Unravelling the truth 27 May 2003
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Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos,
Biophysicist
Department of Medical Physics, Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia, 6001,
Valendar F Turner, John Papadimitriou, Barry Page, David Causer, Helman Alfonso

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Re: Unravelling the truth

Unravelling the truth

In his rapid response “HIV – which is the simplest and most obvious truth” (25 May 2003), Stephen Green states “I can see the appeal of denying that HIV is a problem and is sexually transmitted - you can have as much unprotected sex as you like with whoever you like and all you will need is the occasional shot of penicillin !!” We (the Perth Group) have never, never made such claims.

Regarding “what killed the many patients”, if not “HIV”, shouldn’t we at least be considering poverty, malnutrition, and the many infectious pathologies associated with them; recreational drugs, either IV or oral; anally deposited semen?

We do “dispute that HIV is (a) a problem and (b) sexually transmitted”. However, as we indicated in a previous rapid response “A critical examination of the evidence for the existence of HIV” (25th April 2003) we definitely do not advocate that people should “be happy to have regular unprotected sexual intercourse [anal] with an another human being” either HIV positive or negative.

We may consider treatment if Stephen Green or anybody else comes with evidence which proves:
· the existence of “HIV” specific antibodies;
· the existence of “HIV” specific viral load;
· “that this virus is associated [necessary for] with the development of a disease”. (Association is not proof for causation).

We agree that people who have “chronic diarrhoea and a mouth stuffed full of Candida albicans” have an increasing chance of dying “in about eight to ten years time”. However, it doesn’t mean the cause of death is “HIV” or that they are “HIV”-infected (see our rapid response “A critical examination of the evidence for the existence of HIV” (25th April 2003- http://bmj.com/cgi/eletters/326/7387/495#31507). Having Candida albicans will result in a positive “HIV” antibody test in the absence of “HIV” (1)

Because the diagnosis of HIV infection dramatically changes peoples’ lives, before you can advise your African patient that he/she is “HIV”- infected, you must have proof beyond reasonable doubt that you indeed found “HIV antibodies”. Since:
· in Africa, it has been shown that the most extensive sexual education has no effect on the “HIV-1” incidence; (2)
· there is no proof that “HIV” can be acquired by vaginal intercourse; (3) on what grounds would you advise your patients not to “have sex as often as they like”, as long as they don’t practice anal intercourse?

If the drugs you prescribe do indeed lead to “weight gain” and a “very useful level of immune reconstitution”, these may not be the result of their effect on “HIV” but on other infectious agents. Furthermore, it is possible that the same effect may be obtained by using less toxic drugs. (4)

As the first step in deciding “which is the simplest and most obvious truth”, we suggest an in-depth and unbiased analysis of the many publications from the Multi-center AIDS Cohort study (MACS), the longest, largest and best-designed study in gay men.

References

(1) Papadopulos-Eleopulos E, Turner VF, Papadimitrious JM, et al. HIV antibodies: further questions and a plea for clarification. Current Medical Research and Opinion 1997 13: 627-634

(2) Kamaii A, Quigley M, Nakiyingi J, Kinsman J, et al. Lancet 2003 361: 645-652

(3) Papadopulos-Eleopulos E, Turner VF, Papadimitrious JM, Alfonso H, Page BAP, Causer D, Mhlongo S, Miller S, Fiala C. BMJ 2002 324:1034

(4) Papadopulos-Eleopulos E, Turner VF, Papadimitriou JM, Causer D, Alfonso H, Miller T. A critical analysis of the pharmacology of AZT and its use in AIDS. Current Medical Research and Opinion 1999 15:1s-45s.

Competing interests:   None declared