of her favorites because of the inscription on the book cover: “You can do nothing to bring the dead to life; but you can do much to save the living from death.”

Martin, a Hanahan housewife who does some reporting for the community paper as a hobby, has been fighting off injuries and illness for years, including a herniated disc and pinched nerves, cancer, an ear infection, and various allergic reactions to medicine she was taking to combat these problems.

“I’ve forgotten a lot, which is a good thing,” she says. “It’s part of the healing process. The mind has a way of blocking out the negative things or bad memories.”

In 2003, her health further deteriorated, as she began experiencing fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, breathing troubles, weight loss, and continued memory loss. Doctors pressed her to get a bone biopsy and blood tests to determine if she had cancer. The tests came back indicating she was cancer-free, but further tests found she had HIV and AIDS.

“After months and months of being sick, I was relieved,” Martin says. “I just wanted to know what was wrong.”

Martin was told to wait two months for an appointment with an infectious diseases doctor. Not wanting to wait around, she went to a health food store, where the owner told her about an alternative doctor who performs chelation therapy, a hours-long cleansing of sorts for the blood that targets proteins and is supposed to help with blood flow. Chelation therapy has its own controversies, with the American Heart Association and the FDA stating there is no medical benefit to the practice and the CDC attributing the deaths of two children to a chelation drug called Endrate. But Martin says it was one of the few things that helped her in the early months after she was diagnosed.

“It didn’t cure me, but it certainly helped,” Martin says. “On the chelation days I could at least get off the couch.”

But her overall health continued to decline and when she finally got to the infectious diseases doctors, they rushed to get her on an antiviral medicine that Martin concedes likely saved her life.

“I had about three different viruses going on at the same time, so these things were a godsend,” she says, though noting that the success of the medicine was in tandem with healthy living and natural supplements.

But her doctors weren’t supportive of Martin’s alternative supplements, which sent her looking elsewhere for answers and eventually to the rethinkers movement.

“The more I read, the more things just weren’t adding up,” she says.

The picture of health – Noreen Martin has AIDS, but she’s refused antiviral medicine and believes her disease is based on a natural immune deficiency

Where Martin had first thought that she had HIV, she now doubts that initial test and believes that she contracted AIDS through a natural immune deficiency.

“Everybody’s immunity is different,” she says. “I can’t give somebody my immunity any more than I could give them my toothache.”

Feeling better, Martin decided to go off the antiviral medicine in early 2005, but soon returned to it after pressure from the doctors and her husband. Last March, she decided that she would get off the medicine and not look back. She is now taking Low Dose Naltrexone, a drug that helps people with immune deficiency diseases, that was prescribed by another physician.

Though he’s not familiar with the rethinkers movement, Robert Cantey, director of infectious diseases with the Medical University of South Carolina, says an AIDS patient ditching their drugs isn’t uncommon.

“That’s a typical response when someone has a good response to the medicine,” he says, but notes it was more common years ago when the side effects were more severe.

Martin says she’s been in great health since going off her antivirals, but the blood tests paint a different picture as her CD4s, the helper cells that ward off diseases, continue to fall and her viral load climbs from less than 100 to more than 100,000. Cantey says the numbers are now in the range where Martin is susceptible to brain, lung, or bloodstream infections that are common among AIDS victims. He says Martin’s late diagnosis likely contributed to her quick drop in CD4s.

“The worse those numbers are when you go on the medicine, the faster they’ll drop when you go off the medicine,” he says.

Meanwhile, Martin’s advice for others is to stay healthy and don’t get tested for HIV.

“People’s lives are being ruined by this very faulty test,” she says. “You get the results and it’s downhill from that point on. Doctors need to treat symptoms, but they don’t do that. All they care about is if you’re positive. If you’re positive, you’re screwed.”

“Denialists”

Rethinkers have been combated quietly over the last 20 years, but more high profile attention on the movement in the past few years has prompted scientists that support the link between HIV and AIDS to openly refute the rethinkers’ claims. Facing the public doubts of the South African government in 2000, 5,000 scientists, doctors, and researchers, including several Nobel Prize winners, signed the Durbin declaration that reaffirms that HIV causes AIDS.

Earlier this year, after what they saw as a one-sided story on rethinkers in Harpers magazine by a writer immersed in the rethinkers movement, Moore and other HIV scientists and doctors began the website www.aidstruth.org to refute the claims in the article. They have since updated the website to combat other claims by the rethinkers, whom they refer to as “denialists.”

“These people are basically being persuaded to kill themselves,” Moore says.

The argument begins with what causes AIDS. Rethinkers attribute the disease, in large part, to drug use. Duesberg notes drugs have long been known to deplete the immune system and an early study of AIDS cases among gay men found a large number of them used recreational drugs, primarily poppers, an inhaled drug used as a sexual stimulant.

“It’s a matter of dose and time and genetic constitution,” Duesberg says, noting that drugs effect different people in different ways the same way that smoking does.

But a 1993 study that followed 715 gay men for more than eight years found that 350 men who never acquired HIV noted “appreciable” drug use. Another 2005 study found a strong link between poppers and unprotected sex among San Francisco gay men, suggesting that even though the drug may not cause HIV/AIDS, it could place users at increased risk of contracting HIV through unsafe sexual intercourse.

If drug use causes AIDS, rethinkers then note that the concerns of sexual transmission are moot because it cannot be spread this way. Martin says that she does not use protection during sex with her husband. She points to a study by California scientist Nancy Padian that studied heterosexual couples where one was HIV-positive and one was HIV-negative and found that transmission of the disease was far less than one percent (as low as 1 in 1,000) among heterosexual couples.

It’s Padian herself who refuted these arguments earlier this year on www.aidstruth.org. She notes that her study regarded couples that were counseled to use protection, not avoid it.

“Individuals who cite the 1997 publication … in an attempt to substantiate the myth that HIV is not transmitted sexually are ill-informed, at best,” she stated. “Their misuse of these results is misleading, irresponsible, and potentially injurious to the public.”

Padian notes that HIV transmission between couples can be as high as 20 percent, depending on risk factors including other sexually transmitted diseases. Cornell professor Moore says that Padian is not alone and that certain lines from scores of studies have been selectively cited to further the rethinkers movement.

“Then these things become urban legends,” Moore says.

Rethinkers also claim that the standard HIV test is woefully unreliable, claiming that as many as 70 factors can cause a false-positive.

“HIV has never been isolated in its pure form,” Bauer says, “which means that these tests have never been validated.”

This claim by rethinkers is based in fact. The majority of HIV tests aren’t designed to identify HIV. They actually find HIV antibodies, or proteins the body creates to defend itself against HIV.

Moore says that technology has improved by leaps and bounds since the virus was first identified and that the rethinkers often base their logic on outdated data. To combat inaccuracies, HIV tests have been confirmed through a second, different test for several years. The Centers for Disease Control notes that the two tests together have a 99 percent accuracy rate, and Cantey says he’d put the accuracy rate at 99.9 percent.

Not only is the HIV test quackery, rethinkers argue, but so are the drugs HIV and AIDS patients are given to battle the disease.

Much like the test, medicines to combat the viral load have evolved as older drugs, which time has shown to be less effective, are replaced with newer drug regimens. Some rethinkers say that drugs like AZT cause AIDS and others say that the toxic side effects of the drugs have led to death.

“It’s an example of the old saying that the operation was a success, but the patient died,” Bauer says.

Today HIV and AIDS patients are typically given a cocktail of medicines. “Use of potent anti-HIV combination therapies has contributed to dramatic reductions in the incidence of AIDS and AIDS-related deaths in populations where these drugs are widely available,” the NIH’s website states. “An effect which clearly would not be seen if antiviral drugs caused AIDS.”

Africa’s high-profile struggle with AIDS has also received the ire of the rethinkers. People with AIDS in Africa are dying from the same diseases that have always plagued them: wasting, malnutrition, and tuberculosis. Rethinkers claim this is because AIDS is not an epidemic in Africa and that the perceived plight is just a way to pull money to the region and bolster the global fight against AIDS.

“I’ve seen commercials of kids starving in Africa,” Martin says. “That’s nothing new. Now they have something new they can blame it on.”

But just as AIDS-defining illnesses in America began appearing at much higher rates than seen before, these diseases in Africa are showing unusual trends when it comes to AIDS patients, attacking them at much younger ages and including those middle-class groups who aren’t malnourished. A 1995 study found that HIV-positive people in Cote d’Ivoire were 17 times more likely to die from tuberculosis than those not infected with HIV.

Rethinkers also note that the disease is affecting different races and regions differently, something uncommon with communicable diseases. The NIH and others note various reasons for the difference, including in what groups the disease was first recognized and sex practices.

These and other attempts to refute the claims of the rethinkers have done nothing to quell their continued belief that everything the world has been told about HIV is wrong. Noreen Martin is active daily on a number of rethinker web forums and she has started her own website to further the cause and chart her own progress.

“Let people make up their own mind,” Martin says. “I made up my mind and I’m not turning back.”

Dec. 1 – World AIDS Day Charleston Events

On Friday, the world gathers to combat the spread of HIV during World AIDS Day. In Charleston, Lowcountry AIDS Services and other groups will expand this year’s events to two days.

Events will begin on Thurs., Nov. 30 with information booths set up from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the College of Charleston’s North Campus, Trident Technical College’s Main Campus, The Citadel, and at the Medical University of South Carolina, which will also host a luncheon with guest speaker Dr. Preston Church.

On Fri., Dec. 1, there will be events at MUSC’s horseshoe from 11:30-1:30, at the College of Charleston from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Rivers Green, and from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Trident Technical College Palmer Campus. Roper Medical Center and St. Francis Medical Center will also have panels of the AIDS quilt on display from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

A candlelight march and rally will begin at Marion Square near the Embassy Suites at dusk, around 5:30 p.m., with marchers walking to the Cistern at the College of Charleston where they’ll have the opportunity to call there loved one’s name publicly. There will be an area of healing and comfort at the Cistern with lay pastors and counselors and refreshments for those that need assistance.

Glass luminaries dedicated to those lost from HIV/AIDS are also available for $10. Their names will be labeled onto the luminaries, which can be retrieved at the end of the event. For more information, contact Mark McKinney at 849-8531.

A little more than a week later, on Sat., Dec. 9, more than 100 red ribbon retailers in downtown, West Ashley, and Mt. Pleasant will host Shopping with Friends, a fund-raiser for Lowcountry AIDS Services where 10 percent of the sales on that day will be donated to the AIDS organization.

The event starts with a kick-off party from 5-8 p.m. on Dec. 8 at Saks Fifth Avenue on King Street. On Saturday morning, there will be a brunch from 9 a.m. to noon at the Renaissance Hotel with complimentary gift bags. For more information on the events, visit Lowcountry AIDS Services online at www.aids–services.com/shopping.html or look for the posters in participating stores. –Greg Hambrick

AIDS By the Numbers

Worldwide

•39.5 million people in the world are living with HIV and 4.3 million were newly infected in 2006.

•Eastern Europe and Central Asia are outpacing Africa in the number of new AIDS cases, with 270,000 in 2006, compared with 170,000 in 2004.

Nationwide

•1.2 million people in the U.S. had HIV in 2005.

•Men still account for about 73 percent of the HIV diagnoses in the U.S., with almost two-thirds of those infections attributable to unsafe sex between men.

Statewide

•There were 13,508 people living with HIV/AIDS in South Carolina by the end of 2005.

•560 people tested positive for HIV/AIDS statewide in 2005, compared with 832 in 1995.

Locally

•4,156 people were tested for HIV in Charleston last year. Of those, 51 tested positive, about half as many as a decade ago.

•Berkeley and Dorchester had a combined 1,831 HIV tests, but accounted for less than 1.2 percent of the positive tests statewide, compared with more than 3 percent in 1995.

Source: UNAIDS, SCDHEC

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1 comments posted for this article

Henry H. Bauer, Virginia 11/29/2006 – 2:16pm

Greg Hambrick did a great job in covering in a balanced way a huge story, about which gross misinformation is so common. Naturally he could not give details on every point, so I should like to add these: –John Moore’s comparison with moon rockets is plain silly. A better analogy is that lots of bad data don’t make even a tiny bit of good evidence. Many HIV-positive people never got ill in two decades, and many people with AIDS symptoms are HIV-negative, in particular people with Kaposi’s sarcoma which was a “signature” AIDS disease. Even the mainstream now says Kaposi’s is caused by a different virus –Ruth’s statement about HIV being common to all cases is demonstrably untrue. She should cite all the scientific articles on which she bases that assertion. (They don’t exist.) –No one claims to know how HIV kills T-cells, after 2 decades of research –All the cited numbers of infections are from computer models, they are not actually observed and counted cases. The models rely on innumerable doubtful assumptions, and have been demonstrably way off the mark in a number of specific instances. –Even the computer estimates by UNAIDS give the same rate of HIV infection in 2006 as in 1996, for sub-Saharan Africa as well as other regions of the world –Christine Maggiore’s child did NOT die of an AIDS-related illness. The coroner concerned has long been regarded as unreliable. –Recent scientific publications (August and September) showed that people on “cocktail” therapy got AIDS events EARLIER than those not on therapy; and that while the “surrogate markers” of CD4 counts and “viral load” improved, the patients’ health got worse –More than a dozen studies besides Padian’s, in Africa and Haiti and Thailand as well as in the USA, have never shown sexual transmission of more than a few per thousand acts; and where use of condoms was controlled for, they made no difference None of these comments should detract from my praise of Greg Hambrick for a balanced account of an enormous and difficult topic.

(citypaper@textgenie.com), NYC 11/30/2006 – 2:17pm

An excellent article, giving an unsually clear and even handed review of a debate that is not widely covered in the media, because the scientists in tehe field actively fight reexamination of their theory, an attitude which the comments of John Moore, Nancy Padian and other spokesmen in the article betray. The Charlotte City Paper and reporter should be congratulated for bringing such level headed coverage to their readers. This is one issue in science where the critics have established that there are very serious problems with the conventional wisdom, and with lives at stake it is depolorable that scientists should resist public review. As Professor bauer points out, the points made in defense quoted in the article include many which are wrong, especially Nancy Padian’s attempt at refuting her own study, which showed that heterosexual transmission of AIDS through sex is far too weak to sustain any epdiemic, let alone a world wide pandemic. Readers who have been alerted by this article to the possibility that standard medicine is wrong in HIV/AIDS will want to visit Peter Duesberg’s site, Virusmyth and the two most active science blogs, Barnesworld You Bet Your Life and New AIDS Review for more information.

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Michael, Downtown 11/30/2006 – 8:09pm

Right On Greg!

You did a great job balancing both sides of a very touchy issue. But make no mistake. Nobody has ever died of AIDS. AIDS is a definition, not a disease. AIDS is NOT a disease! It is a definition that includes about 30 common diseases that even HIV negative people die from all of the time, like pneumonia. Once diagnosed with the flakey and faulty HIV tests as HIV positive, a patient is not allowed to catch the flu or get pneumonia without blaming it on HIV and calling it AIDS.

Yet most of the death certificates of those who died of what is called AIDS almost always say “complications of AIDS” which is a convenient way of saying they were poisoned to death by the AIDS medications. Liver failure is the most common cause of death in American HIV positives, not anything viral! Kidney failure and heart failure are right up there as well. All due directly to the AIDS drugs, yet the pharmaceutical companies making and selling these drugs have not even taken responsibility for even a single death!

Those doctors and scientists and drug companies who have cashed in on the hundreds of billions of dollars dumped down the AIDS hole will not go down without one helluva fight! Their bank accounts and overly inflated egos are at stake! Do you think any doctor that has handed out toxic and deadly AIDS drugs to his patients will ever admit to having helped to do his patient in? Not in your life!

It’s about time somebody speaks out on this. How many people scared themselves to death, and how many doctors scared their patients to death over this very issue. By the way, the number of AIDS deaths in the US did not come down until high dosages of AZT were taken out of the doctors hands in about 1995. But the scientists say it is because today’s drugs are better at controlling HIV. Bull! The drugs are simply less toxic than the AZT that was given in 1200mg dosages to patients from 1987 to 1995, the years of massive death said to be due to HIV. Today the leading cause of death in American HIV positives, according to a 2002 study by University of Pittsburg AIDS researcher Amy Justice, is liver failure, which is not due to a virus, it is directly due to drug poisoning.

But the issue is even deeper than this. Ever wonder why HIV and AIDS hits 99% gays and blacks? Do you really suppose a virus knows the difference between white and black or between gay and straight, or drug adicts of any race? How come it is not ravaging West European and American heterosexuals, as it does in poor poverty stricken and starving Africa? That is one genius of a virus that knows how to tell the difference between race and sexuallity and also knows if you are a hardcore drug abuser or not, dontcha think?

The pharma companies make money selling the ingredients for making crystal meth to the public and then cash in again when the ravaged bodies of the addicted are diagnosed as having HIV AIDS.

I don’t believe death by AIDS will ever stop unless and until big pharma is reigned in and unless and until our gay sons and brothers and friends are accepted just the way they are, instead of being disowned and shamed to death by the so called moral majority.

AIDS in Africa will not stop until hunger, dirty water, and hopelessness are eradicated. Any time you find people living in shame, starvation, squalor and hopelessness, you find disease and death to be rampant. Back in the 1950’s we just called all the dead drug addicts “junkies”. They were found dead all the time back then, and we rightfully condemned the drug use. None of them were called HIV/AIDS, which is what they are called today.

The population of Africa just so happened to have doubled during the last 25 years of the so-called AIDS epidemic, and the starvation and hopelessness and water pollution has doubled as well.

America’s bigoted answer to this is to put all of Africa on toxic and deadly AZT and Nevirapine. No wonder South Africa’s president Mbeki is an AIDS Rethinker! At least President Mbeki can think for himself and see what is at the core of the problems in South Africa for himself, which is more than I can say for the imbeciles who lord over the more developed countries of the Western Hemisphere.

What was Bush’s answer for AIDS? First to put the CEO of Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals in office as the AIDS Czar, which did not even raise an eyebrow of 99.9% of supposedly intelligent Americans. Second to throw 15 billion dollars at HIV AIDS as long as it was spent on American pharmaceuticals.

Excuse me, but Gee, I fail to see how this will help Africa come up out of poverty. It will only clean out their national treasuries trying to pay for these drugs for exploding pulations. I fail to see how this will help American drug addicts to overcome their addiction and self loathing. I fail to see how this will help us all to love and care for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, exactly as they are. And I fail to see how it will end the bigoted and racist attitudes that still drive many blacks even in developed countries to overcome the handicap of being born black and poor.

The only thing Bush and Clinton and any other elected official throwing Money at HIV and AIDS will do, is to make the poor poorer and the rich richer, and we regular tax paying fools out here, who elect these morons to continue to keep us ignorant, will continue to pay for it all.

And then we have the problem of many who were diagnosed as HIV positive, cash in big time on their diagnosis. Free medical, free food, free dental, free housing, and perks galore for lots of them, disablilty checks, welfare, etc. These people are not about to give up their diagnosis of HIV. It gives a lot of them a free ticket to skate through life. Lots of others get stuck up on the self pity and the pity poured on them by others. For a lot of them, it is the first time they ever “felt loved” by all those pity filled friends and folks close to them. Not that pity is love, but its the closest that a lot of many of these often self loathing and self destructive people will get to it. Not anywhere near the majority of HIV positives, but many fall into this spell. But what the heck, lots of them are still untreated drug addicts, and/or disowned gay sons of the self righteous moral majority.

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Immauelk, USA 12/ 1/2006 – 3:05pm

Mr. Hambrick,

Two questions:

1. Did you actually SEE the results of Ms. Martin’s laboratory tests?

2. Will you please write a follow up story and tell us how Ms. Martin fares? And if she ultimately chooses conventional therapy?

I wish her well, but the published AIDS literature suggests that her prognosis is not good. Let’s hope that there is something different about her case that keeps her well.

Manny Kimmel

AIDS Activist

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Greg Hambrick (greg@charlestoncitypaper.com), Downtown 12/ 2/2006 – 6:54am

Yes, I have seen the results and we do plan to stay in touch with Noreen and check in on how she’s doing.

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Kamileon 12/ 2/2006 – 11:30pm

In your statewide statistics on infection, you have HIV/AIDS grouped as HIV/AIDS. Statistically speaking, this is VERY inaccurate and can be quite misleading. When you say that 13,000 and some people are infected with HIV/AIDS, what the hell does that mean?!

First of all, you can only be infected with HIV.

Second, not all people with HIV have AIDS.

Lastly, you can’t say all the people with HIV will get AIDS.

So what is it? Do the 13,000 some-odd people have HIV or AIDS?

Hey don’t worry about it, you’ve only been brainwashed by the HIV establishment into grouping your statistics into the “HIV/AIDS” realm, something they are notorious for.

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Michael, Downtown 12/ 3/2006 – 9:24pm

Hey Kamileon. As far as whether they are HIV or AIDS in the state listings, Lets also remember that once anyone who has been diagnosed as HIV positive comes down with any of the 29 common and supposedly “AIDS” defining diseases such as common pneumonia, they are forever after defined as having “AIDS” for the rest of their life. They are NEVER removed from the AIDS listing category, no matter how healthy or illness free that they ever become for the rest of the remainder of their lives. The state likes it that way, and so do the individual counties, as they both tap the federal government for funding every year based on these bullcrap and phoney baloney numbers. It’s a convenient little shell game to keep the bucks flowing. If HIV causes anything at all, it is most definitely the cause of fundraisers and money shuffles to keep the game going.

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Kicking AIDS: Local photographer captures fight for Africa’s future:

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Kicking AIDS

Local photographer captures fight for Africa’s future

In Zimbabwe, the average lifespan was 61 years in 1990. Today, the average adult dies at 39 with only 3.5 percent of the population making it to 65. The reason? HIV/AIDS. Deaths from AIDS-related illnesses have orphaned one million children in the country — 20 percent of all Zimbabwe’s children — and that will likely continue considering that 20 percent of pregnant women were HIV-positive in 2003. According to UNICEF, more than half of the patients in Zimbabwe are hospitalized with HIV/AIDS-related illnesses and more than 120,000 children under the age of 15 have HIV, the retrovirus that causes AIDS. Grassroot Soccer, a nonprofit that includes a Charleston photographer among its ranks, focuses on preventative education for 12-year-olds in Zimbabwe, using interactive programs and engaging volunteers whom the children will listen to with rapt attention — their soccer heroes.

There are lots of tools to fight HIV/AIDS, but usually soccer’s not one of them. That is, until Thomas Clark created Grassroot Soccer. Clark, an American who spent his early teenage years in Zimbabwe while his father coached soccer, fell in love with the country and eventually played for the same team his father coached. After returning to America for medical school, Clark decided to create Grassroot Soccer as a class project in 2002 after realizing that soccer could be used to reach children who are dealing with the realities of AIDS.

“It’s a way for the cultural love affair with soccer to be harnessed for something good,” he says.

The Grassroot program is loaded with informative games and information for children, but Clark says the focus is on community involvement and utilizing these children’s idols.

“Otherwise it’s a series of games and points anyone could do, but the special sauce is getting the role models involved.”

Though Grassroot Soccer is only one of several initiatives intended to spur HIV/AIDS education in Zimbabwe, the message appears to be getting across. In the last two years, the HIV prevalence rate has dropped from 24.6 percent to 20.1 percent, according to UNICEF.

“It’s certainly not solely due to our efforts, but it’s due to prevention education,” Clark says.

An independent evaluation of the program by Stanford University in 2004 found the program “significantly improves student knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of social support related to HIV/AIDS.”

Denny leads a Grassroot Soccer session about HIV and AIDS prevention at St. Michael’s Primary School

The study found that students who participated in the program had a more positive attitude toward condoms and HIV testing and had more negative feelings about unprotected sex. There also seemed to be a decrease in the number of students with prejudice toward those with HIV and AIDS.

Welcome to Zimbabwe

The country was formed in 1980, but democracy never really took off in Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe, the nation’s first prime minister, has ruled the country of 12 million for nearly 20 years. He rigged presidential elections in 2002 and quelled labor strikes calling for his retirement in 2003. His political arm, ZANU-PF, stole March 2005 parliamentary elections to allow it to change the constitution at will, according to the Central Intelligence Agency. A month later, Mugabe would institute Operation Restore Order, displacing 700,000 mostly poor supporters of the opposition, by United Nations’ accounts.

Immigration isn’t a problem, because the unemployed, who account for about 80 percent of the population, are leaving the country for economic opportunities in neighboring South Africa and Botswana. In response, South Africa has militarized its border and Botswana has installed electric fences to deter the exodus. News from Zimbabwe is sparse in America — the government raids last summer weren’t reported in The New York Times until November.

