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House of Numbers, An AIDS Documentary

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121 Comments

Poodle Stomper

Mikey, "not even a SINGLE supposedly anti-hiv drug, other than the original and very brief 4-month AZT drug trial, not a SINGLE anti-hiv drug has EVER been placebo tested." With good reason. It is called ETHICS. Once a treatment has been proven to have benefits against a dangerous condition, it is used as comparison for following trials. To have an untreated group in subsequent trials is as UNETHICAL as having untreated heart attack patients in trials for a new form of bypass. You can't do that because, oh I don't know, people could DIE. The only ethical thing do do would be compare the new bypass to the older best treatment. The same holds true for other medical interventions including HAARTs. However, if AZT worked better than the placebo and your new product X works better than the AZT group then, logic dictates, X is also better than placebo. I realize this may be a lot to take in at once. It is first grade logic, after all. If B(AZT)>A(Untreated) and C(New drug)>B(AZT) then C(New Drug)>A(Untreated). "Because you do not have a single placebo tested drug, you have absolutely no evidence to stand on that anti-hiv drugs have any proven beneficial effects whatsoever..." Refer to the above for why you are completely wrong. "Countless gays had, and often still have internal death wishes, and often got or yet get their death wishes fulfilled" Oh, but of course! So do all those hemophiliacs and all those death-wishing babies born to HIV+ mothers. Mikey you sure are good at blaming the victim! Bravo! "The years of highest deaths said to be due to HIV/AIDS are the EXACT YEARS, yes the EXACT YEARS that high dosage AZT was given to all who tested HIV antibody positive. The years were from 1987, when aids deaths began to skyrocket, to 1995, when they dropped precipitously to current annual levels." Not very convincing seeing as the deaths were skyrocketing way AZT introduction until the introduction of HAARTs. Unless of course you are going to claim that AZT can travel back in time.

