Skip to comments.Deadly Quackery
Posted on 06/03/2006 10:13:16 PM PDT by neverdem
H.I.V. causes AIDS. This is not a controversial claim but an established fact, based on more than 20 years of solid science. It is as certain as the descent of humans from apes and the falling of dropped objects to the ground.
So why reiterate the obvious? Because lately, a bizarre theory has gained ground one that claims that H.I.V. is harmless, and that the antiretroviral drugs that curb the growth of the virus cause rather than treat AIDS. Such talk sounds to most of us like quackery, but the theory has emerged as a genuine menace to public health in the United States and, particularly, in South Africa.
The theory, which we call AIDS denialism, has gained such currency with President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa that his administration is reluctant to expand access to antiretroviral drugs. Despite generous allocations from the country's Treasury and substantial assistance from foreign donors, only a quarter of those needing antiretrovirals receive them. This response is poor by the standards of middle-income countries, but it is especially troublesome in South Africa, which has more H.I.V.-positive people than any other country.
American AIDS denialists are partly to blame for South Africa's backsliding AIDS policy. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, the health minister, has described antiretrovirals as poisons. She is supported in these views by Roberto Giraldo, a New York hospital technologist who says AIDS is caused by deficiencies in the diet, and who served on President Mbeki's AIDS advisory panel in 2000. The minister promotes nutritional alternatives like lemons, garlic and olive oil to treat H.I.V. infection. Several prominent South Africans have died of AIDS after opting to change their diets instead of taking antiretrovirals.
Another American AIDS denialist, David Rasnick, a regular letter-writer to South African newspapers, absurdly claims that H.I.V. cannot be transmitted between...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
This theory is at least ten years old.
NO causal link between HIV and AIDS has EVER been demonstrated.
The association between HIV and AIDS is purely definitional, NOT causal.
Logicians are sorely needed in the press and maybe even in Medicine
Moreover, this is not a new phenomenon. Reputible scientists and physicians have been resisting the rush to judgement and the closing off of research into alternative views of this disease for over a decade.
The CDC has an excellent page called evidence that HIV causes AIDS. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/evidhiv.htm
It is not a fact, since nothing in science is. But it is a good theory and it is more than correlational. There is also a causal element. Having one seems to cause the other. Plus, what we know as AIDS existed before the advent of antiretrovirals.
Please, before you discount the theory altogether, go look at the page.
What are the viable research options in your opinion?
Of course that isn't the case. Just another schmuck parroting the NYT play book.
Changing their sexual habits would bear more fruit than changing their diet.
If that doesn't turn your wheel, then you can go directly to the primary literature, and take your case up with them. For example:
HIV Causes AIDS
W. Blattner, R. C. Gallo, H. M. Temin
Science, New Series, Vol. 241, No. 4865 (Jul. 29, 1988), pp. 515-516
How HIV causes AIDS.
Journal Of The National Medical Association 1995 Mar; Vol. 87 (3), pp. 171, 173.
HIV causes AIDS: Koch's postulates fulfilled.
O'Brien SJ; Goedert JJ
Current Opinion In Immunology 1996 Oct; Vol. 8 (5), pp. 613-8.
For everybody but the fringe who have offered no alternatives, the debate is over.
Hey, I'm pretty sure that the HI-Five leads to AIDS, but my argument is that the NYT compares it to the certianty of evolution.
They should have compared it to Whitney Houston and crack usage, or Bill Clinton and Interns, or Micheal Moore and McDonalds. That's all I'm sayin.
Thanks for the link. I had a discussion with John Valentine last week. I guess to no avail.
Yep. And clearly a homosexual one at that.
Why do I always have to read comments like that? Anyway, you missed many examples of quackery. Here's one.
"By courting the AIDS denialists, President Mbeki has increased their stature in the United States. He lent credibility to Christine Maggiore, a Californian who campaigns against using antiretrovirals to prevent transmission of H.I.V. from mothers to children, when he was photographed meeting her. Two years later, Ms. Maggiore gave birth to an H.I.V.-infected daughter, Eliza Jane, who acquired an AIDS-related infection last year and died at age 3."
The authors: "John Moore is a professor of microbiology and immunology at Cornell University. Nicoli Nattrass is the director of the AIDS and Society Research Unit at the University of Cape Town."
Did anyone read the whole article?
Actually, for some people it could. Some people can and do form a dependency on mild pain killers that we use for treating headaches. The body manufactures a headache, and you pop a few painkillers.
At least, I read about this somewhere a couple of years ago.
For example, "HIV causes AIDS: Koch's postulates fulfilled," demonstrates no such thing.
For the alternative view try this link:
Interesting how the left use their strongest religious belief to prove HIV causes aids.