Aside from the political strife, the Central Intelligence Agency notes environmental nightmares, including deforestation, soil erosion, land degradation, air and water pollution, and poaching. Poor mining practices have also left the country with toxic waste and heavy metal pollution.

This was the backdrop last May as Alice Keeney’s plane pulled into a hangar in Bulawayo, the country’s second largest city. A soccer player for the College of Charleston before graduating in 2004, Keeney had spent a year learning photography in Paris until some friends suggested that she travel to Africa for a month and document the work of Grassroot Soccer.

“I really didn’t know what to expect,” she says. “I went over there pretty naive, to be honest.”

Keeney was the first off the small plane, greeted in the hangar by men with automatic weapons.

She had her $30 cash in hand — she’d been told that having the processing fee ready would help her move through customs quickly. She told them she was vacationing. Working photographers and aid workers can sometimes get a hard time from the government — while she was visiting, an American photographer was being held prisoner by the government.

“I never felt extremely unsafe,” Keeney says. “But, being there and hearing about it are two very different things.”

Tommy Clark, the director of Grassroot Soccer, also didn’t know what to expect from Keeney’s trip.

“There’s always someone going over there,” he says of media attention for the group. “I was just hoping nothing bad would happen to her.”

Keeney was introduced to the Grassroot staff in Zimbabwe, comprised almost entirely of locals.

“They’re either group leaders for after-school programs or professional soccer players,” she says.

Team Zebra takes part in “The Final Game,” in which the students answer questions that test their overall knowledge about HIV and AIDS at the end of the eight-day session with Grassroot Soccer; Each team of about seven players must answer each question correctly in order to then have the chance to complete a section of the obstacle course

While most Americans would be hard-pressed to name one of our soccer heroes from the past 20 years, Zimbabweans have a quick answer — M. Khupale. Known as Mr. Khupa to the masses, M. Khupale draws crowds and cheers everywhere he goes. The excitement is no different when he works with the Grassroot program, Keeney says.

“When he walks in to a classroom and starts teaching kids about HIV and AIDS, their attention is just wrapped around him,” she says.

The Program

In an age when some people push undeterred for abstinence education for teenagers, it’s impossible to imagine the Grassroot program of HIV/AIDS education will ever take place in the United States. In America, the realities of AIDS can be easily avoided by most any seventh grader.

“You walk into a classroom in the U.S. and you talk about sex and condoms, there’s giggles everywhere,” Keeney says.

But in Zimbabwe, where the darkness of AIDS takes family, friends, and neighbors hourly, let alone daily, children can’t be children anymore. “They realize they can be a victim of it.”

The Grassroot program lasts eight days over a two-week period. The students spend the first day in the classroom, answering true and false questions to dispel dangerous rumors long removed from American perceptions of HIV, but still prevalent in Africa.

“A lot of them have misconceptions, like you can get it easily through a mosquito bite,” says Keeney. They also might think HIV is contracted easily through schoolyard horseplay or that dangerous traditional healing practices will purge the disease, she notes. “It’s just a huge lack of education, really.”

After day one is complete, the rest of the program is chock-a-block with activities.

“It makes the kids think,” Keeney says. “That way they’re not just being told.”

One of the more effective games is “Hide the Ball,” where students are lined up shoulder to shoulder and a tennis ball with HIV/AIDS scrawled on it is passed behind their backs. Someone yells stop and a student left out of the line is asked to pick who has the ball.

“The point is you can’t see it,” she says. “It’s impossible to look at someone and see that they have HIV or AIDS.”

In “The Transmission Game,” the students learn the value of protection as students mingle in the classroom as if the people they speak with are sexual partners. At the end of the lesson, students learn that only three of them given a “condom” pass at the beginning of the class would survive if the game was actually intercourse.

Other games include “My Supporters,” which focuses on the community as a support system for those with HIV and AIDS in an area where many with the disease are still ostracized. In “Juggling My Life,” students learn how to make positive choices for themselves, and in “The Final Game,” the students use what they’ve learned in a team-style trivia game where correct answers move them through an obstacle course.

Along with the games, Grassroot Soccer also works with Ray of Light, a dance troupe of teens that help the students learn about HIV and AIDS through dance.

Once the program is completed, parents and family members are invited to a graduation ceremony where students are congratulated for their work. In one instance, parents told Clark that having their children go through the program gave them the courage to tell the children that both parents were HIV-positive.

“There’s such a stigma about HIV and AIDS,” Clark says. “Stories like that are so encouraging.”

Grassroot Soccer graduates put their hands together on June 3, 2005, after completing a two-week HIV and AIDS education course at Mawaba Primary School in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Grassroot also has a sister program for U.S. students called KickAIDS. Through the program, sports teams coordinate an education campaign that includes HIV/AIDS awareness, but focuses more intently on helping America’s young people understand the plight of Africa’s youth.

“It was a notion that it’s important that American kids understand what’s going on over there,” Clark says, “and encouraging them to be advocates in their community.”

The program includes a viewing of A Closer Walk, a documentary about Africa and AIDS narrated by Glenn Close and Will Smith. Students then organize fund-raisers, be they juggle-a-thons for soccer players or swim-a-thons for swim teams, with the proceeds going to Grassroot Soccer.

The group does have one American superstar contributing to its mission, although he’s better known for his reality TV appearances then his soccer skills. Ethan Zohn, a two-time Survivor competitor, including his $1 million victory in Africa, has used almost all of his stardom to highlight the programs of Grassroot Soccer, including wearing a T-shirt with the group’s logo during his stint on Survivor All-Stars. Zohn now coordinates the group’s American programs.

Heading back

Keeney returned home with photos of the hope that children in Zimbabwe get from the program. Grassroot now uses the pictures for fund-raising events and on the website to garner attention for the plight of Africans struggling with HIV/AIDS and the need for preventive education for Africa’s future. Clark says he has Keeney’s photos on his cellphone and his computer.

“She continues to be a big part of the organization,” he says. “She’s made herself invaluable.”

Keeney also notes the importance of pictures to show Zimbabwe’s children confronting their country’s struggles.

“A lot of the images you see from Africa are really desperate pictures,” she says. “Kids with flies all over their faces, which is definitely happening. But there’s also the other side of the story, where there is so much hope and desire for change.”

The response to the work of Grassroot has been very positive in Charleston, Keeney says, likely stemming from the program’s proactive approach.

“People like to see an organization that is doing something positive on the prevention side,” she says, noting the photographs she brought back show the realities of AIDS in Africa. “It helps having pictures. It puts a face to a name.”

Since her trip, Keeney has given Grassroot free use of her photos, providing about $10,000 in fund raising. Through local programs, she’s tried to educate South Carolinians about the dangers of HIV and AIDS a world away and here at home.

“It’s become a big part of me,” she says. “It’s nice to do something I love and help out a good organization.”

From the time she stepped foot on the plane to come back to the states, Keeney says she was ready to plan another trip back. She’ll be returning to Africa in a few weeks for a two-month stay with the help of local contributors, including Kudu Coffeehouse owner John Saunders.

The trip will begin in Botswana and Zambia, where she will document Grassroot Soccer’s other programs before heading back to Zimbabwe. She’ll then visit South Africa, where Grassroot is working with local mining camps to expand the AIDS education program. After harsh rebukes towards South Africa during the recent AIDS summit, education is a top priority.

“There’s a lot of pressure to set it up,” Keeney says. Grassroot will be a good fit for South Africa, with the 2010 World Cup planned in the country.

Before she goes, Keeney is holding two special events this weekend to go toward her work with Grassroot. On Saturday, Sept. 9, Kudu Coffee House will host a fund-raiser from 6-8 p.m. with prints for sale, a silent auction, door prizes, and music by Toca Toca. Beer and wine will be served. Keeney will also have a table set up at the Charleston Battery game against Rochester at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10, at Blackbaud Stadium on Daniel Island. All profits from both events will go to Grassroot Soccer.

One teen that helps Grassroot Soccer with its education programs told Keeney that these children take the message just as seriously as the adults do.

“He said, ‘We’re the future of Zimbabwe. If we don’t make change, there won’t be a Zimbabwe,'” she says. “They realize something has to be done.”

For more information, visit

www.grassrootsoccer.org or www.kickaids.org.

COMMENTS

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jdewars411, Downtown 9/ 6/2006 – 4:35pm

With so many people dying from this terrible disease, I am glad to see some coverage on those who are working so hard to fight back. As a young individual, Alice Keeney’s efforts to help with aids awareness through Grass Roots Soccer is truly inspiring. If only there were more people like her in this world…

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148 Responses to “New mainstream coverage of rethinkers”

  1. noreen martin Says:

    It happens all the time, we get confused with North Carolina,it’s Charleston, S.C.

  2. Dan Says:

    Noreen,
    you have my respect for putting yourself out there so publicly on this issue. It takes courage.

    Positive notes about the article:
    The title.

    The general tone, as Truthseeker has noted.

    And even though, on the surface it looks like Noreen may be giving the impression at points that the paradigm is stable (e.g., how she was helped by “AIDS drugs”), she’s simply telling her story, with which she may find a great number of people can relate to. Good work, Noreen.

  3. Truthseeker Says:

    We added a comment to the article as follows:

    (citypaper@textgenie.com), NYC 11/30/2006 – 2:17pm

    An excellent article, giving an unsually clear and even handed review of a debate that is not widely covered in the media, because the scientists in tehe field actively fight reexamination of their theory, an attitude which the comments of John Moore, Nancy Padian and other spokesmen in the article betray. The Charlotte City Paper and reporter should be congratulated for bringing such level headed coverage to their readers. This is one issue in science where the critics have established that there are very serious problems with the conventional wisdom, and with lives at stake it is depolorable that scientists should resist public review. As Professor Bauer points out, the points made in defense quoted in the article include many which are wrong, especially Nancy Padian’s attempt at refuting her own study, which showed that heterosexual transmission of AIDS through sex is far too weak to sustain any epdiemic, let alone a world wide pandemic. Readers who have been alerted by this article to the possibility that standard medicine is wrong in HIV/AIDS will want to visit Peter Duesberg’s site, Virusmyth and the two most active science blogs, Barnesworld You Bet Your Life and New AIDS Review for more information.

  4. kevin Says:

    I concur with Dan. Thank you, Noreen. You are indeed courageous and articulate.

    I’m curious as to why this reporter chose this topic. Were you the instigator ;-)?

    Kevin

  5. Martel Says:

    This is a good article, and I, too, commend Noreen for being willing to share her story.

    It gives me no pleasure to bring up Christine Maggiore’s loss, but in the interest of truth-seeking, I can’t let this go without comment:
    “The only big blot on the page is the inevitable paragraph on Christine Maggiore reporting that her daughter Eliza died from an “AIDS related” illness, which of course as anyone who is familiar with the case knows is not true, whatever the incompetent and politically influenced coroner might have announced (she died of allergy to a common antibiotic).”

    To call the coroner incompetent without any evidence, TS, is potentially defamatory. On what do you base this claim? On your disagreement with the report’s conclusions? I have read the coroner’s report, as well as Al-Bayati’s response to it. Ask yourself, which of these is potentially biased? Al-Bayati was paid by the decedent’s mother, expressly because she wanted a different outcome. The coroner was paid by the government, and unless someone out there can demonstrate receipt of money from the AIDS establishment to cover something up, the coroner doesn’t have any clear motive to fabricate and lie.

    Stating that little Eliza died of an allergy to a common antibiotic is (like so many of Chris Noble’s words) evidence of belief-protective behavior, making a quasi-religious construct to explain the unacceptable. (The leader dies, therefore the leader obviously didn’t die, but, rather, was hidden in a cave/well/heaven to return again someday.) It’s hard to die of an amoxicillin overdose, and even rarer to die of an allergy. Amoxicillin-related deaths are so rare that they almost always generate case reports in the literature. Even if they weren’t, Eliza died 24 hr after the first dose! This is far too late to be an acute response, and far, far too early to be anything else. It is far too early to explain any of the pathology that Al-Bayati ascribes to it.

    So Al-Bayati brings in an infection–human parvovirus B19–as deus ex machina. This is what causes the “fifth disease,” that nasty itchy rash most children get. Most people have had it. But Eliza didn’t have any rash. Let’s just assume she had the fifth disease: would it have caused immune suppression, anemia, as al-Bayati claims? Maybe, but only after several months, and only if she was otherwise sick.

    Eliza’s pathology, from the severely undersized thymus to the encephalitic lesions in the brain; from her shockingly low size and weight (which preceeded by YEARS any exposure to HPV b19 or amoxicillin) to the disease state of her lungs…it all does point to what is called “pediatric AIDS.” Although, like al-Bayati, I don’t give much credence to p24 staining in the brain (unless it’s done, preferably by me, and with appropriate controls), especially as a sole diagnostic method…it would seem, in concert with all else, to be indicative of HIV.

    Since better and more specific HIV tests are absent in this case, we’ll never know exactly why Eliza died. Perhaps one or more of the childhood diseases her parents didn’t see fit to inoculate her against could have contributed. Or perhaps HIV was the main contributor. I don’t know for sure…and neither do any of you. But there are some things that can probably be ruled out with near-certainty, and those include fifth disease and amoxicillin toxicity.

    TS has chosen between the coroner/coroner’s team and al-Bayati based not on medical knowledge, but on what he wants to believe. TS, how does this benefit the truth?

  6. noreen martin Says:

    Guys and girls, I am just one of many warriors in this campaign, no more special or courageous than others. If we all stick together we can accomplish much. I have not had to suffer through personal loss like Christine and her family.

    If I’m not mistaken, Peter Duesberg and Harvey Bialy in Nature, stated that HIV is harmless in the laboratory then how can it cause harm to humans? It is unfortunate about Liza Jane and the pain that this family has had to endure, nevertheless, how can a rational, thinking person attibute her death to HIV?

    How the above story came about was I saw the first AIDS article in Africa that Greg had written and I gave him a call. He came to the house twice and was very attentive and I gave him a stack of documents. I had a good feeling about him that he would be fair and not “trash” me so to speak, courtersy and respect is probably more common in the South than in larger cities.

  7. Truthseeker Says:

    Oh sure, Martel, the child died suddenly of HIV.

    The way you accuse Christine and Al-Bayati of bias is defamatory, we merely rated the coroner incompetent at thinking.

    If you cannot see that he had his head screwed on backwards after he realized that HIV∫AIDS politics were involved, or that the correct diagnosis was classic allergic overreaction with individual variation, we would like to know what other difficulties you have in believing what we say.

    Do you, for instance, believe that HIV causes immune dysfunction and eventually death after as long as twenty years in otherwise healthy people, and that it can be transmitted between man and woman easily enough to cause a worldwide pandemic?

  8. GS Says:

    Martel

    I will not pass judgment on you, as this is the first thing of yours that I have read. Eliza’s CD4+ cell count was too high to for her death to be classified as an AIDS related death.

    You, and the AIDS establishment, are not allowed to “win” every time. Eliza’s case does not fit into the AIDS definition. It is time for AIDS Inc. to admit they were wrong, and to leave Christine alone. I do not expect that to happen, however. The “people” I work with hate this woman, and all other dissidents. They do not care if they are right or wrong, as long as they can make a dissident look bad. Call Dr. John P Moore. He might not admit this, but he will demonstrate.

    GS

  9. AF Says:

    Martel, if I’m not mistaken, the report you refer to is the coroner’s *second* autopsy, the one he performed after it came to his attention that Christine is a prominent dissident. If Eliza Jane’s condition was noticeably “pediatric AIDS,” why didn’t he come to this conclusion in his first report?

  10. Truthseeker Says:

    ?I will not pass judgment on you, as this is the first thing of yours that I have read. Eliza’s CD4+ cell count was too high to for her death to be classified as an AIDS related death.

    Thanks GS, the poor little tot was in robust health, not immune compromised, not even HIV+, forgot about that, probably because the case has always been so obvious to us anyway, and it hasn’t ever seemed worth discussing, since it lacked any mystery to solve, except the serious issue of how maliciously supportive of their untruthworthy leaders the average dope can be.

    However, Dean Esmay posted in his excellent blog as follows after the LA Times biased report appeared in its news columns and Martel might like to go there for the Comments:

    Click On Eliza Jane for the following and more:

    On Eliza Jane
    Dean

    The following letter was recently submitted to the Los Angeles Times, which they have so far not even responded to:

    The Silence of The LA Times

    Dear Sirs,

    This is in response to the story you published yesterday regarding the death of the daughter of Christine Maggiore and Robin Scovill.

    In order to have a diagnosis of ‘aids related pneumonia’, two conditions must be met. The patient must be HIV antibody positive, and there must be a clinical pneumonia. Whether Eliza Jane was in fact Ab+ is information that neither the LA Times nor the coroner’s office has as yet made public. However, according to *all* reports it is acknowledged the child suffered none of the textbook symptoms of pneumonia, and had previously been in excellent health for several years. Thus the crucial second condition appears completely unsatisfied. (A post mortem finding of PCP in the lungs means nothing since it is 100% ubiquitous in human beings). Thus we are left to ponder the only significant fact, and it is one of omission, in your story. On what basis did the coroner conclude the child died of ‘AIDS related pneumonia’?

    After more than 20 years of attempting to get straight answers about HIV/AIDS from so-called authorities, we are less than sanguine that this latest, simple query will be satisfactorily answered.

    Sincerely,

    Prof. Peter H. Duesberg
    Dept of Molecular and Cell Biology
    Univ. of California, Berkeley

    Dr. Harvey Bialy
    Resident scholar
    Institute of Biotechnology
    Autonomous National University of Mexico
    Cuernavaca, Mexico

    I myself remain surprised that what always looked like a case of anaphylactic shock from amoxicillin got diagnosed postmortem as pneumonia despite a complete lack of any pneumonia symptoms (unless you count low-grade fever and the sniffles). But I’m only mildly surprised–Maggiore is a political target after all, and people who not long ago were calling her a liar and saying she doesn’t even carry HIV are now calling her a murderer, and her friends accessories.

    Slander is a hobby for some folks, obviously. Rather than respect the right of informed people to disagree in good faith, lash out with hatred instead. (No, that’s not everybody, but yeesh.) Scovill tells me they have serious concerns about the medical examiner’s report and are consulting an independent pathologist and will have more to say on that publicly in the next few weeks.

    I am still working on getting a copy of the medical examiner’s report from LA County. I continue to maintain that if these parents or doctors are lying and the kid was showing symptoms that were ignored then I hope they’re punished. But knowing what we know, even from the half-assed reporting of the LA Times, I find myself doubtful.

    * Update * Due to heavy interest I have moved this thread up near the top again. I have now corresponded with four people with PhDs in biology who are glad to see this being discussed in public and are themselves very skeptical of the report from the LA Times. This doesn’t prove anything–objective reality is not determined by the vote of a majority of PhDs–but I emphasize this point to allay the fears of anyone who thinks this is crackpot wingnuttery. Since starting this I have made a point to only listen to people with at least a PhD in biology or an MD when I ask questions. For whatever that’s worth.

    Related Posts (on one page):

    1. Pseudoscientific Rubbish from the L.A. County Coroner–and Bloggers
    2. On The Radio…
    3. From the Mailbag: What Really Happened to Eliza Jane?
    4. On Eliza Jane
    5. Other AIDS News
    6. AIDS News

    Posted by Dean | Permalink | Technorati Trackbacks
    (link)
    maor (mail):
    It seems to me that it would make more sense asking the coroner or the county how the conclusion was reached. I mean, if you ask an editor “On what basis did the coroner conclude the child died of ‘AIDS related pneumonia’?”, he has a pretty good reason to say “How the hell should I know?”.
    9.28.2005 10:25am
    (link)
    Dean Esmay:
    I would presume that the medical examiner’s report would clearly show why they drew whatever conclusions they did. Also, according to Scovill, the LA Times themselves left out crucial information that was in that report in their attack piece.

    In any case, I’ve written the coroner’s office and am awaiting a response.
    9.28.2005 2:09pm
    (link)
    Hank Barnes (mail):
    Shoddy journalism. The basis for the coroner’s opinion was not contained in the story. That means it wasn’t asked (bad journalism) or the answer was not reported (bad journalism).

    Par for the course with this mysterious, hyped disease.

    Barnes, Hank
    9.28.2005 2:17pm
    (link)
    daf9:
    The coroner may clearly state on what grounds they drew their conclusions – the question is how much medical training one would need to evaluate that conclusion. And even among qualified professionals there’s a good chance you will find different opinions on the relative significance of one finding over another – if not for differing medical opinions where would lawyers find the fodder for malpractise suits? But I still think the media and authorities should back off. These people lost their daughter. Perhaps in hindsight a different medical treatment might have saved her life but there will never be any way of knowing that for certain and in any case, it would appear that these parents acted with the best of intentions.

    Dale
    9.28.2005 2:24pm
    (link)
    Hank Barnes (mail):
    Can’t really disagree, Dale.

    However, my criticsm of the article exclusively concerns the assertion that the girl died from “AIDS-related pneumonia,” without stating the underlying factual support. You don’t need an expert for that. “AIDS-related pneumonia” is a specific disease, that requires the presence of HIV.

    Conversely, if there is no HIV, there is no “AIDS-related pneumnia.” The story is silent on whether or not HIV was detected. So, hopefully, the autopsy report can back this up, or there is a terrible injustice being done to this grieving family.

    Hank Barnes
    9.28.2005 5:23pm
    (link)
    caltechgirl (www):
    Kudos to the Times for actually printing that letter. I’d love to see an actual response, but I’m guessing we won’t.
    9.28.2005 5:26pm
    (link)
    Harvey Bialy (www):
    My dear ‘caltechgal’,

    May I inquire as to what letter you are referring?

    (Maybe you are thinking of some of the transdimensional material that appears in bialystocker.net.)

    And may I also inquire as to your straight-ahead opine regarding the true underlying motives for the publication by the LA Times of a story lacking any substance but containing much potential slander?

    Harvey
    9.28.2005 5:38pm
    (link)
    caltechgirl (www):
    Oops. That’s what I get for not previewing. That should have said kudos IF they actually PRINT the letter….I’ve got a cold and my head is a little sideways from the meds.

    I want to know the truth, Harvey. I want to know what happened to EJ, whether she had HIV or not….

    etc etc

    The whole case is a classic example of how insufficient smarts applied to a straightforward problem lead to ever expanding comment and analysis while sufficient intelligence leads to rductionism and simplicity, and avoids the giant waste of time and life which entangles the insufficiently competent brains that litter the blogscape and the LA coroners office.

  11. C. Farber Says:

    As I noted in my article in LA City Beat, EJ’s total lymphocyte count was high, and that meets WHO’s standard of an intact immune system in the absence of CD4 measuring technologies.

    Indeed, AIDS establishment does not play fair. I don’t think it is known yet what EJ died of, but I also have to say that after experiences in my own life, including with my own mother, death is not something that comes built like an IKEA cabinet. Death is death, and only those who have lost somebody can ever know how shockingly mysterious it is. I can attest to one truth and that is that a person can be alive one moment, AND fully healthy, and die the next, for no reason that any coroner can explain. This is what happened to my mother. So fast she was still on her feet when they found her, having just left me a phone message, all things seeming normal, but they were not normal and she died. Not a stroke, not a heart attack.

    Anybody who plays AIDS poker with that little girl’s death or the love that was and is between her and her family is a monster. One day, death will show you and teach you–all that you, in life, were too frightened to understand, about life itself, about love, about decency and indeed about death. All of you who have exploited EJ’s death to torture her family are wrong in the broadest sense of the word “wrong.” You cannot be right, even if Jesus Christ come down off the cross with a blazingly positive WB. You are wrong because you crossed the line of what it means to be human, to have mercy.

  12. GS Says:

    Thank you Celia!

    This issue needs to be put away – in a place far far away.

    GS

  13. Dan Says:

    Celia,

    hear, hear!

  14. Kirk Says:

    There are some recent articles posted on NotAIDS! regarding the toxicity of AIDS drugs and the fabrication by UNAIDS of HIV/AIDS statistics in India and Africa.

    I am inspired by all of the scientists, writers, and lay people who have the courage to question the establishment.

    It is going on one year that I was handed the “death sentence” of a poz test result. Without any ARVs or any other AIDS drugs, I remain healthy, am at a healthy weight (adjusted for the winter;-)- my “viral load” remains steady around 20k and my CD4 t-cell count is at 750, a couple of hundred higher than when first getting the hiv test.

  15. Dave Says:

    Bravo Kirk!

    This year, I’ve met several HIV+ folks who –through their own diligence — have investigated and rejected the standard viral boondoggle paradigm that promotes fear and highly toxic drugs at the expense of good health.

    I don’t know if you live in California, but Dr. Peter Duesberg is speaking tonight at a conference.

    May you continue to enjoy good health!

  16. McKiernan Says:

    LRC Conference says its $ 150.00 to register.

