I have consolidated three Q&A/comments by Dr. Bolaji Aluko, an AIDS activist:
The concern for me in this AIDS business always has been that while these controversies have been going on, I am aware that there is something new (?) "out there" - call it HIV/AIDs or "Disease X" - that is causing multiple "clinical symptoms (of) ever, cough, diarrhea, or weight loss" among many peoples of the world, including millions of Africans in particular, that is causing them to eventually die almost without amelioration, except in developed countries, where it has since been reduced to a chronic illness by a cocktail of drugs, among other things.
In 53 countries in Africa, there CERTAINLY must be ONE COUNTRY that will allow those like you and your colleagues who do not believe that it is HIV/AIDS - or doubt it seriously - to do and report clinical trials to show that it is "Disease X" - and then appropriately name the disease and accurately measure the number of its sufferers- so that we all can go ahead with the proper and humane business of containing it, rather than haggling over its name or even its origin.
I just read Christine Maggiore - as quoted in Dialogue 176 - in which she makes a statement that:
Further, the women involved in the trial were diagnosed HIV positive based on a single ELISA test, a protocol that would constitute medical malpractice in the US. As you may
know, the ELISA test kit literature warns that pregnancy can cause false HIV
It appears to me that those of you in the MEDICAL aspect of this field - as different from those of us at its ACTIVIST end - should simply be able to state that:
1. In the West/Developed world, Test 1, Test 2 followed by Test 3 are employed on Blood (and/or Saliva ?) samples of Subject A in order to POSITIVELY state that Subject A is HIV/AIDS positive.
2. In Africa/Developing world, Only Test 1 (and/or Test 2) is used, and once it is positive, Subject A is stated to be HIV/AIDS positive.
3. Furthermore, by the way, these are the results in the West/Developed world that show that if Test 1 ONLY had been applied to women who are pregnant AND who have been ascertained NOT to be HIV positive by the battery of tests, they would have been stated to be HIV/AIDS positive.
I just don't know why those who love Africa - including yourselves AS WELL AS presumably African leaders - have not been able to COMMISSION such a study, for goodness sakes ! If there is such a study, then we should MAKE THE INFORMATION widely availabel ALL BY ITSELF without confusing it with other issues.
I just scratch my head at times.
A Very Merry Xmas to you and thanks for beginning to answer some of my questions.
I know that you three - and also Dave Rasnick, who I have heard about - must have been asked these questions countless of times, but I am hoping that the pointedness of my own questions and the answers that you give may provide new insights into a raging issue.
Some more questions for you while I patiently wait for your return:
1. Is is possible AT ALL that the combination of diseases that you referred to HAVE over the years led to some genetic mutation (pardon any wrong terminology) that now manifests itself COLLECTIVELY as HIV/AIDS ?
2. You talk about children and young adults. What about large(larger) numbers of older adults and particularly SEX WORKERS who are being reported/seem to come down with HIV+ and full-blown AIDS ? Many of these people are not poor or otherwise deprived. Are those numbers BLATANTLY untrue, or is there SOMETHING about sex and sexual workers that might be elevating the possibility of HIV positivity ?
3. As I asked before, is the ELISA test applied at all in the West? I believe so. Is it the ONLY test applied in the West/developed world to determine HIV/AIDS positivity ? I don't believe so. I would like to confirm my (un)beliefs.
4. If it is USUALLY the only test applied in Africa/the developing world - maybe because of cost considerations - why has a subset, no matter small, of such HIV-positive-determined persons not been subjected to a GREATER BATTERY of tests by African governments and medics ? If so, is there such a report? Why has there not been information in the West about those who were determined POSITIVE by the ELISA test but determined NEGATIVE following the battery of other tests? Is this NOT the logical way of solving this problem?
I am really PRAYING that in the New Year 2005, this particular issue of the level of AIDS in Africa will be SUBSTANTIALLY solved. Using my website (http://www.nigerianmuse.com) and other means at my disposal, I intend to keep at it throughout the coming year. For me, therefore, 2005 is "The Year of anti-AIDS in Africa!" I am even prepared to see whether one can organize a "Is AIDS in Africa Real?" conference at my university (Howard University) if there is sufficient interest and funding.
Best wishes all.
I have now spent the early morning of my Xmas Day 2004 (while waiting for my family to wake up,pray and then receive their gifts/eat a hearty Xmas meal) to think about AIDS in Africa.
AFter writing my last email to you all, I just Googled Gashekter and Mhlongo, and chose the most important outputs (see below). In reading through them, quite a number of the questions that I asked were answered, although I still would like our colleagues (CHarles, Mholong, Kohnlein) to give BRIEF answers to the questions that I asked before.
I am particularly intrigued by the URL:
CHAPTER 9: PROPOSED RESEARCH PROJECTS AND STUDIES
which suggests a number of the experiments IDENTICAL to those that I had put forwarded earlier ! I knew that they were SO LOGICAL that it was INCONCEIVABLE that none of the medicos had thought of it before.
So my question now is: what are the outcomes of the projects suggested therein ?
May I let you my colleagues here know where I am coming from: I do not PARTICULARLY care about the controversies surrounding AIDS, provided people in Africa and elsewhere are prevented from DYING. I am intelligent enough, though, to know that you should KNOW for sure what they are actually dying from so as to proffer the correct remedy.
I read in one of Charles/Mhlongo write-ups that maybe since 1982 (until 2001) a cumulative number of about 800,000 had HIV/AIDS (not all of them dead obviously), instead of the 2.3 million that might have DIED. I really would like an update up to 2004 - and why those numbers.
My final puzzle is about the relationship of AIDs to sexual transmission - or more generally blood tranmmission. Malaria and fever and cough and poverty and hunger cannot be transmitted by blood mixing. Is there NO evidence of sexual transmission of HIV/AIDS, and if there is, is the claim that it is then a transmission of tuberculosis or what ?
Now that I have your attention, folks, I will keep at it. I have never had the opportunity to interrogate the AID-skeptics, and I am not going to let go of the opportunity! :-)
As Toyin Falola knows, when I decide to go after something, I go after it relentlessly.
Best wishes always.