Date: Sat Mar 15 2003 - 20:28:07 EST
In a message dated 3/15/03 12:00:00 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
> About a decade ago he was making claims that the causal relationship
> between HIV and AIDS was scientifically unfounded and that focusing
> on HIV was a potential waste of millions of dollars. He asked "Where
> are all those AIDS cases if so many Africans and Asians are testing
> positive for HIV?"
> Does anyone know whether he ever retracted these claims?
Here is the latest that Johnson has written on his view of the HIV/AIDS
situation, as far as I know. If you read this you will see that his
criticism is primarily with how HIV is transmitted. I'll let him speak for
himself. And read the two articles, one from Independent (Johannesburg) >
February 20, 2003, and the other from Globe and Mail Editorial (Toronto)
Saturday, February 22, 2003, Page A20.
Hope this helps.
February 23. 2003
Something promising may be happening at last in my Second Front, the
HIV Theater. -Phil
Why does the Independent call this research a bombshell? Why does it matter
so much if some African AIDS infections are the result of unsafe medical
It seems that this reporter may have some clue to the explosiveness
of the statistical scandal that lies just below the surface of this
controversy. To understand, you have to know the background in HIV/AIDS
mythology and politics. Before 1984 the search for an explanation of AIDS
was open-minded, with various possibilities, including drug abuse and other
toxic substances, under consideration as a cause of what was originally
called the "Gay Plague." Then in 1984, Dr. Gallo of the National
Cancer Institute and top U.S. government officials announced at a press
conference, bypassing all meaningful scientific debate or peer review,
the discovery of "the virus that causes AIDS." Every other line of
research was shut down instantly, and AIDS research became HIV
research. Any scientist who challenged the HIV paradigm was savagely
punished. [ I will post more about the savagery later.] For now, see essay
#18, "The Circus of Death," in *Objections Sustained.*] After 1984 the
gay activists, with their allies in the scientific and pharmaceutical
industry lobbies, decided that legislatures would never put up the
billions in anti-HIV funds they wanted as long as the public
believed that only the lives of homosexuals and drug addicts were in
danger. Hence they launched an aggressive, government-funded campaign to
convince Americans that "everyone is at risk," featuring horrific
projections of a coming heterosexual holocaust with millions dying in the
streets. The predicted epidemic fizzled in North America and in Europe,
with AIDS cases declining and the vast majority still concentrated
among male homosexuals and intravenous drug abusers. (Hemophiliacs and
transfusion recipients are special cases requiring separate
explanations.) Something had to be done to bring heterosexuals, and
especially women, into the statistics as AIDS victims. Otherwise, the
paradigm (and its political support) was in danger. The stats were tweaked
in every possible way to redefine sick women as AIDS sufferers. The most
desperate improvisation was the CDC's 1993 inclusion of cervical cancer as
an AIDS-defining disease. The connection of cervical cancer with any
virus was purely imaginary, but the object was achieved, which was to
redefine cancer sufferers as AIDS victims and thus to improve the
statistical imbalance. This sleight of hand came naturally to the virus
hunters at the National Cancer Institute, who had invented the HIV theory
of AIDS after they had wasted many billions searching for a viral cause of
cancer and needed a new "deadly virus" to justify their
huge funding.] Thereafter, the virus-cancer docs seized upon African
"AIDS" as providing enough women and heterosexual men to fit the "everyone
is at risk" template. Africans were generally sick with diseases
associated with malnutrition and poor sanitation, and especially with
malaria and tuberculosis. All that was needed was to redefine these old
diseases as HIV/AIDS. The definition of AIDS is sufficiently vague that
this was easily accomplished, and so the HIV docs created a very
useful worldwide HIV panic. However, if HIV is seldom contracted
heterosexually in America, how are all those African heterosexuals becoming
HIV-infected through sex? That must be because Africans are such
prodigious sexual performers [<grin], with truck drivers stopping to pick
up prostitutes everywhere, and so on. White people are notoriously
credulous towards stories of black super-sexuality, and that credulity was
exploited to create the necessary worldwide heterosexually- transmitted
AIDS pandemic. So, if the majority of African AIDS cases are now going
to be attributed to something other than sex, the paradigm could be in
danger not only in Africa, but even in its home territory in the
USA. Surely determined efforts will be made to cut off this inquiry
before matters get out of control.
>February 20 2003
>Researchers drop Aids bombshell on Africa
>By Patricia Reaney
>London - Africa's Aids epidemic may not have been fuelled mainly by sexual
>transmission of the HIV virus but by unsafe medical injections and blood
>transfusions, a team of international researchers said on Thursday.
>The findings contradict widely-held views about how the virus that causes
>Aids spread through Africa, and could have implications for public health
>measures to fight the disease.
>Most scientists believe heterosexual sex spreads HIV and Aids in up to 90
>percent of adult cases in sub-Saharan Africa, home to 30 million of the 42
>million people living with the disease.
>'The idea that sex explains 90 percent of African HIV just doesn't fit the
>facts'But a team of eight experts from three countries who reviewed data
>on HIV infection in Africa estimate that only about a third of adult cases
>are sexually transmitted.
>They said health care practices, especially contaminated medical
>injections, could also be a major cause.
>"The idea that sex explains 90 percent of African HIV just doesn't fit the
>facts," said David Gisselquist, a Pennsylvania-based independent
>consultant and member of the research team.
>"We need to take a look at the alternate explanations, in particular
>healthcare transmissions which seems to fit a lot of facts," he added in a
>telephone interview with Reuters.