    Does that mean it will cost $ 150.00 to hear Duesberg speak ?

  17. pat Says:

    Is it wrong that he should get funds?

  18. McKiernan Says:

    No, pat, Peter Duesberg can have all the funds grantable to him.

    My point is: will my going to the presentation mean $ 150.00
    out of pocket. If it does I may not go as I have the powerpoint presentation on my computer and I have no intent on attending the all day conference.

  19. pat Says:

    150 bucks is worth considering, sure. I just wish I had the opportunity to hear him speak and maybe even ask him a few questions in person and give him some money while I’m at it for his cancer research. Powerpoints don’t talk back and lack body language.

  20. Martel Says:

    I am somewhat taken aback by the comments from Celia Farber, TS, and others in response to my words about EJ. I am called a monster, a learing, cynical poker player at the table of other’s suffering. It is implied that I, unlike every other human being alive, have never experienced the death of a loved one. And why? Because I don’t claim to know what caused Ms. Maggiore’s daughters death and am willing to say so. As macabre as it may sound, death is and always has been the greatest teacher for medicine. It is only by examining cases, with no bias as regards the outcome and influenced only by the partiality imparted by science and logic, that medicine has progressed to the point where most children do not die in their first year of life, where the human life span has been doubled in the last century. These “case studies” represent loved ones to other human beings, people who deserve respect. If it is truly subhuman to seek knowledge from another human’s death, then let us dispense with all medical science forthwith.

    I will not go into the legal definitions of defamation, nor will I examine whether a charge of bias or a charge of professional incompetence and political manipulation in the workplace is more likely to be legally actionable.

    But I will look at the truth. Says TS,
    ” The way you accuse Christine and Al-Bayati of bias is defamatory, we merely rated the coroner incompetent at thinking.”

    Is this true? Is Ms. Maggiore, who has made an assault on HIV=AIDs a major part of her life, truly impartial here? Is al-Bayati, himself an HIV=AIDS denialist and practitioner of alternative AIDS medicine, as well as someone paid to find an alternative explanation from the coroner’s, also impartial? For that matter, is the coroner impartial? I sure hope not! The coroner should come up with a best explanation, as biased as possible based upon his knowledge of medicine and pathology! When the coroner discovered that Ms. Maggiore was HIV+, a rather muddled and confusing case suddenly became clear to him…again, based upon the compendium of medical knowledge regarding pediatric AIDS.

    So we could make the case that all parties here have their biases. But there is only one argument for the coroner’s incompetence, and it is weak: that the child’s death was not initially attributed to pediatric AIDS. I’m not going out on a limb when I suggest that few coroners alive would initially suspect this: there are vanishingly few cases of pediatric AIDS deaths (although there are more than deaths involving anaphylactic shock after amoxicillin treatment), and nearly all of them involve infants from destitute backgrounds whose mothers were injecting drug users (hint to all of my detractors: here’s where you accuse me of racism for telling the truth). There was no good reason to suspect that white, affluent Eliza-Jane was HIV positive.

    I fully appreciate that Eliza’s pneumonia was not typical, and, like most of you, I wonder if and how it caused her death. But as unconvinced as I am of pneumonia as the death-causing agent, going to amoxicillin shock and parvovirus infection is, as I said before, the act of a believer, not a rational investigator, especially since the timing is all wrong: amoxicillin allergy would cause a severe reaction within minutes, not only after 24 hours of treatment.

    As for the assertion that EJ was a rosy picture of health prior to taking amoxicillin, that is simply wrong. This little girl was so underweight that almost any pediatrician would have begun tests to find the cause soon after her first birthday, if not before. Her brain had been ravaged by encephalitis, a condition that develops not within 24 hours, nor even usually within 3 weeks, but over a period of months or years. Her thymus was well under half the normal weight, even for her small size.

    Celia Farber is correct to note that the lymphocyte count was too high for a diagnosis of AIDS…on the basis of T-cell numbers alone. Unfortunately, the lymphocyte count also spells fatal problems for al-Bayati’s assertions, which depend on anemia or immune suppression caused, according to his minority report, by amoxicillin and parvovirus infection.

    So where do I stand? Where I have always stood: that we don’t know what caused Eliza-Jane’s death. But I do suspect that a parvovirus wasn’t involved, and there is also scant evidence for, and much evidence against, amoxicillin shock.

    Call me a monster, but this case is good evidence that, while HIV may not cause every case of AIDS as many define it, while the whole field is following pipe dreams and wasting money, while there may be many unknowns that will change our view of HIV and AIDS in the coming decades, we completely ignore the collective knowledge of medicine–flawed as it is–to, occasionally, sadly, tragically, our own peril, and that of those we love. I don’t judge, I mourn the loss of all human life, and I resolve to continue my own work in getting to the bottom of whatever HIV may be.

  21. You Can't Really Mean That, McK? Says:

    Even YOU McK cannot be so out of it as to ask if it costs $150 to attend a conferecne that costs $150 to attend.

    I did not notice any part of the advertisement saying “Special: Attend The Duesberg lecture for $25 only or something similar.

    And are you some sort of inner circle denialist deviant that YOU have a powerpoint presentation that has only been promised?

  22. Dan Says:

    Let’s talk about bias, Martel…

    Is Ms. Maggiore, who has made an assault on HIV=AIDs a major part of her life, truly impartial here?

    “made an assault on HIV=AIDS”. That’s your view, and it reeks of bias. How about this? She’s challenging the prevailing medical view that HIV=AIDS. It doesn’t sound biased, and we’ve taken the implied violence of the word “assault” out.

    al-Bayati, himself an HIV=AIDS denialist

    Is calling him a “denialist” not a bias? Once again, he openly challenges the prevailing medical view that HIV=AIDS. Using the word “denialist” shows YOUR bias.

  23. Truthseeker Says:

    We assume that the above note is from the Beelzebub phenomenon and we apologize for its rude tone.

    As for Martel, is “Oh shut up” a scientific response? If not, how does one deal with the inability to accept what is in front of one’s nose? And the distortion of facts? Perhaps NHMchase is right to suggest further discussion is now moot. Martel is Noble in another guise.

    We apologize for our rude tone.

  24. Martel Says:

    Dan,
    Point well taken. My language was too strong. I was trying to show the strength of Ms. Maggiore’s questioning, which in an earlier and less culturally-sensitive time (i.e. mine) might have been called a “crusade.” Yes, too much violence implied; but her challenge is indeed strong and I do admire her for it, however much I disagree with some aspects of it. For al-Bayati, “denialist” was the word; I use this word just as I use the word “establishment” to refer to the HIV=AIDS people. So, yes, I’m biased: in favor of NHM’s fence.

    But let’s change my biased language to yours, which is admirably more neutral. Ms. Maggiore and al-Bayati still have an interest in the outcome, because if EJ has any AIDS illnesses, or even if she is HIV+, much of their belief system is challenged.

    As for TS, I’m sorry to read your, “Oh, shut up.” It is your prerogative to delete anything I write if you don’t like it. But EJ’s death has been made a matter for public discussion by Christine Maggiore herself, via her website, her public statements, her release of the counter-opinion by al-Bayati, and so on.

    CN, to whom you compare me, is repeatedly accused of refusing to answer specific questions. If you could give me an example of my alleged “inability to accept” the obvious, I would show my difference from CN and respond. Which of my stances, specifically, do you challenge:

    1) that acute amoxicillin toxicity occurs within seconds or minutes of first dose, and that EJ was thus an unlikely victim of drug reaction?
    2) that long-term toxicity would take weeks or months to produce any symptoms exhibited by EJ?
    3) that parvovirus infection is similarly unlikely to cause any of the pathology reported in the absence of major underlying medical problems?
    4) that EJ was disturbingly underweight, and had been so since the first year of life?
    5) that any student of pediatrics, presented with a toddler in the third centile by weight and height, would say, “failure to thrive,” and order a mountain of diagnostics?
    6) that EJ displayed perivascular cuffing in the thalamus and hippocampus, as well as microglial nodules and multinucleate giant cells, all characteristic of encephalitis, and none able to be explained by amoxicillin or parvovirus infection?
    7) that al-Bayati’s report is self-contradictory regarding anemia, immune suppression, and the lymphocyte counts?

    I wouldn’t be commenting on this at all, TS, if it weren’t in the article, and if you hadn’t specifically brought it up. But it is an extremely important case to me because I can’t explain away Eliza-Jane’s tragically untimely death from the rethinker (denialist, truth-seeking, whatever I should call it) point of view. The number of children in this country who are born into upper-class families and breastfed by untreated but healthy and non-drug-abusing HIV+ mothers, children who are neither tested nor treated for HIV…that number is so low that you could probably count it on two hands. Perhaps EJ is the only one. That, when she died, she displayed multiple symptoms of what the (dirty, corrupt, whatever you want to call it) establishment calls pediatric AIDS is a very, very, strange coincidence. Do I necessarily believe she died of pediatric AIDS? No, I never said that. It just looks an awful lot like it, enough to explain why so many [of those who challenge the prevailing HIV=AIDS hypothesis] are so upset when I point this out.

  25. Celia Farber Says:

    Martel!!!!

    I wasn’t calling YOU a monster. I am so sorry you took it that way and I can see that the mistke was mine in not clarifying: I am terminally livid at OTHERS, in the “media” especially, who weighed in on this, such as Primetime ABC, LA Times, NY Times (worst offenders, John Moore and Nattrass) POZ, (Bob Lederer) and on the blogospshere…”Orac,” Trent McBride, (Catallarchy) and that writer whose name escapes me now, at National Review Online…and a whole slew of libertarians at REASON’s blog…and on and on and on. I have been and always will be disgusted at THEM, for how they treated this family. I don’t think a normal MAN, forgive me, behave this way, toward a grieving mother.

    I am not simply furious at anybody who discusses this case. I hold in disdain those who have exploited it in an attempt to make themselves appear cleaner, purer, holier. And my point is you cannot BE holy or good if you are debasing this family and making their daughter a kind of universal AIDS daughter belonging to all of us… torn apart and autopsied and re-autopsied and invaded at every level in the media and elsewhere for all eternity.

    YES, I wrote about it too. My story was an attempt to say SLOW DOWN. We do not KNOW. Do not use THIS CHILD or THIS CASE to prove the HIV theory is correct 22 years later.

    I hope you accept my clarification and apology.

  26. Martel Says:

    Celia,
    Thank you, and sorry I misinterpreted your words so!
    I’m also sorry to be discussing anyone’s death at all, but again, from a medical perspective, EJ’s case is quite possibly unique, for the reasons I outlined above.
    Her death, in all its detailed sadness, is also in the public sphere, largely because her family’s conviction and incredible fortitude led them to place it there. I admire them for their stand.
    In my opinion, the dead are done the ultimate disservice when we become silent about them. Certainly, Ms. Maggiore will not fall silent about her daughter.
    However, given the outcry here against my arguments, I will follow TS’s advice and shut my mouth here, anyway. I am rather new to NAR (posting, anyway), and I recognize that sensibilities often make more sense than my ancient and perhaps too-unsociable mind may always comprehend!

  27. Celia Farber Says:

    Martel,

    I hope you stay, and I hope you do not shut your mouth. I see your points and the fact is I have staked my life on the belief that above all else one must question, especially one’s own beliefs, etc. That goes for me too and that goes for this ghastly heartbreaking situation with EJ. I like to think I am looking at it with eyes wide open. And though I see what you mean, from a frog’s eye view, what about the bird’s eye view, the broader lens:

    SO MUCH is off base and dissonant about the paradigm when one tries to make the Maggiore/Scovill family fit the poster lynching of “denialists.”

    1. Christine tested, positive, indeterminate, negative, and positive again…not sure how many times each.

    2. She’s been healthy and “living with HIV” for at least 17 years, (I think?) if in fact she can be said to be “infected,” or indeed if we agree upon what “infection” with HIV means…

    3. Her husband with whom she’s had unprotected sex for something like 12 years is negative.

    4. Their son Charlie is negative, healthy.

    5. As far as I know none of us yet know whether EJ was positive. We do know that Christine and Robin had to SUE Quest diagnostics to attempt to get their daughter’s testing documents and that something is very tortured and strange about that whole aspect. What is going On here? This is not normal. There are disturbing fevers and agendas and fears in the air. Have been since the beginning. Not a good atmosphere for “truth.”

    6. At the hospital the night EJ died, she was NOT diagnosed with pneumonia (the first diagnosis was “sepsis”) and upon autopsy no signs of AIDS were seen. Coroners reported that “AIDS is so obvious,” when you do an autopsy that HIV tests are not necessary. EJ, by contrast, was a case that mystifed them and they came up with no cause of death until many month’s later, as has been noted, when the whole thing was re-examined by Coroner James Ribe, and it became known that Christine was a dissident etc.

    I would like to re-post my article here, back shortly..

  28. Dan Says:

    And though I see what you mean, from a frog’s eye view, what about the bird’s eye view, the broader lens:

    SO MUCH is off base and dissonant about the paradigm when one tries to make the Maggiore/Scovill family fit the poster lynching of “denialists.”

    What about the broader view?

    I think that is so much of what is trying to be acheived in this blog.

    How distorted do things get when we look at them through an HIV/AIDS lens?

    How many ideas, questions and concepts do we end up abandoning or turning a blind eye to as we’re trying to force illnesses and test results to fit into a hypothesis rife with enigmas, unanswered questions and mysteries?

  29. Otis Says:

    And really shouldn’t the award go to Lew Rockwell for amazing courage in the face of a mountain of reasons to simply avoid publicizing Prof. Duesberg’s critique any more than he already has by publishing Miller, Culshaw, Brown and Bialy?

  30. Mckiernan Says:

    And are you some sort of inner circle denialist deviant that YOU have a powerpoint presentation that has only been promised?

    I have a power point presentation of twenty-thirty slides of a presentation by Duesberg speaking to a Rotary club.

    If you’re nice to me, I send the missing slides that Duesberg deleted for this new talk.

    Isn’t the internet wonderful. And besides that, yes, I’m cheap.

    McK

  31. Mckiernan Says:

    By the way, if you like I’ll email the powerpoint presentation by Duesberg for a price. The last slide is a bottle of an AZT bottle.

  32. kevin Says:

    Martel wrote:
    …amoxicillin allergy would cause a severe reaction within minutes, not only after 24 hours of treatment.

    This is simply not true.

    As a child, I developed a mild allergy to amoxicillin the first time it was given to me. It presented as a widespread rash about a week into treatment.

    The second time I was given amoxicillin, while in the hospital, I had a more severe reaction (throat-swelling, rapid breathing, etc) but that reaction occurred several hours into treatment (after two doses, I think; it’s been a while). Regardless, allergic responses can vary according to the individual and can even occur several days after stopping the medication. You are right to say that anaphylactic shock is almost always within a few hours; however, heart problems can manifest even after the antibiotic has been discontinued:

    Acute coronary syndrome due to amoxicillin allergy

    If I’m not mistaken, Eliza Jane was said to have died from cardiac arrest, according to Dr. al-Bayati’s report. That is certainly plausible, even if it is a rare outcome.

    Kevin

  33. AF Says:

    Martel: I can see your point that most coroners probably would not deduce EJ died of pediatric AIDS and I thought about that after I posted. But if you’ve been to the site dedicated to EJ then you may have come across this:

    http://www.justiceforej.com/ribeflipflops.html

    What do you think of the information? Is it only a smear campaign or is Ribe really incompetent or at least unreliable?

    I am going to go out on a limb here and say that from where I stand I agree with you, Martel, that EJ most likely did not die from an amoxicillin reaction or parvovirus infection. In fact, I was disappointed by al-Bayati’s report.

    I question that her death was due to her parents’ refusal to vaccinate her, but I would have to hear more of an argument.

    Now, I know Christine has gone through hell and I don’t really know much beyond the basics about nutrition, but I have wondered since this tragedy began if Christine’s vegetarian diet (I assume this is what she is by what I have read, anyone correct me if I’m wrong)– had ANY role in EJ’s health.

    As noble as being a vegetarian is, from the information I have gathered, adhering to a the diet while nursing or in the early stages of life is controversial. I hope I haven’t aroused the hatred of anyone, but I couldn’t get the idea out of my head that possibly EJ was deficient in some way(s) if Christine had her on a vegetarian diet as well.

    I am NOT making the case that Christine is responsible for her daughter’s death (I’m sure she meant only the best for her) and I don’t want to get into a drawn-out, convoluted debate about vegetarianism. But if EJ was breastfed and had a vegetarian diet after she was weaned then not everyone would agree that was a good idea. I just thought it might be an alternative explanation to “allergic reaction” and “pediatric AIDS.”

  34. noreen martin Says:

    Martel, humans would be more healthy if they consumed a more vegeterian diet because only plants contain the most valuable vitmains and mineral salts. Carbohydrates and sugar are digested in the mouth, where as proteins which are mainly come from meats, fish, eggs, etc. are digested in the stomach and if over-eaten, common in the American diet, result in putrefication. Adding the fact that the heating or over-cooking of foods destroys these critical elements.

    Purtification in the colon leads to a whole host of ailments and disease when not removed. Proteins can be obtained by eating beans, nuts, etc. Milk is considered a protective food too.

  35. noreen martin Says:

    I should have addressed the above to AF.

  36. MacDonald Says:

    My point is: will my going to the presentation mean $ 150.00
    out of pocket. If it does I may not go as I have the powerpoint presentation on my computer and I have no intent on attending the all day conference.

    TS, I don’t think this clarification of the question whether it costs $150 to attend a conference that costs $150 can be answered too rudely.

    “I have a powerpoint and I have no intention of attending the all day conference”

    What the F.. does that mean? “I may not want to pay to attend, cuz I don’t intend to attend anyway – and besides I’ve already got the powerpoint presentation, which is the part I do want to attend”, or what??

    Here’s a solution to MCK’s dilemma that’ll definitely make the world a much more logical place:

    DON’T ATTEND!!

  37. Martin Kessler Says:

    The true “denialists” are the AIDS establishment – they deny the scientific data staring them in the face, and then fabricate their own interpretation that suits their agenda. What can one expect from the AIDS Establishment but lies to keep them in business. Remember Ryan White? His death was reported as caused by AIDS related complications – in Duesberg’s book, Bryan Ellison got the actual cause from the Hemophelia Foundation: internal bleeding and liver failure – “authentic” AIDS symptoms? I think not!

  38. McKiernan Says:

    pat, thank you.

    You seem to have understood my concerns in my first comment. One was the cost of registration re:the full conference of 10 speakers over the two days and the other was whether that meant if one only wanted to hear Dr. Duesberg, one would have been required to pay the full $ 150.00 registration fee.

    Since, there are a few other individuals living in the SF Bay area that might have been interested, I thought it wasn’t an unreasonable question to ask that early in the morning.

    If anyone else had read the questions without prejudice, they may have considered answering for my benefit and the others here who were given late notice of the talk by Peter Duesberg.

    However, the comments following devolved to narrow minded idiocy. I apologize for any part I had in those exchanges.

  39. Truthseeker Says:

    If anyone else had read the questions without prejudice, they may have considered answering for my benefit and the others here who were given late notice of the talk by Peter Duesberg.

    Remarkably true, McK, your enquiry was very clear we thought, how odd that it should have been misunderstood in some mysterious way. Shows that you have to write things from three different angles on the Web to be absolutely sure they look the same to all, perhaps. Still very odd to be misunderstood by one of the most attentive, enlightened and distinguished posters here.

    Of course one may ask if to attend a slice of the conference need incur the cost of the whole. No idea how it was misunderstood even now.

    So much for communication on the Web without editing. Risky business unless everyone does a double take before they object to something.

    However, given the outcry here against my arguments, I will follow TS’s advice and shut my mouth here, anyway. I am rather new to NAR (posting, anyway), and I recognize that sensibilities often make more sense than my ancient and perhaps too-unsociable mind may always comprehend!

    Martel, we apologize for our automatic dismissal of your carefully wrought thoughtful extended comment on Eliza Jane’s death. We can only plead that it seems to us that past a certain point, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it is probably a duck unless there is strong evidence otherwise.

    Endless analysis seems to be typically possible on the basis of finding small exceptions to the rule one is applying in coming to a judgement about something, and one can go on forever finding flaws in a verdict and something to be said on the other side of an issue. In the end one tends to act just like the HIV∫AIDS fellow travelers who come to a decision to agree with the conventional wisdom even though they haven’t looked into it very far. if everything major points to a conclusion and there are good reasons for the exceptions – in this case every individual varies in their reaction to some foreign subsrance it seems clear – then you come to a conclusion and dont want to discuss it further.

    But who’s to say you are not right? Only someone who is sure of every detail and fact, and in this area it is hard to be that certain. But in our opinion the indications all point firmly towards amoxycillin poisoning and a fatal systemic reaction of the kind that occurs in some cases and is widely known, with any differences form the norm you mention accounted for by indivudal variation.

    You’re welcome to suspect something else, but you have to have a fairly big reason to reopen the case.

    Anyhow it is not for us to say what you should debate and we didn’t mean to discourage thoughtful and searching comment which is what we want here on the basic topic of the validity of HIV∫AIDS, if only to nudge the fence sitters off the fence before they do damage to themselves as well as discourage others from coming to a firm conclusion.

    One hesitates to recommend it but perhaps the early posts of this long winded blog might help you to make up your mind. Having written them we have no doubt whatsoever that HIV∫AIDS is a disgraceful error and one which has exposed scientists as all too human in their motivations.

    However, you should read Harvey Bialy and Peter Duesberg and Celia Farber to get a really clear picture of how one sided the argument really is, pace Chris Noble, Richard Jefferys and other professional defenders of the faith. It is not necessary to disentangle every knot they tie in this complex argument tree, it is just necessary to get a clear picture of the big branches to see which way up the tree is standing.

  40. Martel Says:

    Thanks again, TS, for so magnanimously allowing discussion here: this environment is rare and appreciated.

    Due to your encouragement, I would also like to respond to Celia, AF, GS, and Kevin before I quit this topic completely.

    AF, your comments on vegetarian children are interesting, although I lean towards doubting whether they’re relevant in this case. But who knows? A vegetarian diet is probably healthier for most people, but I’m of the old-school opinion that children (with developing brains) need factors that are easiest to derive from animal products. Not that it’s impossible for well-informed parents to design an appropriate vegetarian diet, it’s just much easier for the average parent to serve up some chicken on occasion.

    Celia, you rightly deplore the truth climate of this case. At TS’s urging, I went back and read or re-read the earlier posts, both here (including the Reason archive) and at Esmay’s site. I was struck again by how rude and cruel some of the posters were, on both sides, and also by a general failure to stay on topic. It’s one thing to discuss how to diagnose PCP. It’s another thing to insult a child’s mother, a loving mother by all accounts, or to accuse the one establishment doctor (Dean Esmay re: Nick Bennett) who bothered to put any thought at all into this case, of “dancing on little girls’ graves”. In so much off-topic nonsense, it’s easy for some truths to go into hiding.

    So in the interest of these truths, my final although I fear characteristically long-winded comments:

    1)Celia and GS mention high lymphocyte counts. The WBC listed in the hospital report is 14.5, above the normal range of 4 to 10. However, this does not necessarily mean a high CD4 count. It is quite possible to have a low CD4 T-cell count while having normal or high levels of other cells. This condition can be brought on in low-CD4 HIV patients by an infection. In the absence of a CD4 count, a low WBC is accepted by some as evidence for AIDS (as Celia correctly pointed out). However, the opposite–a high WBC–cannot strictly rule out AIDS.

    2)TS and others have described EJ as being in perfect health prior to her death just over 24 hours after being prescribed antibiotics. Here is some counter-evidence:
    a) EJ was a “fragile” child (hospital report, from a medical practitioner’s conversation with Ms. Maggiore on the day after death);
    b) EJ was in the single-digit centiles according to weight (doctors, coroner’s report);
    c) some of the organ size changes and the encephalitis demand causes preceding even the three-week infection that led to antibiotic prescription;
    d) Dr. Jay Gordon, the second of three doctors to examine EJ during her sickness, suspected pneumonia and discovered the ear infection (hospital report, based on information provided by Ms. Maggiore);
    e) symptoms of “agitation” preceded the final visit with Dr. Incao, who prescribed the antibiotics.

    3)Kevin helpfully brought up his own experiences with antibiotic-induced shock. Although I agree with some of Kevin’s concerns about antibiotics, I have to stand by my doubts on amoxicillin as causing this death. Why?
    a)In Kevin’s case, as in most shock cases, the shock–the potentially life-threatening allergic response–doesn’t happen until a first exposure is followed at some length (usually months or years) by another exposure. Most people are familiar with bee sting cases, where the stingee develops the allergy only after being stung numerous times in the past. Once sensitization has developed, though, the symptoms present almost immediately. I don’t know enough about the case to guess what caused Kevin’s rash within a week of first exposure to the antibiotic; a true allergic reaction would be extremely rare indeed (did you perhaps take other, structurally similar drugs before then?).
    b)Kevin’s mention of the cardiac-arrest paper is instructive, but I haven’t heard of any cases of cardiac arrest in a shock patient under the age of 28, and 2 to 4 hours between exposure and cardiac arrest (several cases in the lit) is not the same as 24+ hours (EJ).
    c)anaphylactic shock/cardiac arrest would make a lot of sense for this case EXCEPT for the absence of tachycardia;
    d)AND the failure of multiple epinephrine injections and IV to help.

