Testimony on Proposed Expansion of HIV Testing.

Testimony before New York State Assembly Health Committee Hearing on HIV testing, counseling and informed consent, December 20, 2006.

Contrary to claims that there is not enough testing, HIV testing is quite hard to avoid, although the tests have many concerns, including false positives. Moreover, a positive test ends an individual's normal life.

Converting my company's group life policy, I also applied for a separate whole life policy, thus requiring a physical. A technician came to the house to obtain a urine sample, and asked me to sign a document (without any counseling or warning) which, on reading, was an authorization for an HIV test. Having some knowledge of the risks and problems associated with the tests, I refused to sign, so my heirs will be rather poorer on the day I depart this life.

Pregnant mothers and their newborns are routinely tested as well.

Since AIDS is defined as one of some thirty old illnesses or conditions, plus a positive HIV antibody test, the entire AIDS edifice thus rests on those tests. So also does over $3 billion in state AIDS spending.

Although referred to as "HIV tests", the tests do not detect HIV - they only show reaction of antibodies. Antibodies are the body's defense mechanism to get rid of foreign material, as well as cellular debris.

An HIV antibody test strip (Western Blot) contains ten proteins said to be found in HIV. If the blood sample has antibodies that react with proteins on the strip, those bands darken. Enough bands dark enough, and the test is called positive.

Professor Henry Bauer [1] asked why black people test positive so often, even in very low risk groups. His startling explanation was that black people, from tropical climates rife with disease, have very active immune systems that generate many more antibodies normally.

He believes the HIV antibody tests simply measure general immune system activity.

So does the Perth Group of Australian scientists [2], who note that:

  • HIV test kits all include disclaimers.
  • Healthy people also react on the test, just less intensely than sick people.
  • Antibodies are not necessarily unique to a particular protein.
  • Criteria for positive HIV status vary widely across the globe.
  • According to data published before the AIDS era and more recently by Parekh from the CDC, maternal antibodies in the offspring of HIV positive mothers disappear by the time the child is 6-9 months old. Yet 60% of children lose their antibodies beyond 9 months which means they are either curing themselves of HIV or the antibodies are not caused by HIV.
Strangely, test instructions require diluting the samples, but when Dr. Roberto Giraldo retested samples without diluting them, previously negative samples all tested positive [3].

The Perth Group contends that the proteins tested for are likely either ordinary cellular debris or material from non-AIDS infections common in patients, reacted to by the body's normal antibodies that clean up dead cells and foreign material. Dr. Luc Montagnier, the co-discoverer of HIV, regards at least one of the ten proteins as just cellular material.

The Perth Group further questions the validation of the HIV tests. In an affidavit, Dr. Valendar Turner of that group stated as follows:

"Nowhere in the scientific literature are there reports of antibody tests verified independently of an antibody/antigen reaction against a virus isolation gold standard.

37. Since HIV isolation itself is problematic this gold standard verification cannot presently be done.

38. Hence in my view there are no scientific reasons for asserting that a person who is "HIV antibody positive" is infected with a retrovirus HIV.

39. This conclusion does not negate that facts that (a) the antibodies are present; (b) whatever their genesis, within the AIDS risk groups they predict the presence or development of illness."

An article in "The Business" [4] by Neville Hodgkinson ("The circular reasoning scandal of HIV testing") explains that HIV proved difficult to obtain using the standard isolation and purification procedure, so blood from patients was grown in cultures, and proteins that settled where retrovirus proteins were normally found were regarded as being from HIV. Quoting Mr. Hodgkinson: "So, out of the 30 proteins, how did they select the ones to be defined as being from HIV? The answer is shocking, and goes to the root of what is probably the biggest scandal in medical history. They selected those that were most reactive with antibodies in blood samples from Aids patients and those at risk of Aids." [5]

Initially intended for screening the blood supply, the HIV antibody tests were soon used for testing individuals, starting in 1985. In 1997, standard validation using isolation and purification was attempted [6], but yielded a mix of particles too big to be retroviruses.

