Rethinking HIV and AIDS

David Crowe
for Knights of the Round Table
Calgary, Alberta
December 21st 2004

The Knights of the Round Table is a discussion group that has met monthly in Calgary since the 1920’s, featuring speakers on a wide variety of topics.

Everyone knows that:

“HIV is a retrovirus that
leads to the fatal disease
called AIDS.
The virus is transmitted
by sex and
contaminated blood products.” (The catechism of AIDS)

But, what if ‘everyone’ is wrong?

Valerie Emerson of Maine thought that the AIDS drug AZT was unsafe and the State took her to court to force her to give it to her son. The judge ruled “She has placed her faith in this medical approach in the past and has lost a child. She has discontinued her own treatment with no apparent present ill-effects.” She was allowed to keep her son drug free. [Clapp, 1988]

Kathleen and David Tyson of Oregon were not so lucky. A judge ruled that Kathleen could not breastfeed her new baby, and that the parents must give him the drug AZT. [Wolf, 2001]

“Mary” (not her real name) and her husband have an HIV-positive infant whose heart almost gave out from AIDS drugs forced on them in a major Canadian hospital. They now live in fear that doctors will find out that they aren’t giving the drugs any more.

“Joe” (not his real name) may go to jail because he’s HIV-positive and had sex with people who weren’t. His test may be false positive due to an earlier bout with Hodgkins Lymphoma, but that might not matter.

Audrey was treated as an AIDS patient for years, but never had a verified HIV test.

Kim had a verified test and because only she and her husband knew, she stayed in an abusive relationship for a decade. She couldn’t figure out why she never got sick though, and eventually discovered information that made her question the meaning of HIV tests. She is now launching a lawsuit in Kansas against the test manufacturers.

Christine Maggiore of Los Angeles gave herself up for dead more than a decade ago when she was tested positive. She resisted starting drugs, and eventually discovered the work of Dr. Peter Duesberg. This changed her view of her condition and she now runs a society for people who are HIV-positive and also questioning whether AIDS drugs are for them. Christine wrote the book “What if everything you thought you knew about AIDS was wrong” [Maggiore, 2000] and Duesberg wrote “Inventing the AIDS Virus” [Duesberg, 1996].

What is AIDS?

I really should define my terms, starting with AIDS. In Canada it means about 30 different infectious diseases or cancers, when accompanied with a positive HIV test. Most diseases are rare but some, like TB, are common, at least among certain groups, such as drug addicts. TB in a drug addict with a positive HIV test is AIDS, but TB with a negative test is TB. [HC, 1995]

In the United States, since 1993, you haven’t even need to be ill to be diagnosed with AIDS. A low CD4 immune cell count and a positive HIV test is all it takes. [MMWR, 2001] And, by the way, if you are diagnosed with AIDS and get well again, you aren’t supposed to be recategorized as non-AIDS! By 1997 65% of new diagnoses were in this not ill category in the United States. [CDC, 1998] What happened after that year? We don’t know because the Centers for Disease Control stopped publishing this statistic in their annual report. My attempts to obtain the raw data (sans personal identifying information of course) along with Ukrainian statistician Vladimir Koliadin were rebuffed. The CDC was “too busy”.

In Africa, a third AIDS definition is used. The ‘Bangui’ definition, and its slight variants, have long been used. In places where HIV testing is not available (most third world countries) an AIDS diagnosis is based on two of three ‘major’ signs (weight loss >10%; diarrhoea > 1 month; fever > 1 month (intermittent or chronic) ) and one ‘minor’ sign (including persistent cough > 1 month; itching; swollen lymph nodes).

So, in America, we have AIDS without disease, and in Africa we have AIDS without HIV (or at least, without any evidence for HIV).

What is HIV?

HIV cannot be seen directly (I’ll return to this important point in a minute) but only via a variety of tests. The most common HIV test is an antibody test (ELISA, usually followed by Western Blot). These tests detect a reaction between body fluids and proteins that are claimed to come from HIV. With HIV you are never believed to be able to cure yourself. In other diseases the presence of antibodies would be considered a sign of health.

There are other tests that are testing for things that are closer to actual HIV, such as antigen tests and culturing. But, surprisingly, antibody tests usually take precedence. Could this be because these tests are negative much more often than antibody tests? [ARAS, 2004t]

An increasingly common test is known as ‘viral load’. This looks for tiny fractions of the DNA or RNA that is believed to come from HIV.

