Making HIV/AIDS a Disease Part Two
Of great concern should be that the HIV virus that is attributed to causing AIDS has not been isolated as an entity by itself. Also, the tests for the HIV virus do not detect the virus itself, but rather detect antibodies that are thought be as a result of infection by the HIV virus. The newer viral load tests are said to detect parts of the virus. How is it that parts of the HIV virus may be detected, but the whole virus itself cannot be found? The companies that manufacture the HIV tests include written documentation in the test kits themselves that state, These test kits are not to be used for diagnosing the presence of HIV virus in those being tested.
To design a trustworthy test for something, one needs to know precisely what the thing is. To design a trustworthy test for a virus, one requires a sample of the pure virus; one must isolate the virus free of all other material. That has been done with many viruses, but it has not been done with HIV. All so-called isolations of HV are no more than inferences based on procedures in which certain effects are taken to mean that an active virus was caused to grow, or to be transferred; or it is assumed that particular detected bits of DNA or RNA originated in the virus. (Bauer, The Origins, Persistence and Failings of the HIV/AIDS Theory, p. 90-91)
Unlike other viruses, HIV has never been isolated as an independent, stable product. (Hodgkinson, AIDS: The Failure Contemporary Science, p. 361)
Given that pure HIV has never been isolated, everything said about its genes and proteins is based entirely on inferences. (Bauer, The Origins, Persistence and Failings of the HIV/AIDS Theory, p. 94)
There are no photographs of HIV in isolated state simply because it has never been possible to isolate HIV according to accepted methods. Suffice it to say that a blood test that would identify HIV in the body requires a clear picture of HIV, which could only be obtained through isolation. (Null, AIDS: A Second Opinion, p. 44)
It is also relevant to note that the HIV antibody tests were never originally intended as diagnostic tools, but rather as screening tests to guarantee the safety of the blood supply. (Culshaw, Science Sold Out Does HIV Really Cause AIDS?, p.35)
Although it had never been made plain to the public, experts knew from an early point that there were exceptional problems with the HIV test. Some of these doubts and uncertainties came up at a meeting at the WHO’s headquarters in Geneva on 14-16 April 1986, called to discuss the safety of blood supplies and issues related to antibody screen. There were more than 100 participants, from thirty-four countries. (Hodgkinson, AIDS: The Failure of Contemporary Science, p. 249)
It may come as a surprise that no HIV antibody test has been approved by the FDA to diagnose HIV infection on its own. Each test must be tested against or used in combination with another invalidated test, and depending on where you live it takes a magic combination ranging from three, two, one, or no positive result(s) on three, two, or one unvalidated test(s), to be confirmed HIV-positive. (Culshaw, Science Sold Out Does HIV Really Cause AIDS?, p.35)
Obvious problems with meeting this standard apply as much to the ELISA as to the Western Blot, for while the latter’s reliability is weakened by disputes over which grouping of proteins adds up to a positive assurance that HIV is present, the former’s is weakened by question of whether proteins used to attract antibodies are truly HIV-derivative. However, in relation to the gold standard, these points may almost be called quibbles in comparison to the main weakness of both tests, which goes back to the inability of scientists to isolate HIV. (Nulls, AIDS: A Second Opinion, p. 50)
Eleopulos’s paper was the scientific confirmation for that ground-breaking speech of Stefan Lanka’s in Buenos Aires. Not only did she describe why the proteins said to be specific to HIV were not unique to HIV, but also that even if antibodies to these proteins did show up, they could not be assumed to be a sign of HIV infection. Eleopulos criticized both the ELISA and the Western blot tests. The ELISA antibody test she said, could only be meaningful when it was standardized, that is when a given test result had the same meaning in all patients, in all laboratories and in all countries. But this was not the case and results remained variable because there was no absolute standard. (Shenton, Positively False: Exposing the Myths around HIV and AIDS, p.228-229)
Another source of error derived from the inability of some manufacturers to provide uniformly reliable test kits and reagents. (Hodgkinson, AIDS: The Failure of Contemporary Science, p. 249)
To my growing amazement, I found out that there was indeed a mass of evidence, pulled together in Eleopulos’s enormous review article, that what had come to be called the AIDS test’ was scientifically invalid. The proteins used in the test kits were not specific to a unique retrovirus. Positive results were produced in people whose immune systems had been activated by a wide variety of conditions, including tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis, malaria, malnutrition, and even a course of flu jabs. (Hodgkinson, AIDS: The Failure of Contemporary Science, p. 232)
Even more shocking than the disclaimers placed in all test kits asserting their lack of validation and lack of FDA approval to diagnose HIV infection is that patient serum (blood) must be diluted by a factor of fifty to four hundred times before it is tested for HIV antibodies Giraldo 1998, Kremer 1998).