    4)Thank you, AF, for backing me up on the likelihood of a coroner suspecting AIDS in a child such as EJ. I think some of the confusion on this point stems from language in Maggiore’s unpublished letter to the LA Times. She says that a friend called the coroner’s office and was told that AIDS symptoms are so obvious that decedents with unexplained deaths are not usually tested for HIV. It seems the coroner’s rep was not being questioned on the Scovill case specifically, and we don’t have the rep’s actual words. It may have been a sloppy statement that meant,”we know an AIDS case when we see one.” Ask yourself: what does an AIDS case look like in LA? And what AIDS cases would end up in the morgue without the decedent ever having been diagnosed or treated? Like it or not, the categories aren’t very broad, and EJ doesn’t remotely fit into any of them.
    As for Mr. Ribes himself, I am aware of the cases and allegations. I can only say that I’m glad I’m not in his position. Whatever we decide, for or against Ribes, it’s important to remember that he was not the only coroner involved in this case. Dr. Changsri also participated, and other doctors were involved in other aspects of the investigation. If there was a conspiracy, it was large.

    5)Celia and others, as I read the hospital report and the coroner’s report, it’s extremely difficult to reconcile what I read there with statements that appear on the justiceforej site.
    a)the hospital received medical reports indicating that Dr. Gordon diagnosed (or suspected) pneumonia; yet he was later said by Ms. Maggiore and others to have called her lungs “clear”;
    b)medical reports also told of chest congestion, coughing, and mucus during the weeks prior to death;
    c)Chest x-ray taken in the hours prior to death showed pneumonia, according to the hospital report filled out on 5-17-2005, before the autopsy was ordered.
    d)Dr. Liu, who pronounced death, filed “sepsis” as cause of death, presuming (since he had no knowledge of possible HIV involvement) that the pneumonia from the chest x-ray was likely bacterial in origin.
    e)Ms. Maggiore reported a fever of >101 F; in the hospital, fever was also recorded; yet statements on multiple web sites say that EJ never had a fever.
    f)Responding medical personnel confirmed cyanosis–the bluish extremities that indicate lack of oxygen; yet defenders of the amoxicillin hypothesis deny this.
    g)Dr. Harvey Bialey, in his letter to the LA Times, says “A post mortem finding of PCP [he means the organism, I presume] in the lungs means nothing since it is 100% ubiquitous in human beings.” Even using nested PCR, an extremely sensitive detection technique, the organism that causes PCP, Pneumocystis jiroveci, cannot be found in anywhere near 100% of humans. This is clear from a paper referenced by al-Bayati himself. The coroners found the organism not by using PCR (which would subject their finding to the same criticism we direct at the HIV establishment’s “isolation” techniques), but by staining for it and looking at it under a light microscope! While EJ’s pneumonia wasn’t typical at all, in fact very puzzling, you only see the organism in very sick individuals; if not HIV+, then with chronic lung disorders like asthma. (Of course, then you have al-Bayati’s dispute of the conclusions, based on lung H&E’s; has an independent panel looked through these?) I’ve reached beyond my own expertise on many occasions, and it looks as if Dr. Bialy has done so, too, on this point.

    Does anyone suggest that the hospital report was forged after the fact? That’s the only way I could explain how it differs so widely from later statements made by Ms. Maggiore and her friends.

  41. Chris Noble Says:

    Do not use THIS CHILD or THIS CASE to prove the HIV theory is correct 22 years later.

    Maggiore has in the past presented her children as proof that HIV does not cause AIDS.

    The vast majority of the “orthodox” response was to Al-Bayati’s pseudoscientific nonsense. However there have been some very hurtful comments made by a few individuals.

    I can only imagine the pain that Christine must have experinenced and is probably still going thorugh now. She has my sympathy.

    I have consistently stated that the people that are truly to blame are Duesberg, Bialy, Rasnick, Al Bayati etc.

  42. kevin Says:

    I don’t know enoughh about the case to guess what caused Kevin’s rash within a week of first exposure to the antibiotic; a true allergic reaction would be extremely rare indeed (did you perhaps take other, structurally similar drugs before then?). –Martel

    I did. I’d been given lots of Keflex, by that time, which I believe is structurally similar. I was a sick kid, and there were many times when my ill-health was made acutely worse by the use of antibiotics. Of course, sometimes they helped me tremendously. They have powerful effects in the body–sometimes bad, and we are only now beginning to see that side of their “personality”.

    I agree with you that it would be rare for a severe amoxicillin allergy to occur as it did in this case; however, any severe allergy is a rare occurrence, but they do happen. I had also had a severe reaction to pencillin, as an infant. Since the macrolides were not working to resolve my pneumonia, the doctor wanted to make sure I was allergic to amoxicillin. Unlike myself, EJ had never taken an antibiotic. In fact, she had not even been vaccinated, I believe. So her body had not ever been subjected to such strong pharmacological assaults. The antibotic could certainly have contributed to her death, given that she was already anemic from the URI.

    Chris Noble wrote:

    Maggiore has in the past presented her children as proof that HIV does not cause AIDS.

    You’re distasteful.

    Kevin

  43. Truthseeker Says:

    Martel, thank you for appreciating this site as a forum open to all to allow thoughtful discussion, which no one else has said recently and which is quite refreshing for the staff, but we still have to say that your dispute of the details seems to us to lack the sinews of a genuine case for another conclusion other that what seemed obvious from the very beginning, in the absence of significant new evidence which would force a reassessment.

    So we conclude that unless you can produce sizeable new factors or reinterpretations, this is just another example of an unhappy phenomenon of debates, what might be called the Endless Red Herring Syndrome, whereby in any dispute between people on rival theories of what really happened or what some evidence or event really means, there are always endless sub branches and twigs and leaves which can be searched out and added by those who believe that the generally accepted conclusion is wrong and that the tree is really upside down. Conspiracy theorists demonstrate this all the time.

    What matters it seems to us is the pattern of the main branches and the trunk – which way does it stand up? In your case it seems to us typical that your long list of revisions at the leaf and twig level don’t convincingly change the patterns of the big branches and truck and roots.

    Now, is this the same as the general rejection of the HIV∫AIDS paradigms by many informed people after review? Two decades of articles and books have continued to complain that the tree is upside down even after massive defense by many groups. These include the palace guard of the paradigm, both in the scientific journals and in public by those invested in the paradigm at the top of science. Then there are fellow travelers in politics and the academic world, and the goons and activists paid by drug companies to beat up on the critics on the Web, as attempted rather ineffectively here on this blog, on the Times Op Ed page, in letters to Harpers and on the Web in blogs, the NIAID site, and on the new AIDSTruth.org site, otherwise rudely now known as AIDSTruthiness.org by the critics.

    The difference it seems to us is that the critics of HIV∫AIDS address the shape and direction of the main branches, trunk and roots of the tree, while the defenders address themselves to the twigs and leaves and other details with which they hope to obscure the main branches, trunk and roots.

    Leaves and twigs are the preoccupation and level of operation of the foot soldiers of HIV∫AIDS paradigm defense, such as the ones who try to challenge the defense squad of NAR with misleading references and claims, not to mention gratuitous and embarrassing insults to the intelligence and science and motivation of Peter Duesberg and his supporters here.

    The modus operandi of the now discredited corporal of the HIV∫AIDS goon squad, John P. Moore of Cornell, who has been notoriously insulting in his diatribes, the fellow traveling editors of Nature and other science publications included the now retired editor of Nature, John Maddox, who joined in the censorship of the media by Anthony Fauci of the NIAID, is different, in that it recognizes the force of the critique of the main shape of the tree and tries to blind it with censorship, bullying and so forth.

    What is not changed or altered by the different styles of defence of smokescreen, diversion and censorship is the critics’ clear demonstration that the tree is in fact upside down, its roots pointing to the sky.

    Those who are not competent or willing to focus on the overall shape and major branches of the paradigm will talk about the leaves and twigs endlessly, diverting attention and trying to obscure the shape of the tree, and it is a great mistake to join them and debate the issue on that minor level too long, while ignoring the main shape of the argument.

    This is another reason apart from printing requirements why we have called a halt to the humunguous chimp thread and moved it over here to continue, since it is useful to knock down the range of rote objections to the critics but must not be allowed to run so long, in case it buries the outline of the debate.

    However as a continuous conversation raising different topics we believe it is worthwhile in the way a dinner party conversation is more interesting than a discussion confined to a particular topic.

  44. MacDonald Says:

    Trrll,

    If individuals have already been ‘shown’ to be HIV positive or negative on ‘other assays like PCR’ why don’t those tests count as the recognized standard?

    Since PCR does not measure HIV antibodies, there is no way that it could constitute a “recognized standard for establishing the presence or absence of antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2 in human blood.”

    Why then did YOU say Abbott could use PCR to establish their own standard for antibody testing?

    Given that there are multiple companies producing a variety of reliable HIV assays, it is hard to see a fair basis to pick one and acclaim it as the standard. Who, specifically, would you expect to do this?

    Duhh… how about the virus itself as isolated by disinterested scientists?

    But Dr. Trrll, speaking of disinterested scientists, how exactly does it feel to be cheap, easy, self-contradictory and without any recognized standards?

  45. MacDonald Says:

    McK, TS,

    I was wrong and McK right. I read that McK was only interested in the powerpoint as not being interested in anything else Prof. Duesberg might have to say. In my regrettable rashness, I also missed the fact that there was 10 different speakers on entirely different topics, which would perhaps otherwise have revealed to me the real meaning of McK’s question.

  46. trrll Says:

    As request, response carried over from the chimp thread:

    No, answer the question. What is the claimed percentage accuracy of the Elisa that is likely to be most often used in “universal testing” in the US as a first test? That will tell us how many false positives we are going to get the first time around in the US population, if we test all 300 million, an up-to-date goal you presumably support. If the accuracy of the new speedier home tests is lower, what is that?

    But perhaps you would also explain the quote. “4.8% false positive on Western blot-positive donors” means what exactly – please translate into English. Western blot is not usually done first, is it? Whatever, it sounds remarkably high, while the second figure sounds remarkably low. What’s really meant here?

    Obsessing about the false positive rate of the initial assay makes little sense, because one assay is not considered adequate to diagnose HIV infection–the current standard as defined by the CDC is to do multiple assays as described in the paper I cited.

    I can see from your second question that you did not bother to read the paper I cited, which seems to be typical around here, and still do not understand how the statistics of HIV testing work. Remember that the standard for HIV testing is confirmation of an initially positive enzyme-linked antibody assay by (at least) Western blot. Each type of assay has its own false positive rate, but they are largely independent, so the probabilities tend to multiply. This results in a fairly low rate of false positives (between 1 in 173000 to 1 in 379000) for the overall test. This can further be reduced by adding an additional step of PCR screening for those who are positive in the Western blot assay, as recommended by the study’s authors. Given the potential impact of an incorrect HIV+ diagnosis, this seems like a good recommendation.

  47. pat Says:

    Because it is Duesberg, Bialy, Rasnick, Al Bayati etc. that have dragged this familly through the mud? It is them who have dangled threats of child removal and prosecution for child endangerment above their heads?
    As far as facts are concerned, Mrs Maggiore’s HIV status has yet to be convincingly established. Which, by the way is the sole reason why the entire case against her HAD to be dismissed in the end anyway. She is the best evidence against those charges. And to argue her +status by backtracking from her daughters death from causes very loosely correlated with HIV “disease” is a dead end. Where are the missing pieces for the evidence to be conclusive, at least legally? The blood tests? We know the blood tests are probably nothing but shots in the dark and yet they haven’t produced even these!
    Mrs Maggiore isn’t propelling herself to stardom; she’s been blasted off into the stratosphere by a bunch of muddled, standard less experimental blood tests and saw her entire life set upside down. Shot into a world feet first no one would willingly choose to live in. Her family and her freedom are under constant threat of destruction based on evidence “convincingly unconvincing”. The death of her child is callously used as a weapon against her character (and in support of her diagnosis) and is in complete disregard for basic human dignity. Where is J. P. Moore’s mother when you need her?

    As for that annoying habit of tagging people with subjective qualifiers they really only serve to debase your opponent’s credibility, like a “flash-bang” character assault prior to the actual delivery of any (if any) intellectual intent. As a general rule in conversation, when character qualifiers are flung around freely, at any altitude, you know that you’re not really following a very profound argument.

  48. Martel Says:

    I just clicked over to YBYL to read Dr. Culshaw’s piece on HIV testing. Imagine my surprise (wry smile) when I discovered that comments were closed.

    Dr. Culshaw is brilliant, but I take exception to her statement that ELISAs are the same thing as Western blots, so they can’t confirm each other’s conclusions. An ELISA tells you that an antibody is reacting with an antigen. Perhaps specifically, perhaps not. A Western blot will show you WHAT the antibody is reacting with, i.e. what SIZE the protein is. The investigator can look at a Western blot and say with reasonable certainty whether a particular band marks a particular protein…particularly if a purified recombinant protein is used as a control (it is in test kits). If you feel the need, you can even cut out a corresponding band and sequence it to verify its identity.

    Trrll is right to discourage “obsessing” over initial false-positives, since these must ALWAYS be confirmed with more specific tests. But this is PRECISELY why widespread testing is a manifestly BAD idea. Government analysis—based upon the assumption that HIV=AIDS and that cases caught early will result in dollars saved in health care costs—predicts that full-scale HIV testing would be cost-effective if only 2 in 1000 individuals were unknowingly HIV+. But the CDC thinks that only 250,000 people in the US are HIV+ without knowing it. That’s 250,000/300 million+, or 1 in 1200. So even if we accept the government’s initial assumptions, it’s not cost-effective to test everyone. Nor is it of great importance for public health, since HIV’s spread does not have the same characteristics as most transmissible diseases and its prevalence has in fact plateaued. Unless home testing is followed, few tested individuals would find out about false positives (about a thousand in the entire country if everyone is tested and trrll’s stats are correct), so that’s not a concern. But in balance, testing everyone is a horrendous idea that would benefit only small segments of society: biotech and the medical/research complex.

    An interesting study in false positives is the following paper: here

    The authors find that breast cancer biopsies and breast cancer cell lines contain protein reactive with gp120.

    Then they perform PCR on nucleic acid from 40 breast cancer samples, amplifying with primers specific for HIV gp41. Astoundingly, all were positive, while control samples were not. When sequenced, the amplified fragments were aligned with HIV-1 sequence over 120 base pairs. Note that none of the patients tested positive for HIV.

    Finally, the authors look at the tissues using electron microscopy, and see virus-like particles that are also positive (by immunogold) for gp120.

    This is a bizarre result. Strangely, after three related papers from this group, publications ended in 2000 and nothing has been done since. Has anyone heard of this study?

  49. Truthseeker Says:

    Strong comments, ladies and gentlemen, thank you. But Martel, please write url links as html. Start with left pointing angle, then a, then after a space write this:

    href=”

    then insert the url and then

    put the quote mark again and the angle pointing right, write in the name of the url, and close with the left angle, /a and the right pointing angle.

    Then it shows up as a live link and fits within the comment border.

  50. Truthseeker Says:

    Apologies, distinguished commenters, but there is something amiss with some display route of the above post, which is written correctly but on my page at least adds spurious letters in the message between “a” and the “href”. Checking the original text it is correct , however, so may not do so on your computer. If it does, remove the said invasive viral letters, which are “rel=”nofollow””.

    Thanks.

    Call me a monster, but this case is good evidence that, while HIV may not cause every case of AIDS as many define it, while the whole field is following pipe dreams and wasting money, while there may be many unknowns that will change our view of HIV and AIDS in the coming decades, we completely ignore the collective knowledge of medicine–flawed as it is–to, occasionally, sadly, tragically, our own peril, and that of those we love. I don’t judge, I mourn the loss of all human life, and I resolve to continue my own work in getting to the bottom of whatever HIV may be. – Martel.

    The box is empty, Martel, according to all intelligent, objective and analytically competent investigators with no investment in it. Why would you think that just because someone says something, there has to be some truth to it? This phenomenon is perhaps why this dispute has gone on for 20 years longer than it needed to. The ‘can’t rule anything out’ syndrome. Cautious, judicious, even handed, openminded, politick, and ultimately fatheaded if carried on too long, and yet annother card in the hand of the HIV∫AIDS defenders and exploiters.

    Twenty years is nineteen too long, especially for those being treated.

    And it may be that the monster is now too large to excise from the body scientific and politic, just like a large tumor, without killing the host.

  51. Truthseeker Says:

    I can see from your second question that you did not bother to read the paper I cited, which seems to be typical around here, and still do not understand how the statistics of HIV testing work. Remember that the standard for HIV testing is confirmation of an initially positive enzyme-linked antibody assay by (at least) Western blot.

    Not typical of those familiar with what you are trying to discuss, but so far failing to. The task here is to see if you can express yourself in a way intelligible to the layman ie if you understand what you are talking about.

    You are hereby asked for the third time to address yourself to the initial Elisa test, which for the reasons noted by Houston and others above, is the one that will cause unncessary havoc if applied universally if it is as inaccurate as studies suggest.

    So what is the accuracy that you have in mind as specified in our previous reply to you, ie for whatever Elisa that you think will be most widely applied in the universal testing your colleagues in arrant nonsense at the CDC now advocate in the US?

    Why is it so hard for you to reply to a simple question? Is it that you do not understand the question? Is simplicity discredited in your mind as inaccurate? Have you left behind the realities of the real world for the technicalities of science for so long that you cannot recall and deal with the rationale for what you do?

    We were under the impression that once Harvard graduates could think straight but perhaps this is wrong today, since very few seem able to write straight. Perhaps you are all too busy politicking to pay attention to the work at hand.

    If you want to be scientific you have extricate yourself from politics, which is what allows the meme to take root in the mind and take it over, as it apparently has in your case. The premise of this blog is that the case for HIV is unproven, and therefore to assume it is proven as you do is to handicap your contribution and your benefit. It is an assumption that we are questioning. You hadn’t noticed this?

    It is an assumption that so far seems not to check out from every point of view we have tried. We are hoping that perhaps you will rescue the situation by providing a justification which will scotch the whole array of other disproofs which have been revealed to date, so that despite the innumerable conflicts with science, common sense and Gallo’s own papers, we too can believe in HIV causing AIDS, since this seems to be a key to acceptance, social scientific and political, today.

    We want to believe, trrlll, help us! Imbue us with your remunerative faith! But if you cannot do that, at least answer a simple question.

  52. MacDonald Says:

    Dr. Culshaw is brilliant, but I take exception to her statement that ELISAs are the same thing as Western blots, so they can’t confirm each other’s conclusions. An ELISA tells you that an antibody is reacting with an antigen. Perhaps specifically, perhaps not. A Western blot will show you WHAT the antibody is reacting with, i.e. what SIZE the protein is.

    Martel is undoubtedly correct, and the rest of the post made it worth pointing out, so I’ll not argue over what Dr. Culshaw actually meant.

    However, what’s important to understand is that the ‘more specific’ WB serves precisely the role ascribed to it by Martel: it prevents the whole testing scam (if you’ll excuse a biased word)from spiralling into chaos or expose itself.

    It is therefore chilling that AIDS INC. now is willing to run this risk of chaos and exposure to terrify us anew and conquer more territory.

    As evidenced by the pandemic that never came, the tests that can distinguish between different proteins in fact do little more than distinguish between the initial risk groups and the rest of the population.

    The ‘HIV proteins’ were chosen because they reacted with the serum of individuals declared ‘AIDS patients’, but not (to the same extent) in controls. The specificity, of the proteins, therefore is to people in certain risk groups, not (necessarily) to HIV.

    The point is stated By Neville Hodgkinson, with the clarity and brevity one expects of anybody who understands what he is talking about and has nothing to hide, in the article The Circular Reasoning Scandal of HIV Testing

    I presented the excerpt below to a biochemistry undergraduate who believed HIV causes AIDS. His comment was “That’s absloutely brillant the way they’ve done it… but of course if I were to do the same on undergraduate level I wouldn’t get a pass mark.”

    There is an association between testing HIV-positive and risk of developing Aids. This is the main reason why scientists believe HIV is the cause of Aids. But the link is artificial, a consequence of the way the test kits were made.

    It never proved possible to validate the tests by culturing, purifying and analysing particles of the purported virus from patients who test positive, then demonstrating that these are not present in patients who test negative. This was despite heroic efforts to make the virus reveal itself in patients with Aids or at risk of Aids, in which their immune cells were stimulated for weeks in laboratory cultures using a variety of agents.

    After the cells had been activated in this way, HIV pioneers found some 30 proteins in filtered material that gathered at a density characteristic of retroviruses. They attributed some of these to various parts of the virus. But they never demonstrated that these so-called “HIV antigens” belonged to a new retrovirus.

    So, out of the 30 proteins, how did they select the ones to be defined as being from HIV? The answer is shocking, and goes to the root of what is probably the biggest scandal in medical history. They selected those that were most reactive with antibodies in blood samples from Aids patients and those at risk of Aids.

    This means that “HIV” antigens are defined as such not on the basis of being shown to belong to HIV, but on the basis that they react with antibodies 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.

    Gay men leading “fast-track” sex lives, drug addicts, blood product recipients and others whose immune systems are exposed to multiple challenges and who are at risk of Aids are much more likely to have raised levels of the antibodies looked for by the tests than healthy people – because the antigens in the tests were chosen on the basis that they react with antibodies in Aids patients. But this association does not prove the presence of a lethal new virus.

    The tests do discriminate between healthy blood and the blood of patients with Aids or Aids-like conditions, because Aids patients suffer a range of active infections and other blood abnormalities, some of which are transmissible. This is why the tests are useful as a screen for the safety of blood supplies.

    But to tell even one person that they are HIV-infected on the grounds that they have antibodies that react with the proteins in these tests is an unwarranted assault

  53. Truthseeker Says:

    So, out of the 30 proteins, how did they select the ones to be defined as being from HIV? The answer is shocking, and goes to the root of what is probably the biggest scandal in medical history. They selected those that were most reactive with antibodies in blood samples from Aids patients and those at risk of Aids.

    This means that “HIV” antigens are defined as such not on the basis of being shown to belong to HIV, but on the basis that they react with antibodies 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.

    So tests detect the people at risk for AIDS by detecting the antibodies typical of such people. Doesn’t seem particularly circular in that respect.

    However, it certainly means that HIV is not necessarily involved in any of it, and that HIV antibody testing is no guide to the presence of HIV.

    More quotes from Neville Hodgkinson:

    “In an internet posting entitled “Why I Quit HIV”, Culshaw calls for a ban on HIV tests. She says they do “immeasurably more harm than good” because of an “astounding” lack of specificity and standardisation; she adds that many people are being treated with drugs on the basis of an insupportable theory. “My work … has been built in large part on the paradigm that HIV causes Aids and I have since come to realise that there is good evidence that the entire basis for this theory is wrong.”

    Also

    “In fact, as demonstrated in a two-part investigation published in The Business in May 2004 (see panel), experts have known since the early years of Aids that “HIV” test kits could not be used to diagnose Aids. Delegates at a World Health Organisation meeting in Geneva in 1986 heard that the kits were licensed to protect blood and plasma donations, not as a screen for Aids or people at risk of Aids. But, dictated by public health needs, usage had expanded and “it was simply not practical” to stop this, as Dr Thomas Zuck, of the US Food and Drug Administration, put it.

    The 100 experts from 34 countries heard that, though the tests were useful in safeguarding blood supplies, something more was needed to distinguish genuine infection with HIV.

    Dr James Allen, of the US Centres for Disease Control Aids programme, said studies suggested some people were reacting to components of the cell line used to grow HIV for many of the test kits licensed in America. Other reactions occurred because of antibodies to normal cell proteins, naturally occurring in the body. Allen warned that the problems could be magnified in areas of the world that did not have the sophisticated facilities of America.

    The meeting was told that a so-called “confirmatory test”, called western blot, relied on the same principle as the test kits it was supposed to be checking and so was liable to the same kind of false-positive reactions. Subsequent research has repeatedly confirmed this problem: more than 60 conditions that cause such false-positives have been documented. One is tuberculosis, which produces symptoms of Aids as defined in Africa and is immensely widespread among impoverished people.