December 7, 2009

Michael Geiger

Dear Dr. Sonnabend. Please, dear doctor, as a gay man who has also witnessed the AIDS phenomena from Day Number One, please lets look closely and rationally at your own stated reasoning for why you accept HIV as playing a causal role in immune suppression known as AIDS. You say the reason that you accept HIV as playing a causal role in AIDS is for this reason alone. In your very own words, as follows: "How can one turn one’s back on the crystal clear evidence for such a role that was provided by the life saving effects of anti HIV therapy? Doctor Sonnabend, simply because taking a drug works seeming miracles for some or even for many of the diagnosed does not equal causation, or even equate to making HIV itself even a causative factor. And here are several quite obvious reasons why: The years of highest deaths said to be due to HIV/AIDS are the EXACT YEARS, yes the EXACT YEARS that high dosage AZT was given to all who tested HIV antibody positive. The years were from 1987, when aids deaths began to skyrocket, to 1995, when they dropped precipitously to current annual levels. Yes, in 1996, newer therapies came to be used, and the amount of AZT given to patients was but a fraction of what had been imposed on them from 87 to 95. To compare the slower and less toxic effects of the newer drugs to those who took high dose AZT monotherapy is nothing less than comparing apples to oranges. To use the comparison in order to call the more recent drugs "life saving" would be like comparing shooting someone with a bullet and killing them quickly, compared to stabbing them with a knife and killing them slowly, then claiming that knife wounds are "life saving and "life extending" simply because those who took mortal knife wounds died slower than those shot in the head with a bullet. Your reasoning, Dr. Sonnabend, also leaves out the well known fact that emotions and intense stress, and even BELIEFS and EXPECTATIONS have to play in human health. In the 80's and into the mid 1990's, all who were diagnosed as having AIDS or HIV were given a DEATH SENTENCE by your very own otherwise well meaning brotherhood of doctors along with the societal beliefs of imminent death that ruled the day in those trying times. Those who were diagnosed had their very hope to life and expectations of well being taken away by everyone around them, including by those such as yourself who believed and even told the patients that they should prepare for a soon to be imminent death. You and your fellow physicians and health care workers placed nothing less than a death hex on your own patients. It was not until the removal of high dose AZT and the replacement of high dose AZT monotherapy with the less toxic drugs of the mid 90's came along that you and your fellow caregivers bothered to give patients any hope at all by telling the patients that if they took the newer drugs that then and only then could they live longer. Furthermore, Dr. Joe, as you must surely know, not even a SINGLE supposedly anti-hiv drug, other than the original and very brief 4-month AZT drug trial, not a SINGLE anti-hiv drug has EVER been placebo tested. Because you do not have a single placebo tested drug, you have absolutely no evidence to stand on that anti-hiv drugs have any proven beneficial effects whatsoever, even though their toxic effects are well and often proven. Furthermore, Dr. Joe, not only were ALL of your "AIDS" patients intensely and chronically stressed (which alone is well shown to cause immune suppression), but hopefully you are not so damned naive that you had not bothered to notice that most, yes MOST ALL of your gay "aids" patients had also been participating in massive amounts of drug abuse. And in the 80's and 90's, chronic meth abuse and staying up and not eating for a week at a time was common, and sometimes still is. Furthermore, Dr. Joe, not everyone handled being gay as well as you have done. Many hundreds of thousands were disowned by their families for being gay, and many hundreds of thousands of gays were also poorly adjusted and lacking self acceptance, as well as being filled with self loathing for being gay. Countless gays had, and often still have internal death wishes, and often got or yet get their death wishes fulfilled. They usually do not share such death wishes or even share an honest history of self destructive behaviors or drug abuse with their doctors. Patients are WELL KNOWN to lie to their doctors and care-givers about the part they themselves played in becoming ill. So, Dr. Sonnabend, I have little doubt that after a self abusive gay man has gotten deathly ill and had a near death experience that you have often witnessed many health changes for the better. But you have no evidence that any recovery such as this was simply due to anti-hiv drugs. And you have no evidence that their recovery was not simply due to many other changes that also occurred after a brush with death such as finally eating and sleeping properly instead of abusing dope and being up for days at a time without food or sleep. Furthermore, those patients who have been given a diagnosis of hiv or aids are also completely stressed by the belief that they will die or sicken if they do not take anti-hiv drugs, therefore simply giving them such drugs will relieve them of the chronic stress and fear of imminent death if they are not given the drugs or if they are not taking them. So, doc, simply removing stress and getting the patients to eat and sleep well and getting them away from their addictions, and also treating them for the actual presenting illnesses could more than explain any so-called benefits that you imagine are due only to anti-hiv drugs. And surely you are intelligent enough to know this. The only question that yet remains in my own mind is whether or not your own ego can admit to such, or if it can live with the fact that you, Dr. Joe Sonnabend, and many other well meaning care-givers, can live with the fact that you have indeed often assisted in causing harm and/or death in many of your patients through the prescribing of drugs that you yourself damned well know caused greater harm to many of them. After all, liver failure has been the leading cause of death in hiv positives since AZT monotherapy ended back in 95. I hope you can and will forgive yourself, doc, because beating yourself up for your own errors will help no-one. And I also hope that you can and will admit to the role that you and other well-meaning care-givers played in harming patients. Only the truth will set you free, and only the truth will bring the world out of the darkness that was created when gay men came out of their closets to a hateful world that often wanted and expected them to die. I forgive you doc, as I know you and your fellow care-givers did the best you could. However, that said, I cannot forgive such if you continue to ignore these obvious truths. Yours, A fellow gay man that has also witnessed this epic darkness of tyrannical beliefs that yet holds sway over the minds of otherwise well intentioned and well meaning men. Michael Geiger

December 7, 2009

Joseph Sonnabend

Rather than speculate on the reason why I accepted HIV’s causal role in AIDS I will simply state it yet again. How can one turn one’s back on the crystal clear evidence for such a role that was provided by the life saving effects of anti HIV therapy? Some seem to deal with this by simply rejecting the evidence, I would suppose in order to protect their delusions. Some commentators may be among the fortunate few infected people in whom HIV disease progresses very slowly. They may therefore not need to be treated, at least not at this time. But why on earth would they wish to discourage those who are less fortunate and who absolutely do need treatment, from receiving it even when treatment can be life saving? HIV disease is a chronic infectious disease caused by a specific virus, resembling many other chronic viral infectious diseases, where there may be an acute initial illness followed by a variable course of disease progression. Those lucky enough to be long term non- progressors, or slow progressors, are just completely wrong in assuming that their good fortune is shared by all HIV infected people.