But, where did researchers get the HIV proteins or the DNA or RNA in order to validate the tests?

They should have gotten them from purified HIV. But, shockingly, HIV has never once been purified, not once even after spending billions of dollars on research! The closest people have ever come was in 1997, when two groups of researchers published their examination of the material that had often been called ‘purified HIV’ in the past. [Bess, 1997; Gluschankof, 1997] “Electron microscopy of gradient-enriched preparations from supernatants of virus-infected cells revealed an excess of vesicles with a size range of about 50-500 nm, as opposed to a minor population of virus particles of about 100 nm”. That is, about 90% of the material they obtain was cellular, not viral.

It’s worse than this actually. Without purification, nobody can say with certainty what proteins are truly from HIV, nor can they say what HIV RNA definitely is. They can’t inject pure HIV into an animal, and, most importantly of all, they can’t validate HIV tests. We just have to accept that since most of the time (not all of the time by any means) two different HIV tests give the same results, that the tests are valid.

That’s right, without purification of HIV, there is nothing that we can know for certain is an HIV protein or HIV genome. And, therefore, no HIV tests are conclusive proof of the presence of HIV.

In fact, we don’t even know for sure that HIV exists.

Other Potential Causes?

Peter Duesberg, in his 1996 book, gave a good summary of other possible causes for AIDS diseases. The highly promiscuous gay men who were at most risk of getting AIDS were also heavy users of drugs called ‘poppers’. There was extensive research showing that these drugs are immunosuppressive and carcinogenic, but this stopped in the mid-1980s when all funding was diverted to the HIV hypothesis. Note that it is mostly gay men who get the so-called ‘gay cancer’ (Kaposi’s Sarcoma) and not other risk groups.

IV drug abusers have always been vulnerable to illness. They usually don’t eat right, they don’t have good accommodation and they inject not only drugs into their body but whatever the drugs are ‘cut’ with. This includes toxic chemicals are a variety of foreign proteins. Is it a surprise that they commonly get TB and other infectious diseases?

Hemophiliacs inject foreign blood products into their body, sometimes daily. Higher purity clotting factor, available in the 1980s dramatically slowed the immune system decline. [de Biasi, 1991] Unfortunately, the death rate started to climb dramatically around 1987, when the first AIDS drug, AZT, was approved. [Darby, 1995; Duesberg, 2003]

Blood transfusion recipients not only have massive quantities of foreign blood injected into them, but they usually have some other extremely serious health condition such as a major accident or cancer chemotherapy induced anemia. In one study 41% of people who definitely received a transfusion of HIV+ blood were dead one year later. But so were 48% who received blood suspected of being HIV+. And 50% of people who only received HIV-negative blood. [Ward, 1989]

Africans, the biggest group of AIDS victims, are diagnosed with symptoms that seem suspiciously like the symptoms of Tuberculosis, Malaria or just plain malnutrition. But, instead of helping these people gain clean water and adequate nutrition, the HIV theory of African AIDS (remember, this is not American AIDS!) says that they should get AIDS drugs for their condition. Note that one of the most common side effect of AIDS drugs is extremely serious anemia, and many Africans are anemic already because of malaria, hookworm infestations and so forth.

Life Saving Drugs?

Most ordinary people probably think that AIDS drugs are life saving because, well, because they’ve been told that this is so many thousands of times, in newspapers, magazines and on TV.

Side effects of these drugs include not only anemia (requiring regular blood transfusions), but also liver failure, regular vomiting and diarrhea, high cholesterol and blood sugar levels, muscle wasting, migration of fat around the body, pancreas failure…and many more [ARAS, 2004a; ARAS, 2004h]

This is not surprising when you consider how these drugs work. The first AIDS drug, AZT, still one of the most commonly prescribed (although rarely by itself any more) is a nucleoside analog. It is a ‘broken’ version of the molecule Thymidine, one of the four bases of DNA. It is known as a DNA chain terminator because when a molecule of AZT gets into a DNA chain it stops replication of that chain. Chillingly, the only time that AZT is given alone is to pregnant women, in order to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Somehow, interfering with DNA synthesis in the mother and growing fetus is not considered a major problem, even though it is known that AZT crosses the placenta [Gillet, 1990] and that it is implicated in genetic damage and tumour formation. [Olivero, 1997 (and others by the same group)] Only the assumption that everyone with HIV will die a quick and painful death could possibly justify the prescription of this drug. Notably, many other AIDS drugs are in the same nucleoside analog, and the other major drug classes (non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and protease inhibitors) also have gruesome and fatal side effects.