    As the HIV/Aids paradigm won worldwide acceptance, increasingly complex procedures for trying to make a reliable diagnosis came into being. But the basic problem – not being able to validate any of these procedures against pure virus taken from patients – still remains.

    Testing is the biggest can of worms in AIDS, though it is labelled “caviar” and the number one thing to do in the GlaxoSmithKline insert in the Times on Friday in the list of “25 Ways You Can make a Difference”:

    1. Get tested . Encourage anyone you know who is sexually active to consider testing.

    Have you had yours, Trrlll?

  54. MacDonald Says:

    NB,

    an adverse reaction has made me aware that I’ve not been clear. I take Martel’s word for it that WB can identify proteins with greater certainty than ELISA, NOT that it can confirm an HIV+ diagnosis, as I hope is clear from the rest of my post.

  55. Truthseeker Says:

    One is tuberculosis, which produces symptoms of Aids as defined in Africa and is immensely widespread among impoverished people. – Hodgkinson

    Where the assumption in Africa without testing has grown into “people have AIDS if they are sick with anything at all”, now as money pours into African health services at the grass roots level, courtesy of the American rich and Bono, the testing they are doing will now label and already does label TB as AIDS, since it provokes HIV+ test results, and results in it being mismedicated with ARVs including nevirapine, and African “AIDS” deaths spread, is that it?

    Looks like it.

    We hope that the brief silence of trrlll Noble and Jefferys here today is not shame at this monstrous situation, but some temporary distraction, such as cashing their paycheck from HIV∫AIDS, financial or psychic or both.

  56. Bialyzebub Says:

    Call me a double dirty dog, but doggonit if Prof. Trrll has gone and done one of his usual numbers and avoided Mr. Geiger’s rather devastating letter. He has been helped in this by the rather abrupt and inexplicable closing of a thread that had gone on and on way past anyready’s battery — even with chemical assitance I venture. So, I repost:
    ***
    Bialyzebub:
    Call me a dirty dog, but I am in receipt of an email from Michael Geiger that was addressed to Prof. Trrll and copied to TS as well, and since I see that the TS has referred to this indefatigable poseur by his right name, I am at a loss as to why he did not reproduce the rest of Mr. Geiger’s wonderful letter because what opened even these jaded eyes wider than wide was to discover that this grossly inept defender of viral AIDS is a PHARMACOLOGIST who studies the toxicity of AMPHETAMINES.

    The open letter to TRRLL:

    “I read your remarks on New Aids Review as “trrll” and I am absolutely amazed at your seemingly mindless responses and inability to see any other side to the HIV AIDS issue than you do. Particularly as you yourself wrote the following:

    “There is ample evidence that it is possible for psychoactive drugs – and stimulants in particular – to harm the brain,” said Dr Terrell G, of the Boston University School of Medicine, whose research has shown that high doses of amphetamines can cause brain damage in animals. (ref)

    Mr. G, methamphetamine use in the California gay community, where HIV supposedly began, has been unbelievably rampant since the late 1970’s in Southern California where “AIDS began. Even most of the supposed leaders of the gay community were strung out on it, including the publishers of our local gay press. As a matter of fact, the amount of Crystal Meth used in the community has mirrored the rise of supposed HIV/AIDS right here where I live in San Diego as well as in LA and San Fran.

    Particularly as those using meth are also up for days with no appetite for food, and exposing themselves to many STD’s on a regular basis, and then taking massive amounts of antibiotics to treat the STD’s. Perhaps you suppose that this is no problem for one’s immune system over time? The gay bath houses and gay party scene here has been drenched in meth use since the mid 1980’s when the supposed AIDS epidemic began. Here in San Diego, 95 out of every 100 AIDS cases either is or has been a frequent crystal meth user. I can still go right over to any of the three gay bath houses in town and buy street made crystal meth right from the guys working at the counter of the clubs. I can go into any gay bar here in town and find several people selling it on any Friday night. The local gay 12 step meetings are full of HIV positive meth addicts. Even some of the local cops got caught selling it!

    You are bright enough to admit in your own words in the link above, the cellularly destructive ability of meth as regards brain cells, and are seemingly completely unable (or more like unwilling) to suppose that it may also destroy the immune system, and instead choose to wholly blame HIV for the supposed AIDS destruction of the immune system, wasting, and dementia claimed to be due to HIV. You are obviously able to see the harm caused by meth use in brain cells and you ignorantly suppose that the damage stops there. Is there some intelligent reason to consider the ravaging effect of meth on the immune system? Is there some intelligent reason why you wish to blame the obvious damage on the immune system strictly on HIV?

    Terrell G, a real scientist, presented with all of the information that you have been presented with by the AIDS Dissent community, would never stop questioning the mainline HIV = AIDS hype or mindlessly spout that he knows what is going on with it all as you regularly seem to do on NAR, especially after seeing the damage in animals due to meth. Are you just getting old or lazy, or what?

    As a supposed research scientist, you should be ashamed of yourself.”

    Michael Geiger

    HEAL, San Diego

    12.4.2006 2:04am

  57. pat Says:

    HIV testing and the whole shibang that follows it obviously does more harm than good as is evidenced in all the political, social and scientific repercussions. We have been told and told again that we are facing a deadly human enemy that has yet to trump even the lowliest and most covered up of all human killers, namely medicine itself (minus cancer and heart-attack maybe but I wonder why these are so much more prevalent than before. Not implying “medicine” here as a field specifically but “man’s”* drive for progress(in my mind too fast in close to pitch dark) Anecdote: I asked my mother about her pets during her childhood. She cannot recall a pet dying of cancer in her earlier years. She has only observed that phenomena in her more recent history. All our pet have died and are still in the process of dying of cancer. All of them.)
    The obvious conclusions are screaming to be heard; there is no threat to human kind from HIV, period. Get a more meaningfull cause or be derided and driven out of town in plume and tar ( that will actually happen when the mojoity stop believing in the sex on TV ). The church was first to destroy the notion of hope and I fear “for-profit”medicine will follow closely behind. We were born on our hind legs. How many of us have died from hind-leg propulsion as opposeded to combustion engine propultion? Simple analogy but highlights the fact that we are a bigger threat to our own existance than lowly 9 k/bite retro-thingies that we know admittedly little about (retrovirus as a repair programme anyone?). Reality speaks for itself. Man*kind has not really benefited from medical advances as we are told. We are constantly reminded that before modern medicine the mortality rate was much higher. Our life expectancy until even very recently has been quite low. Right up to the turn of the century, we could only hope for about 60 years. So yes it was low. What is not factored in is the mortality rate from accidents/physical wounds. Modern medicine is miraculous on that front no doubt and has made a big dent. While In the long past a leg fracture was a death sentence, it is today a moment for snap-shot memorabillia and autographed gipsum sculptures. So can gunshot wounds to the head at times. HIV ranks as a sad distraction and therefor stands out as a highly probable sucker-trap for long-term prophylactic poisoning. The money involved really gives it away.

    PS: have I just coined the term “mojo-rity”?

  58. pat Says:

    I meant to hit preview. Damn my left!

  59. trrll Says:

    Carried over from the chimp thread:

    What about accuracy? I’d think that a diagnostic test would, first and foremost, need to be accurate. Quick, easy, and cheap sounds more like reasons to explain why a test is a poor diagnostic tool, especially when dealing with a contagious killer like HIV.

    There are various ways to achieve accuracy. What turns out to be most cost effective is an initial screening with a rapid, economical test that will catch most positives, even at the price of some false negatives, then follow up with a more accurate and costly test to weed out the false positives.

  60. trrll Says:

    Carried over from the chimp thread:

    If it is it the science developed by the biologists, I do not congratulate you. You do not even respect the classic rules of the chemistry.
    And you do not answer the essential question: were the structures of the crosses-reacting proteins sequenced ?
    As long as the answer to this question was not given, it is necessary to consider that you are bad scientists.

    The fundamental methodology used for HIV testing was developed by biochemists and was extensively validated in literally thousands of other (non-HIV) studies before being adapted to HIV. If you think that it does not “respect the classic rules of chemistry,” it probably means that you do not understand chemistry.

    It is fairly rare in antibody studies for researchers to purify and sequence cross-reacting proteins. There are often a lot of them (especially if the experiment is carried out at a concentration above the assay’s range of validity), identifying them is time consuming and expensive, and there are rarely any useful scientific insights to be gained.

    Nevertheless, some of the cross reacting proteins in HIV antibody assays have been identified. For example, one protein cross-reacting with anti-HIV-1p17 antibody has been identified as the human enzyme superoxide dismutase 2. If you are seriously interested, and not merely trying to score debating points, try searching PubMed with the key words “HIV cross reacting proteins”.

  61. trrll Says:

    You are hereby asked for the third time to address yourself to the initial Elisa test, which for the reasons noted by Houston and others above, is the one that will cause unncessary havoc if applied universally if it is as inaccurate as studies suggest.

    So what is the accuracy that you have in mind as specified in our previous reply to you, ie for whatever Elisa that you think will be most widely applied in the universal testing your colleagues in arrant nonsense at the CDC now advocate in the US?

    Why is it so hard for you to reply to a simple question? Is it that you do not understand the question? Is simplicity discredited in your mind as inaccurate? Have you left behind the realities of the real world for the technicalities of science for so long that you cannot recall and deal with the rationale for what you do?

    I don’t see the point of arguing about a strawman issue that has no relevance to modern reality. Can you name anybody today who is seriously proposing a test protocol using the ELISA assay alone? It is most certainly not true that the CDC advocates such an approach; the CDC recommended HIV test procedure entails following up a positive ELISA assay with at least one confirmatory assay. The paper I cited previously provides an actual measurement of the incidence of false negatives with such a multi-assay test protocol in actual practice.

  62. Truthseeker Says:

    Instead of debating the question why not simply answer it? Obviously an Elisa will be followed by confirmatory tests, but the question is, how long before one of these quickie at home tests are followed by confirmatory Western Blots?

    Many people will apply one of these quickies at home and if positive it will cause emotional havoc until denied by (supposedly) more reliable retesting, which will presumably take days or weeks if done by mail.

    Even if it takes one day, disturbing the lives of millions with such egregious distortions of reality is criminal, especially for medical and scientific professions who profess they serve humanity and/or its health with their publicly funded operations.

    Let’s remember the reality behind all this technical debate, where it has consequences.

    Let us note that Noble has not answered our query as to his affiliation and funding, and you trrlll Sir have also not yet answered the Geiger query concerning the strangely overlooked relevance of methamphetamine, your specialty, in your thinking about HIV?AIDS.

    By the way Bialyzebub, the thread was only moved because the printers even at NYU were unable to print out recent pages without ruminating for ten minutes or some equally unsupportable waiting period. The message you refer to we have not read, owing to the suffocation of our email checking by a) spam and b) the inadequacy of current Apple OS and Mail software, which has slowed our machine to a crawl.

  63. john Says:

    This study shows effectively that what we call P17 contains the same sequence as the SOD 2, but it proves nothing as regards the fact that P17 results from a some virus.

    Practically all the proteins attributed to the HIV present sequences found in diverse human proteins, which you consider moreover as being the source of crossed reactions.

    For example, the ” env-fs gene ” encode a truncated GPx.

    But Zhao and al propose a mechanism of forming of this truncated GPx which would appear because of the deficit of arginine associated to the oxidative stress.

    Finally, it seems very logical to consider that the deficit of arginine can be at the origin of the appearance of all these fragments called P17, P24…

    Simply, their molecular weight is weaker than that original proteins.

    It is surprising all the same that proteins which undergo these troncatures are those who manage the redox balance of the cell.

    The deficit of arginine can very well be explained by the greater forming of nitric oxid under the influence of the oxidative stress, what leads to the apoptosis of the TH1

    The blind faith that you carry in the hiv is the only reason which prevents you from seeing the evidence.

  64. john Says:

    Obviously, the big molecules of these redox enzymes are going to stay in mitochondries, while the small fragments which result from it are going to be able to circulate in the plasma.

    This mechanism of degradation of these enzymes would exist at each of us permanently, but when it is aggravated, the rate of fragments increases strongly and numerous fragments have a plasmatic concentration which exceeds the rate admitted to declare a seropositivity.

    In fact, these tests detect the inclination to become ill of AIDS, and not the presence of the “hiv”.

  65. Jani Says:

    New stuff is up on http://www.sparks-of-light.org – including Gallo’s email to myself -and other small attacks … with the articles to which they were objecting – HIVGATE and AIDSGATE…

    enjoy, – and keep up your own wonderful work

    Janine

  66. chase Says:

    When I asked him for medical advice, he refused to give it to me. Although I found that perturbing, I understand his hesitancy, since he is not a medical doctor.

    I imagine that most patients are completely unaware of his work. You can’t ignore something you are unaware of. You could be ignorant of that work, but you couldn’t ignore it. If patients are ignorant of his work, I imagine outreach efforts on the part of rethinkers have not penetrated — certainly I can confirm that. Obviously, part of that is media spin on the situation. Celia made me aware, but not until Harper’s (I wasn’t a Spin reader, can’t imagine that many men looked to Spin for medical advice). Since most mainstream media have ignored his work, I’m not sure how people were supposed to become aware of it.

    I have met two men who knew of his work and did not react favorably to it. They explained that they were not supporters because they knew too many men who were HIV+/sick/dead who did not do drugs or poppers or live unhealthy lifestyles in any way. So I think they found the explanatory framework wanting.

    The only HIV+ gay man I know who ever derided his work was Gregg Gonsalves. Seems strange to generalize from Gregg Gonsalves to all HIV+ patients. Especially when several patients have derided Gregg Gonsavles in print and email for his attitudes towards dissident theories.

    Placing blame, therefore, on the patients seems both illogical and unkind, to say the least. Then again, I think you wrote that sentence exclusively for my benefit. And of course, I’ve praised his work, and questioned aspects of it. Apparently, quesitoning Duesberg’s work is the same as deriding it — a strange attitude from those who favor questioning the establishment.

  67. trrll Says:

    Instead of debating the question why not simply answer it? Obviously an Elisa will be followed by confirmatory tests, but the question is, how long before one of these quickie at home tests are followed by confirmatory Western Blots? Instead of debating the question why not simply answer it? Obviously an Elisa will be followed by confirmatory tests, but the question is, how long before one of these quickie at home tests are followed by confirmatory Western Blots?

    OK, for the record, I am in agreement with what I believe to be the general scientific opinion that these ELISA based home tests are not appropriate for HIV screening of low-risk populations. Those who choose to use them should be made aware of the likelihood of false positives, and should be prepared to deal with the psychological impact of a possibly misleading positive reading.

  68. pat Says:

    Do you mean this test is innappropriate for low risk populations but adequate for high risk population? Why would the rate of false positive be different for them?
    This seems to confirm my suspicion that all that is required for a +HIV test is a moralistic appraisal of ones “risk” behavior. If a low risk and high risk patient both test +, does this mean the low risk is likely a negative and the high risk definitely a positive? This doesn’t sound scientific at all even to this bonehead.

  69. Dan Says:

    Pat,

    you’re not a bonehead.

    You understand something that all of us should understand.

    Testing is BIASED! Plain and simple.

  70. john Says:

    Pat, this mainstream piece is enlightening :

  71. Dan Says:

    From the piece linked to by John…

    Counselling people at low risk requires paying particular attention to false positives, that is, to the possibility that the client has a positive HIV test even though he or she is not infected with the virus. The lower the prevalence of HIV in a group, the larger the proportion of false positives among those who test positive. In other words, if a client with high-risk behaviour tests positive, the probability that he actually is infected with HIV is very high, but if someone with low-risk behaviour tests positive, this probability may be as low as 50%, as indicated above. If clients are not informed about this fact, they tend to believe that a positive test means that they are infected with absolute certainty. The case of a young man from Dallas that circulated in the U.S. press is one example. This man tested positive on a routine HIV test, became depressed and contemplated suicide, and moved to California. After some 18 months of anguish, a Californian doctor made him take the test again, and it came back negative (Chicago Tribune, 3/5/93). If the young man had committed suicide, as the blood donors in the Florida case did, we might never have found out that his test was a false positive. Emotional pain and lives can be saved if counsellors inform the clients about the possibility of false positives

    Bias, anyone?

  72. Dan Says:

    If the tests are so “accurate”, then a positive would be a positive, and a negative would be a negative. End of story.

  73. Martel Says:

    John has brought up a fascinating and thought-provoking paper on a theoretical protein encoded by a frameshift in the HIV-1 env sequence. I don’t fault John for misunderstanding this paper and the p17 article mentioned by Trrll, since interpreting both requires extensive knowledge of molecular biology. But John is completely wrong in his arguments, no matter what you believe about HIV and its existence, and I hope to show him why.

    John claims that the HIV p17 protein has “the same sequence” as human superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2, an enzyme). Proteins are made up of amino acids. There are 20 common amino acids, and each of them has been given a one-letter designation. You can think of a protein as a long word, containing some combination of 20 different letters. HIV p17 is a “word” with just over 130 letters. SOD2 is another word, containing about 220 letters. If you compare these two words to each other, you will see that they are completely different. Since many NAR readers may not have the access or training to view these sequences, here they are:

    HIV-1 p17:
    mgarasvlsg gkldawekir lrpggkkkyr mkhlvwasre lerfalnpgl letaegcqqi meqLQSTLKt gseelkslfn tvatlwcvhq ridvkdtkea ldkieevqnk nqqktqqaaa gtgssskvsq ny

    SOD2:
    mlsravcgts rqlapvlgyl gsrqkhslpd lpydygalep hinaqimqlh hskhhaayvn nlnvteekyq ealakgdvta qiaLQPALKf nggghinhsi fwtnlspngg gepkgellea ikrdfgsfdk fkekltaasv gvqgsgwgwl gfnkerghlq iaacpnqdpl qgttglipll gidvwehayy lqyknvrpdy lkaiwnvinw envterymac kk

    Would anyone care to point out the similarities? (Aside from the M at the beginning!)

    The one similarity is in caps above. LQSTLK vs. LQPALK. (In the paper trrll linked, the authors used a p17 sequence that matched perfectly.)”Good” antibodies, the kind that don’t recognize every protein and her mother, are usually directed towards a short stretch of amino acids. An antibody that “sees” LQSTLK may also “cross-react” with “LQPALK.” That’s why an ELISA, where the antibody just says “I recognize a short letter sequence” needs to be verified by other techniques like Western blot, where the antibody can say, “I recognize something with this letter sequence AND it has the right size as what we’re looking for.” Context is everything.

    So, no, p17 and SOD2 do not have the same sequence. They share a tiny stretch (six letters) of identical or similar amino acids (incidentally, at different locations in the two proteins).

    But are the two proteins related, maybe really, really distantly, maybe like I’m related to Truthseeker or John? Let’s decide on a six-letter word, say, MARTEL. Now let’s take 20 letters of the alphabet (throwing out the z, x, and a few others) and generate a random text that will fill up four or five hundred pulp fiction novels. Next, let’s sit down and read for the next several months or years. How likely are we to find the letter sequence MARTEL somewhere in there? Or for that matter, any other word, like LQPALK?

    In a billion-and-a-half amino acid letters (the size of the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s current protein database, we could expect to find LQPALK at random 3,121 times. In the amino acids of the human proteome (making up a large portion of the database), we would certainly expect to find it many times.

    I haven’t even brought up the DNA/RNA sequences, and how these make John’s assertions even more puzzling.

    So in conclusion, at the protein level, p17 and SOD2 do not resemble each other in any way and are completely evolutionarily unrelated except that they’re both made of amino acids. That is a scientific fact, not a theory, and it has nothing to do with my personal opinion in the HIV=AIDS debate.

    Of course, take what I say with a grain of salt. After all, if HIV p17=SOD2, then MARTEL is just another formyltransferase/hydrolase complex subunit D.

  74. pat Says:

    Thanks for the link John. I am amazed and dumbstruck…

  75. Truthseeker Says:

    OK, for the record, I am in agreement with what I believe to be the general scientific opinion that these ELISA based home tests are not appropriate for HIV screening of low-risk populations. Those who choose to use them should be made aware of the likelihood of false positives, and should be prepared to deal with the psychological impact of a possibly misleading positive reading. T

    T, let’s grasp this nettle, not make grudging admissions.

    The general population – indeed, anyone tested for the first time – should be told the likelihood of false positives, both for the home test and for the lab test. They should also be told the likelihood they have total immunity ie that the tests are for the antibodies to HIV, that antibodies without agent are always a sign of total immunity as in vaccination, told the likelihood they have less than discernible HIV in them, and told the likelihood of HIV being the cause of AIDS.

    After being properly informed in this manner instead of conned unmerrcifully by those they trust they should be fully prepared for the psychological impact of a CERTAINLY misleading positive reading. They might even demand their money back.

    Of course, it is not misleading that is the correct adjective. It is ‘ worthless positive reading’ that is correct, unless you count the worth of the prestige, authority, and influence that this expansion of testing – the modern equivalent of colorful feather headdresses and bone rattles – confers upon the modern witchdoctors who perpetrate it .

  76. Glider Says:

    This piece from the Perth Group dealing with the HIV test might be interesting to some of you:

    The AIDS Physician and the Actuary

  77. Truthseeker Says:

    Former Senator Lawton Chiles of Florida reported at an AIDS conference in 1987 that of 22 blood donors in Florida who were notified that they tested HIV-positive with the ELISA test, 7 committed suicide. In the same medical text that reported this tragedy, the reader is informed that “even if the results of both AIDS tests, the ELISA and WB [Western blot], are positive, the chances are only 50-50 that the individual is infected” (Stine, 1996, pp. 333, 338).

    Dear me, T, this seems to be the mainstream answer, at least for low risk populations. For BOTH tests, no less.

    So what’s the chances for a false at home positive,and a single Elisa first test false positive in the general population? We are tired of retyping the question.

    Pray tell.

    John has brought up a fascinating and thought-provoking paper on a theoretical protein encoded by a frameshift in the HIV-1 env sequence. I don’t fault John for misunderstanding this paper and the p17 article mentioned by Trrll, since interpreting both requires extensive knowledge of molecular biology. But John is completely wrong in his arguments, no matter what you believe about HIV and its existence, and I hope to show him why.

    Very civil, Martel. Setting a good example in that.

    But your main point is obscure. What are you alleging, bottom line, about the accuracy of Elisas or Western blots?

    What’s your answer to the question that T won’t answer yet? How many chances of a false positive in an at home Elisa test and how many in a single first Elisa, and how many in an Elisa “confirmed” by a WBlot?

  78. Lise Says:

    Gee Dr. Martel,

    You sound just like my husband when he really gets excited

    But you know what, I think I must be among those NAR readers who’re not biomolecularly qualified – as I’m sure you are – to understand all those fine and thought provoking papers Dr. Trrll is kind enough to point us to. In fact oxidases and peptides and SODS and very big words for really small things never impressed me much, so I guess by temperament – my husband calls it gender based chemistry – I’m not much of a scientist.

    I fancy I’m more of a natural when it comes to ordinary everday language. My husband says I’m better than anybody he knows at spending a lot of words saying very little in many different ways. Anyway, it takes one to know one, as they say, and I couldn’t help notice you spent a lot of words, and similar stuff, on exactly 16 words out of this whole comment thread.

    I know from marital exerience that ordinary everyday language sometimes requires a bit of training to use and interpret – and if I’m not much mistaken English is not even John’s first (layman) language. So with a bit of international goodwill maybe we could interpret those 16 words:

    This study shows effectively that what we call P17 contains the same sequence as the SOD 2

    to refer to this passage from the study abstract:

    Both human SOD-2 and HIV-1 p17 contain the LQPALK hexapeptide

    But even if that’s scientifically unacceptable to Drs. Martel and Trrll, my gender-chemically based tendency to read whole sentences, which I rely on for lack of formal scientific credentials, gives me the impression that the claim John actually wanted to make was contained in the last half of the sentence that’s fared so ill under Dr. Martel’s microsope:

    This study shows effectively that what we call P17 contains the same sequence as the SOD 2, but it proves nothing as regards the fact that P17 results from a some virus.

    In short, gentlemen, John’s point was he didn’t find Dr. Trrll’ reference fascinating, thought provoking or convincing in the least.

  79. Martel Says:

    Earlier today, I corrected John’s equation of p17 with superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2).

    HIV-1 p17 and SOD2 have no evolutionary relationship with each other. p17 is not a human protein. It has no human homologue, however distant. The six amino acid “letter” sequence that it (sort-of) shares with SOD2 can be expected to occur randomly over a hundred times in human proteins. It’s really quite remarkable that the p17 antibody doesn’t cross-react with more proteins.