December 7, 2009

Poodle Stomper

Snout is quite correct. One of the parts of the Scientific Method is that if evidence shows your hypothesis is incorrect, that you have to re-evaluate your hypothesis. For Dr. Sonnabend (if I recall correctly) it was the very obvious effects of anti-virals on the condition of patients. There is no hypocrisy in that. Before the discovery of HIV, other viruses were held as possible causes. One by one, they were eliminated using the scientific method. Researchers, for example, did not cling in vain to the idea that CMV caused AIDS after it was found not to be the culprit. Denialists, however do cling to long disproven ideas such as the poppers-causes-AIDS hypothesis that Duesberg favors. Real science is driven by the ability to accept when a hypothesis is wrong and move on. Denialism, sadly, is the opposite.

December 6, 2009

Snout

Terri, the hypothesis of Dr Sonnabend's that you are quoting is from over two decades ago, a mere five years after HIV was first formally proposed as the probable cause of AIDS. It was an interesting idea based on the evidence available at the time, although many of Dr Sonnabend's medical and scientific contemporaries would have disagreed with it. However, Dr Sonnabend changed his views as new evidence came to light. To modify or abandon ones hypotheses when they are inconsistent with emerging evidence is not "hypocrisy" - it is the mark of intellectual integrity in a scientist. It is also the difference between a genuine skeptic and a crank. Dr Sonnabend was an HIV/AIDS "Rethinker". Unlike most who try to claim that name these days, he actually did some rethinking.

December 6, 2009

Poodle Stomper

Terri, Please do not change the subject (a common denialist tactic) when you are shown to be incorrect. Dr. Sonnabend would be the best source for explaining why he accepted HIV's causal role in AIDS. I'm fairly certain he has done so before. My questions to you were how, despite your "research", you still know NOTHING about biology as it applies to HIV. 1) How could you think that the presence of antibodies always equals immunity, for example? Are you also disputing HSV, syphilis, malaria, Epstein Barr, HepB, HepC and other diseases where the production of antibodies doesn't = immunity? If not then why is this a problem with HIV? 2) How could you not know about latent reservoirs? Do you deny that other pathogens such as Herpes Simplex, Chicken Pox (varicella Zoster), and others can likewise permanently infect humans for life using this strategy even with medication such as Valtrex? If not then why is this a problem with HIV? These are VERY BASIC aspects of biology that one should know if they do even a little bit of true research. So please, answer these two rather than changing the subject to avoid admitting your own shortcomings. If you can't bring yourself to admit that you were wrong then just how honest could your "research" possibly be? Looking on Virusmyth is not research. The internet, in case you have not noticed is not peer reviewed. Any idiot can post anything. Case in point, Virusmyth.

