Covid-19 tests have high false positives

The article below from Epoch Times reveals the problem that inflates Covid-19 case numbers. PCR tests are great diagnostic tests for confirming the source of an illness; PCR is a terrible screening test for non-symtomatic people. You may also read the original article using the link at the end.

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gives a press conference at Geneva's WHO headquarters on Feb. 24, 2020. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gives a press conference at Geneva’s WHO headquarters on Feb. 24, 2020. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)PUBLIC HEALTH INFORMATION

WHO Changes CCP Virus Test Criteria in Attempt to Reduce False Positives

BY MEILING LEE January 23, 2021 Updated: January 24, 2021 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned experts not to rely solely on the results of a PCR test to detect the CCP virus.

In updated guidance published on Jan. 20, the WHO said that lab experts and health care practitioners should also consider the patient’s history and epidemiological risk factors alongside the PCR test in diagnosing the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

The new guidance could result in significantly fewer daily cases.

“Most PCR assays are indicated as an aid for diagnosis, therefore, health care providers must consider any result in combination with timing of sampling, specimen type, assay specifics, clinical observations, patient history, confirmed status of any contacts, and epidemiological information,” the guidance says.

It’s unclear why the health agency waited over a year to release the new directive. The WHO didn’t reply to an inquiry from The Epoch Times.

Scientists and physicians have raised concerns for many months of an over-reliance on and a misuse of the PCR test as a diagnostic tool since it can’t differentiate between a live infectious virus from an inactivated virus fragment that is not infectious.

Additionally, the high cycle threshold values of most PCR tests—at 40 cycles or higher—increases the risk of false positives. A higher threshold value indicates less viral load and that the person is less likely to be infectious, while a person with a lower cycle threshold value has a higher viral load, or is more infectious.

The WHO did not specify what the threshold value cutoff should be for a positive diagnosis, but said to only “determine if [a] manual adjustment of the PCR positivity threshold is recommended by the manufacturer.”

Epoch Times Photo
A medical staff member prepares and processes PCR and antibody tests of people who think they may be infected with the CCP virus, at the laboratory of the Karolinska Hospital in Solna near Stockholm, Sweden, on Dec. 7, 2020. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP via Getty Images)

However, it clarified that when the prevalence of the CCP virus is low, “the risk of false positive increases” meaning that “the probability that a person who has a positive result (SARS-CoV-2 detected) is truly infected with SARS-CoV-2 decreases as prevalence decreases, irrespective of the claimed specificity [of the PCR test].”

SARS-CoV-2 is the scientific name for the CCP virus that causes the disease COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says its PCR tests have a cycle threshold cutoff of 40 cycles. The federal agency finally included information on cycle threshold value in its Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 for laboratories on Nov. 12, 2020.

But many medical experts consider a threshold value cutoff of 40 cycles to only return false positives since samples that go through many amplification cycles will pick up negligible RNA sequences regardless if the virus is inactivate or the viral load is exceedingly low to pose any problem.

Prior to the CCP virus pandemic, for individuals to be considered a case, they must test positive and show clinical signs and symptoms. But to be counted as a CCP virus case, only a positive PCR test is required. And no matter how many times an individual is tested, each positive test is counted as a separate case.

The WHO is now advising that a positive PCR test that does “not correspond with the clinical presentation” should be verified by taking “a new specimen” and retesting it.

This advice may also help lower CCP virus cases in hospitals as it more clearly defines who is considered a hospitalized case.

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) Director of International Relations Dr. Layla McCay confirmed to talkRADIO that a percentage of hospitalized patients officially counted as positive cases were actually being treated for different illnesses not related to COVID-19. They had only tested positive for the disease at the hospital without displaying any symptoms.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=EpochTimes&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1346363750006317056&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theepochtimes.com%2Fwho-changes-ccp-virus-test-criteria-in-attempt-to-reduce-false-positives_3668064.html&siteScreenName=EpochTimes&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

Dr Layla McCay, NHS Confederation director, confirms to Julia that the hospital figures for “Covid patients” include patients who are not being treated for Covid but have simply tested positive while being treated for something else.@JuliaHB1 | @LaylaMcCay pic.twitter.com/xSud6LW13M

— talkRADIO (@talkRADIO) January 5, 2021

“It is correct that in hospital, people who tested positive for COVID will be the full range of symptoms,” McCay said. “Some will have it as an aside to some other problem for which they’re in the hospital.”

