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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

 

Africa AIDS testing problems/Bangui

By the way, there is interesting work in the infectability of HIV.
At every turn, it is proven that transmission from female to male

is much more difficult than transmission from male to female.
This puts some serious doubts on the possibility of a heterosexual

epidemic which needs free, 50/50, equal opportunity of men

and women. Which is why there has never been a heterosexual

epidemic in Europe or America, and why it is highly doubtful

there is a heterosexual epidemic in Africa.

A researcher who still believes in the reliability of the tests,

but who seriously doubts the heterosexual mode of

transmission, is dr. David Gisselquist ( david_gisselquist@yahoo.com ).

He has succeeded in having his theory heard (and crassly dismissed)

by the WHO/UNAIDS and he could tell you something about the lack

of openness to new ideas in that institution.

 



http://www.who.int/mediacentre/statements/2003/statement5/en/

 

 

There is also a lot of interesting material published on the

subject of infectivity by dr. Nancy Padian:

 

Padian, N. and Pickering, J., "Female-to-male transmission of

AIDS: a re-examination of the African sex ratio of cases",

JAMA 256:590

 

Padian, N.S., Shiboski, S.C., Glass, S.O., Vittinghoff, E.

(1997), "Heterosexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus

(HIV) in northern California: Results from a ten-year study", Am. J.

Epidemiol. 146:350-357.

 

Another person, who is a non-believer in the entire HIV/AIDS

paradigm, is Christine Maggiore.

 

 



She was "diagnosed" hiv positive 12 years ago, but has ignored

her classification and went on to have two children and is still

alive and apparently healthy today.

Her website is at: http://www.aliveandwell.org/  She has an

e-mail list as well.

 

Cheers and a happy new year,

 

Alex

 

From her e-mail list:

 

From: "Christine Maggiore" <christine@aliveandwell.org>

Subject: AIDS in Africa: Apocalpse When?

Date: maandag 15 december 2003 22:12

What the Media Missed on World AIDS Day

 

Out of South Africa comes another stunning report from journalist Rian

Malan, author of the ground-breaking Rolling Stone article "AIDS in Africa:

A Search for Truth."

Malan meticulously dismantles the apocalyptic predictions for AIDS on the

continent, presenting widely ignored facts that offer a striking contrast to

just about everything we heard on World AIDS Day.

 

A brilliant work brimming with integrity and courage, I encourage you to

share this widely.

 

With best wishes for the holidays,

 

Christine

PS Look for local event news coming next...

===

 

The Spectator (London)

December 14, 2003

 

http://www.spectator.co.uk/article.php3?table=old
<http://www.spectator.co.uk/article.php3?table=old&section=current&issue=200
3-12-13&id=3830> &section=current&issue=2003-12-13&id=3830

 

COVER STORY

 

Africa Isn¹t Dying of Aids

 

The headline figures are horrible: almost 30 million Africans have

HIV/Aids. But, says Rian Malan, the figures are computer-generated

estimates and they appear grotesquely exaggerated when set against

population statistics

Cape Town

It was the eve of Aids Day here. Rock stars like Bono and Bob Geldof

were jetting in for a fundraising concert with Nelson Mandela, and the

airwaves were full of dark talk about megadeath and the armies of feral

orphans who would surely ransack South Africa¹s cities in 2017 unless

funds were made available to take care of them. My neighbour came up

the garden path with a press cutting. ŒRead this,¹ said Capt. David

Price, ex-Royal Air Force flyboy. ŒBloody awful.¹

It was an article from The Spectator describing the bizarre sex

practices that contribute to HIV¹s rampage across the continent. ŒOne

in five of us here in Zambia is HIV positive,¹ said the report. ŒIn

1993 our neighbour Botswana had an estimated population of 1.4 million.

Today that figure is under a million and heading downwards. Doom

merchants predict that Botswana may soon become the first nation in

modern times literally to die out. This is Aids in Africa.¹

Really? Botswana has just concluded a census that shows population

growing at about 2.7 per cent a year, in spite of what is usually

described as the worst Aids problem on the planet. Total population has

risen to 1.7 million in just a decade. If anything, Botswana is

experiencing a minor population explosion.