One recent study reported that non-AIDS conditions such as liver failure and heart disease, probably cause by AIDS drugs, were causing as many deaths as AIDS amongst their AIDS patients. [Reisler, 2003]

Drugs go through clinical trials, so they must be safe and effective, right? Well, it simply ain’t so. Think of Vioxx, Celebrex and Prozac, three drugs that have been approved, but are now on the way out.

Associated Press recently revealed that an African trial on the AIDS drug Nevirapine was a shocking mess, a mess that was covered up for a while by the US National Institutes of Health. Not reporting adverse events was one of the major flaws. [Solomon, 2004a]. They also reported that a formerly healthy HIV-positive woman, persuaded to take this drug during pregnancy, died of liver failure shortly after birth. The researchers also tried to cover this up. [Solomon, 2004b]

There are many people, on the other hand, who are classified as LTNPs (Long Term Non-Progressors) who have never taken AIDS drugs. One study described a group of people who had been HIV+ for 11 to 15 years, without taking AIDS drugs, without getting AIDS-defining illness. [Harrer, 1996]

Transmission

The evidence that HIV is sexually transmitted is highly questionable. In the study that first came up with the estimate that the risk of HIV transmission is 1/1000 per incidence of sex…not a single case of transmission between sexual partners was detected over a 10 year period! “We observed no seroconversions after entry into the study...No transmission occurred among the 25% of couples who did not use their condoms consistently, nor among the 47 couples who intermittently practiced unsafe sex during the entire duration of follow-up.” [Padian, 2004]

Sexual transmission in Africa has been recently questioned by a group of scientists lead by David Gisselquist. They believe that the re-use of needles is the cause, as people with AIDS are also people who have sought more medical treatment. “Many studies report HIV infections in African adults with no sexual exposure to HIV and in children with HIV-negative mothers. “ [Gisselquist, 2002 (and others)]

One of the most surprising results was in a large, well designed study of Montreal IV drug users. It showed that IV drug users who ALWAYS used clean needle exchanges were 10 to 23 times MORE likely to become HIV-positive than those who NEVER used them. Those who ‘sometimes’ or ‘usually’ used clean needle exchanges had intermediate levels of risk. How can transmission of HIV via dirty needles explain this? [Bruneau, 1997]

What You Should Do

If you have ever given money to an AIDS charity you should think before doing it again. Are you giving money to buy life-saving drugs? Or will your money be used to pronounce a death sentence and then proceed to execute it with AIDS drugs?

Will you be using money to drag terrified parents in front of a court so that their children can be removed from them? Their crime? Refusing to give the drugs that cause their children to lose weight, vomit after each dose, have diarrhea all the time, and wake up screaming in the middle of the night because of the pain in their muscles.

Will your money be used to cut open the stomachs of minor children who complain about taking the drugs and insert a PEG (Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy) so that they can be dosed against their will, as in the recent Incarnation Children’s Center scandal in New York City?

Our society’s website is open 24/7 (http://aras.ab.ca). It can connect you with a variety of other websites with complementary information.

Mainstream information is available on hundreds of websites. Probably there are more of these websites than new AIDS cases in Canada: 218 in 2003, a number that has fallen every year since 1993. [HC, 2004]

I am not alone. In fact, one of the latest postings on our website is a list of well over one thousand people who have questioned some or all of the dogmas surrounding HIV and AIDS. Most of these people have academic qualifications, including many doctors and scientists. [ARAS, 2004l]

References:

[ARAS a] http://aras.ab.ca/azt.html
[ARAS h] http://aras.ab.ca/haart.html
[ARAS l] http://aras.ab.ca/thelist.htm
[ARAS t] http://aras.ab.ca/test.html
[Bess, 1997] Bess JW et al. Microvesicles Are a Source of Contaminating Cellular Proteins Found in Purified HIV-1 Preparations. Virology. 1997 Mar 31; 230(1): 134-44.
[Bruneau, 1997] Bruneau J et al. High Rates of HIV Infection among Injection Drug Users Participating in Needle Exchange Programs in Montreal: Results of a Cohort Study. Am J Epidemiol. 1997; 146(12): 994-1002.
[CDC, 1998] HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report (through December 1997). CDC. 1998; 9(2).
[Clapp, 1998] Clapp DA. Judgment on petition for child protection order. Maine District Court. 1998 Sep 10; NEW-98-PC-17.
[Darby, 1995] Darby SC et al. Mortality before and after HIV infection in the complete UK population of haemophiliacs. Nature. 1995 Sep 7; 377: 79-82.
[de Biasi, 1991] de Biasi R et al. The impact of a very high purity of factor VIII concentrate on the immune system of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-infected hemophiliacs: a randomized, prospective, two-year comparison with an intermediate purity concentrate. Blood. 1991 Oct 15; 78(8): 1919-22.
[Duesberg, 1996] Duesberg PH. Inventing the AIDS Virus. Regnery. 1996.
[Duesberg, 2003] Duesberg P et al. The chemical bases of the various AIDS epidemics: recreational drugs, anti-viral chemotherapy and malnutrition. J Biosci. 2003 Jun; 28(4): 383-412.
[Gillet, 1990] Gillet JY et al. Preliminary study on the transport of AZT (Retrovir-zidovudine) through the placenta. J Gynecol Obstet Biol Reprod. 1990; 19(2): 177-180.
[Gisselquist, 2002] Gisselquist D et al. HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa not explained by sexual or vertical transmission. Int J STD AIDS. 2002 Oct; 13(10): 657-66.
[Gluschankof, 1997] Gluschankof P et al. Cell membrane vesicles are a major contaminant of gradient-enriched human immunodeficiency virus type-1 preparations. Virology. 1997 Mar 31; 230(1): 125-133.
[Harrer, 1996] Harrer T et al. Strong cytotoxic T cell and weak neutralizing antibody responses in a subset of person with stable nonprogressing HIV type 1 infection. AIDS Res Hum Retro. 1996 May 1; 12(7): 585-92.
[HC, 1995] Appendix A1; Surveillance Case Definition for AIDS. Health Canada. 1995 Mar.
[HC, 2004] HIV and AIDS in Canada: Surveillance report to December 31, 2003. Health Canada. 2004 Apr.
[Maggiore, 2000] Maggiore C. What ifeverything you thought you knew about AIDS was wrong? The American Foundation for AIDS Alternatives. 2000.
[MMWR, 1992] Revised classification system for HIV infection and expanded surveillance case definition for AIDS among adolescents and adults. MMWR. 1992; 41(RR-17): 1-17.
[NIDA, 1988] Health Hazards of Nitrite Inhalants. Research Monograph 83. NIDA. 1988.
[Olivero, 1997] Olivero OA et al. Transplacental effects of 3'-azido-2',3'-dideoxythymidine (AZT): tumorigenicity in mice and genotoxicity in mice and monkeys. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1997 Nov 5; 89(21): 1602-8.
[Padian, 1997] Padian NS et al. Heterosexual Transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in Northern California: Results from a Ten-Year Study. Am J Epidemiol. 1997 Aug; 146(4): 350-7.
[Reisler, 2003] Reisler RB et al. Grade 4 events are as important as AIDS events in the era of HAART. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2003 Dec 1; 34(4): 379-86.
[Scheff, 2004] Scheff L. HIV Negative – Noblie Doctors Try New Drugs on AIDS Orphans. Crux Magazine. 2004 Nov.
http://aras.ab.ca/articles/HIV Negative II.doc
[Solomon, 2004a] Solomon J. U.S. officials knew of AIDS drug risks. AP. 2004 Dec 13.
[Solomon, 2004b] Solomon J et al. Woman died during AIDS study. AP. 2004 Dec 15.
[Ward, 1989] Ward JW et al. The natural history of transfusion-associated infection with human immunodeficiency virus. N Engl J Med. 1989 Oct 5; 321(14): 947-52.
[Wolf, 2001] Wolf LE et al. When Parents Reject Interventions to Reduce Postnatal Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2001 Aug; 155(8): 927-33.

Copyright © David Crowe, Wednesday, February 2, 2005.