The day after the WHO released its new guidance, Chief Medical Adviser to President Joe Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said the United States would rejoin the organization.

“As such, I am honored to announce that the United States will remain a member of the World Health Organization,” Fauci said. “Yesterday, President Biden signed letters retracting the previous administration’s announcement to withdraw from the organization, and those letters have been transmitted to the secretary-general of the United Nations and to you Dr. Tedros, my dear friend.”

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is the director-general of the WHO.

“The United States also intends to fulfill its financial obligations to the organizations,” Fauci added.

In July last year, the Trump administration pulled out of the WHO over its alleged role in helping the Chinese communist regime cover up the severity of the CCP virus.

There have been mixed responses from Congress over Biden’s decision to rejoin the WHO.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) introduced a bill (pdf) on Jan. 21 to “prohibit the availability of United States contributions to the World Health Organization until Congress receives a full report on China and the COVID-19 pandemic, and for other purposes.”

She said in a statement: “The WHO is China-centric and panders to Beijing at every turn. There is no reason U.S. taxpayers should contribute more than $400 million annually to an organization that covered for China and failed to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Prior to former President Donald Trump withdrawing from the WHO, the United States contributed the most money to the health agency, according to State Department statistics.

WHO Admits High-Cycle PCR Tests Produce COVID False Positives — Principia Scientific Intl.

Were the ‘conspiracy theorists’ just proven right about the “fake rescue plan” for COVID? Did the ‘science-deniers’ just get confirmation that it was political after all? The short answer to both of these questions regarding the COVID-19 ‘casedemic’ and the fallacy of asymptomatic PCR testing is YES and YES! We have detailed the controversy surrounding America’s COVID “casedemic” and the…

WHO Admits High-Cycle PCR Tests Produce COVID False Positives — Principia Scientific Intl.

COVID Tests Gone Wild Has World in PCR Prison — Principia Scientific Intl.

In the setting of COVID-19, almost every country in the world closed its borders, locked down its citizens, and forced businesses to close. Today, most governments still restrict travel, economic activity, and social gatherings. 22 more words

COVID Tests Gone Wild Has World in PCR Prison — Principia Scientific Intl.

Courage vs. Covid

The Age of UnReason, the Year of Fear.

2020: The Age of UnReason, the Year of Fear.Wed Dec 16, 2020 Jack Kerwick64

Shortly after word reached England that the Spanish Armada had embarked, the philosopher Thomas Hobbes, born in 1588, tells us that the terror induced in his mother labor pains that resulted in his premature birth. He memorably remarked that “fear and I were born twins together.”

Hobbes’ words will doubtless resonate in spades with anyone who was born in 2020.

The present year is the Year of Fear. It is the year of raw, wildly irrational fear. 

For sure, the inexhaustible fear-mongering on the part of opportunistic political partisans in the Government-Media-Industrial-Complex has exacerbated, exponentially exacerbated, the fears of tens and tens of millions of Americans. Yet the elites have not, strictly speaking, caused this fear.

They have only revealed it for all of the world to see.

To put this in terms with which most of us have long been familiar, the transformation of a cold virus into an existential crisis legitimizing the indefinite revocation of the United States Constitution and the reduction of the Land of the Free to an internment camp—and one in which its prisoners seem only all too happy to observe “Social Distancing” protocols while cowering behind their masks—has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that most people really are ridden with fear.    

Fear is universal. It is at once necessary and desirable—as long as it is oriented toward objects that warrant its attention. 

In other words, when the fear is reasonable, when it is proportionate to the danger posed, it is fulfilling its natural function. 

And, as Aristotle long ago observed in his famous analysis of fear and courage, a person who habitually “fears the right thing, for the right motive, in the right way and at the right times” is a courageous person.

Courage or bravery is a virtue, an excellence of character. Aristotle said of it that it “is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others,” “the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.”