There is similar bad news for the doomsayers in Tanzania¹s new census,

which shows population growing at 2.9 per cent a year. Professional

pessimists will be particularly discomforted by developments in the

swamplands west of Lake Victoria, where HIV first emerged, and where

the depopulated villages of popular mythology are supposedly located.

Here, in the district of Kagera, population grew at 2.7 per cent a year

before 1988, only to accelerate to 3.1 per cent even as the Aids

epidemic was supposedly peaking. Uganda¹s latest census tells a broadly

similar story, as does South Africa¹s.

Some might think it good news that the impact of Aids is less

devastating than most laymen imagine, but they are wrong. In Africa,

the only good news about Aids is bad news, and anyone who tells you

otherwise is branded a moral leper, bent on sowing confusion and

derailing 100,000 worthy fundraising drives. I know this, because

several years ago I acquired what was generally regarded as a leprous

obsession with the dumbfounding Aids numbers in my daily papers. They

told me that Aids had claimed 250,000 South African lives in 1999, and

I kept saying, this can¹t possibly be true. What followed was very ugly

‹ ruined dinner parties, broken friendships, ridicule from those who

knew better, bitter fights with my wife. After a year or so, she put

her foot down. Choose, she said. Aids or me. So I dropped the subject,

put my papers in the garage, and kept my mouth shut.

As I write, madam is standing behind me with hands on hips, hugely

irked by this reversion to bad habits. But looking around, it seems to

me that Aids fever is nearing the danger level, and that some calming

thoughts are called for. Bear with me while I explain.

We all know, thanks to Mark Twain, that statistics are often the lowest

form of lie, but when it comes to HIV/Aids, we suspend all scepticism.

Why? Aids is the most political disease ever. We have been fighting

about it since the day it was identified. The key battleground is

public perception, and the most deadly weapon is the estimate. When the

virus first emerged, I was living in America, where HIV incidence was

estimated to be doubling every year or so. Every time I turned on the

TV, Madonna popped up to warn me that ŒAids is an equal-opportunity

killer¹, poised to break out of the drug and gay subcultures and

slaughter heterosexuals. In 1985, a science journal estimated that 1.7

million Americans were already infected, with Œthree to five million¹

soon likely to follow suit. Oprah Winfrey told the nation that by 1990

Œone in five heterosexuals will be dead of Aids¹.

We now know that these estimates were vastly and indeed deliberately

exaggerated, but they achieved the desired end: Aids was catapulted to

the top of the West¹s spending agenda, and the estimators turned their

attention elsewhere. India¹s epidemic was likened to Œa volcano waiting

to explode¹. Africa faced Œa tidal wave of death¹. By 1992 they were

estimating that ŒAids could clear the whole planet¹.

Who were they, these estimators? For the most part, they worked in

Geneva for WHO or UNAIDS, using a computer simulator called Epimodel.

Every year, all over Africa, blood would be taken from a small sample

of pregnant women and screened for signs of HIV infection. The results

would be programmed into Epimodel, which transmuted them into

estimates. If so many women were infected, it followed that a similar

proportion of their husbands and lovers must be infected, too. These

numbers would be extrapolated out into the general population, enabling

the computer modellers to arrive at seemingly precise tallies of the

doomed, the dying and the orphans left behind.

Because Africa is disorganised and, in some parts, unknowable, we had

little choice other than to accept these projections. (ŒWe¹ always

expect the worst of Africa anyway.) Reporting on Aids in Africa became

a quest for anecdotes to support Geneva¹s estimates, and the estimates

grew ever more terrible: 9.6 million cumulative Aids deaths by 1997,

rising to 17 million three years later.

Or so we were told. When I visited the worst affected parts of Tanzania

and Uganda in 2001, I was overwhelmed with stories about the horrors of

what locals called ŒSlims¹, but statistical corroboration was hard to

come by. According to government census bureaux, death rates in these

areas had been in decline since the second world war. Aids-era

mortality studies yielded some of the lowest overall death rates ever

measured. Populations seemed to have exploded even as the epidemic was

peaking.