>The findings, reported in the International Journal of STD & AIDS, a
>peer-reviewed journal published by Britain's Royal Society of Medicine,
>were not accepted by all scientists.
>'Every year there are hundreds of millions of unsafe injections in
>Africa'"The idea that dirty needles or blood transfusions are the main
>route for HIV transmission in Africa today, flies in the face of
>experience on the ground," said Dr Chris Ouma, head of health programmes
>at the charity ActionAid Kenya.
[ "experience on the ground" refers mainly to projections made by a
computer in Switzerland. - more later. - Phil]
>"In Kenya, medical procedures have largely been made safe but still HIV
>infections continue to rise."
>But Dr George Schmid, of the department of HIV and Aids at the World
>Health Organisation in Geneva, said it is plausible that unsafe medical
>injections can cause some HIV cases.
>"I think the question is what proportion," he told Reuters.
>"We are acutely aware of and concerned about the situation and do want to
>work with Gisselquist and others to try and resolve the issues as best we
>can and to come up with a way forward to find out what the true answer is."
>The WHO and UNAIDS, the United Nations agency spearheading the global
>battle against HIV and Aids, will hold a meeting in Geneva on March 13 and
>14 to address the issue of unsafe injections.
>In three reviews in the journal, HIV specialists including Gisselquist,
>Francois Vachon of the University of Paris in France, Devon Brewer of the
>University of Seattle in Washington and others, said the Aids epidemic in
>Africa has not followed the normal pattern of sexually transmitted
In the USA, the HIV epidemic has not followed the normal pattern of
infectious diseases of any kind. That was why the move to Africa was so
>In the 1990s in Zimbabwe, overall STDs decreased by 25 percent but HIV
>infections rose by 12 percent a year despite an increased use of condoms
>in high-risk groups.
>The team argued that the virus is more easily transmitted through unsafe
>injections and tainted blood transfusions than through heterosexual sex.
>They also said surveys have shown sexual activity in Africa is much the
>same as in North America and Europe where the HIV and Aids infection rates
>are much lower.
>Studies have also identified HIV positive babies whose mothers are not
>infected, which the researchers said suggests unsafe injections could be a
>"Every year there are hundreds of millions of unsafe injections in Africa
>where needles have been used on someone and re-used without
>sterilisation," said Gisselquist.
>He added that "a growing body of evidence points to unsafe injections and
>other medical exposures to contaminated blood" as an explanation for the
>spread of the epidemic.
Now below from Toronto, a second article.]
An HIV what-if
Globe and Mail Editorial (Toronto)
Saturday, February 22, 2003 - Page A20
People who poke holes in the received wisdom may be an irritant, but their
skepticism can be valuable.
So it may be with a study released this week in the International Journal
of STD and AIDS, a peer-reviewed publication of Britain's Royal Society of
Medicine. Six American and two European researchers, two of them medical
doctors, ask an impertinent question about the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS in
sub-Saharan Africa: Why are so many AIDS experts so sure that the bulk of
the virus's transmission there is through heterosexual sex?
Certainly HIV can be transmitted that way; safe sex is crucial to block its
But the risk of infection is even higher through contaminated needles,
including needles used in medical care. The researchers say the risk of
contracting HIV through penile-vaginal exposure is one in 1,000, against
one in 100 for illicit-drug injection with dirty needles and one in 30 for
medical injections with dirty needles. (They do not include figures for
[The figure of one HIV infection per 1000 vaginal sexual acts with an
HIV-positive person comes from the standard study done by Nancy Padian at
UCSF Anal intercourse is much more likely to transmit infection.. [There
are excellent reasons for avoiding promiscuous heterosexual conduct, but
HIV is not one of them.-Phil]
They found it hard to believe that the rapid speed of infection in many
African countries could be accounted for by sex. They could find no
documented explanation of the 1988 estimate by the World Health
Organization (WHO) that 80 per cent of HIV infections in Africa resulted
from heterosexual transmission -- a figure that quickly became part of the
lore and has been inflated to 90 per cent in some reports.
So they read every peer-reviewed study they could find on HIV/AIDS field
work in Africa between 1984 and 1988. They concluded that the extent of HIV
transmission through contaminated medical equipment has been drastically
understated. They even suggest that sexual transmission of HIV accounts for
only one-third of HIV cases.
The study's authors are perplexed by the anomalies they found. How does one
explain all the HIV-positive babies whose biological mothers test negative?
[ That's easy. The tests reveal only the presence of foreign proteins,
and are not specific for HIV The babies might be picking up lots of
things that could cause a positive test.].]
Why does the spread of HIV not conform with the spread of other sexually
transmitted infections? In Zimbabwe in the 1990s, HIV increased by 12 per
cent a year while sexually transmitted diseases as a whole fell by 25 per
cent and condom use rose among those groups considered at highest risk of
infection -- prostitutes, truck drivers, miners, young people.
Why does the capital of Cameroon, Yaoundé, have a high rate of risky social
behaviour, yet "low and stable" rates of HIV infection?
The authors have, as they expected, encountered criticism, not least
because the studies they reviewed are two decades old. [But they still
define practice. -Phil]
And certainly overreaction would be as dangerous as no reaction; the last
thing anyone should want is to compromise programs that encourage safe sex.
All the authors ask, however, is that the same degree of attention focused
on heterosexual sex be given to the safety of medical treatment in African
countries where HIV has grown into a scourge of tragic proportions. One of
the authors, David Gisselquist, has been invited to a March 13-14 meeting
of WHO and the United Nations agency UNAIDS in Geneva to make his case.
Sometimes the received wisdom needs a bit of unsettling.
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