Courage is “the mean” between the emotional extremes of “excess” and “deficiency.” Fear is a morally-neutral emotion in itself. When, though, a person habitually possesses an excess of fear—when he possesses more fear than he ought to possess—he has the vice of cowardice. On the other hand, when a person habitually suffers a deficiency of fear—when he possesses less fear than he ought to possess—he has the vice of recklessness.

Both an excess and a deficiency of fear are simply irrational or unreasonable amounts of fear. The irrationality of the fear is determined by the nature of the object of the fear.   

Similarly, courage is the virtue that obtains when a person strikes upon the mean between excess and deficiency. To be courageous is to fear reasonably, to know what to fear, when to fear it, and how to do so.

Assuming for the moment (against the evidence to the contrary) that COVID-19 truly is a distinct virus that has been isolated from the gazillions of other stuff with which it co-exists in the bio-chemical soup in which scientists claim to have located it, even according to the official numbers (which even the CDC acknowledges is the result of inflating the death-by-COVID toll by some 94%), the dreaded Virus has a mortality rate in the United States of about one-tenth of one percent—about that of the seasonal flu (The real mortality rate is appreciably smaller than even this, for if only six percent of patients to have died from COVID, lacking any pre-existing conditions, actually died from COVID, then this amounts to about 15,000 people. This in turn means that for people who are not immunocompromised, COVID in the United States has a mortality rate of about five one thousandths of one-percent!).

Since the overwhelming majority of people to have died from “The Virus” suffered from multiple pre-existing conditions, they didn’t die from this virus at all; they died with it, perhaps, but not from it. The proof for this is that much stronger in light of a recent John Hopkins University study that was retracted within hours of having been published—despite the fact that, to the admission of those who retracted it, there wasn’t a syllable of it that was inaccurate.

Rather, the retraction was made on the grounds that it could be “misinterpreted” or otherwise used for the nefarious purpose of disseminating “misinformation” regarding COVID.

The study, which was performed by the university’s students, found that the number of overall deaths in 2020 remained continuous with that of years past. This revelation came as a shock as the authors expected that deaths would be significantly higher given that this year, unlike in the past, COVID deaths would add to the total death toll. So the researchers delved more deeply and discovered that, incredibly—miraculously—deaths in all other categories, in the categories of heart disease, respiratory illness, pneumonia, influenza, etc., decreased just as COVID deaths increased.

The explanation for this became at once self-evident: deaths in all of these other categories were being counted as COVID deaths (the paper can still be found in a PDF file).

The point here, though, is that the millions of American citizens who have radically upended their lives (and the life of the whole society) due to their fear of contracting a virus with a mortality rate no different from that of seasonal influenza and from which most people who contract it don’t even get sick are consumed by an excess of fear. The irrationality of their fear is staggering.

A reader recently brought to my attention an article that C.S. Lewis had written on the panic over the prospect of an atomic bomb attack that had seized the members of his generation. Lewis’s contemporaries at least had something truly dangerous to fear, for an atomic bomb, being an indiscriminate killer, was certain to leave in its wake widespread destruction and death. Nothing remotely similar can be said for COVID. Still, it is worth revisiting Lewis’s sagacious counsel, as his words resonate, or should resonate, more profoundly for those of us living today than perhaps at any other time within recent memory.

In “On Living in an Atomic Age,” Lewis shares how he is “tempted to reply” to those who question how life should proceed under the constant threat of nuclear attack. “’Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat at night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accident.’”

Lewis elaborates, warning against the loss of perspective that arises “by exaggerating the novelty of our situation.” Death was “a certainty” long before the invention of the atomic bomb. What “the scientists” have done is simply add “one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances [.]”

This being the case, if and when it comes, “let that bomb…find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts,” and “not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies…but they need not dominate our minds [.]”

Lewis concludes with a warning that all of us in the “COVID era” should take to heart:

“Nothing is more likely to destroy a species or a nation than a determination to survive at all costs.”

https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2020/12/courage-vs-covid-jack-kerwick/

 

Covid-19 “Airborne” Confusion Clarified

Truth about “Airborne” Covid-19

IMPORTANT: “Airborne” confusion: Covid-19 is only “airborne” as droplets that quickly fall to surfaces.

