LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘We should all have the common interest in…debunking myths of HIV’

Did you know that Miami is now the number 1 metropolitan area in terms of new cases of HIV/AIDS in the United States? Did you also know that AIDS is the world’s leading infectious disease to cause of death? I bet you also did not know that 1 in 5 people in the United States that have HIV do not know their status.

These statistics are staggering. With all that said, one has to wonder what the University is doing to educate the students on the silent plague hampering our communities. We feel as a [part of the student] body of the University, Florida International University needs to take action and begin addressing ways to combat this disease.

While researching on statistics for HIV/AIDS for our course, Biology of AIDS, we stumbled upon the annual Trojan© Sexual Health Report Card, in which universities across the country are graded on their efforts to promote sexual health. In 2011, FIU is ranked 76, the year before we were 49. The report card is based on many factors such as health center hours of operation, separate sexual health awareness programs for students, condom and contraceptive availability, outreach programs for sexual health issues, and anonymous advice for students through the health center such as via text and email.

Although there are student ran organizations that curtail to reproductive and sexual health issues, we feel that the university should do more to get involved in this fight against HIV/AIDS and various reproductive health issues. Suggestions are placing condom baskets or dispensaries in bathrooms, having an anonymous phone bank system ran by peer educators, having forums to debunk myths of sexually transmitted infections with statistics, and sending out newsletters to students encouraging them to get tested with information on obtaining counseling and joining student groups on campus that they can be a part of to further address reproductive health issues.Also, increasing the knowledge of how to practice safer sex, like knowing how to properly put on a condom is essential in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The university has to stop being silent on the issues that are already “taboo,” and needs to take action. Anyone can speak on an issue, but it takes valor and strength to stand up on an issue; even when it is not popular. Currently 1 in 110 people worldwide are infected by HIV.

Though this is staggering, one has to wonder, “Who is affected by this disease?”  We all are affected by HIV. From students, faculty, friends, and families, we all should have the common interest in creating an atmosphere that demystify and debunking myths of HIV in order to decrease the rates of incidence. We should not aspire to become number 1 in terms of new cases of HIV in the United States, but should lead the country in efforts to utilize innovative techniques to decrease the rates of incidence. HIV does not care about our gender, ethnicity, political affiliation, or religion. HIV does not discriminate. We must first fight together to combat this disease and get more people to know their status. United we aspire, but only together may we truly achieve.

In solidarity,

Jonathan Ryan Batson, Diego Iparraguirre, Dontay Smith, Mirka Hernandez, Yusmary Rodriguez.

1 Comment on "LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘We should all have the common interest in…debunking myths of HIV’"

  1.   Where is the published peer reviewed study that shows the
    validation of any “HIV test kit” by means of direct (HIV) retrovirus
    Since no HIV test Kit directly
    detects “HIV” itself, and since the test kits currently used to
    diagnose alleged “HIV infection” only rely on surrogate markers such as
    antibodies or genetic material, a study should exist somewhere in the
    published medical literature which shows that at least one type of
    surrogate test for HIV has been validated for accuracy by the direct
    isolation of HIV itself from people who test antibody, RNA , DNA
    positive or negative.
    A study that
    validates HIV test kits is missing from the medical literature and It
    has been almost 30 years since the alleged discovery of HIV and the
    development and marketing of the HIV antibody test kits, yet it appears
    that no study ever validated HIV tests by the direct purification of
    HIV from persons who test positive or have a “viral load.”

    The accuracy of the HIV antibody tests used around the world to say
    someone is infected with HIV has never been properly established, and
    there’s no information in the published medical literature showing how
    many positive tests occur in the absence of infection with HIV/LAV.

    The accuracy of an antibody or other surrogate test for a virus can
    only be established by verifying that positive results are found
    exclusively in people who actually have the virus. This standard for
    determining accuracy was not met in 1984 when the first HIV antibody
    test was developed.
    To this day,
    positive HIV antibody screening tests (ELISAs) are verified by a second
    antibody test of unknown accuracy (HIV Western Blots) or by “viral
    load,” another unvalidated test that detects bits of genetic material
    (RNA or DNA) that are thought to be associated with the virus.

    A validation study would prove the ethical and scientific basis for
    the practice of telling people who test antibody, DNA , or RNA positive
    that they are infected with “HIV”. Without evidence of validation by
    direct purification of the virus, a diagnosis of HIV infection rests on
    unverified beliefs and unfounded assumptions.

    Current HIV tests signal the presence of antibodies that react with an
    assortment of proteins associated with HIV, however, none of these
    proteins are unique or specific to HIV. Without a validation study, no
    honest, well-informed doctor can say with any degree of certainty that
    someone who tests positive is indeed infected with HIV.

    “viral load” tests cannot be used to validate HIV antibody tests
    because viral load tests are not able to directly detect HIV itself.
    Instead, these tests detect only fragments of genetic material (DNA or
    RNA) associated with HIV.
    To date,
    there is no study showing that the DNA or RNA attributed to HIV is
    found only in people who are actually infected with HIV using direct
    isolation as a gold standard to determine true infection. In fact,
    viral load tests carry disclaimers stating they are:
    “not intended to be used as a screening test for HIV or as a diagnostic to confirm the presence of HIV infection”

    An antibody test kit cannot verify another antibody test kit as proof
    of “HIV Infection” and the rationale for the use of antibody tests is
    that the immune system has the ability to detect foreign agents or
    viruses and to respond by producing antibodies that react with those
    agents or viruses. However, this rationale does not work in reverse.
    That is, the observation of an antibody reaction with a particular
    agent or virus does not prove that the antibody was produced in
    response to that particular agent or virus.
    The problem with using antibodies alone to indicate infection with a particular agent or virus is twofold:

    1. Antibodies can only be associated with a disease after it is shown
    that they are consistently generated after exposure to the pure virus.
    We are unaware that this has ever been accomplished with HIV.