Ask Aids experts about this, and they say, this is Africa, chaos

reigns, the historical data is too uncertain to make valid comparisons.

But these same experts will tell you that South Africa is vastly

different: ŒThe only country in sub-Saharan Africa where sufficient

deaths are routinely registered to attempt to produce national

estimates of mortality,¹ says Professor Ian Timaeus of the London

School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. According to Timaeus, upwards

of 80 per cent of deaths are registered here, which makes us unique:

the only corner of Africa where it is possible to judge

computer-generated Aids estimates against objective reality.

In the year 2000, Timaeus joined a team of South African researchers

bent on eliminating all doubts about the magnitude of Aids¹ impact on

South African mortality. Sponsored by the Medical Research Council, the

team¹s mission was to validate (for the first time ever) the output of

Aids computer models against actual death registration in an African

setting. Towards this end, the MRC team was granted privileged access

to death reports as they streamed into Pretoria. The first results

became available in 2001, and they ran thus: 339,000 adult deaths in

1998, 375,000 in 1999 and 410,000 in 2000.

 



This was grimly consistent with predictions of rising mortality, but

the scale was problematic. Epimodel estimated 250,000 Aids deaths in

1999, but there were only 375,000 adult deaths in total that year ‹ far

too few to accommodate the UN¹s claims on behalf of the HIV virus. In

short, Epimodel had failed its reality check. It was quietly shelved in

favour of a more sophisticated local model, ASSA 600, which yielded a

Œmore realistic¹ death toll from Aids of 143,000 for the calendar year

1999.

At this level, Aids deaths were about 40 per cent of the total ‹ still

a bit high, considering there were only 232,000 deaths left to

distribute among all other causes. The MRC team solved the problem by

stating that deaths from ordinary disease had declined at the

cumulatively massive rate of nearly 3 per cent per annum since 1985.

This seemed very odd. How could deaths decrease in the face of new

cholera and malaria epidemics, mounting poverty, the widespread

emergence of drug-resistant killer microbes, and a state health system

reported to be in Œterminal decline¹?

But anyway, these researchers were experts, and their tinkering

achieved the desired end: modelled Aids deaths and real deaths were

reconciled, the books balanced, truth revealed. The fruit of the MRC¹s

ground-breaking labour was published in June 2001, and my hash appeared

to have been settled. To be sure, I carped about curious adjustments

and overall magnitude, but fell silent in the face of graphs showing

huge changes in the pattern of death, with more and more people dying

at sexually active ages. ŒHow can you argue with this?¹ cried my wife,

eyes flashing angrily. I couldn¹t. I put my Aids papers in the garage

and ate my hat.

But I couldn¹t help sneaking the odd look at science websites to see

how the drama was developing. Towards the end of 2001, the vaunted ASSA

600 model was replaced by ASSA 2000, which produced estimates even

lower than its predecessor: for the calendar year 1999, only 92,000

Aids deaths in total. This was just more than a third of the original

UN figure, but no matter; the boffins claimed ASSA 2000 was so accurate

that further reference to actual death reports Œwill be of limited

usefulness¹. A bit eerie, I thought, being told that virtual reality

was about to render the real thing superfluous, but if these experts

said the new model was infallible, it surely was infallible.

Only it wasn¹t. Last December ASSA 2000 was retired, too. A note on the

MRC website explained that modelling was an inexact science, and that

Œthe number of people dying of Aids has only now started to increase¹.

Furthermore, said the MRC, there was a new model in the works, one that

would Œprobably¹ produce estimates Œabout 10 per cent lower¹ than those

presently on the table. The exercise was not strictly valid, but I

persuaded my scientist pal Rodney Richards to run the revised data on

his own simulator and see what he came up with for 1999. The answer,

very crudely, was an Aids death toll somewhere around 65,000 ‹ a far

cry indeed from the 250,000 initially put forth by UNAIDS.