Covid-19 is NOT “airborne” as an aerosol that hangs and drifts freely in the air for longer periods like flu.

If Covid-19 was like flu, your mask would offer very little protection. The virus could enter through your eyes.  Social distancing would be meaningless because the virus would float freely over greater distances and for longer times.

The best way to avoid Covid-19 is by avoiding sick people, social distancing, wearing masks in public and cleaning surfaces frequently, including your hands.  Also remember to avoid touching your face, nose, mouth or eyes. Once your hands have touched anything that could be contaminated, virus could be transferred to anything including your cell phone, wallet, steering wheel, child, dog, etc and be picked up by you or others later.

Straightening your mask with contaminated hands may transfer the virus to your face, nose, eyes.  Wearing a mask improperly or reusing it without washing it could be worse than not wearing it at all.

Gloves are not recommended. Wearing gloves only protects your hands, not your face, etc. from virus picked up on the outside of contaminated gloves.  Covid-19 virus can live on surfaces for several days, depending on the material. so frequent use of  hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes and sprays are recommended.

 

The Truth about AIDS in Africa

Are most cases of HIV/AIDS in Africa really misdiagnosed endemic diseases?

The Claims: HIV/AIDS from unsafe heterosexual contact is rampant in Africa. Many children are left as orphans because both parents have died from AIDS.

The Truth:  While HIV/AIDS is undoubtedly present in Africa and other destitute areas, there are problems with its reported transmission, diagnosis and treatment.  HIV infections in the developed world occurs almost exclusively among homosexual males and IV drug users who share needles with infected people, and heterosexual transmission is rare.  In Africa, half of those diagnosed with HIV and HIV/AIDS are heterosexual women, so there must be other mitigating circumstances.  It is possible that actual infections are acquired through non-sterile injections in contraceptive clinics.  This could help to explain why HIV in Africa is diagnosed equally among men and heterosexual women.  It is very likely that HIV and HIV/AIDS are over diagnosed in Africa and other poverty stricken areas of the world with or without actual HIV testing.  Many cases of AIDS in Africa may have little or no connection to the HIV virus or indiscriminate sexual practices.  Those that are malnourished or have chronic diseases such as TB or malaria naturally have compromised immune systems, i.e. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS, from these conditions without carrying the actual Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

Because of poor healthcare facilities and abilities, HIV/AIDS may be diagnosed based on symptoms without HIV testing in many rural and isolated areas.  In other areas, where actual testing for HIV antibodies is done, a high incidence of false positives is likely to occur.  This is due to the poor specificity of the test and reaction with antibodies from other diseases and conditions.  Most of those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, whether tested or untested for HIV, have been assumed to have full blown HIV/AIDS through disparate symptoms recognized by the UN WHO including fever, headache, rash, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, chronic diarrhea or cough, all of which can be caused by many common parasites or infectious diseases as well as severe illnesses such as malaria and tuberculosis (TB). UN WHO has named TB as a leading indicator of HIV/AIDS and lists TB as causing 2/3 of HIV/AIDS deaths. HIV/AIDS itself does not cause death; it opens the way for other diseases that kill people. Reporting TB deaths as HIV/AIDS deaths without confirmation of HIV bolsters the statistics, as does reporting orphans as AIDS orphans.  At this time it is impossible to know how prevalent over diagnosis is in Africa and other poor areas.

Over diagnosis of HIV and HIV/AIDS, when promoted by the international media, paints a picture of Africa that packs a triple whammy for AIDS advocates and international population control governmental and nongovernmental organizations. First, it excuses high death rates and failure to treat endemic diseases; secondly, it incentivizes HIV/AIDS research funding in developed countries by falsely declaring AIDS a heterosexual pandemic; thirdly it has the potential for vindicating population control programs in the minds of potential donors by creating a false picture of rampant immorality and promiscuity. As a bonus, it also encourages the use of condoms that furthers population control agendas.

HIV facts and questions:

HIV causes AIDS: Unlike those who deny that HIV causes AIDS or that it even exists, I do not deny that HIV causes AIDS or that HIV exists. I do question some of the current statistics, testing and treatment options.  Because it is politically incorrect to question the UN WHO recommended practices and conclusions, those who question the status quo will undoubtedly be accused of denialism by AIDS advocates in order to conflate, confuse, discredit and silence anyone daring to question the efficacy of the current testing and treatment methods, even when it might lead to better understanding and improved protocols.