The two major test kits routinely used for HIV diagnosis are the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test and the Western Blot (WB) test. The ELISA is run first, as a "screening" tool, and was first approved on the basis that it would be helpful in screening donated blood for HIV antibodies. Depending where you live, if your first ELISA is reactive (what we call "positive," a label that we shall soon see is quite misleading), you may get a second ELISA. If this ELISA is also reactive, you are tested with a different test, the WB. This is the final "confirmatory" test for HIV infection. It is extremely important to realize that these tests are all antibody tests, and they are all used to detect me presence or absence of certain "HIV-specific" antibodies.
Why is this so important? Remember, we’re testing for antibodies ere. In most cases, antibody tests are used to determine prior infection, because the pathogen itself is long gone. In certain cases, such as herpes and syphilis, there is concern about latent infections possibly becoming reactivated some time after the production of antibodies, so an antibody test is a reasonable measure to take. Antibody tests are done in general because they are cheaper and easier to do than to directly test for viruses or bacteria. However, in all of these cases, the antibody tests have been rigorously verified against the gold standard of microbial isolation-that is, the microbe was isolated in pure form and determined to consistently and specifically generate exactly those antibodies being tested for. (Culshaw, Science Sold Out Does HIV Really Cause AIDS?, p.37)
When I interviewed Professor Charles Geshekter, he explained that the most HIV tests (ELISA and Western blot) are known to frequently produce false positive results, because the tests cannot distinguish between HIV antibodies and microbes that are symptomatic of malaria, leprosy, or tuberculosis. (Anita Allen points out, further, Pregnancy is one condition which leads to false positive.) (Null, AIDS: A Second Opinion, p. 53)
The results of these repeated assays are too detailed to go into in depth, but not only did they vary dramatically within one laboratory and from one laboratory to another, but also the criteria for declaring them positive or negative would have varied from one country to another. Dr. Val Turner in Perth made a study of the different criteria. In Australia, for example, at least four protein bands are required, in Canada and much of the USA three or more and across Africa two will do. So, all an African has to do is be retested in Australia where he or she might be found negative.