The wife has just read this, and she is not impressed. ŒIt¹s obscene,¹

she says. ŒYou¹re treating this as if it¹s just a computer game. People

are dying out there.¹

Well, yes. I concede that. People are dying, but this doesn¹t spare us

from the fact that Aids in Africa is indeed something of a computer

game. When you read that 29.4 million Africans are Œliving with

HIV/Aids¹, it doesn¹t mean that millions of living people have been

tested. It means that modellers assume that 29.4 million Africans are

linked via enormously complicated mathematical and sexual networks to

one of those women who tested HIV positive in those annual

pregnancy-clinic surveys. Modellers are the first to admit that this

exercise is subject to uncertainties and large margins of error. Larger

than expected, in some cases.

A year or so back, modellers produced estimates that portrayed South

African universities as crucibles of rampant HIV infection, with one in

four undergraduates doomed to die within ten years. Prevalence shifted

according to racial composition and region, with Kwazulu-Natal

institutions worst affected and Rand Afrikaans University (still 70 per

cent white) coming in at 9.5 per cent. Real-life tests on a random

sample of 1,188 RAU students rendered a startlingly different

conclusion: on-campus prevalence was 1.1 per cent, barely a ninth of

the modelled figure. ŒDoubt is cast on present estimates,¹ said the RAU

report, Œand further research is strongly advocated.¹

A similar anomaly emerged when South Africa¹s major banks ran HIV tests

on 29,000 staff earlier this year. A modelling exercise put HIV

prevalence as high as 12 per cent; real-life tests produced a figure

closer to 3 per cent. Elsewhere, actuaries are scratching their heads

over a puzzling lack of interest in programs set up by

medical-insurance companies to handle an anticipated flood of

middle-class HIV cases. Old Mutual, the insurance giant, estimates that

as many as 570,000 people are eligible, but only 22,500 have thus far

signed up.

In Grahamstown, district surgeon Dr Stuart Dyer is contemplating an

equally perplexing dearth of HIV cases in the local jail. ŒSexually

transmitted diseases are common in the prison where I work,¹ he wrote

to the Lancet, Œand all prisoners who have any such disease are tested

for HIV. Prisoners with any other illnesses that do not resolve rapidly

(within one to two weeks) are also tested for HIV. As a result, a large

number of HIV tests are done every week. This prison, which holds 550

inmates and is always full or overfull, has an HIV infection rate of 2

to 4 per cent and has had only two deaths from Aids in the seven years

I have been working there.¹ Dyer goes on to express a dim view of

statistics that give the impression that Œthe whole of South Africa

will be depopulated within 24 months¹, and concludes by stating, ŒHIV

infection in SA prisons is currently 2.3 per cent.¹ According to the

newspapers, it should be closer to 60 per cent.

On the face of it, these developments suggest that miracles are

happening in South Africa, unreported by anyone save a brave little

magazine called Noseweek. If the anomalies described above are typical,

computer models are seriously overstating HIV prevalence. A similar

picture emerges on the national level, where our estimated annual Aids

death toll has halved since we eased UNAIDS out of the picture, with

further reductions likely when the new MRC model appears. Could the

same thing be happening in the rest of Africa?

Most estimates for countries north of the Limpopo are issued by UNAIDS,

using methods similar to those discredited here in South Africa.

According to Paul Bennell, a health- policy analyst associated with

Sussex University¹s Institute for Development Studies, there is an

Œextraordinary¹ lack of evidence from other sources. ŒMost countries do

not even collect data on deaths,¹ he writes. ŒThere is virtually no

population-based survey data in most high-prevalence countries.¹

Bennell was able, however, to gather information about Africa¹s

schoolteachers, usually described as a high-risk HIV group on account

of their steady income, which enables them to drink and party more than

others. Last year the World Bank claimed that Aids was killing Africa¹s

teachers Œfaster than they can be replaced¹. The BBC reported that Œone

in seven¹ Malawian teachers would die in 2002 alone.

Bennell looked at the available evidence and found actual teacher

mortality to be Œmuch lower than expected¹. In Malawi, for instance,

the all-causes death rate among schoolteachers was under 3 per cent,

not over 14 per cent. In Botswana, it was about three times lower than

computer-generated estimates. In Zimbabwe, it was four times lower.