    2. Antibodies engage in indiscriminate relationships with a variety of
    agents or viruses. One could say that antibodies are “promiscuous,”
    that is, antibodies meant for one agent or virus may react with another
    agent or virus that is a perfect stranger. Or, to put it technically,
    there is ample evidence that antibody molecules, even the most pure
    (monoclonal antibodies) are not mono-specific, and that they cross-react
    with other, non-immunizing antigens.
    This means is that people do not necessarily have the virus that their antibodies may appear to suggest they have.
    Here are some examples of how misleading antibody tests can be:

    1. People can have positive antibody responses to certain laboratory
    chemicals, but this does not mean they are infected with laboratory
    2. People vaccinated for polio may test positive for antibodies to polio even though they don‚t have polio.

    3. People exposed to TB may test antibody positive for TB but this does
    not necessarily mean they are currently infected with TB.

    4. The test for glandular fever measures antibody response to red
    blood cells of sheep and horses, but a positive test does not mean that
    someone is infected with sheep or horse blood, or that animal blood
    causes glandular fever.
    So we can now understand why antibody responses alone cannot determine if someone is infected with a particular virus.

    Since antibody reactions can come from more than one possible cause,
    scientists need more information before they can claim that an antibody
    reaction alone means a person is actually infected with a particular
    Long before the HIV test was
    introduced into routine clinical practice, scientists needed to prove
    that a positive test means that HIV itself is present, too. This is
    especially important given the profound implications of testing HIV
    People’s lives literally depend on the specificity of HIV tests.
    What is specificity?

    In this case, the formal, mathematical definition of specificity is
    the number of negative tests in a large group of individuals who do not
    have HIV infection. If 100% of 1,000 people who do not have HIV
    infection also test antibody negative, the specificity of the antibody
    test is 100%. If one uninfected person tests antibody positive, the
    specificity of the test is reduced to 99.9% (999/1000) due to the
    single false positive result. A high specificity is desired when
    screening to make sure that very few false positives occur.
    The specificity of HIV tests has not been established in this very necessary scientific manner.
    What is sensitivity?

    The formal, mathematical definition of sensitivity is the number of
    positive tests in a large group of individuals who actually do have HIV
    infection. If 100% of 1,000 people who have HIV infection also test
    antibody positive, the sensitivity of the antibody test is 100%. If one
    infected person tests antibody negative, the sensitivity of the test is
    reduced to 99.9% (999/1000) due to the single false negative result. A
    high sensitivity is desired when you don’t want any gold standard
    positives to slip through undetected.
    Is specificity the same as accuracy?

    A study that establishes the sensitivity and specificity of an HIV test
    would provide a scientific basis for claims of accuracy.
    How is the accuracy for an HIV test determined?
    Sensitivity + Specificity = Accuracy
    How did HIV experts arrive at the specificity of the HIV antibody test kits used today?

    According to the medical literature on “Acquired Immune Deficiency
    Syndrome”, the specificity of HIV antibody tests has been evaluated by
    testing healthy individuals such as blood donors and because these
    individuals are healthy, it’s assumed that negative antibody test
    results mean they don’t have HIV, and because few if any of these
    people test positive, HIV experts use this information to claim that
    the antibody tests are highly specific.
    This evaluation is the wrong type of experiment from which to draw such conclusions for two reasons.
    healthy people do not have a large number or a variety of antibodies
    to react with the test, so there are not enough antibodies available to
    measure the propensity for unwanted reactions. Second, good health
    cannot be used as a substitute measure for the absence of HIV infection
    any more than good health can be used as a substitute measure for the
    absence of kidney stones, pregnancy, cerebral aneurysms, pathogenic
    bacteria or coronary artery disease.
    What is the correct solution to the problem of distinguishing who is and who is not HIV infected?

    According to Dr Valendar Turner (http://www.theperthgroup.com), a
    medical doctor who has examined the problems with HIV tests, “The
    solution is obvious, scientifically speaking. You have to use HIV
    itself to validate the tests.
    To do
    this, you must take two samples from each person in a study and divide
    the two blood samples from each person in two groups: One sample to
    test for the antibody reactions and the other to try to directly
    isolate HIV. To know what the HIV antibody tests tell you about HIV
    infection, you then compare the reactions (positive tests) with what
    you are trying to find or measure (actual virus). The only way to
    distinguish between real reactions and false reactions
    (cross-reactions) is to use direct isolation of HIV as an independent
    yardstick or gold standard.”
    The results
    of such an experiment would show how many of an appropriately chosen
    group people from whom HIV cannot be isolated have a positive antibody
    reaction anyway. This would tell us how many positive antibody tests
    occur in the absence of HIV infection.
    validation by direct isolation of the virus from the fresh, uncultured
    fluids or tissues of people who test positive, HIV/AIDS experts cannot
    know what positive and negative test results actually indicate.

    There appears to be no published (peer reviewed)data establishing the
    accuracy of HIV tests is particularly concerning given that people who
    test positive are said to be infected with a fatal, incurable virus and
    treated as if this were an indisputable truth.
    the vast published medical literature, there appears to be no evidence
    showing that popular interpretations of the significance or “accuracy”
    of HIV test kits are scientifically valid or correct.
    “HIV” tests are better than 99% accurate……BUT there’s a catch!https://www.facebook.com/notes/charles-rich/hiv-tests-are-better-than-99-accurate/161882967210448

    This expert taken from Alive & Wells $50,000 fact finder award that nobody claimed, even Professor Duesberg.

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