Department of Medical Physics, Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia, 6001,
Valendar F Turner, John Papadimitriou, Barry Page, David Causer, Helman Alfonso, Sam Mhlongo, Todd Miller, Christian Fiala
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In his Rapid Response to Anita Allen, “HIV diagnostics”, 1 February, Peter Flegg wrote “The [antibody] tests used are approved for their purpose, namely detection of HIV-antibodies, and not diagnosis of HIV infection”.
In our response to this we asked Peter Flegg a number of questions including: “How does a person develop “HIV-antibodies” apart from being infected with “HIV”?”. We did not ask him the cause of false positives. He responded but did not clarify any of our concerns. So let us start again.
Will Peter Flegg please tell us when an antibody test merely detects “HIV” antibodies and when it diagnoses HIV infection? How does he discriminate between these two situations? (Note: The antibodies which result in “false positive” tests are not “HIV” antibodies).
In regard to his questions to us:
“Why do so many individuals whose lifestyles put them at risk for “oxidative stress” have negative HIV antibody tests?”
Answer: Would Peter Flegg please nominate a group of individuals “whose lifestyles put them at risk for “oxidative stress”” and who are continuously subjected to a plethora of non-“HIV” antigens and still have “negative HIV antibody tests”?
Questions 2 and 3.
(1) “Why do these HIV-seronegative individuals not develop profound, clinically-relevant immunodeficiency?” “Why is it only those who are HIV seropositive who develop profound, clinically-relevant immunodeficiency?”
To answer these questions Peter Flegg must clarify precisely what in his view is the meaning of “HIV seropositive” and what is the cause of the immune deficiency. If by “HIV seropositive” he means “HIV” infection then he MUST provide us with at least one study and a few confirmatory studies where the antibody/antigen reaction (assuming that the antigens are HIV) has been proven specific for “HIV” infection. That is, the antibody/antigen reaction is compared with the presence or absence of HIV, that is, with HIV isolation/purification. This study must include a statistically significant number of both patients who have AIDS as well as patients who do not have AIDS but are sick. In addition, the test must be done blind. This request has been repeatedly put and no one including Peter Flegg has answered.
Competing interests: None declared