In other words, individuals can be HIV positive or negative depending on which laboratory or test kit or in which country they were tested (Shenton, Positively False: Exposing the Myths around HIV and AIDS, p.29)
To show that an antibody test for HIV is scientifically valid and reliable, the paper said, requires four steps. The first of these is to identify a source of HIV-specific antigens - the protein components f the virus to which antibodies bind. Here, one of the first surprises is that because HIV is extremely difficult - perhaps impossible - to isolate in a clear-cut way, there is no guarantee that the method used really does obtain the virus or its components. I shall be discussing these problems of isolation in a later chapter, but for the moment suffice it to say that the manufactures of the tests do not have unequivocal collection of HIV viruses, visible through electron microscopy, which than can be broken down into their various components. Instead, a multi-step procedure has to be followed involving a variety of assumptions, each of which is questionable. The final assumption is that some material which bands at a particular density (1.116 grams per milliliter) when spun in a centrifuge represents pure’ HIV protein and RNA from which to make antibody test, or which can serve as a template from which to manufacture the proteins. (Hodgkinson, AIDS: The Failure of Contemporary Science, p. 234)
In sum, as we inquire systemically into the subject, it appears the makers of the test keep moving further out onto a limb. We learn that the test does not actually identify HIV particles but antibodies to them. But these antibodies were not actually created as reactants to HIV proteins themselves, but to proteins of another virus, which supposedly closely resembling HIV. Still, the antibodies found were not actually reacting only to these supposedly analogous viral proteins, but also to inevitable contaminants. (Nulls, AIDS: A Second Opinion, p. 48)
A prime impetus for developing HIV tests was to screen the blood supply and avoid spreading disease via transfusions. From that standpoint, it was not particularly troubling that some samples might be wrongly designated HIV-positive, so long as no actually positive blood entered the supply chain. Therefore, the tests were introduced with the caveat that they could not be used for diagnosing the presence of HIV in individuals, and pamphlets in test kits continue to reflect that caveat (Conlan 2001; http://healtoronto,com, The ’AIDS test accessed 24 July 2006):
· ELISA test: Abbott Laboratories, Diagnostic Division, 66-8805/R5; January, 1997
ELISA testing alone cannot be used to diagnose AIDS, even if the recommended investigation of reactive specimens suggests a high probability that the antibody to HIV-1 is present [. . .] there is no recognized standard for establishing presence and absence of HIV -1 antibody in human blood.
· Western Blot test: Epitope, Inc., Organon Teknika Corporation PN201-3039 Revision #8
Do not use this kit as the sole basis of diagnosing HIV-1 infection.
· Viral load test: Roche Diagnostic Systems, Amplicor HIV-1 Monitor, Test Kit US:83088, June 1996
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.
Hodgkson (2004a, b) recounts how the deficiencies of the tests were recognized from the beginning, yet in practice the caveats in the test kits have been studiously ignored, fulfilling a prediction when the tests were first approved: enforcing the intent of this language would be . . . simply not practical (Zuck 1986).
For many years, then the diagnostic procedure for individuals has ignored that the tests were are not valid for that purpose. In the United States, the standard approach calls for duplicate ELISA tests (for antibodies) followed by a Western Blot (for proteins). Even beyond the fact that these proteins have never been proven to be specific for HIV, there is no agreed way to decide which of them, or how many of them, must be present to constitute a positive test. In the United Kingdom, the Western Blot is officially regarded as so unreliable that it may be used for research but not for diagnostic purposes (Hodgkinson 2005b). (Bauer, The Origins, Persistence and Failings of the HIV/AIDS Theory, p. 92-93)
HIV researchers will swear up and down that HIV has been properly isolated and that such apparently sensible criteria as separation of viral particles from everything else and proof of their existence as shown by clear electron micrographs are not necessary. You might think that with the hundreds of billions of dollars spent so far on HI V there would have been by now a successful attempt to demonstrate HIV isolation by publication of proper electron micrographs. The fact that there has not indicates quite strongly that no one has been able to do it. Since the "isolation problem" has long been an argument pm forth by scientists questioning HIV, it seems that if it were possible to resolve this problem, mainstream researchers would be eager to do it if only to shut such dissenters up.
While this may be alarming enough in and of itself, it is of particular concern when one considers that every day people are given a diagnosis of imminent death based on a test whose value as a diagnostic tool is very dubious indeed. One need only consider some of the disclaimers included in any of the popular test kits:
ELISA testing alone cannot be used to diagnose AIDS. Abbott Laboratories test kit (Abbott 1997)
Do not use this kit as the sole basis for HIV infection. Epitope Western Blot kit (Epitope 1997)
The amplicor HIV-l monitor test is not intended to be used as a screening test for HIV, nor a diagnostic test to confirm the presence of HIV infection. Roche viral load kit (Roche 1996)"
(Culshaw, Science Sold Out Does HIV Really Cause AIDS?, p.46)
How HIV/AIDS differs from other diseases.