Bennell believes that Aids continues to present a serious threat to

educators, but concludes that Œoverall impact will not be as

catastrophic as suggested¹. What¹s more, teacher deaths appear to be

declining in six of the eight countries he has studied closely. ŒThis

is quite unexpected,¹ he remarks, Œand suggests that, in terms of

teacher deaths, the worst may be over.¹

In the past year or so, similar mutterings have been heard throughout

southern Africa ‹ the epidemic is levelling off or even declining in

the worst-affected countries. UNAIDS has been at great pains to rebut

such ideas, describing them as Œdangerous myths¹, even though the data

on UNAIDS¹ own website shows they are nothing of the sort. ŒThe

epidemic is not growing in most countries,¹ insists Bennell. ŒHIV

prevalence is not increasing as is usually stated or implied.¹

Bennell raises an interesting point here. Why would UNAIDS and its

massive alliance of pharmaceutical companies, NGOs, scientists and

charities insist that the epidemic is worsening if it isn¹t? A possible

explanation comes from New York physician Joe Sonnabend, one of the

pioneers of Aids research. Sonnabend was working in a New York clap

clinic when the syndrome first appeared, and went on to found the

American Foundation for Aids Research, only to quit in protest when

colleagues started exaggerating the threat of a generalised pandemic

with a view to increasing Aids¹ visibility and adding urgency to their

grant applications. The Aids establishment, says Sonnabend, is

extremely skilled at Œthe manipulation of fear for advancement in terms

of money and power¹.

With such thoughts in the back of my mind, South Africa¹s Aids Day

Œcelebrations¹ cast me into a deeply leprous mood. Please don¹t get me

wrong here. I believe that Aids is a real problem in Africa.

Governments and sober medical professionals should be heeded when they

express deep concerns about it. But there are breeds of Aids activist

and Aids journalist who sound hysterical to me. On Aids Day, they came

forth like loonies drawn by a full moon, chanting that Aids was getting

worse and worse, Œspinning out of control¹, crippling economies,

causing famines, killing millions, contributing to the oppression of

women, and Œundermining democracy¹ by sapping the will of the poor to

resist dictators.

To hear them talk, Aids is the only problem in Africa, and the only

solution is to continue the agitprop until free access to Aids drugs is

defined as a Œbasic human right¹ for everyone. They are saying, in

effect, that because Mr Mhlangu of rural Zambia has a disease they find

more compelling than any other, someone must spend upwards of $400 a

year to provide Mr Mhlangu with life-extending Aids medication ‹ a

noble idea, on its face, but completely demented when you consider that

Mr Mhlangu¹s neighbours are likely to be dying in much larger numbers

of diseases that could be cured for a few cents if medicines were only

available. About 350 million Africans ‹ nearly half the population ‹

get malaria every year, but malaria medication is not a basic human

right. Two million get TB, but last time I checked, spending on Aids

research exceeded spending on TB by a crushing factor of 90 to one. As

for pneumonia, cancer, dysentery or diabetes, let them take aspirin, or

grub in the bush for medicinal herbs.

I think it is time to start questioning some of the claims made by the

Aids lobby. Their certainties are so fanatical, the powers they claim

so far-reaching. Their authority is ultimately derived from

computer-generated estimates, which they wield like weapons,

overwhelming any resistance with dumbfounding atom bombs of

hypothetical human misery. Give them their head, and they will

commandeer all resources to fight just one disease. Who knows, they may

defeat Aids, but what if we wake up five years hence to discover that

the problem has been blown up out of all proportion by unsound

estimates, causing upwards of $20 billion to be wasted?

 

 

 

--

Christine Maggiore, Founder/Director

Alive & Well AIDS Alternatives

 <http://www.aliveandwell.org> http://www.aliveandwell.org

11684 Ventura Boulevard Studio City, CA 91604 USA

Tel 818/780-1875 National Toll-free 877/411-AIDS Fax 818/780-7093