Non-HIV AIDS:  TB, Malaria, dysentery and other serious chronic diseases cause a more common form of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS, that has no connection to HIV/AIDS or sexually indiscriminate behavior.   It is well known that anyone who is chronically ill and/ or malnourished naturally has a compromised immune system.  Other opportunistic diseases are easily acquired by persons whose immune systems are compromised. By labeling these non-HIV AIDS cases as HIV/AIDS, it can be an excuse for not treating the underlying conditions.

Unfortunately, for USAID, UN WHO and activist NGOs or agencies that provide aid to poor countries, because their emphasis is on required or coerced population control and not on treating disease, many clinics do not have the basic medicines, equipment or facilities to treat endemic diseases, but have store rooms filled with birth control drugs, condoms and other birth control and abortion materials and equipment. This is a human tragedy and a crime against humanity that must be stopped. It is unconscionable that Western aid not be heavily weighted toward supplying medicines and equipment for prevention and treatment of endemic diseases.

Recommendation: In both HIV/AIDS and non-HIV AIDS, treatment should always begin with addressing the presenting diseases and malnutrition. Once the patient is stabilized then HIV/AIDS treatment can begin, but only after further confirmation of the original diagnosis of HIV/AIDS.  HIV/AIDS treatment drugs further compromise the immune system so that treatment of weakened, disease ravaged patients and those with non-HIV AIDS using these drugs may do more harm than good.

International aid organizations should be encouraged or required to reverse their decades old practice of oversupplying population control materials and under-supplying needed medicines, facilities, equipment and supplies to treat endemic diseases.

Demographic Shift: HIV/AIDS in developed countries is confined almost exclusively among homosexual men and IV drug users who share needles with HIV infected people. The expected pandemic in developed countries never materialized. According to official statistics, Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 2/3 of the HIV incidence in the world, with Southern Africa, (South Africa and Botswana), accounting for most of that. 15 to 25% of the South African population has been diagnosed with HIV or HIV/AIDS. More than half of the HIV positive people in South Africa are heterosexual women. Heterosexual contact is blamed for causing the spread of HIV, but in other countries heterosexual transmission is very rare. Unless the HIV virus has mutated, this theory of frequent heterosexual transmission cannot be valid and other mitigating factors must be considered.

Shared needles as a possible source:  One theory is that the reuse of hypodermic needles for injected birth control drugs is responsible for the spread of HIV, and, if true, could account for the higher incidence in women in Africa and other poor countries where injected birth control is required or advocated.  Injectable birth control drugs such as Depo Provera that must be reinjected every 3 months are sometimes administered in a clinic, but more often the drug and the syringes are given to patients for administration at home.  Because viruses do not live very long on surfaces outside the body, HIV could not be transferred unless an HIV infected person has used the needle just prior to reuse by a second person for birth control. This could only happen in a clinic where multiple women are injected one after another without proper sterilization of needles.

How are these in-home administered reused needles causing HIV/AIDS without an immediate HIV contamination source in each case? It is more likely that in-home injections with improperly sterilized needles would transfer opportunistic bacterial infections such as staph and strep.  The whole idea of giving hypodermic syringes to uneducated people is ludicrous; it is the worst of the birth control methods, and the best way to spread more disease and misery.  Poor women with little or no concept of microbial infective agents are unlikely to discard or destroy needles even if the package instructions say to discard after use.

Recommendation:  If this form of birth control must be injected every 3 months, it should only be done by a professional in a clinic with properly sterilized or disposable needles.  If birth control is desired, a better alternative would be insertion of an IUD, Intrauterine Device, which does not require regular follow up treatments.

Could Depo-Provera make women more susceptible to HIV infection? According to this theory, the active ingredient in Depo-Provera, (Depo-medroxyprogesterone acetate, aka DMPA), may chemically predispose at risk women to acquiring HIV through sexual contact with infected men, through thinning of vaginal epithelial cells and immunosuppression. Three recent meta-studies[1] show a statistically significant link between use of the drug and incidence of HIV in at risk women. The link to HIV transmission was not established statistically for use of either oral contraceptives or another injectable contraceptive drug, NET-EN, (norethisterone enanthate), in these studies.