AIDS is peculiar historically in that the definition of the syndrome actually became more expansive after the alleged causative agent was identified. This is contrary to all logic and counter to the reasoning that underlies the existence and usefulness of clinical syndromes in the first place. Moreover, these expansions make it very difficult to properly analyze epidemiological data. As the definition expanded and it became more and more clear that HIV did not do at all what it was purported to do-that is, kill CD4+ T-cells by any detectable method-researchers began to invent more and more convoluted explanations for why their theory was correct. The logical, scientific thing to have done would have been to notice that their original disease designation did not accurately identify the causative agent or agents and, rather than changing the syndrome, throw out the supposed causative agent(s) find one that explained the observations better. As we know, this has not happened. (Culshaw, Science Sold Out Does HIV Really Cause AIDS?, p. 24)
AIDS is looking less and less like a disease or even a syndrome at all, as all uncomfortable contradictions are swept under the rug, and HIV disease: has become a name for some combination of the results of three blood tests-antibody, CD4+, and viral load-often in the presence of no disease at all. (Culshaw, Science Sold Out Does HIV Really Cause AIDS?, p. 34)
But these data embody particular political decisions and subjective criteria that have significant implications for understanding the past and future trajectory of the AIDS epidemic in this country. Moreover, surveillance statistics for AIDS are unique among those for diseases reported by public health agencies. First, AIDS is the first (and only) disease reported and record cumulatively.Second, how the ASSB establishes San Francisco residency for AIDS patients is contrary to the usual morbidity reports for other diseases which are based on residence. (Cochrane, When AIDS Began San Francisco and the Making of an Epidemic, p. 137)
AIDS has come to encompass a number of things that do not share enough common features to warrant the use of the single name. AIDS in Africa (and perhaps the Caribbean) is different in many respects from AIDS elsewhere. Within the United States, 1980 AIDS is not the same as post-1980s AIDS; and post-1993 AIDS is not the same as pre-1993 AIDS.
Throughout, there is also unavoidable ambiguity or confusion because the diagnosis of AIDS on the basis of certain clinical symptoms-opportunistic infections- has shifted to diagnosis on the basis of certain laboratory tests intended to detect HIV. But that shift, a corollary of HIV/AIDS theory, has not been universally applied in practice. In Africa, for example, diagnosis continues to be base on symptoms wherever HIV-testing is not feasible. Everywhere, HIV-tests are not always considered necessary, for instance when gay men or drug users present opportunistic infections. One consequence is that data, in particular historical data, are lacking on several salient points (for example, see below, The strange case of Kaposis sarcoma). (Bauer, The Origins, Persistence and Failings of the HIV/AIDS Theory, p. 117)
As AIDS survivor Michael Callen writes in his in his inspirational book, Surviving AIDS, long-term AIDS survival does occur, but no one, once diagnosed definitely with AIDS, has ever been taken off the lists kept by the CDC except at death. This makes AIDS the first disease that no can survive, by definition. Not only is this description of AIDS logically bankrupt, it sends the demoralizing and an inaccurate message to people with HIV or AIDS that they have a disease that is not worth fighting. A more legitimate, and more hopeful, definition must be devised. (Root-Bernstein, Rethinking AIDS: The Tragic Cost of Premature Consensus, p. 68)
Who is at Risk?
All these questions and questionable actions result in prolonging and increasing the AIDS epidemic. This was seen in a 1994 declaration of a second wave of the AIDS epidemic. Today there continue to be warnings and reports in both the homosexual media and the mainstream media of increasing rates of AIDS cases among those most effected by AIDS, male homosexuals.
It was a standing room only night at the New York City Gay and Lesbian Community Services on the night of November 16, 1994. Leaders from sixteen AIDS prevention agencies had called this emergency meeting to announce the second wave of AIDS. (Sadownick, Sex Between Men, p.225)
Despite all these questions and questionable actions surrounding AIDS what is known for certainty are those who are AIDS cases. It has been over three decades since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in 1981, and today AIDS is still mainly confined in the same two groups of people that were initially effected, male homosexuals and intravenous drug users.