    Now it’s time to examine the other protein equation John made: HIV env=GPx. The paper he links to is actually very interesting, and I’m sure the authors would be amused or appalled, depending on their sense of humour, at John’s suggestion that HIV tests are actually measuring GPx concentrations in the blood. This group found a “theoretical” gene in the HIV-1 env region. There is no specific evidence that this theoretical gene is ever made into protein. The authors make it in their lab, but only after manipulating the sequence significantly: cloning it and introducing a “start” codon, and inserting a foreign sequence so that a special amino acid will be used in the right place (this rare amino acid is found in GPx family proteins). In the HIV context, there is no start codon and no evidence that the rare amino acid would be used.

    Since the “env-fs” product from HIV does not line up with GPx, the authors use computational methods that I won’t go into here to find any relationship at all.

    Here’s “ENV-FS”:
    gssrkhygrt vndadgtgqt iivwysaaae qfaegycgat asfathslgh qaapgknpgc gkipkgstap gdlgllwkth lhhccalec

    and here’s human GPx-3:
    marllqascl lslllagfvs qsrgqekskm dchggisgti yeygaltidg eeyipfkqya gkyvlfvnva sycgltgqyi elnalqeela pfglvilgfp cnqfgkqepg enseilptlk yvrpgggfvp nfqlfekgdv ngekeqkfyt flknscppts ellgtsdrlf wepmkvhdir wnfekflvgp dgipimrwhh rttvsnvkmd ilsymrrqaa lgvkrk

    Right…they don’t line up. So let’s chop off the first 34 letters and the last 34 letters and cut out sequences 19, 11, and 41 letters long inside GPx-3:
    gisgti yeygaltidg eeyipfkqya gkyvlfvnva sycgltg fp cnqfgkqepg en pgggfvp nfqlfekgdv
    dir wnfekflvgpdg

    Now, paste the fragments together, and insert a few spaces where needed (denoted by periods):
    gisgtiyeyg altidgeeyi pfkqyagkyv lfvnvasycg ltgfpcnqf.
    gkqe.pgenp gggfvpnfql fekgdvdirw nfekflvgp dg

    and compare it with HIV-1 “ENV-FS” (after we’ve inserted some periods here, too, for good measure):
    GsSrkhYgrt vndaDGtgqt iivwYsaaae qF..aegYCG aTasfathsl
    GhQaaPGkNP GcGkiPkgst .apGDlgllW kthlhhccal ec

    The lined-up amino acids are in caps. After all of this ridiculous manipulation, we’ve gotten over 20 amino acid letters to line up! In addition, several other letters are “similar” (by chemical characteristics).

    The authors hypothesize that several of the amino acids in the theoretical HIV enzyme could come together in 3D space to form a functional GPx activity. They could be right, although their evidence is not really strong.

    Regardless, what all of this manipulation and alignment means is that HIV “ENV-FS” AND GPx are not evolutionarily related in any plausibly meaningful way. If I were an evolutionary biologist, perhaps I could give an evolutionary distance between these two, probably in the tens of millions of years. But I’m not, so I’ll leave it at that.

    John, you said that all HIV proteins are really just cellular proteins. What other HIV proteins, specifically, are of human origin? I’m looking forward to learning about them.

  80. john Says:

    Thank you, Lise, for your comments.
    They reflect exactly what I wanted to say, with my bad English. Six amino acids match. Others maybe or not. Because I had only the abstract.

    Apparently, there are nonviral mechanisms allowing to pass from normal DNA’s to abnormal ARNm’s and thus to abnormal proteins.

  81. Martel Says:

    Lise,
    Sorry, I just posted that latest junk without reading your comment.
    By all means, let’s grant John some international goodwill, as you suggest, and reinterpret his words, also as you suggest. He’s still completely wrong, and I wish I knew how to explain it well in less-scientific language than I’ve used already.
    How about this:
    I buy my niece two stuffed toys for an unspecified holiday. One is an elephant, the other a potato. After tearing off the wrapping paper, she starts crying. “You bought me two of the same thing,” she says. An adult, with some knowledge of the world, who’s been to a zoo, who’s dug some potatoes out of the ground (or wherever they come from these days)…knows that this is ridiculous. But to my little niece, both toys have EYES, therefore they MUST BE the same thing.
    The eyes, here, are that tiny little hexapeptide sequence that is found in HIV-1 p17, SOD2, and about 120 other human proteins. Why would my niece restrict her identification of a stuffed toy to whether or not it has eyes? And why would anyone say that a coffee maker is the same thing as a TV, just because they both have a power cord? Is the Milwaukee phone book the same as the Napoli phone book, just because they have some of the same names? Why should a protein be any different?
    The reason that John and others have difficulty with this “similar part must mean identical whole” problem is partly because scientists have not done a good job of explaining what a protein is…and partly because John and others have made no effort to understand what a protein is.

  82. Martel Says:

    TS,
    An at-home ELISA test is a ridiculously bad idea, and the only people who would advocate it are:
    1)Unethical people who want to make money and could care less about the results of their actions;
    2)Ethical people who want to make money and are too dumb to understand why the assay is a bad idea;
    3)Ethical people who want to help the children, etc., and are really stupid and misled;
    4)There are also some government control freaks in the mix, but you get the point.

  83. john Says:

    Martel, I have never said that HIV-env = GPx. I simply emitted the idea that, because of a deficit of arginine, it could have, according to the authors, important errors of reading and thus appearance of very modified proteins there.

    For the rest, see here

  84. trrll Says:

    If the tests are so “accurate”, then a positive would be a positive, and a negative would be a negative. End of story.

    Unfortunately, the hard reality of statistics does not correspond to your notion of how things “ought” to work. I’ll bring up again the example that I gave to Truthseeker, when he tried to argue that the observation of a high percentage of positives turning out to be false is somehow inconsistent with the reported >99% accuracy of the ELISA test:

    (Truthseeker)

    Is it true for instance that only 1/3 of initially positive Elisa tests are confirmed by additonal Elisas and Western blots? This would seem to indicate an inaccuracy rate far higher than admitted ie less than 99.7% or whatever each company is claiming currently.

    Suppose you had a population in which nobody was infected with HIV. Then what percentage of initially positive ELISA tests would turn out to be wrong? Answer: all of them ! (100%). And this is true no matter how high the accuracy of the test happens to be.

    Basically, the percentage of false positives per person tested is a constant for a particular assay. But the percentage of true positives depends upon the prevalence of the disease in the population. So when you ask what percentage of positive readings will turn out to be wrong, you are dividing a number that varies depending upon the population being studied by a constant, and you end up with a ratio that depends upon which population is being studied.

    So in a high risk population, the vast majority of positives turn out to be correct. But in a very low risk population, most positives can turn out to be wrong, even though the accuracy of the test is the same. And there is no way around that–it is a hard reality of mathematics.

  85. john Says:

    similar part must mean identical whole

    Martel,

    I have never said it. You are mistaken.

  86. Lise Says:

    Dear dr. Martel,

    Thank you for explaining in terms old wifees like myself are guaranteed to understand, little nieces, stuffed toys, food and other items readily found in the kitchen or by the phone.

    But you know it still seems to me that what John said was not about identity or co-evolution but this:

    Practically all the proteins attributed to the HIV present sequences found in diverse human proteins, which you consider moreover as being the source of crossed reactions

    Somewhere, sometime when I wasn’t nearly as busy with my niece and her stuffed toys as I am now, I must have listened more intently to some of my husband’s sweet nothings, because I seem to remember that two proteins can have no evolutionary relationship at all and still share folding properties. That is, if they share similar folds in an antibody binding region (epitope) the two proteins will cross-react in antibody-antigen binding assays.

    Or if the concept of ‘epitope’ is too difficult, you can think of a potato, which may have many eyes, and a stuffed elephant with normally only two eyes. They share no evolutionary history, but they may still share a common fit in various regions that would allow both of them to stick to the same coffe maker.

    Which, Dr Martel, if correct, would make your point less relevant than verbose.

  87. Dan Says:

    Suppose you had a population in which nobody was infected with HIV. Then what percentage of initially positive ELISA tests would turn out to be wrong? Answer: all of them! (100%). And this is true no matter how high the accuracy of the test happens to be.

    Well, trrll,
    what you’re saying is that your so-called test is so poorly designed that it will give us 100% faulty information.

    Let’s say I get an HIV test.

    If the tests are as “accurate” as we laypeople are told they are (remember, you folks need to “sell” HIV/AIDS to us if we’re going to play along), it shouldn’t matter one whit where I do or don’t put my John-Thomas.

    I, or anybody else on this planet should be able to give a blood sample and get a result that belies the so-called “accuracy” we are told of. You don’t need to pry into my private life. It’s just blood. And if it was just a test, you wouldn’t need to know my skin color or sexual orientation.

    Bias is built into HIV testing.

  88. kevin Says:

    trrll wrote:
    But the percentage of true positives depends upon the prevalence of the disease in the population.

    There you go assuming your conclusion again. If you cannot prove whether or not a particular individual is positive with near-absolute certainty, then you cannot know the prevalence of the disease in the population with any degree of certainty.

    Kevin

  89. trrll Says:

    This study shows effectively that what we call P17 contains the same sequence as the SOD 2, but it proves nothing as regards the fact that P17 results from a some virus.

    Nobody said that it did. The HIV genome has been sequenced, and it includes p17, so that is already well established. The question the paper was asking was what normal human protein was cross-reacting with an antibody directed against p17. The answer turned out to be a human enzyme that was quite different from p17, aside from a short sequence (short enough for the correspondence to be entirely coincidental). This is a good indication of why cross reactivity is an issue with antibodies–sometimes, the binding determinants that an antibody is directed against happen, purely by chance, to be present on a completely different protein.

  90. kevin Says:

    To clarify…until you can isolate the virus from a patient, identify the proteins specific to HIV, there is no way you claim that an assay-based test can accurately predict the prevalence in particular populations. The current state of HIV testing is ridiculous–“wishful thinking” science is not acceptable when handing out death sentences.

    Kevin

  91. kevin Says:

    The HIV genome has been sequenced, and it includes p17, so that is already well established.

    Care to explain in laymen terms how that sequencing was carried out? Then, readers here can decide whether not it is well-established. Also, assuming it has been properly sequenced, has it also been established as to whether or not those proteins are unique to HIV?

    And don’t just lazily direct us to a link…if it’s so well-established then it should be easy to capture in plain English.

    Kevin

  92. AF Says:

    Exactly, Dan. The nurse didn’t need my background information when she antibody tested me for herpes simplex. But I’m sure trrll and others will tell us that ‘HIV’ is somehow different.

  93. Truthseeker Says:

    So in a high risk population, the vast majority of positives turn out to be correct. But in a very low risk population, most positives can turn out to be wrong, even though the accuracy of the test is the same. And there is no way around that–it is a hard reality of mathematics

    Thanks but this goes without saying, and it is not the point. The question has to be how many false positives will the test yield in a zero HIV population, and how many in a 1/300 positive population?

    Having just read the Perth group’s page The AIDS Physician and the Actuary (Part I) one has to say that the whole thing is a can of wriggling worms, because the way these things are designed seems so circular in its assumptions that even a confirmed positive seems utterly questionable, and the bottom line seems to be that tests only identify people who are in an AIDS high risk group and likely to get immune dysfunction, without HIV being involved at all, and that any HIV+ outside high risk groups are false positives!

    The tests are apparently designed by testing in the low risk population, where any positive is rated false, is that right? So why the heck would they be any use in testing the population at large, when they are designed on the assumption that there are no true positives there?

    Dr What’s the difficulty?

    P: The biotechnology companies want their tests to be highly specific. In other words, they don’t want their tests to react in someone who’s not infected with HIV. And neither I guess do the doctors. And certainly not the patients. So, as you said, they try their tests out on healthy blood donors. To see how good they are. They assume, quite rightly I suppose, those sorts of people don’t have much chance of getting AIDS or being infected with HIV.

    Dr : That’s right. They’re extremely unlikely to be infected with HIV. That’s been proven time and time again by millions of tests at the blood banks.

    P: Yes doctor but when the biotechnology companies test their tests on blood donors they go further. They actually define the blood donors as not infected. The World Health Organisation does the same thing.

    Dr: That’s correct.

    P: Well that’s one of the problems. When I read about healthy blood donors, not being in a risk group and all the rest, I asked myself, who are these people? Where do they live? What kind of people are they? What are their habits? Where do they hang out? And you know who it reminded me of?

    Dr: No.

    P: It reminded me of me. I’m healthy. My friends regularly tell me how well I look. I only got HIV tested because I need life insurance. I’m not gay, I’m not a haemophiliac, I’m never been a drug taker. I’ve not been promiscuous. I haven’t been an angel but since getting married my only sexual partner has been my wife. And because we were about to start a family, a couple of months ago, unbeknown to me, my wife had an HIV test. And she’s negative.

    Dr: What point are you making?

    P: Doctor I could easily be in a group of people the manufacturers of antibody tests use to determine how accurate their tests are. And when they tested me I’d be positive all right but they would have already defined me as non-infected To me that’s a false-positive. Don’t you agree?

    Dr : To be perfectly frank I think you are somewhat in denial over this. Believe me I’m not having a go at you but that’s what people often do when the news is not good. You realise there are other tests we could do to settle this matter?

    P: You mean the viral load test?

    Dr Yes.

    P: But according to my packet inserts, when biotechnology companies and the WHO investigate their tests, they don’t do that. They don’t go checking the antibody positive people with viral load tests. So why do it to me?

    Dr: To reassure you?.

    Total madness.

    Anyhow, come on T, can you answer or not? Rate of Elisa false positives in a 1/300 population?

    What’s the sensivitity and what’s the specificity of at home and lab Elisa’s and how many false positives will they yield in the US population of 1/300 HIV positive, whatever reality that figure has, which frankly begins to look like none at all, once you look into it?

    Do you in fact have any idea at all?

  94. trrll Says:

    Care to explain in laymen terms how that sequencing was carried out? Then, readers here can decide whether not it is well-established. Also, assuming it has been properly sequenced, has it also been established as to whether or not those proteins are unique to HIV?

    And don’t just lazily direct us to a link…if it’s so well-established then it should be easy to capture in plain English.

    Sorry, but sometimes it is not possible to get somebody else to do your work for you. HIV has been sequenced not once, but many, many times, so there is a huge literature available, and there is no way to summarize it in a few paragraphs. You can find references, some information on methods and actual sequences in the HIV Sequence Compendia. Also, while a “plain English” description may be adequate for the person with a casual interest, if you actually hope to decide for yourself whether it was done properly, a description in layman’s terms won’t do–there simply is no substitute for becoming familiar enough with the methodology and terminology to read the primary literature.

  95. trrll Says:

    But the percentage of true positives depends upon the prevalence of the disease in the population.

    There you go assuming your conclusion again. If you cannot prove whether or not a particular individual is positive with near-absolute certainty, then you cannot know the prevalence of the disease in the population with any degree of certainty.

    No assumptions are necessary. It is a mathematical certainty the the percentage of positives that turn out to be false will depend upon the prevalence of the disease.

    And it is indeed possible to determine the presence or absence of the disease with near absolute certainty by utilizing multiple tests, as was done in the study that I cited previously

  96. pat Says:

    Really all one needs to do is deny being gay, drug-using, swinging, Haemophil-(liacal?), truck-driving African (or Iowan), heterosexually non-moderating or anything that may resemble any kind of social deviancy and you’re scott free. hallelluya! A cure has been found. If only my friend would believe it.

  97. Truthseeker Says:

    And it is indeed possible to determine the presence or absence of the disease with near absolute certainty by utilizing multiple tests, as was done in the study that I cited previously

    We intervene to object that there is no disease to be ascertained by an HIV test, because even if HIV caused any disease, which is possibly the least acceptable claim ever kited, the test is for antibodies, ie for evidence of a Virus ejected by the body’s defense system.

    Well, T, given your continual unwillingness to bite the bullet and tell us how many false positives are likely in the US general population at 1/300 positive, since you apparently have no idea of the sensitivity or specificity of the common Elisa test used either at home or in the lab, we will have to enquire from other sources.

    We hate to project onto you a rather shameful motivation, but could it be that you are loathe to give us an idea of how many false positives there would initially be and thus how uselessly disruptive nationwide testing would be?

    God forbid that two or three million people would score falsely positive, since if it then got out just how baseless their alarm would be in that case, it would certainly be a significant force for public review of this entire charade, no?

    Or is the public so hypnotized by scientific authority that even that level of outrage to intelligence, common sense and any sense of public responsibility would be veiled from their view?

  98. pat Says:

    “No assumptions are necessary. It is a mathematical certainty the the percentage of positives that turn out to be false will depend upon the prevalence of the disease. ”

    How is this prevalence determined?

  99. trrll Says:

    What’s the sensivitity and what’s the specificity of at home and lab Elisa’s and how many false positives will they yield in the US population of 1/300 HIV positive, whatever reality that figure has, which frankly begins to look like none at all, once you look into it?

    Do you in fact have any idea at all?

    If you read it, you’ll remember that the study that I cited previously found a false positive rate of a bit under 1 in a thousand assays. So with a prevalence of 1 in 300, there will be roughly 1 false positive for every 3 true positives. For the population of voluntary blood donors in the study, the prevalence was much lower than 1 in 300, so there were 9 false positives for every true positive.

    Which is, of course, why nobody is recommending EIA alone for screening of low risk populations.

  100. trrll Says:

    How is this prevalence determined?

    In the study I cited by EIA and Western blot, followed up with serology and PCR.

  101. Truthseeker Says:

    For the population of voluntary blood donors in the study, the prevalence was much lower than 1 in 300, so there were 9 false positives for every true positive.

    Which is, of course, why nobody is recommending EIA alone for screening of low risk populations.

    Well, let’s hope the CDC is right in its unvarying estimate of around 1 million HIV positives year in and year out in the US since whenever in the 80s they started making this guesstimate, which is in itself a fatuous thing – a steady prevalence is not the characteristic of a spreading epidemic, and certainly not a declining one, unless the rather remarkable circumstance obtains whereby those carted off feet first ie dying each year equals the number newly infected, which is hardly on the cards.

    Anyhow if this absurdly consistent guess is accurate and there are 1 million positives in the US, then according to this there will be 350,000 needlessly panicked people following their initial Elisa in your proposed nationwide sweep, who will presumably calm down after their WBlot fails to confirm their new status, but who will then take a great interest in what is up in this unreviewed caper.

    If however as you frankly note the rate is closer to that of blood donors ie 9 wrong for one right, you will have up to 9 million panicked people, which is certainly too many dissatisfied and angry customers for even the soothingly authoritative Anthony “Just ask me” Fauci to contend with.

    No wonder no one is recommending an Elisa sweep, without WBlot confirmation (not that 100% reliable, let’s note, probably have to be two each), but have your fellow club members considered what level of exposure of unreliability in the media this will achieve, and what the public will think of it, especially the 9 million?

    Perhaps there will be fewer, five or four million, but that is still enough people enquiring as to what is under all the shells of this shell game to give Tony “We know best” Fauci pause, wouldn’t you say?

  102. pat Says:

    “How is this prevalence determined?

    “In the study I cited by EIA and Western blot, followed up with serology and PCR.”

    Voodoo?

  103. kevin Says:

    trrll wrote:

    there simply is no substitute for becoming familiar enough with the methodology and terminology to read the primary literature.

    I’ve read the “primary literature”, and I find it lacking. It won’t impress me until they sequence the HIV genome from an isolate of human origins. Growing it in a lab is not the same as extracting it from a human, particualarly when the human is said to be in a state of ill-health caused by the pathogen in question. I still believe that causation requires the presence of that actual virus, not residual DNA, but I guess I’m old-fashioned, that way.

    You can’t capture the gist of how HIV is sequenced for the same reason that you can’t capture the offending organism in AIDS patients…because it doesn’t exit in any significant quantities unless it is grown in a lab. Lots of things can be grown in a lab that are not pathogenic to human beings.

    Kevin

  104. kevin Says:

    Trrll wrote:
    It is a mathematical certainty the the percentage of positives that turn out to be false will depend upon the prevalence of the disease.

    Such mathematical certainties are only relevant if the disease in question is legitmately described. That is where the HIV hypothesis falters; it has failed to prove that the prevelance of positivity actually determines an eventual disease state. Thus, prevalence is dependent upon proving caustion. Consequently, assumptions based on correlation, as opposed to causation, have been given inappropriate status, and the perverted science supporting the HIV establishment is built upon these assumptions of dubious value.

    Of course, this critique is presented in laymen terms and thus may be beyond your comprehesion, Dr. Trrll.

    Kevin

  105. trrll Says:

    Such mathematical certainties are only relevant if the disease in question is legitmately described. That is where the HIV hypothesis falters; it has failed to prove that the prevelance of positivity actually determines an eventual disease state. Thus, prevalence is dependent upon proving caustion.

    No, that’s nonsense. Prevalence is a completely different question from causality. Even a harmless infection has prevalence, and is subject to the same mathematics as a deadly one.

    Your fringe belief that HIV infection poses little threat would reasonably influence your decision of whether to treat the infection if you have it, but it has nothing to do with the frequency of false positives.

  106. trrll Says:

    I’ve read the “primary literature”, and I find it lacking.

    Odd. So if you have read the primary literature and done the background reading to understand it, why were you asking me to explain it to you in layman’s terms? Why didn’t you seem to know that HIV has been sequenced multiple times?

    You can’t capture the gist of how HIV is sequenced for the same reason that you can’t capture the offending organism in AIDS patients…because it doesn’t exit in any significant quantities unless it is grown in a lab. Lots of things can be grown in a lab that are not pathogenic to human beings.

    You keep using that word “culture,” but I don’t think it means what you think it means. To “culture” an organism means “to grow it in a lab.” Whether or not something can be cultured has nothing whatsoever to do with its pathogenicity. Many harmless organisms can be cultured from human tissue.

  107. trrll Says:

    Anyhow if this absurdly consistent guess is accurate and there are 1 million positives in the US, then according to this there will be 350,000 needlessly panicked people following their initial Elisa in your proposed nationwide sweep, who will presumably calm down after their WBlot fails to confirm their new status, but who will then take a great interest in what is up in this unreviewed caper.

    Why would you want to worry people by reporting a partial result before the full test is completed? Carry out the full series of assays and report the final result.

  108. AF Says:

    Trrll: The nurse who tested me told me I am definitely positive after a positive ELISA and a reactive WB. She never said ANYTHING about *confirming* my ‘diagnosis’ with serology and PCR. Of course, I had written that I am a sexually-active gay man on the questionnaire.

    So, I am a true positive, right? Couldn’t my results have been caused by antibody cross-reaction (even on the WB)? Why does a soccer mom get off the hook if her antibodies cross-react, but I am somehow truly infected?

    I understand almost everything you’re saying about testing, but determining ‘real’ positives seems like too much interpretation and circular reasoning. People should be able to take these tests without divulging their sexual orientation, sexual history, etc. Until that time, I will think the interpretation of these tests is biased.

  109. trrll Says:

    Trrll: The nurse who tested me told me I am definitely positive after a positive ELISA and a reactive WB. She never said ANYTHING about *confirming* my ‘diagnosis’ with serology and PCR. Of course, I had written that I am a sexually-active gay man on the questionnaire.

    So, I am a true positive, right? Couldn’t my results have been caused by antibody cross-reaction (even on the WB)? Why does a soccer mom get off the hook if her antibodies cross-react, but I am somehow truly infected?

    Remember that the chance of a false positive by both tests is less than 1 in 100,000. So it could be some sort of cross reaction, but the chances are not good, particularly if you are in a high risk group, where your risk of infection is much greater than that. But for somebody in a low risk group, whose chance of infection might itself be 1 in 100,000, a positive result is much less convincing.

    I know that it is frustrating to be told that something so crucial to your health is a matter of statistics, but that is the way the mathematics work, not just for HIV but for all diagnostic testing. If you want to pursue greater certainty with further testing, you can certainly do so, but don’t get your hopes up.

  110. MacDonald Says:

    Remember that the chance of a false positive by both tests is less than 1 in 100,000.

    So Trrll, out of 100,000 who test positive less than one is a false positive, is that what you’re telling AF?

    Or would it be that out of 100,000 tests, positive, negative, indeterminate, tentative etc. there’s less than one false positive?

    If the latter be the case, wouldn’t you say “hard mathematics” reveal false positive odds quite different from those you peddle for individuals who’ve already tested positive , since I suppose it’s in that group you find your false positives?

  111. Truthseeker Says:


    A nationwide sweep with Elisas will result in havoc until the millions of false positives are denied by WBlots, not only in the period for each individual between the two tests (certainly there is a delay with at home tests, and one assumes with most Elisas), but afterwards, when the customers will still be agitated and complain vociferously.

    If you want to pursue greater certainty with further testing, you can certainly do so, but don’t get your hopes up.