Clinical Diagnosis without HIV testing: In rural poor areas of Africa HIV/AIDS may be diagnosed without HIV testing by the clinical indicators listed by WHO such as fever, headache, rash, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, chronic diarrhea or cough. These symptoms may also be caused by endemic diseases such as TB, malaria and other insect borne diseases, dysentery and other water borne diseases, parasites and malnutrition. WHO considers TB to be a leading indicator of HIV/AIDS. Some people diagnosed without HIV testing may instead have non-HIV AIDS caused by these endemic diseases.

Diagnosis with HIV testing: Clinical HIV tests detect antibodies to the virus, not the virus itself. HIV tests have a high incidence of false positives, so that retesting and other confirmation are needed after a positive test result. False positives of HIV testing may be the result of non-HIV AIDS caused by other diseases and pregnancy because the HIV tests are non-specific and may detect antibodies to other diseases or conditions.

Causes of False Positives:  HIV testing is not specific to HIV and is prone to false positives. It tests for antibodies to HIV, not the virus itself, but can also detect other antibodies present in chronic diseases or those acquired over a lifetime.  There are over 65 documented causes of false positives including TB, malaria, leprosy, hepatitis, Q fever, influenza or colds, herpes simplex, leishmaniosis, and Epstein Barr virus.  Pregnancy or prior pregnancies are among factors that can cause false positives due to presence of HLA (human leukocyte antigen). Is it time to question whether HIV testing, without thorough validation, is valid in parts of Africa where the population is routinely exposed to numerous diseases that leave a heavy load of antibodies in their blood?

Validation needed for HIV positives:  False positives are common so that, according to manufacturers’ instructions, positive tests must be retested in duplicate and then by another method to verify results, e.g. ELISA twice then Western Blot.  ELISA, Enzyme Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay, uses an antigen for the (in this case HIV) antibody bound to a solid surface and an enzyme that causes a color change when the target antibody attaches itself to the antigen.  Western Blot actually separates, by gel electrophoresis, each component in a mixture of antibodies bound to specific antigens. Medical testing protocols vary from country to country, so that the same test may be interpreted as positive or negative depending on the protocol. For example, UK does not use the Western Blot verification of duplicate ELISA tests, and different countries require from one to four Western Blot markers to verify and confirm a positive result.

South Africa uses duplicate ELISA only to verify positive HIV tests, resulting in 15-25% of the population testing positive, 60% of which are heterosexual women. South Africa also has a high rate of drug treatment for prevention of mother to child HIV transmission, which may mean that most HIV tests are conducted at gynecological clinics and obstetric hospitals on pregnant women. This is a problem since pregnancy is known to cause false positives. The incidence of HIV and AIDS in most of the other countries in Africa, and indeed the world, ranges from 0.1 to 5.0 percent of the population. South Africa’s 15 – 25% incidence needs a closer look. The fact that over half of these are heterosexual women is also problematic as described above.

Recommendation:  South Africans and Botswanans when first diagnosed with HIV or HIV/AIDS need to be retested using a more stringent verification protocol in the future. Unfortunately, the drugs used for treating HIV can cause false negatives, so retesting those already receiving therapy may be useless or at lease confusing.

Opportunistic Diseases: When people sicken and die with HIV/AIDS, it is not the HIV that kills them; it is other opportunistic infections that are able to invade and thrive because HIV has crippled the immune system. TB is the leading cause of death in Africa, with or without HIV/AIDS. A diagnosis of HIV/AIDS can be an excuse not to treat underlying endemic diseases.

Treatment Options:  HIV treatment drugs suppress the immune system further than the disease itself. Wouldn’t it make sense to treat the opportunistic diseases and malnutrition more aggressively first before suppressing the immune system further with AIDS treatment drugs?  In some areas of Africa, TB and HIV are treated simultaneously, which is a step in the right direction.

