October 2015–Accurate diagnosis matters. We at “How Positive Are You” are extremely concerned about the life-changing diagnoses of “HIV positive” and “AIDS” that people are receiving, based on tests for surrogate markers including antibodies and genetic sequences. Because of our concern, we will post later today an interview with Dr. David Rasnick of the biotechnology firm Viral Forensics. Viral Forensics will offer our listeners and others a way to check their “viral load” tests against findings of “particles resembling HIV” under an electron microscope, as interpreted by a licensed pathologist. (To obtain a blood analysis by Viral Forensics, see the bottom of this editorial.)
The commercially available tests for “HIV positivity” or “viral load” have never been validated to the presence of live, infectious virus in human blood. The accepted procedures of microbiology would require culturing cells from live persons and then looking for evidence of “HIV” in them under an electron microscope – the highest powered microscopes now available and the only ones capable of identifying viruses and retroviruses. Then it would validate these surrogate tests by finding that samples containing these particles also “tested positive” on the surrogate tests using technologies measuring genetic fragments (viral load) or antibody concentrations.
Further, all commercially available “HIV tests” and “viral load” assays are packaged with warnings that they are not sufficient to diagnose HIV infection or any known disease without also considering clinical symptoms. Clinicians such as doctors, public health workers and employees of organizations offering “free HIV testing” routinely ignore these warnings and almost never allow patients to see them. They also never, to our knowledge, warn patients of the cross-reactions documented in mainstream, peer-reviewed scientific papers.
“HIV testing” in its present form often leads to severe personal risks, human rights abuses and corruption, as we have covered in previous Episodes:
- Children being taken away for parents’ refusal to medicate them – or even on suspicion that parents’ lack of enthusiasm might prompt them to stop drugging them, as in the Baby Rico case in Minnesota. HPAY co-host Elizabeth (Beth) Ely interviewed the Nagel and Martinez families and friends on their defense of family rights, and Mike Hersee of England discussed his advice to parents facing similar threats.
- Dangers of widespread prescriptions for the merely short-term-tested drug Truvada® in a misguided – and government-encouraged – attempt by gay men to prevent “HIV transmission” through sex (pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP).
- HIV-positive mothers’ fear of breastfeeding, which La Leche League founder Marian Tompson said is unfounded and deprives newborns of crucial nutrition.
- Severe side effects from HIV medications, for example in Edmond McNack. This sheriff’s deputy recounted to Rethinking AIDS President and HPAY co-host David Crowe that he took recommended “HIV” treatments because an HIV-positive prisoner spat on him, and the medicine made him severely ill. . . . Many years of treatments led to the passing of our friend, Florida wife and mother Karri Stokely, mistakenly reported as an AIDS death. We interviewed her husband, Joe Stokely, in 2013.
- Being charged with crimes for having sex without disclosing one’s HIV status, as happened to Yvonne Nicole Andrews, Nushawn Williams a/k/a “Notorious H.I.V.,” and Craig Lamar Davis of Atlanta. In early 2015, however, the highest military court in the U.S. overturned this practice, publicized as “HIV criminalization” in the media. The ruling came in the case of Air Force Technical Sergeant David Gutierrez, whose attorney we interviewed. (Co-host David Crowe discusses the laws in Canada here.)
- False diagnosis, leading to years of medication and its side effects, a frightening belief in having a serious disease, sex only with HIV-positive partners, and psychiatric evaluation for doubting the diagnosis, for which Bobby Russell of Kentucky is now suing. We interviewed Bobby as well as his lawyer.
- The 1992 false-positive diagnosis of our friend and HPAY co-founder Christine Maggiore, who later took “a series of tests that fluctuated inexplicably between HIV positive, HIV negative and indeterminate.” Christine’s exhausting fight for justice for other false positives, amid cruel allegations that her skepticism killed her own three-year-old daughter (one example searchable by the term “aspersions” on this page), led to her untimely death in late 2008. (An autopsy documented the cause as kidney failure from a cross-reaction of prescription drugs.)
- Fast-tracking of minority populations into early treatment at the largest AIDS treatment organization in the U.S., based on “rapid” and “viral load” testing, to meet treatment quotas. A current “whistleblower” lawsuit alleges that employees and patients of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation received kickbacks to refer patients in-house. Beth interviewed one of these former employees here.
- The effective end of the boxing career of two-time heavyweight boxing champion Tommy Morrison, despite years of challenging even the existence of his 1996 HIV test. David, Terry Michael and Celia Farber interviewed Tommy in 2010, and Beth interviewed his widow, Trisha Harding Morrison, here and here.
- The shamefully false and privacy-invading diagnosis of AIDS in actor Rock Hudson to set off the unnecessary sexual panic among heterosexuals since the mid-1980s. Beth wrote about actress Elizabeth Taylor’s role in the fraud (with assistance from Australian researcher Cal Crilly) before interviewing the lawyer for the Hudson estate.
- The tragic death of artist Keith Haring, as remembered by New York activist Jim Fouratt. Haring feared his diagnosis so much that he used his personal connections to obtain the then-experimental drug ddI, and then died “inside of a week,” said Fouratt.
- The use of exaggerated statistics of “infection” based on such testing to corrupt public health organizations in the U.S., as documented by Terry’s account of the 30-year, J. Edgar Hoover-like government career of Dr. Anthony Fauci. The corruption of public health science affects us all – as we now see in suggestions to prosecute parents who question vaccinations for their children.
- Missed diagnoses of other health problems, such as those caused by candida albicans. Dr. Jeffrey McCombs explains his approach to this health problem often mistaken for AIDS-related conditions.
- A popular suspicion of sex as “unsafe,” which HPAY guests Reichian scholar Dr. James DeMeo and ecstatic masseur Markus Skand would like you to know is not true and robs humans of their full potential.
The situation may be getting even worse, as the CDC announced in April 2014 that testing is not even required for a diagnosis of “HIV infection.” It is also widely – yet quietly – acknowledged that the Western blot, long used to “verify” an initial ELISA test, is problematic and no longer considered a useful confirmatory test.
On a happier note, we applaud the courage of a group of HIV positives in Spain in defying medical advice and living long past their HIV-positive diagnoses in the 1980s. Dr. Manuel Garrido, who is himself HIV positive, has advised them to stay off AIDS medicines. We interviewed him here and posted a Spanish-language version here. Joan Shenton and Andi Reiss’ film on this group, Positive Hell, was recently nominated for “Best of Audience” at the Los Angeles CineFest.
Until HIV testing is properly validated and the results published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, we at HPAY recommend that all persons avoid testing. We do not, however, recommend ignoring other, legitimate diagnoses of health conditions, as others have alleged on the Internet with name-calling such as “denialist.” Your treatment decisions are your own, and, we hope, based on sound personal research, reasoning and consulting with experts if necessary. As health journalists, we remain ready and willing to help with information.
We will, further, be happy to refer to you Viral Forensics for a licensed pathologist’s analysis of your blood as imaged under an electron microscope. HPAY may receive a referral fee for this, which we believe is honest and consistent with our work toward accurate HIV testing over these years of HPAY’s existence. If you object to our receiving a fee but still wish to be referred, tell us; the price will be the same. Otherwise, we thank you for your support of our vital journalism by requesting a Viral Forensics analysis through firstname.lastname@example.org [e-mail updated December 4, 2015]. We hope you’ll agree that, now more than ever, our work is important and deserves your support.
Elizabeth (Beth) Ely
Alternative Health Journalist
Brooklyn, New York
The Group for the Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis (“Rethinking AIDS”)
San Francisco, California, and
The Alberta Reappraising AIDS Society, Calgary, Alberta, Canada