Rolling Stone, NY Post, Poz Mag [Rethinking AIDS]
#24763 - 11/18/01 06:47 AM
New York Post Cheers Rolling Stone Expose
South African journalist Rian Malan's groundbreaking article questioning AIDS numbers in Africa may be the start of something big.
The following New York post article praising Malan and Rolling Stone magazine for fearlessly reporting the facts also appears at the highly visited iWon web site.
Supportive calls, letters and emails to Rolling Stone may inspire more investigative reports on AIDS.
Please take a few moments to congratulate the magazine for their integrity and courage:
Letters, Rolling Stone 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104-0298
Phone (212) 484-1616
Fax (212) 484-3434
Publisher: Jann Wenner; Managing Editor: Robert Love; Assistant Managing Editor: Bill Tonelli Talking Truth on AIDS Data by Richard Johnson with Paula Froelich and Chris Wilson (from the November 4, 2001 issue of the New York Post)
Celia Farber, among the few who challenged the many myths about AIDS in a series of columns for Spin magazine is crowing now that Rolling Stone has seen the light. The article "AIDS in Africa: In Search of the Truth" by famed South African writer Rian Malan charges that researchers regularly inflate statistics about the lethal disease.
Malan, the author of "My Traitor's Heart," spent a year looking for proof of the soaring death rates cited by AIDS organizations in South Africa. Frustrated by conflicting data, Malan even studied coffin sales in Johannesburg, trying to find evidence of the supposed pandemic. Instead, he ends up debunking exaggerated numbers put forth
by groups like the Swiss-based UNAIDS (the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS).
"As he gripped each thread of questioning, expecting AIDS orthodoxy to resolve his growing anxiety with solid answers, he only ran into more questions," Farber told us. "He wound up commendably with an entirely different story than the one he pitched to Rolling Stone.
Suffice to say, AIDS professionals will be aghast," Farber
declares, "unless, of course they've decided to take their cash and ribbons and helicopter off to their chalets where they can hope to live out their days in anonymity."
Malan's findings debunk myths the scientific community has been spreading for 20 years. "The mind boggles at the bizarre notions that have held sway for decades," Farber said, "the Pulitzer Prizes that have been awarded for unadulterated hogwash."
Farber also notes, "In other media breakthroughs, the AIDS magazine POZ ran a cover story this month, that, for them, was very brave. It demonstrates, I think, the long-known fact that HIV antibodies have never traveled from women to men. It is simply a dead end. This ties nicely into Malan's quest for truth about AIDS in Africa. How is it, one might ask, that African people manage to spread this HIV so
rampantly in ways that people in New York haven't managed in 20 years?"
A Rolling Stone spokeswoman said the Jann Wenner music mag (usually a repository of politically correct thought) was proud of the provocative AIDS piece. "Rian Malan is fantastic, and he spent a year in Africa researching this." she said. "It might raise questions, but I think there are unanswered questions and things that don't add up."
Still more on AIDS in Africa from former New York Native reporter Neenyah Ostrom. The full text of her article, complete with references, can be found at http://www.chronicillnet.org
Where Are the Data?
By Neenyah Ostrom
A high-profile argument has erupted between South Africa's Medical Research Council (MRC) and South African President Thabo Mbeki over how many South Africans are currently living with AIDS and/or have tested positive for antibodies to HIV.
In June 2000, President Mbeki created an international furor prior to the 13th International Conference on AIDS held in Durban, South Africa by questioning whether HIV has been proved to cause AIDS. President Mbeki's public questioning of the role played by HIV in AIDS resulted in the scientific journal Nature1s publication of the "Durban Declaration," [a petition] which states that "The
evidence that AIDS is caused by HIV-1 or HIV-2 is clear-cut, exhaustive and unambiguous, meeting the highest standards of science." The Durban Declaration was signed by some 5,000 scientists from around the world.
