Re: Johnson on Bible Answer Man

Date: Sat Mar 15 2003 - 20:28:07 EST

  • Next message: Alexanian, Moorad: "RE: Johnson on Bible Answer Man"

    In a message dated 3/15/03 12:00:00 AM, 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?
    > Regards,
    > Tim

    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.

    Independent (Johannesburg)
    >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
    >diseases (STDs).

    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
    important.- Phil]

    >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
    anal intercourse.)

    [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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