December 6, 2009

Terri

Yes, I HAVE DONE MY HOMEWORK. I will never believe anything that Sonnabend says now after reading his OWN comments (that you are more than welcome to dispute as well) He's a hypocrite gentlemen, and therefore loses ALL credibility and I maintain if the tables were turned on a dissident, you'd be thrilled to say the same. ********** Dr. Joseph Sonnabend, New York Physician, founder of the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR): "The marketing of HIV, through press releases and statements, as a killer virus causing AIDS without the need for any other factors, has so distorted research and treatment that it may have caused thousands of people to suffer and die." (Sunday times (London) 17 May 1992) ************ Unfortunately, not even he is immune to fraud. Look it up for yourself, and while you're at it, here's one more...... FACT AND SPECULATION ABOUT THE CAUSE OF AIDS By Joseph A. Sonnabend, M.B., B.Ch., M.R.C.P. AIDS Forum May 1989 http://www.virusmyth.com/aids/hiv/jsoforum.htm an exerpt..........NOT taken out of context. SOME ADDITIONAL COMMENTS ON WHY THE ASSERTION THAT THE HIVs AS CAUSES OF AIDS MUST REMAIN AN HYPOTHESIS It has already been mentioned that the etiologic roles of the HIVs in AIDS must remain conjectural as long as at least two issues remain unresolved. The first concerns the possibility that the association of HIV seropositivity with AIDS is without significance regarding the etiologic role of HIV. The second is that proposals concerning indirect mechanisms accounting for HIV-induced loss of helper T lymphocytes remain without support from observations made in vivo. An additional problem is the failure thus far of antiretroviral chemotherapy. The Association of HIV Seropositivity with AIDS. There is an explanation for the association of HIV seropositivity with AIDS that does not require that the HIVs play an etiologic role, and that has not been excluded. Before describing this, it may be helpful to very briefly outline some points about the biology of retroviruses and of the immune response that are relevant. Retroviruses, as is the case with all viruses, consist of a nucleic acid core (in the case of HIV, RNA) surrounded by a protein coat. Retroviruses also possess an outer lipid-containing envelope derived from the outer membrane of the cell in which it was produced. Antibodies are made against the protein components of the virus, not the nucleic acid, although the nucleic acid contains the instructions that can direct the cell to make viral proteins. The amount of protein in a small infecting inoculum may be insufficient to stimulate the body to make antibodies. It is only after the cell has made much more virus that there is sufficient protein to elicit an antibody response. When retroviruses enter a cell, they are disassembled and the nucleic acid is inserted into the genetic material of the cell by a process of reverse transcription in which viral RNA is converted into DNA. This viral DNA may remain completely dormant. In this case, no viral proteins are made and the only indication that the cell contains viral material may be the detection of viral DNA by a variety of techniques, including the newly-developed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. It had always been dogmatically asserted by AIDS experts that sufficient viral replication follows infection with HIV so that enough viral protein is made to induce an antibody response. Thus, we have been told that after a three month "window" of seronegativity following infection, seroconversion ensues and the infected individual becomes reactive on the HIV antibody test. There is a frequently reproduced graphic representation showing this hypothetical course of events - an initial burst of viral replication after infection followed by the appearance of antibody three months later. However, in the absence of models of human retrovirus infections, there is absolutely no basis to justify this authoritative depiction of the course of infection. It is yet another example of speculation being presented as fact that has typified presentations on AIDS. It is just as likely that situations exist, perhaps commonly, where infection is followed by very limited viral replication, insufficient to elicit an antibody response, but where the viral DNA is maintained in the cell in a dormant or latent state. In such a case, the individual would be negative on the antibody test, but may show the presence of HIV by a genome detection technique such as PCR If the mechanisms that maintain latency are perturbed (and such perturbation could happen decades after infection, if at all), then the viral DNA is activated, viral proteins are made and assembled into viral particles, and if this process is of sufficient magnitude, the body will respond by making antibodies and thus seroconvert. The maintenance of latency is probably quite complex and may be perturbed by signals acting on the cell such as interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor (66,67), both generated during the course of many different infections. In addition, cells containing latent HIV can be activated to produce virus by contact with alloantigens which are displayed on the surfaces of foreign cells. Also, latent HIV could be activated by superinfecting viruses, particularly herpes viruses (68,69). There also may be immunologic mechanisms whereby cell-mediated immune responses kill cells that start to produce virus, and in this way virus production is limited. The presence of such anti-HIV cell-mediated responses in HIV seronegative individuals should certainly be sought. If seroconversion depends on the activation of latent viral DNA, then a plausible explanation for the association of HIV seropositivity with AIDS exists that does not require that HIV play any causative role. This is that the expression of the HlVs - viruses that can remain completely dormant in a latent state - represents an opportunistic reactivation resulting from effects, including immune disregulation, that are generated by the true cause or causes of AIDS, whatever these may be, and that these causes are themselves associated with conditions that promote the spread of all microorganisms, pathogenic or not, that can be transmitted between people. The activation of latent microorganisms is indeed one of the characteristics of AIDS. The determinants of activation (and thus of seroconversion) may be associated with the true cause or causes of AIDS. One proposal is that these causes are to be found, at least in gay men, in an interaction of the effects of repeated CMV infections, reactivated EBV infections and multiple alloimmunizations, as well as other sexually transmitted infections. These exposures could activate HIV by several mechanisms known to do so. Tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-1 are generated during the course of many infections and these substances can activate HIV. (Tumor necrosis factor would also be present in tropical infections— particularly malaria and is detectable in the blood of needle-sharing intravenous drug users.) Alloantigens can activate HIV, and gay men, needle-sharing IV drug users and blood transfusion recipients are all exposed to alloantigens. Finally, the immunosuppression associated with CMV, EBV, some tropical infections and alloantigens may impair the cell-mediated immune control of HIV infections, and thereby facilitate HIV production. We should therefore separate risk factors for infection with HIV from risk factors for seroconversion. Seroconversion should be thought of as an event separate from infection and with its own determinants. Some conditions may contain risks for both infection and seroconversion, as would be the case, for example, with infections acquired by massive inoculations. Blood transfusions containing large amounts of virus illustrates this possibility. Rectal exposure to semen may constitute a risk for infection if it contains HIV as well as an independent risk for seroconversion in latently infected individuals, even if the semen contains no HIV. There are several potential mechanisms by which seroconversion could be induced by rectal insemination. Firstly, it may expose latently infected cells to alloantigens in the colonic mucosa, or further afield, if cells in semen should enter the blood or lymphatic systems. Secondly, semen may be the vehicle for infection with other viruses, notably CMV, infection with which may trigger activation of latent HIV. And lastly, HIS OWN POSTSCRIPT. n conclusion, I have anempted to show why the contention that HIV causes AIDS should be returned to the realm of speculation. The costs of inappropriately accepting that the cause of AIDS has been firmly established to be HIV have been enormous, in time wasted and lives lost. Some of the areas of neglected research have been outlined. The cause or causes of AIDS remains unknown, and thus all hypotheses, including HIV, must be pursued. POSTSCRIPT It has been suggested that questioning the etiologic role of HIV in AIDS may promote the spread of disease as it "frees one of the worry about testing positive or the guilt of spreading the disease"(70). This is an irrational and poorly thought out objection. The reality of the mode of transmission of AIDS, whether sexually or by blood or blood products, is of course quite obvious, whether it is HIV or some other factor or factors that are transmitted. In fact, a ground-breaking booklet presenting the first safer sex guidelines appeared in 1983 (71) and it was based on a multifactorial model (72,73), not a single agent model. The measures suggested were identical to those usually proposed to limit the spread of HIV. Enough said, the truth is finally coming out and you can kick and scream all you want, you're a growing minority!