Now President Mbeki is questioning statistics from an unpublished MRC report leaked to Johannesburg's Sunday Times stating that AIDS has killed 40% of South Africans from 15 to 49 years of age in the last year, and that more than 20% of the country's adult population is infected with HIV. In a letter to South Africa's Business Day newspaper, President Mbeki asserted that only 2.2% of deaths in South
Africa are due to AIDS, citing World Health Organization (WHO) statistics from 1995. UNAIDS/WHO statistics from a June 2000 report assert, in contrast, that 19.9% of South Africans‹a total of 4.2 million people‹test positive for HIV, the largest number of people anywhere in the world. Simultaneously, the Reuters News Service reported that the South African Treasury is using a mathematical model to predict the macro-economic impact of the AIDS epidemic on
the country's economy, which the Treasury estimates affects 4.7 million South Africans.
Following the release of these two reports, a coalition of labor, civic, and religious groups attacked President Mbeki for his "denial" of the extent of the AIDS epidemic in South Africa. A meeting on September 17 between delegates from the Anglican Church, Catholic Church, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, and the Treatment Action Campaign resulted in a statement which said, in part, "The
data are clear and must not be obscured by wishful thinking. No organization or individual should try to suppress the facts. That way lies disaster."
No truer statement has been uttered throughout the history of the AIDS epidemic. Unbeknownst to the South African coalition that issued it, however, the data clearly do NOT support the assertion of the Durban Declaration that the proof that HIV causes AIDS "is clear-cut, exhaustive and unambiguous, meeting the highest standards of science." In fact, the data are sparse and show, at best, the same
association between HIV and AIDS that was first noted in 1984. Proof that HIV causes AIDS has not, to date, been published in any scientific journal.
Even if one accepts the assertion that HIV causes AIDS, the
statistics cited by the World Health Organization, South Africa's Medical Research Council, the United States' Centers for Disease Control, and any other health organization generating numbers of "infected" individuals, are not based in reality‹they are, at best, projections onto a large population from a small (in some cases, infinitesimally small) number of people who were actually
tested using the HIV antibody test. Estimates of the numbers of people with HIV or AIDS worldwide or in any given country are all based upon mathematical models.
To prove that point, we would respectfully suggest that President Mbeki request that a copy of each and every one of the more than four million positive HIV antibody test results gathered in his country be sent to his office. If four million positive HIV antibody test results are collected and forwarded to the President, he might be
persuaded to stop questioning the association between HIV and AIDS.
We suspect, however, that those 4.7 million test results do not exist. The conflicting estimates of numbers of people with AIDS in South Africa, as elsewhere in the world, are not based upon actual counts of sick people, but upon mathematical models that produce varying results.
However, what if every person in South Africa were to be tested for antibodies to HIV? Would we then learn the true number of people with AIDS in South Africa?
In March 2001, President Mbeki noted that the HIV antibody test produces numerous anomalies. Mr. Mbeki commented that a panel of scientists he'd appointed to examine the validity of the evidence of a causal link between HIV and AIDS had told him that HIV antibody tests "will show antibodies which indicate that there is something wrong. You then need to carry out clinical tests to be able to tell what it is that is wrong."
Medical researchers have known about problems with the accuracy and reliability of the HIV antibody test since 1993 when Australian researchers led by Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos examined its irreproducibility (among other problems). The test, in simple English, often produces incorrect results. For example, a person who tests positive on an HIV antibody test one day may well test negative
or "indeterminate" on another. Therefore, the HIV antibody test is not reproducible‹which is why everyone who tests positive is required to have a follow-up, confirmatory test.
When manufacturers apply for a license to sell an antibody test, they must provide the Food and Drug Administration with data on individuals known to have various medical conditions. These data form the basis of understanding the manufacturer's "false positivity" incidence in people who are unhealthy for some reason, but not because they have the agent being tested for (in this instance, HIV).