Orphans from AIDS? AIDS orphans are defined as anyone 15 years or younger who has lost, depending on the country, their mother, one parent or both parents to “AIDS related diseases.” South Africa includes people up to 18 years old.  WHO estimates that 70% of “AIDS orphans” have one living parent.  TB is the leading cause of death in Africa and the leading clinical indicator of the presence of AIDS.  Since many people in Africa live very short lives, with or without AIDS, how is this any different from the pattern of the past where lifespans are short and teenagers often are orphaned?


 

[1] References cited in Population Research Institute newsletter article: “While Admitting Risks, WHO Continues to Recommend Injectable Contraceptives for Women at High Risk of Contracting HIV” by Jonathan Abbamonte, April 20, 2017 as follows:

Brind J, Condly SJ, Mosher SW, Morse AR, Kimball J. Risk of HIV Infection in Depot-Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (DMPA) Users: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Issues Law Med 2015; 30(2): 129-39.

Morrison CS, Chen PL, Kwok C, Baeten JM, Brown J, Crook AM, et al. Hormonal contraception and the risk of HIV acquisition: an individual participant data meta-analysis. PLoS Med 2015; 12(1): e1001778.

Ralph LJ, McCoy SI, Shiu K, Padian N. Hormonal contraceptive use and women’s risk of HIV acquisition: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Lancet Infect Dis. 2015; 15(2): 181-9.

EPA reaffirms glyphosate weed killer safe, calls IARC cancer designation an ‘outlier’ inconsistent with multiple countries’ assessments — Genetic Literacy Project

via EPA reaffirms glyphosate weed killer safe, calls IARC cancer designation an ‘outlier’ inconsistent with multiple countries’ assessments — Genetic Literacy Project

Bad Science, Politics and Magical Thinking

from website Compoundchem.com archive, April, 2014

How Bad Science and Emotional Appeals Spread Disinformation.

In today’s world, there is more false and misleading “information” than there is good science that is based on facts and not emotions and mythical or wishful beliefs. Much of what you see is either false or overblown. How can you know what to believe? It’s easy for me to say “Do your own research,” but that is often asking too much of most people who do not have analytical minds which have a habit of using critical thinking, much less have training in interpretation of scientific testing and results.  Today’s sensational and social media agenda are often driven by emotions, ideologies, politics, commercial aims or just plain stinking thinking.  The image above can help you understand factors that are important to discern fact from fiction, speculation and mythology.

Anecdotal stories do not constitute facts. Correlation does not mean causation. The flawed reasoning goes something like this: John ate a lot of apples. John got heart disease or cancer. Therefore, apples (or some chemical on them) caused John to develop heart disease or cancer. More examples of people who ate apples and got heart disease or cancer do not constitute proof that they cause disease.  Correlation does not mean causation. Maybe it is just two unrelated facts that are paired for sensational effect or to intentionally mislead you.

In humans, there are a lot of lifestyle and workplace differences between people, so one factor (apple) cannot be said to be a cause of anything without taking into consideration what else could contribute or cause the effect. Other factors such as obesity, alcohol, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, sleep habits, age, heredity, other risky behavior, etc. have to be ruled out in closely controlled studies. Small numbers of examples that seem to support the premise do not constitute “clinical trials” or proof.  To be statistically significant, very large numbers must be included along with control groups that do not use the suspected substance, preferably in a double blind study.  (double blind means neither the subject or the person giving the substance know which are real and which are placebo so their attitude cannot affect the result.)  I’m sorry, but Reader’s Digest and Facebook “statistics” are often flawed and any conclusions must be questioned and examined closely, even if it seems to come from a reliable source or even your grandmother.

It is wise to consider the source. There are powerful advocacy groups pushing agendas having nothing to do with real science or caring for your safety, which they claim.  These include anti-vaxx, organic anti-modern agriculture, anti-pesticide, anti-fossil fuel, in general anti-human progress groups that influence national and international agencies to act out of a preponderance of caution. The precautionary principle, used in the European Union, stops all progress in its tracks. If a substance with no presently known safety issues may possibly, conceivably cause some unforeseen harm in the future it cannot be used. It is also unscientific because it demands proving a negative.

Word to the wise: Be cautious and suspicious of any health claim you read or hear about.  There is often an agenda driven ideology or money-making scheme behind it.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.                             —H. L. Menchen