I read many of the studies. i still believe it is not even a virus it is more likely a Germ.
I believe they are mixing up cause and effect as rearguards to HIV.
"Two years later, Ms. Maggiore gave birth to an H.I.V.-infected daughter, Eliza Jane, who acquired an AIDS-related infection last year and died at age 3."
The kid didn't take antiretroviral drugs. You'll win no points for obstinacy.
Sorry - - I perused it quickly, but frankly after reading: "It is as certain as the descent of humans from apes....", it was tough to imagine that anything following could be taken seriously. That kind of vain, brazen arrogance presents a real stumbling block for me.
I live in the real world. Life is not geometric or algebraic proofs. Look at the preponderance of clinical evidence in reducing the incidence and prevalence of the HIV/AIDS diagnosis, e.g. the reduction of mother to child transmission with antiretroviral drugs, the success in reducing promiscuous transmission, screening blood and blood products, etc.
Can you tell me what a germ is? Do you mean a single cell bacterium?
Too bad, you missed good examples of medical quackery.
There they go again. The missing link is still missing, but what do you expect from the godless NY Times.
I still have the papers. Do you recall any specific problems did you have with their reasoning?
As for the paper you posted, it's awfully questionable itself. For example, it's clear the authors have absolutely no knowledge of virology (kind of important if you're going to be discussing HIV). For example, at one point they say:
Despite its spectacular birthday, the HIV-AIDS hypothesis has remained entirely unproductive to this date: there is as yet no anti-HIV-AIDS vaccine, no effective prevention, and not a single AIDS patient has ever been cured.
Well, that's because:
1) The HIV vaccine is difficult to develop; animal models are poor, the virus is highly mutagenic, and the receptor-binding portion actually conceals itself in the envelope.
2) Antivirals have been shown to be effective at preventing AIDS from developing in HIV-positive individuals provided they do not continue to engage in high-risk behavior
3) Because AIDS only develops after the supply of CD4+ T cells has been depleted it makes absolutely no sense to claim that an inability to cure AIDS somehow means that HIV isn't causing it - (and their 1 in 500 infected/depleted T cell argument is specious at best)
And when it comes down to it, the best predictor for the development of AIDS is STILL HIV infection, a point noticeably absent from this paper - even though they go into a great deal of detail analyzing and attempting to draw their conclusions from looking pretty much exclusively at sub-groups (such as HIV-positive non-drug users versus drug users, which is another fallacious point: how much more likely is it for a drug user to engage in risky behavior and have a compromised immune system that itself increases the odds of developing AIDS?)
...and if you're so sure, why not volunteer for one of the HIV vaccine trials? I mean, you won't get AIDS anyway, right?
OK, considering that the guy who wrote it is purportedly a PhD in Molecular & Cell Biology, I guess "no knowledge of virology" is a little bit harsh.
It's kind of hard to make that sort of accusation stick to Peter Duesberg if you have a look at his CV.
I disagree. We all agree there is a correlation between HIV and AIDs. I just don't believe it is the cause of AIDs.
When traveling rather then spreading through the body I believe what takes place is an attack on the production of T helper's.
Well, the big fight over who should get credit for discovering the cause of AIDS was pathetic and science is not without scandals so it wouldn't suprise me if 50-60 years from now we look back and shake our heads over the HIV causes AIDS fraud. On the other hand it wouldn't suprise me if HIV does cause AIDS.
If a hiv+ takes drugs to enable him to live a longer life then he otherwise would have, and infect more people who would otherwise not be infected, then yes, it does cause the spread of aids.
Didn't mean to offend, I just found the quackery in paragraph 1.
Doesn't seem like it. I hate it when this happens.
Has he done it yet?
Sirs, perhaps there are those among you who believe you are descended from a ape. I suppose there may even be those among you who believe that I am descended from a ape. But I challenge the man to step forward who believes that General Robert E. Lee is descended from a ape.
This one gets filed along with "A biopsy causes cancer to spread" or "If you swallow the chewing gum a rubber tree will grow in your stomach".
I notice you don't bother to address my points, only my single use of hyperbole.
See post #30 - that's fine.
Yeah, the CD4+ T cells are the "helper" T cells.
Yeap you got it.
Deusberg's offer - or mine if I had ever made such - can't really be taken up because of issues of medical ethics. But nevertheless, I am quite sure Duesberg would be as unconcerned about an HIV infection today as he ever was.
But you must note that Duesberg remains open minded about the ultimate cause of AIDS. He is only very sure that it is not HIV. His fairly high degree of certainty on that point is based on his vast knowledge of retroviruses which at one time was unchallenged and widely heralded, before he refused to "go along" with the HIV-AIDS hypothesis.