Those who point out the absurdity of conferring irreversible lifelong stigmatization via a test for an agent that cannot itself be obtained from the patient are told, "But the PCR test can be used to detect HIV (or at least what is said to be HIV's RNA or genetic blueprint)".

Well, no. The PCR is prohibited from use in diagnosing HIV.

More precisely, it cannot be used for diagnosis in adults. Curiously, in infants, it is allowed

The PCR is a general technique that quickly finds a target biological molecule and copies it to detectable levels, in this case what is claimed to be HIV's RNA [7].

Since the RNA is presumably the same in infants as in adults, Dr. Turner asked the CDC why PCR testing was not allowed in adults, but was in infants. The question remains unanswered, perhaps because separate PCR tests of identical material can yield wildly differing results.

The number of copies produced by the PCR procedure is called "viral load", and has been used to assess health and guide treatment of AIDS cases. A recent study [8] in JAMA, however, showed that "viral load" failed in more than 90% of cases to predict or explain immune status.

The inventor of the PCR, Nobel Prize winner Dr. Kary Mullis, points out that there is no scientific paper which establishes that HIV is the probable cause of AIDS. Including the work by Gallo, et al which constitutes the basis for HIV testing.

Those bearing the stigma of a positive test are told not to have unprotected sex, meaning they will be childless, terminating the future families of 25 million Africans claimed, on sketchy data, to have HIV.

We are told AIDS in Africa is due to promiscuity. Here again, when conventional researchers tried to verify that assumption [9], they found it to be false.

When AIDS assumptions turn out to be false, as in the case of viral load or the supposed sex-caused African epidemic;

When standard HIV test validation cannot be demonstrated or referenced;

When anomalies like the geographically varying HIV tests and the self-curing babies cannot be explained;

When twenty years of effort pass without a paper that can be referenced as proof that HIV causes AIDS, when there is no cure and no vaccine, despite enormous expenditures;

Then it is long past time for a searching investigation, open to a wide range of ideas and critiques, into HIV testing and AIDS policy in general. On the other side of that audit lies the hope of curing the sick and stigmatized.

I urge that HIV testing NOT be expanded, that informed consent NOT be weakened, and that a searching audit and inquiry be conducted.

[A copy of the Perth Group Affidavit mentioned above can be found at this link.]

  1. http://hivnotaids.homestead.com
  2. http://www.theperthgroup.com
  3. http://www.robertogiraldo.com/eng/papers/EveryoneTestsPositive.html
  4. TheBusinessOnLine article by Neville Hodgkinson
  5. HIV was defined as proteins cultured from and reacting to antibodies in serum from patients with certain puzzling and uncommon conditions ("AIDS"), such as Kaposi's Sarcoma. AIDS was then formally defined as those conditions, together with a positive test reaction of patient serum antibodies to those proteins.
  6. Bess, J. W., Gorelick, R. J. et al, (1997) "Microvesicles are a source of contaminating cellular proteins found in purified HIV-1 preparations". Virology 230: 134-144. See also view of the above in Dr. Valendar Turner's presentation.
  7. Retroviruses, such as HIV is said to be, have their genetic blueprint as RNA, rather than in DNA. Experiments done in 2006 confirm that RNA plays a role in the inheritance, once thought to be the province of DNA alone, suggesting that there is much about RNA and RNA-containing entities that remains to be understood. See Discover, Jan. 2007, Page 27, "RNA Flouts Rules of Heredity"
  8. Rodriquez B, Sethi AK, Chervu VK, et al. Predictive value of plasma HIV RNA level on rate of CD4 T-cell decline in untreated HIV infection, JAMA 296(12):1498-506, 2006 See also Cohen J. Study says HIV blood levels don't predict immune decline. Science 313(5795):1868, 2006
  9. Gisselquist D, Rothenberg R, Potterat J, Drucker E. HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa not explained by sexual or vertical transmission. Int J STD AIDS 2002;13:657-66