Blood chemicals produced by numerous illnesses and medical conditions and even medications‹are known to interact with the HIV antibody test to produce false positive results. Among them are:
2. cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (a blood cell cancer);
3. multiple sclerosis (41 percent of these patients can have a false positive HIV antibody test);
5. immune suppressing medications;
6. the flu shot and possibly other immunizations;
8. one or more sexually transmitted diseases (STDs);
9. having received multiple transfusions;
10. neoplasms or tumors
11. leprosy - which is caused by a bacterium related to the one that causes tuberculosis, a disease found in many AIDS patients.
Another problem with many licensed antibody tests is that they do not take into account the fact that people in South Africa and other developing nations are exposed to numerous toxins in the environment.
For example, South Africans are exposed to high levels of
organophosphate pesticides long banned in the United States, like DDT, which is passed from mother to child through breast milk. What effect are those environmental toxins having on the health of South Africans? Did the clinical trials for licensure of the HIV antibody
tests take into account the incidence of false positive tests on African populations exposed to toxic chemicals like DDT?
Many false positive antibody reactions are directed against an individual's own genes that are activated in response to harsh chemical exposures. How does the immune response to those chemicals interact with the HIV antibody test? Is an overactive genome, due to exposure to a toxin like DDT, causing false positive results? Without clinical trials that attempt to measure the effects of all these agents on the genome and on results obtained on the HIV antibody
test, the estimate of 4.2-4.7 million South Africans with HIV or AIDS is not based on data and cannot be considered conclusive.
Over the last 20 years, the medical research establishment's concentration on eradicating HIV has resulted only in clinical failure after clinical failure. There is no vaccine to protect against AIDS; there are no treatments that eradicate or control HIV or AIDS without producing severe, if not fatal, side effects; there is not even a 100% reliable test for HIV or AIDS. The strategy of
studying HIV to the exclusion of all other factors in AIDS has failed. As a head of state, Mr. Mbeki has the right and perhaps even the responsibility to challenge medical information, particularly when decisions based upon that information may have fatal consequences to his citizens. The worldwide effort to understand and control AIDS‹which to date, has failed‹has been based on mathematical
predictions that have never been validated by facts. Where are the data?
Rolling Stone Magazine Rocks the AIDS Orthodoxy
The next issue of Rolling Stone magazine will feature a ground-breaking article that takes a critical look at government and media reports regarding AIDS in Africa.
According to popular reports, South Africa is the epicenter of the global AIDS pandemic with estimated cases there currently hovering between 4 and 5 million. When South African president Thabo Mbeki shocked the world by questioning these numbers and inviting a panel of experts to critically evaluate the science and epidemiology of
AIDS, Rolling Stone asked South African author and journalist Rian Malan to report on Mbeki1s 'genocidal AIDS policy.'
In the resulting article, Malan recounts his search for reasonable evidence of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa, efforts fueled by his sincere desire to reveal the wrong doings of his country's leader. Malan's year-long investigation starts with failed attempts to find
clear documentation of claims for massive increases in death, and ends without having ever found the substantiating facts. His article highlights many unanswered questions regarding AIDS numbers and raises concerns about the accuracy of HIV tests which are the
foundation for all AIDS estimates in Africa.
Aside from serving as indirect vindication of Mbeki's wisdom to question AIDS in South Africa, the piece gives readers an objective look at the facts and the confusion (regarding AIDS in Africa).
The Word According to POZ Magazine:
Heterosexual AIDS epidemic a 'false medical panic women cannot transmit AIDS to male partners.'
You know change is in the air when a staunchly orthodox AIDS magazine like POZ runs a feature article on 'the myth of heterosexual AIDS.'
The October 2001 cover story 'We've Got the Juice,' begins with this intriguing lead paragraph: 'These women thought they had killer vaginas. Then they learned girls don't give guys AIDS. Now they're sticking it to the officials and advocates who made the myth of heterosexual AIDS,' and goes on from there into a surprising, sometimes bizarre, expose of sorts. Here are a few interesting quotes:
If we are talking about a heterosexual AIDS epidemic, transmission efficiency would have to go both ways. It doesn't. It stops with a woman and will not cause an epidemic. Plenty of people have known and denied this from the beginning. It all started as a way for AIDS advocates to raise funds. – Dr. Joesph Sonnabend, MD, founder,
AmFAR 'According to the US Centers for Disease Control1s surveillance report for the year 2000, of all estimated AIDS cases, only 3 percent were heterosexually transmitted'
POZ journalist Patrick Califia 'Among New York City's 15,000 AIDS cases, there were only eight female to male transmissions, and I have doubts about seven.' –Former Department of Health investigator Anastasia Lekatas.-
The article also includes the odd contention that men get AIDS from women in Africa and other developing nations, but they do not get AIDS from women in the developed worlds a difference that has not been adequately explained.
