Alexander H Russell,
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All the recent rapid responses to BMJ's Editorial: 'HIV testing' by Manavi and Welsby (5 March 2005) make the false assumption that the 'HIV' tests are proof of putative 'HIV infection' and/or that 'HIV' is an 'infectious disease' and that 'HIV' is an STD. These are all unproven suppositions.
All 'HIV' tests are non-specific and non-standardised. All current 'HIV' tests lack a 'gold standard' against which they could be evaluated to ensure that 'HIV' is being detected. There is no gold standard 'HIV' test because there is no gold standard 'HIV' isolate.
In addition to being inaccurate, 'HIV' tests are not standardised. This means that there is no nationally or internationally accepted criteria for what constitutes a 'positive' result. Different countries have different criteria as to what constitutes a 'positive' test result. Standards also vary from lab to lab within the same country and can even differ from day to day at the same lab.
Feston Konzani, a 28-year-old African asylum seeker, has has been jailed for 10 years at Teesside Crown Court for allegedly 'infecting' three women with 'HIV'. Feston Konzani was accused of inflicting "grievous bodily harm" on the two women aged 25 and 26 and a young girl of 15.
The three women claimed that they became "infected" with 'HIV' after having sex between February 2000 and May 2003 with Konzani. How do they know they were "infected" by Konzani? The horizontal (sexual) transmission of 'HIV' has never been scientifically proven only ever assumed: it is only ever a mere supposittion that 'HIV' is sexually transmitted.
Also in 2003 Mohammed Dica was convicted at Inner London Crown Court of two counts of 'biological' grievous bodily harm allegedly 'infecting' women with 'HIV' and sentenced to 8 years in prison.
How do we know that Feston Konzani and Mohammed Dica are 'HIV' positive and really 'infected' these women?
Were viable, active, infectious 'HIV' particles isolated and recovered directly from their blood? If not we are making a false assumption that these incarcerated men have an active 'HIV' infection.
Feston's QC, Timothy Roberts, submitted that the convictions were "unsafe" because of "two legal errors", at the Court of Appeal in London. The real grounds for appeal should have been that 'HIV' has not been proven to be transmitted horizontally.
Why should 'HIV' be more readily transmitted male to female but not female to male? In which case where do heterosexual males get 'HIV' from? Where does the active (insertive) homosexual get 'HIV' from? How does a passive (receptive) homosexual transmit 'HIV' to an active (insertive) homosexual? What is the precise mechanism of hypothetical 'HIV infection'?.
We have seen huge rises in STD rates and unwanted pregnancies in the UK and USA without a concurrent spread of 'HIV'. These anomalies convince me that 'HIV' is not an STD. There is no endemic heterosexual 'HIV' epidemic in the UK.
Feston Konzani and Mohammed Dica are innocent of the charges laid against should not be banged up in prison for an alleged crime they did not commit. It is the 'HIV' test that should go on trial for misdiagnosing thousands of people world-wide.
Competing interests: None declared