    Hopes up? What is this, a discussion of whether the premise of all this testing is valid, or a discussion where the meme rules without any question? A discussion of whether the tests have any real meaning, or whether they work or not? If they do work only with repeated confirmation, and perhaps not even then, does it really matter when the whole set of assumptions behind them are faulty in the extreme, not only according to the critics but according to mainstream literature, which continually adds (eg JAMA and NEJ recently) evidence that they are theoretically corrupt and of no scientific significance?

    There is no reason in the literature, and countless reasons against, to take tests seriously, even if they work, which is doubtful, and mean
    anything in themselves as evidence of a virus, which seems to be ever more questionable the more one looks into it.

    “Hopes up”, indeed. The reason for hope is that the whole performance is meaningless, except as a dance of the witchdoctor. There is no excuse for any Harvard graduate to support this scheme, if reason and science are still valued there, which admittedly seems doubtful with professors of flying saucers and presidents who are kicked out for raising a purely scientific point about the possible difference between girls and boys in mathematical interest and performance, on which he took no position himself.

  112. kevin Says:

    Trrll wrote:
    You keep using that word “culture,”

    I haven’t used the word “culture” even once. You’re the one who apparently cannot read. I used the word “capture” a couple of times, but if you look closely you’ll see that two of the vowels are different, thereby creating an entirely different word!

    My post:
    Lots of things can be grown in a lab that are not pathogenic to human beings.

    Your post:
    Many harmless organisms can be cultured from human tissue.

    These two claims are not mutually exclusive. A harmless organism is a harmless organism, regardless of origin. However, a pathogenic organism is only pathogenic if it is shown to be destructive to human health, in some way. You must prove the nature of that destruction, otherwise it is perfectly reasonable to assume that the organism might very well be harmless.

    Your fringe belief that HIV infection poses little threat would reasonably influence your decision of whether to treat the infection if you have it… –Trrll

    It is even more reasonable that one’s decision not to be tested should be influenced by twenty years of failed science. Then the treatment decision is not given first billing, even though it may break the heart of pharmaceutical reps around the world. Besides, a fringe belief based on logic and reason is far more compelling than a mainstream belief built on lies and deception.

    Trrll wrote:
    Odd. So if you have read the primary literature and done the background reading to understand it, why were you asking me to explain it to you in layman’s terms? Why didn’t you seem to know that HIV has been sequenced multiple times?

    I knew that HIV had supposedly been sequenced, but I just wanted to hear an expert such as yourself explain the process…you know, capture the essence of the process for the layman, but alas you were unwilling or is it unable? Yeah, that’s what you said:
    …there simply is no substitute for becoming familiar enough with the methodology and terminology to read the primary literature. –Trrll
    Pity. I wish I could just accept the methodology and the terminology, but after all the specious science conducted in the name of HIV, you can color me skeptical.

    Now, if HIV is ever extracted from an actual human being and then sequenced from that specimen, then my skepticism might dissolve. Until then, then burden of proof is still unfulfilled and I stand by my previous statement, particularly with regards to establishing prevelance:

    Such mathematical certainties are only relevant if the disease in question is legitmately described.

  113. Martel Says:

    Lise,

    I’m sorry if you are insulted by the everyday references I used to illustrate my points. I assure you: that these examples were the first to come to my mind tells you alot more about WHO I AM than what I think about you.

    (As an aside, why would anyone (with one or two specific exceptions) on this site think I’m a man, a sexist male pig at that? Can only men be verbose? Maybe you’ve put my turgid writing style through some FBI program that ID’ed me as a man?)

    I gave my examples after you, Lise, claimed an unfamiliarity with molecular biology. Think of me whatever you like, but be assured that I mean to insult no one.

  114. Martel Says:

    Hello John,

    Please forgive my inability to adequately understand your position. I really want to comprehend it, and would very much appreciate some clarification.

    If you don’t mind, please help me out and let me know if you AGREE with the following statements, and, if not, on which points you disagree:

    1. Diagnostic protein-based tests for HIV like ELISA or Western blot often come up positive because they are actually measuring normal human proteins and/or human proteins that have somehow been altered (cleaved or even mutated) because of an underlying disease state (e.g. one that would cause oxidative stress as outlined in Eleni’s 1988 paper that you linked).

    2. PCR-based diagnostic tests that come up positive are NOT amplifying HIV genetic material; rather, they artefactually amplify small segments of the human genome that are nearly or completely identical with segments in the “HIV” genome, or else are amplifying small segments of the human genome that have hypermutated into near-identity with “HIV” sequences as a result of an underlying disease state like oxidative stress.

    3. “HIV” is not a transmissible virus, and may not even exist outside the laboratory. It is a construct that evolved under highly artifical, highly mutagenic conditions in cancerous, aberrant cell culture in the lab by hypermutation from many small segments of the human genome…and was “isolated” or even partially fabricated from these highly contrived cell cultures by scientists like Bob Gallo.

  115. trrll Says:

    Now, if HIV is ever extracted from an actual human being and then sequenced from that specimen, then my skepticism might dissolve.

    I’m curious as to where you imagine that the many sequenced isolates of HIV were obtained from, other than actual human beings?

  116. trrll Says:

    I knew that HIV had supposedly been sequenced, but I just wanted to hear an expert such as yourself explain the process…you know, capture the essence of the process for the layman, but alas you were unwilling or is it unable?

    Because there is not a single answer. HIV has been sequenced many times, from a variety of sources, using a variety of sequencing methods. So yes, I am unable in a few paragraphs to “capture” the methodology and results of dozens of studies in a way that is in “layman’s terms” but nonetheless carries enough detail for it to be evaluated.

    As I said before, sometimes there is just no substitute for actually reading the primary literature.

  117. trrll Says:

    So Trrll, out of 100,000 who test positive less than one is a false positive, is that what you’re telling AF?

    Or would it be that out of 100,000 tests, positive, negative, indeterminate, tentative etc. there’s less than one false positive?

    The latter. I think that this was pretty clear, but you could always actually look at the paper I cited if you didn’t understand what I meant.

    If the latter be the case, wouldn’t you say “hard mathematics” reveal false positive odds quite different from those you peddle for individuals who’ve already tested positive, since I suppose it’s in that group you find your false positives?

    I’m not sure what you mean by this. The odds of any individual test giving a false positive result are constant. However, the odds that the person who receives a positive result is actually infected by HIV depend both on the odds per test and on the prevalence of the disease. So for the example I cited, if the prevalence of the virus is less than 1 in 100,000, then false positives will outnumber true positives. If the prevalence of the virus is greater than 1 in 100,000, then the true positives will outnumber false positives. The number of false positives is the same in either case; all that differs is the number of people who are actually infected.

  118. Martel Says:

    I don’t think Trrll answered this part of Kevin’s question:
    “has it also been established as to whether or not those proteins are unique to HIV?”

    The HIV proteins are not unique to HIV. In the laboratory, many HIV proteins can be functionally substituted for comparable proteins (orthologs, I suppose) of closely-related retroviruses, such as the different SIVs, Visna-Maedi virus (affecting sheep), and Caprine retrovirus (goats).
    However, the HIV proteins ARE unique in the sense that no HIV protein has been found encoded in the human genome. The human genome of multiple individuals has been sequenced in its entirety, multiple times over. No sequences that significantly match any part of HIV have been found. Not even in the non-coding sequences (the majority of the human genome) from which no proteins are made.

  119. Martel Says:

    TS wrote,

    A nationwide sweep with Elisas will result in havoc until the millions of false positives are denied by WBlots, not only in the period for each individual between the two tests (certainly there is a delay with at home tests, and one assumes with most Elisas), but afterwards, when the customers will still be agitated and complain vociferously.

    The FDA has not, to my knowledge, approved ANY home test in which results are read by the tested individual. ALL approved home tests involve taking one’s own blood sample via finger-prick and sending the blood to a laboratory. EIA or ELISA is performed and followed up with a Western blot in the case of a positive result.

    Neither in the case of these so-called “home tests” nor in the case of any other HIV test should an individual be informed of a positive EIA or ELISA result before confirmatory tests like WB are also performed to confirm or deny the original result.

  120. john Says:

    Hello Martel,

    Here my answers :

    1. Diagnostic protein-based tests for HIV like ELISA or Western blot often come up positive because they are actually measuring normal human proteins and/or human proteins that have somehow been altered (cleaved or even mutated) because of an underlying disease state (e.g. one that would cause oxidative stress as outlined in Eleni’s 1988 paper that you linked).

    These proteins are for me initially normal proteins then altered by the oxydative stress. Where from the background noise of all the tests ” HIV “.

    2. PCR-based diagnostic tests that come up positive are NOT amplifying HIV genetic material; rather, they artefactually amplify small segments of the human genome that are nearly or completely identical with segments in the “HIV” genome, or else are amplifying small segments of the human genome that have hypermutated into near-identity with “HIV” sequences as a result of an underlying disease state like oxidative stress.

    These fragments would be only small segments of the human genome that have selectively hypermutated or obtained by frameshifting as result of oxidative stress.

    3. “HIV” is not a transmissible virus, and may not even exist outside the laboratory. It is a construct that evolved under highly artifical, highly mutagenic conditions in cancerous, aberrant cell culture in the lab by hypermutation from many small segments of the human genome…and was “isolated” or even partially fabricated from these highly contrived cell cultures by scientists like Bob Gallo.

    A priori, I do not really agree with them. I think that the culture with phytohemagglutinin amplifies a latent phenomenon of oxidation, and that this amplification is all the more important as the initial oxydative stress is important.

    From this paper, we obtain the evolution of the rate of T4 in cultures resulting from persons considered as infected and as not infected, with or without phytohemagglutinin.

    Without PHA, non infected :
    Day 0 : 34, Day 2 : 38, Day 6 : 25
    With PHA, non infected :
    Day 0 : 34, Day 2 : 28, Day 6 : 10
    With PHA, infected :
    Day 0 : 34, Day 2 : 30, Day 6 : 3

    We should reasonably conclude from this that the AIDS is a quantitative (metabolic) and not qualitative (viral) phenomenon.

    However now we give the central role to the oxidative stress (and not whatever, but the one who leads to the forming of nitrogen monoxide and peroxynitrite), we can explain how he appears according to every type of risk.

    For example, here is a publication among others which shows that the presence of phytohemagglutinin is associated with an increase of the synthesis of NO.

    Better, it was also shown that the antimycobacterial effects of isoniazide, the tuberculostatic very used in Africa… This discovery can better allow to understand those of Guisselquist and al. result from its metabolic oxidation there NO.

    Méthamphétamine, a secondary amine, and cocain, a tertiary amine are easily oxidized in hydroxylamine and N-oxyde, themselves source of NO.

    Even the “virological” properties of the ARV’s can be explained by the involvement of NO and peroxynitrites.

  121. MacDonald Says:

    I don’t know what they teach at Harvard these days apart from wilful misunderstanding. But just like you I’m curious as to whether you noticed that your dodgy little question to Kevin:

    I’m curious as to where you imagine that the many sequenced isolates of HIV were obtained from, other than actual human beings?

    appeared only a couple of inches under this:

    It is a construct that evolved under highly artifical, highly mutagenic conditions in cancerous, aberrant cell culture in the lab by hypermutation from many small segments of the human genome…and was “isolated” or even partially fabricated from these highly contrived cell cultures by scientists like Bob Gallo.

    I conclude you have a special interest in a dialogue with Kevin since this wasn’t good enough. We also have a special interest in a dialogue with you. Allow me to repeat from Michael Geiger’s letter:

    You are bright enough to admit in your own words in the link above, the cellularly destructive ability of meth as regards brain cells, and are seemingly completely unable (or more like unwilling) to suppose that it may also destroy the immune system, and instead choose to wholly blame HIV for the supposed AIDS destruction of the immune system, wasting, and dementia claimed to be due to HIV. You are obviously able to see the harm caused by meth use in brain cells and you ignorantly suppose that the damage stops there. Is there some intelligent reason to consider the ravaging effect of meth on the immune system? Is there some intelligent reason why you wish to blame the obvious damage on the immune system strictly on HIV?

    Terrell G, a real scientist, presented with all of the information that you have been presented with by the AIDS Dissent community, would never stop questioning the mainline HIV = AIDS hype or mindlessly spout that he knows what is going on with it all as you regularly seem to do on NAR, especially after seeing the damage in animals due to meth. Are you just getting old or lazy, or what?

    As someone who is so quick to pounce on and wilfully misinterpret any little ambiguity in other people’s formulations, as evidenced by your infantile question to Kevin, you should work a little on your own writing skills. Here’s what you told AF when he said he’d tested positive on Elisa and WB:

    Remember that the chance of a false positive by both tests is less than 1 in 100,000. So it could be some sort of cross reaction, but the chances are not good, particularly if you are in a high risk group,

    Your read and comprehend skills obviously haven’t improved either, so I restate my point, which you must be the only one in the world (apart maybe from Chris Noble) who didn’t get the first time:

    What the f… has the 1 in 100,000 figure got to do with the odds that AF is false positive?

    The REAL question is, out of the (initially) positive tests ONLY, how many turn out to be false positive?

    That figure is NOT 1 in 100,000, not even for ‘high risk’ groups, is it now?

  122. john Says:

    According to Gigerenzer and Hoffrage, the percentage of false positive tests in non-risk groups is below 50%, after Elisa and WB.

  123. john Says:

    I have make an error :

    According to Gigerenzer and Hoffrage, the percentage of false positive tests in non-risk groups is above 50%, after Elisa and WB.

  124. trrll Says:

    What the f… has the 1 in 100,000 figure got to do with the odds that AF is false positive?

    I fail to understand why you don’t see the relationship between the frequency of false positive outcomes and the odds that a person’s positive outcome is false. Perhaps if you could explain your point of confusion in more detail?

    The REAL question is, out of the (initially) positive tests ONLY, how many turn out to be false positive?
    That figure is NOT 1 in 100,000, not even for ‘high risk’ groups, is it now?

    Actually it works out to be very close to that The actual figure from the study that I cited was 1 false positive in 250,000 assays. The CDC has reported the prevalence of HIV among men who have sex with men is about 25%. So out of 250,000 men in that group, one will have a false positive result, and 100,000 will have true positive result, giving a net probability than an individual positive result is false of 1 in 100,000. Of course, all of these estimates have statistical uncertainty associated with them, but not large enough to alter the conclusion that the probability that the result is correct is very high.

  125. trrll Says:

    Oops. A quarter of 250,000 is of course 62,500, not 100,000. And since I’m now doing it carefully, I should really adjust for the fact that only those who are actually negative are eligible to be false positive. So that gives odds of 1 in 83,000 that a positive result is false in this group.

    (Not that it really matters; I wouldn’t trust a calculation of this nature closer than within order of magnitude, anyway)

  126. Martel Says:

    John,

    Thanks for your clarification; I think something is starting to get through my thick skull.

    How would you rewrite the following statement to represent your own views?

    “HIV”…is a construct that evolved under highly artifical, highly mutagenic conditions in cancerous, aberrant cell culture in the lab by hypermutation from many small segments of the human genome…and was “isolated” or even partially fabricated from these highly contrived cell cultures by scientists like Bob Gallo.

    Would this be more like it?

    “‘HIV’is an chain of small pieces of human DNA, excised from the genome, recombined, and hypermutated under conditions of high oxidative stress.”

  127. john Says:

    exactly…

  128. MacDonald Says:

    Thanks Trrll.

    Always a pleasure doing business with you.

    And now that the numbers have been adjusted, some doubled, some halved, and statistical inaccuracies allowed into the equation that’s dooming real people, what about these questions

    “There is ample evidence that it is possible for psychoactive drugs – and stimulants in particular – to harm the brain,” said Dr Terrell G, of the Boston University School of Medicine, whose research has shown that high doses of amphetamines can cause brain damage in animals.

    You are bright enough to admit in your own words in the link above, the cellularly destructive ability of meth as regards brain cells, and are seemingly completely unable (or more like unwilling) to suppose that it may also destroy the immune system, and instead choose to wholly blame HIV for the supposed AIDS destruction of the immune system, wasting, and dementia claimed to be due to HIV. You are obviously able to see the harm caused by meth use in brain cells and you ignorantly suppose that the damage stops there. Is there some intelligent reason to consider the ravaging effect of meth on the immune system? Is there some intelligent reason why you wish to blame the obvious damage on the immune system strictly on HIV?

    Terrell G, a real scientist, presented with all of the information that you have been presented with by the AIDS Dissent community, would never stop questioning the mainline HIV = AIDS hype or mindlessly spout that he knows what is going on with it all as you regularly seem to do on NAR, especially after seeing the damage in animals due to meth. Are you just getting old or lazy, or what?

    I find it odd, Dr. Trrll, that you’re so enthusiastic and helpful when it comes to HIV/AIDS, an issue that’s self-admittedly not your forte, but disinclined to discuss the points where it does intersect with your own research.

  129. Truthseeker Says:

    The REAL question is, out of the (initially) positive tests ONLY, how many turn out to be false positive?

    That figure is NOT 1 in 100,000, not even for ‘high risk’ groups, is it now? macD

    The actual figure from the study that I cited was 1 false positive in 250,000 assays. T

    (Or would it be that out of 100,000 tests, positive, negative, indeterminate, tentative etc. there’s less than one false positive?) The latter. I think that this was pretty clear, but you could always actually look at the paper I cited if you didn’t understand what I meant. T

    Not being in the library we can nevertheless report from a reliable informant who examined said study, False-Positive HIV-1 Test Results in a Low-Risk Screening Setting of Voluntary Blood…Kleinman et al. JAMA.1998; 280: 1080-1085, that it reveals the following remarkable fact:

    When two Elisa’s score positive in succession on a sample, and one hundred such double positive samples are subjected to the rigors of the Western Blot, 91 are revealed to be negative, ie false.

    REPEAT: Even double Elisa’s are 91% false in blood donors, the low risk population was sampled in that study, according to the followup Western Blot.

    REPEAT: Even double ELISA’s are 91% false.

    According to the very study you quoted!

    Let’s think about this for a second. How about Africa?

    We have either NO test in Africa or ONE Elisa in Africa! Oh dear.

    We must investigate how many Elisa’s were used in the original handful of natal clinics in South Africa from which the figure for how many positive people there were in sub Saharan Africa was extrapolated.

    Could it be they extrapolated to all men and wmen in sub Sahara the figures of Elisa tests of pregnant women in natal clinics in South Africa, which are a) 91% false and b) probably even more often false since a) pregnant woman tend to generate retroviral material (see recent research) from their placentae, and b) the Western Blot is somewhat fallible too, finding 5% positives where none are there.

    Could it be that the entire African (and by extension Asian) HIV∫AIDS scare, the world wide, global, all encompassing AIDS pandemic about to swallow us all up if we will only agree to be tested, is at least 91% null and void ??!! An empty claim, a dead parrot of a pusillanimous petrified pandemic, a pandemic that is no more than a result of a NIAID Gallo Essex Baltimore shell game aided by the decline in Harvard education now exhibited by one of its staunch supporters.

    One who has the temerity to quote a study revealing this truth to all under the misapprehension that it supports the current paradigm.

    A paradigm which appears to behave rather like an egg boiled dry under the constant flame of AIDS dissent, exploding and covering the faces of its supporters with shame and degradation?

    Does the pandemic paradigm go pouf?!

    Tell us it aint so, Trrll, if it is still your shift, or are you going to retired exhausted and let Noble have his turn in the stocks? Do you arrange this by email behind our backs?

    Surely not. But solo or duo it is certainly a fruitful act. Thank you for it. You contribute a great deal.

  130. trrll Says:

    REPEAT: Even double Elisa’s are 91% false in blood donors, the low risk population was sampled in that study, according to the followup Western Blot.

    REPEAT: Even double ELISA’s are 91% false.

    And your point is what? That ELISA is not adequate to reliably diagnose HIV infection in a low-risk population, and needs to be followed up by (at least) Western blot?

    Haven’t I already said that? Several times?

    Let’s think about this for a second. How about Africa?

    So now you want to talk about Africa?

    I certainly agree that IF the incidence of HIV in Africa were as low as in the population of voluntary blood donors in the US, with a true positive rate of under 0.01%, then ELISA would give a quite inflated estimate of HIV incidence in Africa. So is that the case?

    In fact there have been studies that confirmed ELISA with Western blot in Africa. For example, this study found incidence in Central African Republic towns ranging from 5 to 20% so the false positive rate of 0.1% (per assay) or so from ELISA is not going to have much impact on the statistics.

    Another way to look at that false positive rate from ELISA is that it can’t account for more than a fraction of a percent of HIV positives, no matter what the population incidence. So once you start seeing numbers substantially larger than that, you cannot appeal to ELISA false positives as an explanation.

    Whether anti-HIV treatment in Africa should be based solely on positive ELISA without follow-up confirmation is a complex social, economic, and ethical question, balancing monetary costs of assays and drugs against the human costs of false positive diagnoses. This is not a question on which I feel qualified to comment, and there is not much point in discussing it around here, anyway, since I imagine that most discussants on this board would oppose treatment even if the test were completely infallible.

  131. Truthseeker Says:

    Whether anti-HIV treatment in Africa should be based solely on positive ELISA without follow-up confirmation is a complex social, economic, and ethical question, balancing monetary costs of assays and drugs against the human costs of false positive diagnoses

    With a failure rate of 91% in a low rate population, it is hardly a complex question. As a matter of interest, why is the 91% failing Elisa going to show a better performance in a higher rate population in any meaningful sense, since the higher accuracy is simply the result of random success, is it not? Amid so many false ratings, the true ones become questionable individually too.

    The study you quote shows that the false tests are drowned amid the true positives, so the accuracy obviously is higher.

    A total of 2,259 persons were tested from 17 sites from 10 cities and towns. Between 2.7% and 30.7%, by site, were positive for HIV-1 by repeat EIA and Western blot confirmation (Table). A higher HIV-1 prevalence (25.3% to 30.7%) was observed among STD clinic attendees, whereas the prevalence among women at prenatal care clinics was generally >5% and as high as 16.7% (the exception was the lower rate in women from the prenatal care clinic in Gamboula.

    We have to agree with what you say in saying that

    there is not much point in discussing it around here, anyway, since I imagine that most discussants on this board would oppose treatment even if the test were completely infallible.

    but the question remains, what is causing all these positive tests? 30.7% positive for HIV-1 approaches evidence that this is not HIV-1 actually causing the tests to react, we have to say. One third of the population have somehow contracted an agent that is sexually intransmissible?
    Perhaps someone should look into who is running the hospitals there and using so many dirty needles, would you say?

    Absurdity piled on absurdity, from where we stand. Anyhow, you seem to take the point that Elisa’s are wildly inaccurate except in populations with a high prevalence of HIV. Judging from the figure of 91% plus, your statement of

    That ELISA is not adequate to reliably diagnose HIV infection in a low-risk population, and needs to be followed up by (at least) Western blot?

    Haven’t I already said that? Several times?

    is completely inadequate.

    The correct statement is that ELISA’s are worse than useless in a low risk population, quite apart from the design of these things being justified in a circular fashion, which this comment thread has now exposed, among other indications that the whole construct of an epidemic let alone a pandemic is a fantasy.

    Cute how you make small admissions though.

  132. trrll Says:

    With a failure rate of 91% in a low rate population, it is hardly a complex question.

    Certainly not, so I’m not sure why you are obsessing about it.

    The (not complex) answer is that ELISA alone will not give valid numbers in a low prevalence population, which is why nobody is using it for that. With appropriate follow-up assays, however, reliable HIV testing can be carried out even in low prevalence populations. This obviously is irrelevant to Africa. If prevalence in Africa were so low that it could reasonably be appreciably confounded by ELISA false positives, then nobody would be concerned about HIV in Africa.

    As a matter of interest, why is the 91% failing Elisa going to show a better performance in a higher rate population in any meaningful sense, since the higher accuracy is simply the result of random success, is it not?

    Depends upon what you mean by “better performance.” The probability per assay of a false positives is the same in either population, so in a certain absolute sense its performance is the same. On the other hand, its predictive power (the probability that a positive result indicates the presence of the virus) is much higher in a high prevalence population, as it is for all diagnostic tests, so even though its performance is the same, its usefulness is much greater.

    The role of random factors is basically the same as for any kind of measurement of anything. Any measurement will have some level of random “noise,” and a signal can be measured reliably only if it is above the noise. As a result, the measurement will give meaningful results only when the signal being measured is in an appropriate range for the method of measurement being used.

    but the question remains, what is causing all these positive tests? 30.7% positive for HIV-1 approaches evidence that this is not HIV-1 actually causing the tests to react, we have to say.

    You are obviously using the word “evidence” in a manner very different from the way in which I understand it. What you are saying seems to translate to “The study indicates a higher frequency of positives than I want to believe, so this is evidence that something else must be causing that high percentage of positive results.”