I did not find this issue or article at the POZ web site, but according to information there, you can purchase single back issues by calling toll free 800/9-READ POZ, or outside the US 815/734-4151. Please note that subscriptions are offered free of charge to HIV positives.
San Francisco Officials Acknowledge Link Between Popper Use, Immune Suppression, and KS
Excerpts from the October 25, 2001 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle (please contact Michael Petrelis at Mpetrelis@aol.com for the full article)
'Poppers link prompts call for warnings in S.F.' by Christopher Heredia'
'Poppers have been linked to immune system suppression and to the development of Kaposi's sarcoma, an AIDS-related skin cancer.'
A Board of Supervisors panel has recommended that the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the district attorney's office revive health warnings about amyl nitrate, a chemical inhalant used as a sexual stimulant...
"It's about having the education material there, and allowing people to make an informed decision," said Board of Supervisors President Tom Ammiano, whose resolution will go to the full board Monday.
The resolution requests that a letter be sent to the Health
Department and the district attorney's office asking that merchants selling amyl nitrate, known as "poppers," be required to post warnings about health hazards. In the 1980s, health officials banned the use of poppers in public places and required merchants to post warnings about their dangers. Poppers have been linked to immune system suppression and to the development of Kaposi's sarcoma, an
AIDS-related skin cancer. Research has shown that poppers bring more blood vessels to the surface of the skin during sex, putting one at greater risk for acquiring HIV.
Although heterosexuals also use poppers, some gay men say they use them because they relax muscles and reduce pain during sex.
The warnings about their use disappeared sometime in the late '80s to early '90s, and no one seems to know why. Now poppers are sold at adult bookstores under the label Video Head Cleaner or Leather Cleaner, as well as on the Internet. AIDS activists say poppers are frequently used -- despite posted rules against drug use -- at gay bathhouses in the Bay Area.
"Selling poppers without a warning is the equivalent of selling cigarettes without a health warning," said Survive AIDS member Jeff Getty. "
Unfounded STD Numbers Used to Bolster HIV Scare
Thank goodness for the ever-vigilant Michael Petrelis of AIDS-Statistics.com who keeps a sharp eye on the US Centers for Disease Control. With no substantive data to support recent claims for rising HIV rates, health officials, AIDS activists and the media are citing non-existent increases in sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis to suggest growing rates of 'unsafe sex' and to imply HIV must be increasing.
The following information from Michael (written in response to an opinion piece in the Southern Voice newspaper "Real Activists Would Not Challenge HIV Stats" reveals how current alarms over rising STDs are false alarms.
According to the latest national STD statistics from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention as published in the Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report, STD rates in America are in fact going down. As of mid-September 2000, the CDC reported a total of 248,530 gonorrhea cases. The total number for gonorrhea so far this year: 218,239. Similarly, at this point last year, the CDC documented 4,273 syphilis diagnoses while the number of syphilis cases thus far this year is 3,935. The same report shows 9,208 cases of Hepatitis A as of September 2000. The number as of this September: 6,826. Hepatitis B is also down. There were 4,912 cases at this time last year while this year we have 4,544.
I'm no rocket scientist, but these STD statistics from the CDC in no way indicate a rise of any STD. With the CDC's declining STD numbers in mind, we should question how HIV infection could be rising. Maybe the Southern Voice could locate a rocket scientist to explain how U.S. rates of syphilis, gonorrhea, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B decrease, while HIV allegedly increases.