The Centers for Disease Control HIV/AIDS Surveillance Reports notes, “ Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a specific group of diseases or conditions which are indicative of severe immunosuppression related to infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The precision of this medical definition obscures the fact that has been essential to the public understanding of AIDS: most people with AIDS are gay men or injection drug users (IDUs)." (Donovan, Taking AIM: Target Populations and the Wars on AIDS and Drugs, p. 54)
AIDS in America has two primary sources at present: unprotected anal intercourse, which is associated with gay male behavior and which probably accounts for the bulk of the existing cases nationwide; and intravenous drug injection with virus-contaminated needles, which is currently the major source of new cases and is likely to be the source of most cases within a few years. (Perow and Guillen. The AIDS Disaster: The Failure of Organizations in New York and the Nation, p.55)
AIDS, however, has remained absolutely fixed in its original risk groups. Today, a full decade after it first appeared, the syndrome is diagnosed in homosexuals, intravenous drug users, and hemophiliacs some 95 percent of the time, just as ten years ago. Nine out every ten AIDS patients are male, also just as before. Even the very existence of a latent period strongly suggests that years of health abuse are required for such fatal conditions. Among AIDS patients in the United States and Europe, one extremely common health risk has been identified: the long-term use of hard drugs (the evidence will be presented in chapter 8 and 11). AIDS is not contagious nor is it even a single epidemic. (Duesburg, Inventing the AIDS Virus, p. 217)
It is, of course, always dangerous to generalize about any group of people, and people with AIDS are no exception. And yet certain generalizations about who is most likely to contract AIDS have proved to be useful from a medical perspective. We recognize that the vast majority of people with AIDS are gay men /or intravenous drug abusers. These generalizations provide clues about what may cause AIDS, what may dispose people to contract the syndrome, and how the disease may spread. (Root-Bernstein, Rethinking AIDS: The Tragic Cost of Premature Consensus, p. 224)
If exposure to HIV is sufficient to cause AIDS, than everyone should be at equal risk, and AIDS should develop at an equal rate among different risk groups once infection has been established. Clearly that is not the case.
Researchers recognized by 1987 that the threat of AIDS to non-risk groups was very small. . .
On the other hand, the high risk groups are still the high-risk groups. (Root-Bernstein, Rethinking AIDS: The Tragic Cost of Premature Consensus, p. 220)
The following information was taken from the CDC’s MMWR of June 27, 2008 / 57(25); 681-686.
Trends in HIV/AIDS Diagnoses Among Men Who Have Sex with Men --- 33 States, 2001-2006
In 2008, CDC conducted an analysis of trends in diagnoses of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the 33 states* that have had confidential, name-based HIV case reporting since at least 2001. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated that the number of HIV/AIDS diagnoses among MSM overall during 2001—2006 increased 8.6% (estimated annual percentage change [EAPC] = 1.5). During 2001—2006, an estimated 214,379 persons had HIV/AIDS diagnosed in the 33 states. Of these diagnoses, 46% were in MSM, and 4% were in MSM who engaged in illicit injection-drug use (IDU) (i.e., MSM and IDU). To reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS in the United States, HIV prevention services that aim to reduce the risk for acquiring and transmitting infection among MSM and link infected MSM to treatment must be expanded.
During 2001—2006, male-to-male sex remained the largest HIV transmission category in the United States and the only one associated with an increasing number of HIV/AIDS diagnoses. In this analysis, statistically significant decreases in HIV/AIDS diagnoses were observed for all other transmission categories (i.e., among persons likely to have been infected through high-risk heterosexual contact, IDU, MSM and IDU, and other routes). Among MSM aged 13—24 years, statistically significant increases in diagnoses were observed in nearly all racial/ethnic populations. These findings underscore the need for continued effective testing and risk reduction interventions for MSM, particularly those aged <25 years.