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Dear Dr. Culshaw: What Is "World" AIDS Day, Anyway?

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barnesworld.blogs.com
December 01, 2006
By Rebecca V. Culshaw

On Wednesday of this week - a mere two days before World AIDS Day, (today) - quite a few panicked articles were released proclaiming that the scourge was set to become the "third leading cause of death worldwide" within the next 25 years. Here is a typical one: AIDS to be 1 of top 3 causes of death - AIDS - MSNBC.com.

In a sane world, such articles should arouse deep suspicions in most people, who can simply open their eyes and see that the AIDS epidemic is virtually nonexistent. No epidemic has arisen in the general population in the developed world in spite of decades of dire predictions to the contrary. The alleged "explosions" that were supposed to occur in places like Thailand have never materialized, and so in true global village spirit, the propagandists shifted the focus to Africa, where anything can be true because the definitions are so vague. More to the point, most of us have so little knowledge of the continent that we cannot even begin to determine for ourselves whether Schrodinger's cat is alive or dead. In our busy lives, with little time to consider the veracity of media proclamations, we generally put our faith in those who, we believe, ought to know better.

But it is fallacious to compare "diseases" between differing parts of the world when those diseases are not even defined in the same way. AIDS in Africa is sometimes diagnosed clinically without an HIV test, and in the case that an HIV test is administered, the criteria for "positivity" are less stringent than they are anywhere else in the world despite the fact that diseases endemic to Africa (tuberculosis being a prime example) are documented as likely to register falsely positive on an "HIV test".

The hyperbole (and innate racism) surrounding AIDS in Africa goes much further than the fact that we are really considering a totally different disease construction than Western AIDS - and it does remain a fact, since one cannot logically use different definitions to mean the same thing. Another fact is that the epidemiological manifestations of AIDS are totally different in Africa than they are in the US and Europe. In Africa, AIDS is claimed to be randomly distributed between the sexes, despite the fact that study after study has shown female-to-male transmission of HIV to be virtually nonexistant, and male-to-female transmission to be barely more than that. Even more incongruous and impossible, the HIV prevalence in Africa is reported to have been almost perfectly linearly increasing since 1985, which stands in marked contrast to what has happened in the US.

As can be seen from examining the graph of HIV prevalence in the US linked here, and displayed in miniature to the right, with the exception of a small drop in case estimates in 1995, the prevalence of HIV in the U.S. population has remained, for all intents and purposes, perfectly constant since testing began in 1985.

In contrast to the HIV prevalence curve, U.S. AIDS cases peaked in 1993-1994. Although this was due, at least in part, to the expansion of the AIDS definition by the CDC in 1993, it is clear that the AIDS epidemic is not constant, and indeed, after increasing slowly prior to 1993, it has gradually declined up to the present day. We often hear phrases in the lay media such as "The number of AIDS cases is double what it was x number of years ago," which creates a false sense of alarm because it implies that many more people are now developing AIDS than ever did before. What the media reports don't mention, however, is that the numbers given are cumulative totals, in which all new cases for a given year are added to all the cases for all the years prior to yield a running total. Of course, if you continually add up all the AIDS cases since the beginning of AIDS record keeping, it will be impossible to ever obtain a decrease.

The true numbers of annual AIDS cases, however, are not reflected by cumulative totals but rather by annual incidences. The prevalence curve displays the estimated number of HIV-antibody-positive people in the US for each given year, and as the curve clearly conveys, this number has remained almost perfectly constant since 1985 at about one million. With a U.S. population of about 295 million people, this amounts to only 0.4 percent of U.S. citizens testing positive for HIV antibody.

This data should sound a clear alarm when one considers the supposed "infectious" nature of AIDS (and possibly HIV). First, if HIV is a new pathogen, then its prevalence should not have remained constant - it should have clearly increased, according to Farr's Law, which asserts that a new contagion spreads exponentially throughout the population. More damning, however, is the following.

HIV is said to cause AIDS on average eight to ten years after infection. If HIV causes AIDS, then the incidence of AIDS should have mirrored the prevalence of HIV, only shifted eight to ten years into the future. If HIV causes AIDS, the AIDS incidence curve should be flat. This is not the case.

The discrepancy cannot be explained away by AIDS drugs because this cannot account for the sharp rise in AIDS incidence between 1987, when the first AIDS drugs were marketed, and the drop that began in 1993, three years before the first protease inhibitor and combination therapy cocktails were marketed. Although the AIDS establishment prefers to pretend that the drop is attributable to these medications, it is difficult to imagine how a "partial cure" could magically become a graphic measure of prevention.

As problematic as this is for the AIDS experts, and as inconsistent with the cries of panic that occur with regularity whenever public awareness of (some might say public hysteria about) AIDS is perceived to have dropped, it is even more troublesome that upon careful inspection, a true AIDS epidemic in the Third World makes no sense. The same disease cannot behave that differently in two parts of the world, and the same virus cannot have such drastically differing transmission rates as we are expected to believe it does. The picture becomes even more troubling when one considers that HIV estimates for Africa are taken from leftover blood samples of pregnant women, often based on a single Elisa test, and extrapolated to the entire population. By contrast, in most of the developed world, HIV infection is not diagnosed until positive results have been obtained on two Elisa tests and one Western Blot test - a testing protocol that eliminates a very high proportion of initially reactive results. Clearly, even if we don't consider all the potential causes of false-positives, there is no way of getting around the fact that the HIV estimates for Africa must be vastly overstated.

But logical consistency has never been a problem for AIDS specialists. If observations don't fit the framework that has been established, simply add more criteria to the framework rather than questioning it. Make the data fit the uber-construct. No matter the cost to logic and scientific method, it is a very expensive construct that has already cost more than any other real disease in the US, and continues to get more money than cancer even though it claims far, far, far fewer lives. But not to worry, soon all cancers in HIV antibody positive people will be AIDS-related. At least if the present company continues to have its deceitful and dangerous way.

*** Rebecca V. Culshaw worked on mathematical models of HIV infection for almost ten years. She received her Ph.D. in mathematics (with a specialization in mathematical biology) from Dalhousie University in Canada in 2002 and is currently an assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Texas at Tyler. She is a celebrated internet author as a result of her writings on Lew Rockwell, and "Science Sold Out: Does HIV Really Cause AIDS?", a book based on those essays is due next month. [The miniature at the top left is Hypatia of Alexandria (370-415), famous as the first woman known to have made a substantial contribution to the development of mathematics.]



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