Uganda To Require AIDS Drug Regardless of HIV Status
This report from The Advocate indicates that the interests of AIDS drug manufacturers and the agendas of heavily funded AIDS service organizations are taking precedence over basic human rights in Africa.
Viramune, the AIDS treatment to be required in Uganda, was the subject of a warning issued earlier this year by the US Centers for Disease Control after the drug was noted to cause life-threatening side effects (including liver failure) among healthcare professionals who took it 'fearing exposure to HIV.' Viramune (also known as Nevirapine) was also implicated in the deaths of six mothers and their unborn children in a recent drug trial in South Africa, and according to documents obtained under Canada's Access to Information Act, it provoked fatal side effects during drug trials in that country.
Last summer, African media reported that Viramune's manufacturer hired an AIDS activist group to stage a demonstration at the 13th International AIDS Conference in which they demanded lower prices for Viramune. Following the phony demonstration, the company relented to the activists 'demands'. Most world media reported only the announcement of lower prices for Viramune and made no mention of the pretend protest/PR stunt.
Here's the news on the latest coup for Viramune's manufacturer. Please note that AIDS drug given 'free of charge' are actually paid for by government funds, international relief organizations, activist groups, and others.
Uganda to Give[sic: force] AIDS Drugs to All Pregnant Women
The Advocate, October 2, 2001
The Ugandan Health Ministry plans to soon implement a nationwide mandate requiring all pregnant women, regardless of their HIV status, to be given the HIV nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor Viramune (also known as Nevirapine) to reduce mother-to-child transmission of the AIDS virus, the Kampala [Uganda] Monitor reports.
Francis Omaswa, director-general of the Health Ministry, on Thursday told the nation's parliamentary committee on social services that the new program is needed because many pregnant women are reluctant to test for HIV antibodies and ultimately infect their children by not learning their HIV status and taking antiretroviral medications.
Giving Viramune to all pregnant women in the country could slash the nation's mother-to-child HIV infection rates by half, Omaswa said. The medication will be provided free of charge in all of the country's district hospitals.
HIV Positive Moms Valerie Emerson and Christine Maggiore
Tape National Talk Show [from Alive and Well Newsletter]
HIV positive mothers who decline AIDS drugs for themselves and their children will be featured on a new nationally syndicated show, 'Talk or Walk.'
Show producer Lori Read contacted me after reading the Mothering magazine cover story 'HIV Positive Moms Say No to AIDS Drugs' and we spent close to a month trying to get someone (an AIDS activist, journalist, doctor, or researcher, or an HIV positive or AIDS diagnosed person or a person caring for one) who was willing to challenge my views.
We finally found a friend of my family who has concerns about my health choices to represent the opposing points. I got Valerie Emerson (read her story in A & W's 8/12/01 emailer) and breastfeeding advocate Marian Tompson (co-founder of La Leche League International and founder of the Another Look at HIV and Breastfeeding web site and study) flown in to be my advocates. The program tapes this Thursday morning - just a few hours after I finish the radio show! (and I will announce the air-date as soon as we know it).
"Wish us luck as we see if talk shows handle the issues any better than news programs," says Christine.
Change is in the air. We need it after over 20 years of misinformation and corruption.
I thought I was the only one to notice POZ's recent article about heterosexual transmission. We didn't know how to get macho men to wear condoms if they thought they could just spread disease without an equal chance of catching HIV from a NON-MENSTRUATING female. When men are not circumcised, there is a much higher rate of transmission, and add any type of VD to that equation and then men can certainly catch and give STD's. The circumcision, any open sores, and any blood-blood contact are the usual routes of transmission, but when people can't read and write, its easier to just say wear a condom. I've been wondering if Celia Farber was scared off by the AIDS establishment. She was one of the first and bravest writers in the early 90's. It would be nice to respect some activist again, especially one that has so much experience with the political side of this debate most don't get to see, and like Jews, just take their HIV meds till they drop dead (WHEN THE DRUGS ARE USED TOO SOON)- not all cases.
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