Re: Re: Re: Analysis: the properness of the HIV hypothesis is a media hype 21 March 2005
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Nicholas Bennett,
Infectious Disease Postdoc/Clinician
Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital, Syracuse NY

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Analysis: the properness of the HIV hypothesis is a media hype

In reply to Herr Engelbrecht's points:

1. Has he tried writing to journals asking if they can provide proof that the Moon isn't made of cheese? All joking aside, I do not think this is a survey many will take seriously at all.

2. One dissenting view is far from enough! In science one must back it up with solid evidence. NONE of the anti-HIV scientists have performed A SINGLE EXPERIMENT designed to support their views that HIV is harmless or non-existent. The only two experiments I know of are Duesberg showing that AZT is toxic to certain cells in culture (which we already knew) and Giraldo performing HIV tests without following the directions in the kit.

3. The clear-cut proofs have been presented and argued here over and over. The problem is not whether they exist or not, but whether one chooses to accept them.

4. Mullis, Giraldo, De Harven etc have all made statements that build upon the "logic" of Duesberg and the Perth Group. Nothing original.

5. With no intent to cause disrespect, If you want a clear-cut proof I suggest that you re-read the literature supporting HIV causing AIDS with rather more than the education provided by reading the denialist websites. The case series are published because they are _rare_ and _important_. PCR for research is very different from PCR-based viral load tests (which these days aren't even done using PCR technology!). Mullis' concern was NOT that PCR was used to detect HIV, but that PCR was used to _quantitate_ HIV. The meaning has been twisted over the years by those not able to make the distinction. Montagnier made that statement based on some of his research that suggested a mycoplasma may be involved. His results were later shown to be due to the cell line he used. Either way, whether co- factors are involved or not is irrelevant, since the epidemiology proves that infection with HIV is the primary risk factor.

6. The science has been presented and debated here ad nauseum. [1]

7. The confusion, whether intentionally created or otherwise, regarding AIDS as a single or disparate collection of diseases is common. The fact is that AIDS is a specific loss of cellular immunity, due to a loss of CD4 T helper cell number and function. In the same way as other immune deficiencies will predispose the patient to many different diseases, so too with AIDS. It highlights how important our immune systems are, and how ubiquitous pathogens can be in our environment.

8. AIDS-KS is of course due to a co-infection with HHV8, so Gallo was right. Ascher et al actually showed that not only was drug use NOT predictive of AIDS (when you removed the effect of HIV serostatus!) but that drug users actually had higher CD4 counts than their controls. Other situations, malnutrition especially, may result in similar loss of health status BUT do NOT cause the immune dysfunction seen in AIDS. This is what distinguishes AIDS from other immune suppression conditions. This is why it is important to realise why AIDS is a single disease, because once you start to think that the disease is only the symptoms, then of course you will find similar conditions! Under this criteria there is no distinction between rhinovirus, coronavirus, adenovirus infection etc.

HIV exists because you can quite simply see it under EM, and we can grow it and make more of the stuff. The genome has been cloned (which even Duesberg thinks is sufficient to consider it to exist). The mechanism by which HIV causes AIDS has been laid out by myself, as current understanding permits, on this forum [2].

If HIV is not sexually transmitted, it seems odd that condom use protects against it [3]. It is also odd that the use of anti-retrovirals DOES prolong life [4]. I really do wonder where you're getting your "facts" from.

I once gave a list of reasons why HSV-2 could not cause genital herpes, employing the same "logic" enjoyed by those who deny that HIV is harmfull. I think I made a rather good case.

" Can the Perth Group tell us all the standard by which HSV-2, an important STD, is judged? Is it any less or more than that of HIV? HIV serology has been confirmed by culture, PCR, lymph node biopsy and EM. As far as I can tell, the Gold Standard for HSV is western blot. HSV tests "may have extensive cross-reactivity" [5]. HSV co-exists with many other kinds of STD including bacterial infections - who is to say that it isn't these that cause the vesicles? Aciclovir is an entirely non-specific antiviral that will readily chain-terminate non-viral DNA, and the infection is supposedly never cleared despite the disappearance of symptoms. Seroconversion may occur after the appearance of lesions, with a time of 25-47 days. How can the virus possibly be the cause of the vesicular lesions? One of the side effects of aciclovir is itching: how can this be distinguished from the itching of "herpes" infection?"

It's rather easy to construct a false argument using pseudoscience - far harder for scientists to counter it to those already "tainted" by mis- education.

Nick Bennett njb35@cantab.net

1. http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/eletters/326/7387/495

2. http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/eletters/326/7387/495#76614

3. de Vincenzi N Engl J Med. 1994 Aug 11;331(6):341-6. "A longitudinal study of human immunodeficiency virus transmission by heterosexual partners. European Study Group on Heterosexual Transmission of HIV."

4. Egger et al. BMJ. 1997 Nov 8;315(7117):1194-9. "Impact of new antiretroviral combination therapies in HIV infected patients in Switzerland: prospective multicentre study. Swiss HIV Cohort Study."

5. Field et al Pathology. 1993 Apr;25(2):175-9. The reliability of serological tests for the diagnosis of genital herpes: a critique.

Competing interests: None declared