  133. Chris Noble Says:

    The correct statement is that ELISA’s are worse than useless in a low risk population, quite apart from the design of these things being justified in a circular fashion, which this comment thread has now exposed, among other indications that the whole construct of an epidemic let alone a pandemic is a fantasy.

    Any test that is less than 100% specific has a reduced PPV in low prevalence populations. This is why there is so much debate about what age to start giving women mammograms, what age to give men tests for prostate cancer (if at all). In low risk groups most ‘positive’ mammograms will be false positives. It is a very, very simple fact that is completely obvious to most people.

    For some reason which is not apparent you are not denying the existence of breast cancer and prostate cancer when exactly the same arguments could be applied to these conditions.

  134. Dave Says:

    Ebola virus kills 5,000 gorillas!

    Wow! Must be a really deadly bugger killing all those primates. Hmmm. Reminds me of certain incongruent facts involving another “deadly” virus……….

    Were these gorillas deemed “Ebola positive”?
    Were antibodies to Ebola detected in these gorillas?
    Is it impossible to culture the Ebola viruses from these infected gorillas?
    Is the Ebola virus transmitted by anal sex? Or dirty needles?
    Does the Ebola virus kill gorilla cells through classical lysis (infecting the cell and replicating) or does it kill cells through unknown, indirect methods?
    Do they use PCR to detect the Ebola “viral load”?
    Would AZT have saved these unfortunate gorillas?

    These are many penetrating questions I have:)

  135. chase Says:

    CN, I’m sorry that the completely reasonable statement you made below was followed by some ranting on Ebola:

    Any test that is less than 100% specific has a reduced PPV in low prevalence populations. This is why there is so much debate about what age to start giving women mammograms, what age to give men tests for prostate cancer (if at all). In low risk groups most ‘positive’ mammograms will be false positives. It is a very, very simple fact that is completely obvious to most people.

    For some reason which is not apparent you are not denying the existence of breast cancer and prostate cancer when exactly the same arguments could be applied to these conditions.

    These kinds of run-of-the-mill facts are too often ignored for political, not scientific reasons.

  136. Truthseeker Says:

    In low risk groups most ‘positive’ mammograms will be false positives. It is a very, very simple fact that is completely obvious to most people.

    For some reason which is not apparent you are not denying the existence of breast cancer and prostate cancer when exactly the same arguments could be applied to these conditions.

    Even to you, it seems, that very, very simple fact is completely obvious, Chris, so congratulations on that. But on your second puzzlement, the “some reason” may include the fact that breast cancer rates are not yet at 30% in any population, are they? Sorry to hear it if they are.

    These kinds of run-of-the-mill facts are too often ignored for political, not scientific reasons

    Not sure that the run of the mill fact that Elisa’s are hopelessly inaccurate in low risk populations is being ignored for political reasons by the general population or by anybody at all except the authorities, but certainly there are other things being ignored for political and not scientific reasons.

    One might be the overwhelming evidence against HIV’s capacity or inclination to hurt a fly, a blood cell, a human being or even Chase, which that distinguished poster is still not sure about, last we heard, so he is not thanking anyone for pointing it out for years, yet.

    Another might be that the African countries where doomsday scenarios of disastrous declines in population were predicted a while back based on HIV rates of 30 per cent in prenatal clinics originally detected by… none other than Elisa tests, we believe, instead have boasted embarrassing gains in population, which have helped raise the population of the whole subSahara over the last two decades plus by some one third to three quarters of a billion people, as we recall.

    Of course their portion of the sixty or is it a hundred million now slated to die of AIDS in the next ten or twenty years won’t make much of a dent in that total, so maybe it is time for UNAIDS and WHO back office statistical fiction writers to raise the bar a bit, if they expect African AIDS to continue to be in the headlines once Gates and Clinton have realized how much more important malaria and TB is in the dark continent now being illuminated by the American scientists and journalists who believe that virus hunting in the most important way of raising African health and living standards.

  137. Dave Says:

    Oops. My bad – I thought it was kind of an open thread here, since the discussion has run far afield from the great article about Noreen.

    No more mention of “ebola positive” gorillas.

  138. kevin Says:

    Thanks to McDonald and to Martel, too, for taking the charge to challenge Dr. Twill and his avoidance of my questions. I was busy living and unable to respond until now, but you both filled in more than admirably, particularly the following from Martel:

    I don’t think Trrll answered this part of Kevin’s question:
    “has it also been established as to whether or not those proteins are unique to HIV?”

    The HIV proteins are not unique to HIV. In the laboratory, many HIV proteins can be functionally substituted for comparable proteins (orthologs, I suppose) of closely-related retroviruses, such as the different SIVs, Visna-Maedi virus (affecting sheep), and Caprine retrovirus (goats).

    I appreciate your willingness to answer this most important question–one that Dr. Twill characteristicly avoided. However, isn’t it also true that these proteins can be found in the tissue of many HIV negative individuals, i.e. hasn’t p24 been found in the brain tissue of HIV negative patients?

    __________________________________________________________

    Dr. Twill wrote:

    No, that’s nonsense. Prevalence is a completely different question from causality.

    Talk about nonsense…I’m gonna make this real simple for the doctor and perhaps he’ll come down from his high horse long enough to consider the true intent of my criticism on this point.

    Causality is absolutely related to prevelance when considering the accuracy of HIV tests. You are trying to argue that prevelance can be be established without first proving causality, but the reasons you cannot prove causality forbid you from meaningfully discussing prevalence. First and foremost, you cannot prove the presence of the virus in individual cases; therefore, you have no right to make claims about HIV’s prevelance in larger populations. Furthermore, you don’t even have the right to make claims about the prevalence of HIV atibodies until you first prove that those antibodies are specific to the proteins that are claimed to be specific to HIV. This collossal lack of specificity is indeed damning, if not laughable, and biased scientific rhetoric will not change that, no matter how familiar one becomes with the “terminology.” I hate to repeat myself but since your comprehesion skills evidently fail to function outside of the world of HIV pollyanna, I offer the following simplified complaint:

    Once an organism is legitimately describe, only then can its prevalence in larger populations be accurately estimated. Fortunately, the legitimate description of a pathogenic organism usually entails causation, and, then and only then, will a discussion of prevelance be both relevant and meaningful.

    Kevin

  139. trrll Says:

    First and foremost, you cannot prove the presence of the virus in individual cases

    While no assay for any virus or other infectious agent is absolutely free from some level of statistical error, HIV assays approach the limits of reliability for any such assay. The PCR test, with appropriate replicates and controls can indeed prove the presence of the virus.

    Furthermore, you don’t even have the right to make claims about the prevalence of HIV atibodies until you first prove that those antibodies are specific to the proteins that are claimed to be specific to HIV.

    No antibody assay for anything is absolutely free of cross reaction. Nevertheless, correlation of antibody results with PCR demonstrates that the antibody assays have an error rate of well under 1%. Again, this is quite good for an antibody test. It is truly remarkable that two tests, using entirely different methods (antibody assays detect the presence of antibodies against HIV proteins; PCR assays detect the presence of specific nucleic acid sequences that are found only in the virus and nowhere in normal human DNA) should agree to such a great extent. If the early claims of HIV critics had been right, and the antibody tests were not actually detecting infection, then the whole story would have collapsed once PCR became available. Critics of the test must now argue that antibody tests and PCR tests are both producing artifactual results by different mechanisms which–purely by coincidence–happen to agree to better than 99%. Quite a remarkable coincidence!

    Once an organism is legitimately describe, only then can its prevalence in larger populations be accurately estimated. Fortunately, the legitimate description of a pathogenic organism usually entails causation, and, then and only then, will a discussion of prevelance be both relevant and meaningful.

    Everything about an organism is ultimately encoded in its genome. Therefore, there can be no more complete or legitimate description of an organism than genome sequencing. This has been done for HIV, not once, but many times, placing it within the select group of organisms that have been described at this extreme level of detail.

  140. Martel Says:

    Kevin, you wrote:

    …isn’t it also true that these proteins can be found in the tissue of many HIV negative individuals, i.e. hasn’t p24 been found in the brain tissue of HIV negative patients?

    I have not heard of HIV-1 p24 being found in uninfected brain tissue. If you have a reference for this, please let me know and I’ll check it out.

  141. trrll Says:

    Kleinman et al. found 11 cases out of 5 million that exhibited positive Western blots for env and p24, but were HIV negative based on PCR and follow-up serology. Of course, this doesn’t indicate the presence of p24 itself, but rather of antibodies that cross-react with p24. Cross reactivity between p24 and some non-HIV viral proteins has been reported, so infection by one of these viruses might be one way in which such antibodies could arise in HIV-negative individuals.

  142. Martel Says:

    trrll,
    Thanks for the reference.
    There is certainly a difference between cross-reactivity and presence of the antigen the antibody is supposed to recognize.
    Cross-reactivity of anti-HIV antibodies has been shown in humans exposed to sheep and goat retroviruses, and even rabies.
    Cross-reactivity has also been shown to occur in brain tissue, although not with p24 antibodies (that I’ve been able to find, anyway). The brain cross-reactivity involves anti-gp120 and anti-gp41 antibodies that recognize proteins found, for example, on the surface of astrocytes (the most abundant cell type in the brain). These cross-reacting proteins, when examined more closely, are clearly of human origin and are the wrong size for HIV-1 proteins.
    Again, if anyone has an example of an HIV protein found in uninfected patient samples–as opposed to mere cross-reactivity–please let me know.

  143. MacDonald Says:

    Trrll,

    The PCR test, with appropriate replicates and controls can indeed prove the presence of the virus

    Can or does? How come authorities say PCR can’t be used to establish the presence of HIV? The gold standard for ELISA is WB. What’s the gold standard for WB? where’s the gold standard for PCR? When and where was HIV isolated? Come on, straight answers for the world to see now that we have your name and affiliation.

    Why is all your language empty? Is that the scientific way?

    It is truly remarkable that two tests, using entirely different methods (antibody assays detect the presence of antibodies against HIV proteins; PCR assays detect the presence of specific nucleic acid sequences

    Take the assumed conclusion, “HIV”, of the equation and tell us what’s so remarkable.

    Why is all your language empty?

    PCR assays detect the presence of specific nucleic acid sequences that are found only in the virus and nowhere in normal human DNA

    What’s with the imprecise language here? Please Define “normal” and “abnormal” scientifically. And please tell us where’s the whole virus?

    Why is all your language empty?

    Critics of the test must now argue that antibody tests and PCR tests are both producing artifactual results by different mechanisms

    Explain “different mechanisms”. Why would it be remarkable to produce corresponding artifactual results by different mechanisms?

    Is all your language empty, Trrll?

    Everything about an organism is ultimately encoded in its genome.

    “Everything”, “ultimately” is that the language of science or religion? Are you a priest Dr. Trrll, or just an old shool genetic determinist – meaning a priest without the human dimension? Is that why you’re practically retired Trrll, because you’re unable to comprehend complex systems?

    Why is all your language empty?

    Critics of the test must now argue that antibody tests and PCR tests are both producing artifactual results by different mechanisms which–purely by coincidence–happen to agree to better than 99%. Quite a remarkable coincidence!

    Agree better than 99% with what? ELISA, WB, the isolated WHOLE virus? What’s remarkable about one thing corresponding with another, and how exactly does it prove a third? Come on Mr. Logic, don’t just suggest or imply, spell out the syllogism for us in detail.

    Why all your language empty?

    How about this coincidence?(for John in particular if he hasn’t seen it:

    http://barnesworld.blogs.com/gr.5565706v1-1.pdf

    Martel,

    Nice to see you’re always onto the essential issues whether you’re wearing skirt or pants at the moment.

  144. trrll Says:

    How come authorities say PCR can’t be used to establish the presence of HIV? The gold standard for ELISA is WB. What’s the gold standard for WB? where’s the gold standard for PCR?

    Who, specifically, says that PCR can’t be used to establish the presence of HIV? It is not well suited to mass screening, because of its cost and the requirement for trained personnel, and for many practical purposes it amounts to overkill. Nevertheless, it is the most sensitive and specific test available. Moreover, since it employs an entirely different technology from antibody methods, it is not influenced by cross-reactivity. Its sensitivity imposes one drawback, in that particular care must be taken to avoid cross-contamination between samples, as it can detect even a few molecules of viral nucleic acid.

    When and where was HIV isolated?

    HIV has been isolated and sequenced multiple times. References may be found in this compendium

    Explain “different mechanisms”. Why would it be remarkable to produce corresponding artifactual results by different mechanisms?

    Let us suppose, purely for the sake of argument, that there was some kind of error with antibody based assays such that they reported frequently reported HIV where it was not present. PCR is a completely different technology. Whereas antibody reactivity reflects the “shape” of a part of a protein, PCR does not detect viral proteins or antiviral antibodies at all, but rather amplifies and reads off the fundamental viral gene sequence. So the likelihood that these two completely different methods of measuring completely different biological products (protein vs. nucleic acid) would both yield wrong results, yet happen by pure chance to agree with each other so closely, is essentially nil. The agreement of PCR results with those obtained using antibody methods is therefore a remarkable validation of the antibody approach.

    What’s with the imprecise language here? Please define “normal” and “abnormal” scientifically. And please tell us where’s the whole virus?

    Certainly. In this context “normal” means a human not infected with HIV. “Abnormal” means infected by HIV.

    Agree better than 99% with what?

    With each other (PCR and antibody reactivity based assays)

    “Everything”, “ultimately” is that the language of science or religion?

    This is pure science. All of the characteristics of an organism are encoded in its genes. The genomic sequence is thus the most precise description of an organism biologically possible.

    How about this coincidence?(for John in particular if he hasn’t seen it: http://barnesworld.blogs.com/gr.5565706v1-1.pdf

    Nice paper, but I don’t see what you imagine to be “coincidental” about it. Basically, the authors showed that by assembling bits and pieces it is possible to reactivate a human endogenous retrovirus remnant in the genome. However, it is not HIV, and would not be confused with HIV in a PCR assay.

  145. Truthseeker Says:

    The Comments of our stalwart defenders of the faith seem to us to be nothng more than the worms one encounters when one opens the can of testing and its accuracy.

    There seems to be some lack of intellectual honesty here, whether intended or not ie whether with other people or with oneself, as they conduct defense after defense which misses the main point, which is a) are these tests a good guide to the presence of actual HIV or not, and b) do they show the quantity present?

    It seems quite clear and admitted that Elisa tests in a low risk population are over 91% incorrect when they detect HIV antibodies. That means to us that they are probably totally useless in a situation such as testing Africans where cross reactions due to antibodies to many other diseases are very prevalent.

    So Elisas are totally useless in Africa.

    Then the argument seems to be, well they are OK if they are confirmed by Western Blot as in the US. But the Western Blot is not very widely available in Africa, is it? Testing in Africa is either none or Elisas.

    Assuming there is Western Blot available, however, the outcome doesn’t seem much better. Western Blots tested in 1993 on those in a low risk population (blood donors) who scored negative on an Elisa turned out 20-40% indeterminate as to whether positive or negative. An insert from the WB from Epitope/Organon Teknika Corporation famously reads “do not use this test as sole basis of diagnosis of HIV-1 infection.”

    Then you seem to believe that PCRs come in to save the day. But these will be uniformly positive for HIV detection if the dilution cutoff is low enough, is that not so? Copies of HIV sequences will be detected in all of us. It is hard to see how a PCR test like Roche’s Amplicor can be that useful in screening (which you seem to have said) when its insert says “not intended to be used as a screening test for HIV or as a diagnostic test to confirm the presence of HIV infection.” Why would Roche Diagnostic Systems print that if it could do either? Yet we are told that is the insert.

    Apparently it was forced to.

    Checking on the Web we find on PR Newswire from 1996

    “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today approved for marketing Roche Molecular Systems’ (RMS) AMPLICOR HIV-1 MONITOR(TM) Test, the first test to accurately and precisely measure quantities of HIV-1 RNA in the blood (viral “load”). Using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology, a process that allows the amplification and identification of specific DNA or RNA sequences, the AMPLICOR HIV-1 MONITOR(TM) Test is able to quantitate viral load levels accurately and reproducibly over a broad dynamic range.”

    But then we read also:

    “DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

    Public Health Service

    Food and Drug Administration

    1401 Rockville Pike

    Rockville MD 20852–1448

    March 2, 1999

    Alex Wesolowski

    Roche Molecular systems, Inc.

    1080 US Highway 202

    Branchburg, NJ 08876

    Re: BP950005, Supplement 3

    Product: Roche AMPLICOR HIV-1 MONITOR Test

    Date Received: June 24, 1997

    Amended: 10-APR-1998

    Dear Mr. Wesolowski:

    The Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has completed its review of your response of April 10, 1998 to our comments. We are pleased to inform you that your premarket approval application (PMA) supplement for the AMPLICOR HIV-1 MONITOR Test intended to be used as an aid in management of patients on anti-viral therapy for HIV disease is approved subject to the conditions described below and in the “Conditions of Approval” (enclosed). You may begin commercial distribution of the device upon receipt of this letter.

    The post-approval conditions to which you have agreed in your December 14, 1998 faxed letter include the following:

    The Intended Use Statement should be modified to read as follows:

    The AMPLICOR HIV-1 MONITOR Test is an in vitro nucleic acid amplification test for the quantitation of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) RNA in human plasma. The test is intended for use in conjunction with clinical presentation and other laboratory markers of disease progress for the clinical management of HIV-1 infected patients. The test can be used to assess patient prognosis by measuring the baseline HIV-1 RNA level or to monitor the effect of antiviral therapy by serial measurement of plasma HIV-1 RNA levels during the course of antiviral treatment. Monitoring the effects of antiviral therapy by serial measurement of plasma HIV-1 RNA has been validated for patient swith baseline viral loads ≥25,000 copies/mL.

    The AMPLICOR HIV-1 MONITOR Test is not intended to be used as a screening test for HIV or as a diagnostic test to confirm the presence of HIV infection.” (Bold added).

    So PCR is hardly a screening test for HIV.

    Since it must have something to amplify, however, presumably it only works if whatever it is amplifying is there. The question is, is that something indicating HIV antibodies or antibodies from any one of many other cross reactive diseases?

    The bottom line appears to be, these darn tests simply dont know what they are detecting – whether it is HIV antibodies or some other kind.

    That fits in perfectly with the HIV debunkers, whose view is that all that is happening in Africa is that AIDS testing (what there is of it) whether real or imaginary (assumed) is simply tracking other illnesses across Africa, which is a warm continent which has bred all kinds of ills to attack the poor and inadequately fed.

    All the HIV testers are doing in a poor and ill fed population in Africa is finding (other than pregnancy) illness – leprosy, dengue fever, diarrhea and other parasitic infections, worms and parasites, and dozens of others which result in high levels of response which all Elisas measure.

    You are simply finding all present and past illness in Africa and calling it AIDS and dumping expensive ARVs on them.

    Perhaps you ought to reflect on your contribution to human welfare.

  146. YossariansGhostbuster Says:

    TS,

    You are on a roll, go for it. You’re right, they do not have a valid wasserman and they’re passing out the bismuth for life.

  147. trrll Says:

    Assuming there is Western Blot available, however, the outcome doesn’t seem much better.

    Kleinman et al., using Western blot with a criterion of 3 positive bands plus env found zero false positives out of over 5 million samples in an ultralow prevalence population. That strikes me as rather good.

    Then you seem to believe that PCRs come in to save the day. But these will be uniformly positive for HIV detection if the dilution cutoff is low enough, is that not so?

    I suppose that if you are really determined to get the wrong answer, you can certainly find conditions under which PCR (or indeed, any kind of assay) will give you incorrect results. But why would you want to? Of course, in practice these assays are done with positive and negative controls, so if you somehow screw up the assay conditions, you’ll know.

    It is hard to see how a PCR test like Roche’s Amplicor can be that useful in screening (which you seem to have said) when its insert says “not intended to be used as a screening test for HIV or as a diagnostic test to confirm the presence of HIV infection.” Why would Roche Diagnostic Systems print that if it could do either?

    This is a doubtless financial issue. It would cost a huge amount for Roche to do the studies to prove to the FDA that the test works for this purpose, and the potential return on that investment is small, because (as we saw above) for most practical purposes, ELISA backed by Western blot works quite well, so it is not a large potential market. It simply isn’t worth the investment to the company. You’ll see this for a lot of drugs as well. The company will only do the tests to qualify a drug for the largest market, even though it may also work for a lot of other indications. Doctors who use the drug for other indications do it “off label.” But even though Roche may not want to pay for the studies, research studies by individual investigators have confirmed the validity of PCR for evaluation of HIV infection. Indeed, PCR is now firmly established as the standard method for measuring nucleic acid sequences of any sort, not just HIV. Such independent studies are more convincing than studies paid for and carried out by the manufacturer, anyway.

  148. Truthseeker Says:

    Kleinman et al., using Western blot with a criterion of 3 positive bands plus env found zero false positives out of over 5 million samples in an ultralow prevalence population. That strikes me as rather good.

    Sorry, a copy of this 1998 study in JAMA not in front of us now, but according to our notes this showed only a 9% confirmation by Western Blot of each 100 (91% false) of the 4,650 double checked positives Elisa yielded, which you have acknowledged, and then when 9% of them seemed questionable (“possible false positivity”) and were checked by PCR half of them proved false, ie 4.8% (20 out of 39) were invalid, ie about 1/2 per cent more were invalid.

    So nearly 92 per cent of the original Elisas were wrong. Half of the questionable WBlots were wrong too – 20. How many more were there that were not examined? 380. How many were wrong? We don’t know. Where do you get zero from in all this?

    Your expression above seems to be incorrect and perhaps you should refine it. To repeat, 5% of the WBlot confirmations were wrong. But only 9% of the Elisa doubly tested positives were examined. So half those questionable were wrong. How many of the others would have withstood checking is unknown but other indications suggest PCR does not correlate very well with Western Blot.

    So where do you get your 100% faith in WBlot in very low prevalence populations?

    You keep saying that problems arise only in low prevalence populations. But Harvard’s Max Essex and colleagues found 80 per cent Elisa and 80% WBlots in the Congo with its high prevalence population were invalid.

    They concluded that high exposure to bacteria gives a high level of cross reactions and false positivity – such as TB, leprosy and others. There is tremendous TB in these areas, maybe as much as half the population. And that’s just one interfering factor. Another is hypergammaglobulinemia ie high levels of immunoglobulin G or IgG from multiple assaults on the system. How can anyone expect these tests to be meaningful at these rates of error, even if HIV did any damage? Of course, it is the high rates of error that suggest it isn’t HIV that is the problem at all.

    Readers should pop over to Hank’s You Bet Your Life and check out the Maniotis post today, a brilliantly written Brief Guide to the History of AIDS, in which he reminds all of the numerous disastrous deficits of logic and evidence in the paradigm that have emerged year after year, all swept under the carpet by the ruling clique.

    Just the ones to do with testing are enough to bring this thread to a screeching halt:

    Thus it has been about 22 years since Dr. Gallo rushed that same day to patent the first “HIV” test kit, and was subsequently convicted of scientific misconduct by the Dingell Commission and the Office of Scientific Integrity of the NIH for attempting to steal Luc Montagnier’s so-called “HIV-virus isolate [1].”

    It has also been about 22 years since chimp colonies were injected with “isolates” of “HIV” obtained from AIDS patients, but have yet to become ill, as they sit in their new 27 million dollar retirement homes [2].

    At the beginning of HIV testing, it was known that “68% to 89% of all repeatedly reactive ELISA (HIV antibody) tests represent false positive results among sperm donors [3], and 14 years ago, it was reported that “HIV-like sequences exist in normal in human, chimpanzee, and rhesus monkey DNAs” [4]. That same year, it was reported that the hepatitis B vaccine causes false positive “HIV” test results [5].

    It has been 11 years since it was reported that flu vaccines cause false positive “HIV” test results [8]

    t has also been about 7 years since it was known that goats and cows test “HIV-positive” [11].

    2 years since the Red Cross reported that even after repeated testing using different test kits, low-risk populations, such as blood donors (or military recruits) will typically yield 12 (PCR) positive or 2 (ELISA) positive results out of 37,000,000 samples, leaving potentially 10 out of 12 false positives, depending on which test kit you believe [15].

    Andrew Maniotis is a Program Director in the Cell and Developmental Biology of Cancer unit of the Department of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology, and Bioengineering, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago. He first appeared to us when he wrote a letter supporting the Al Bayati autopsy review of Eliza Jane. He is also the author of the ABCs of AIDS Denialists featured on The AIDS Wiki.

    We especially like the point he brings up about goats and cows testing positive for HIV. This also applies to dogs, we happen to know. Why have Anthony Fauci and his drug company friends in the politics of HIV∫AIDS not exploited this fact before now? There is a vast market for antiretrovirals which is being totally neglected.

    Save our cows, goats and dogs from HIV now!

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