December 6, 2009

Poodle Stomper

Snout is right on the money. As for your 2 science-based questions i will answer them here (although more for the information of other readers than you since I doubt very much that any science will change your mind). Q1) Last I heard, antibodies make you immune to viruses. A1) Not always. Some pathogens, viral and nonviral can evade the immune system despite vigorous antibody response. This includes HIV, Herpes Simplex, Syphilis, HepB, HepC, malaria and many more. I'm surprised you didn't come across this in your "research". Perhaps you need better sources. Q2) And I too am curious as to why they always manage to get your viral load to 50- but will NEVER say completely gone, why are those last few little buggers floating around anyways???? A2) Because like some other viruses (herpes simplex for example) HIV infects certain long lived cell types creating long lived reservoirs. You can stop most of the viruses from replicating efficiently but you cannot remove the integrated viral genome from the chromosomes of those reservoirs. Valtrex can stop HSV from replicating but it won't kill off the reservoirs. Again, I'm surprised you didn't come about this in your "research". You: There's plenty of science to challenge science, no-one chooses to see it as all. No there really isn't. There is however misunderstanding by people who don't understand science. Refer to you two answered questions above for 2 examples. You: Trust me, I've done my homework on HIV caused AIDS. Really? Did your "research" consist of nothing but denialist sites because you are parroting back, word for word, their claims. It is clear from your questions that you do not have a basic grasp of biology which begs the question: how do you perform competent research in a very complicated subject you DO NOT UNDERSTAND?

December 4, 2009

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