Are Some Strains Of HIV More Powerful Than Others?

Dear Christine,

I had a fervent discussion several days ago with an HIV=AIDS defender, and one of his arguments was that long-term non-progressors like you have a "quiescent" form of the virus that replicates more slowly. He also insisted that the HIV antibody test HAS been proven accurate. Is there any evidence for this?

I really appreciate your work in keeping the dialogue open and keeping things rational.

Thank you!

Alan E.

Dear Alan,

From what I understand, "quiescent" or less virulent HIV is an unproved idea that attempts to explain why many HIV positives don't follow the rules of the AIDS paradigm and become ill. It's one of several unproved concepts that have been adopted over the years in order to make the HIV hypothesis make sense.

The quiescence idea falls apart when confronted with the obvious and common fact that many HIV positive couples that allegedly share the same virus have entirely different health experiences. I personally know many "AIDS widows" who are labeled long-term non-progressors. Although supposedly having the same strain of HIV as their deceased partner, they remain alive and well. Your friend has only to attend an AIDS support group meeting or two to see how quickly the concept of a less virulent strain of HIV loses its logic.

The notion of quiescence is reminiscent of the formerly popular idea of latency. For many years, virtually everyone in AIDS agreed that HIV was a slow virus that remained latent for long periods of time - how else to explain why a virus would take years or even decades to cause disease? Viruses usually cause acute illness within days or weeks following infection. From 1985 until 1995, there was widespread consensus among AIDS experts that HIV was a slow virus that kicked into action only after a certain latency period. The problem with this latency idea was its failure to explain why the period of alleged viral inactivity varied so greatly from person to person, ranging from just a few months to a decade or longer. In other words, how could one person's latent virus be more or less latent than another's?

Today virtually everyone agrees HIV not latent but is a rapidly reproducing virus, mostly due to an idea put forth by Dr David Ho. In 1995, Ho published his viral load hypothesis, a complex mathematical formula that multiplies pieces of genetic material (found in the blood by PCR) as if they were whole infectious HIV, and uses the sum to claim a precise viral presence or amount of "viral load." According to Ho, a person who tests positive is full of rampant viral activity from the moment of alleged infection, and this viral load works away at their immune system eventually causing them to develop the illnesses known as AIDS. There are glaring loopholes in the the viral load concept, however.

There is still no cogent explanation for the old problem of wildly varying periods between "HIV infection" and AIDS. AIDS experts still cannot say why some people with high viral loads remain healthy, why many with low viral loads get sick, or why T cell counts don't always correspond with viral load numbers. In other words, if viral load really indicates how much active virus is around wiping out T cells, why do so many people with high loads have high T cells or low loads and low T cells? Instead of working to explain these extremely common anomalies, they are almost universally ignored while examples of experiences that correspond with the viral load theory are featured in media reports and medical journals.

The latest excuse for why certain HIV positives fail to develop AIDS is the notion that these people posses a special protective gene. The studies I have seen on this idea are far from conclusive showing almost equal numbers of healthy HIV positives with and without the gene in question, and significant numbers of ill HIV positives that have the supposedly protective gene. Proponents of this hypothesis assert that the HIV-disabling gene is passed down to the offspring of survivors of the plague leading to the claim that this protective genetic mechanism is not found in people of African descent, thereby explaining why Africans seem to suffer disproportionately from AIDS. Here again it appears that researchers only see what they look for as I hear from long-term non-progressors of various African nationalities all the time.

With regard to HIV tests now having "proven accuracy," please ask your friend what the gold standard is that validates the HIV tests and proves their accuracy. The gold standard should be direct isolation of the virus from blood or tissues of people who result antibody positive, and your friend should be able to refer to a paper from the medical literature that describes this. You can give your friend some incentive to locate this paperŅa $10,000 reward for proof of isolation of HIV offered by Jon Rappoport, author of AIDS, Inc. I hope this information is of help to you and your friend.

Take care,

Christine

References

to A Closer Look FAQ's - Does HIV Destroy Indirectly?

to Questioning The Tests