BANGKOK - 15th International AIDS Conference: "Testing is the missing link," said Trevor Neilson, executive director of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, representing 150 companies around the world, according to a recent article on Reuters, calling for routine HIV testing on a large scale.
There is only one problem: The HIV virus has never been scientifically isolated - incredible but true - and therefore available tests can not be validated against a virus. So there is no "gold standard" that would confirm that the tests actually show viral infection. The tests indeed react to over 60 common conditions including vaccinations, the common cold and a host of other everyday health problems.
Test manufacturers are well aware of this and are warning that their tests, which were originally developed to ensure the safety of the blood supply, are not an accurate diagnostic procedure to determine an AIDS diagnosis. Nevertheless, tests are widely used to inform people of their "death sentence", encouraging them to take retroviral drugs and implying that they probably will succumb to the disease. Manufacturers of the tests have recently been sued in the US and in France.
The aim of testing is clearly to deliver expensive and highly toxic retroviral drugs to more people. Yet, people survive AIDS without retrovirals, as shown by the example of David Patient, who is helping AIDS victims in Eritrea, and by "Alive and Well" Christine Maggiore, both long term drug-free survivers.
AIDS is a (virally induced) nutritional deficiency, not a classical viral disease, according to Canadian researcher Harold Foster, who in his free e-book "What Really Causes AIDS" identifies the nutrients that AIDS sufferers are short of and affirms that if these nutrients are supplied, sufferers will not develop AIDS symptoms and those already showing symptoms will return to a normal life in a short time.
Virus or no virus, nutrients have something to do with AIDS. This is obvious from a recent Harvard research in Tanzania, which confirmed that a simple multivitamin supplement significantly slowed the development of AIDS symptoms.
Yet, the Global Business Coalition, together with WHO, UNAIDS, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and AIDS activists are calling for routine non-voluntary testing with a view to selling ever more toxic retrovirals to the world's poor, causing AIDS symptoms and making the AIDS war a self-fulfilling prophecy. Can we talk about Business with disease?
Testing Is Missing Link in AIDS Fight, Experts Say
Sat Jul 10, 2004 05:37 AM ET
(original article here)
By Ben Hirschler
BANGKOK (Reuters) - The world will not meet its goal of getting AIDS medicines to the many millions who need them unless testing is stepped up dramatically, experts said on Saturday.
A new public-private alliance to promote routine testing met for the first time in Bangkok, on the eve of the 15th international AIDS conference, and called for cheaper and better tests in developing countries.
Cuts of more than 90 percent in drug prices have made widespread access to antiretrovirals feasible in even the poorest countries, but testing remains a significant barrier.
More than 90 percent of people do not know whether they have HIV. As a result, most are severely ill before they are diagnosed, making them harder and more expensive to treat.
"We need the same dramatic movement on price reductions for diagnostics, not only to see whether people are infected but also to maintain treatment, because that has become sometimes now more expensive than the actual drugs themselves," UNAIDS executive director Peter Piot told reporters.
The number of tests needed is daunting.
For the World Health Organization to meet its target of treating three million people with HIV/AIDS in the developing world by 2005, some 5,000 people a day will need to be put on medication.
That implies 500,000 tests a day will be needed, assuming that 50,000 will test positive in high-prevalence countries and that 10 percent of these will need drugs immediately.
"If over 90 percent of those who are infected with HIV don't know they are infected, global testing policy has failed. Testing is the missing link," said Trevor Neilson, executive director of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, representing 150 companies around the world.
An alliance of WHO, UNAIDS, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Global Business Coalition and AIDS activists is calling for routine as opposed to voluntary testing.
That is a strategy that led to a dramatic boost in diagnosis in Botswana, where nearly 40 percent of the population is estimated to be HIV positive, since it was introduced in January.
Under the routine testing scheme, patients arriving at clinics and surgeries are offered HIV tests routinely, although they can still refuse -- a right Piot said was essential.
The Global Fund, the main provider of AIDS testing kits in the developing world, has funds for 52 million tests. Executive director Richard Feachem said this was not nearly enough.
Diagnostic companies are already offering discounts for some tests, but Feachem hopes increased buying power as testing increases will drive prices down further. Now, a finger-prick test costs around 80 cents in Africa while oral tests cost $3.25.
Other articles and links on AIDS:
AltHeal - Access to scientific, verifiable, alternative information about HIV/AIDS and immune boosting treatments for health that most AIDS organizations do not make available.
AIDS Test 'Is Not Proof Of Infection' - The "Aids Test", which was originally developed to make the blood supply safe and has only been really licensed for that use, is not a test that can give certainty of infection of any individual.
Aids Test Unscientific: Test Kit Makers Sued in Kansas - The test kits used to determine "HIV positive" status in patients are deeply flawed - they were developed on the basis of faulty scientific methodology and assumptions and are without value in determining whether a person suffers from "HIV Aids"...
HIV-Aids: A Tragic Error - Despite more than $100 billion spent on AIDS by US taxpayers alone, scientists have not been able to ascertain how HIV causes the AIDS syndrome. Predictions about the course of the epidemic have proved inaccurate.
Survey confirms - Aids Numbers in Africa overestimated - As reported in the Daily Telegraph today, a recent report by the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey puts the number of HIV infected persons in that country at about one million, a third of the previous estimates of close to three million.
A book discussing a nutritional hypothesis for immune deficits written by Harold D. Foster titled "What really causes AIDS" can be downloaded - free - from his site. The January/February 2004, and March/April 2004 issues of Nexus Magazine also contain recent articles written by Dr. Foster about the treatment of AIDS. These articles are available at