Earliest AIDS, Part 2

TRKeske trkeske at aol.com
Fri Feb 20 22:51:25 EST 1998


Earliest AIDS, Part 2

I will continue to explain why the idea that AIDS existed
significantly prior to the late 1970s is in all probability
not only untrue, but ridiculously untrue.  More likely, we are
seeing deliberate misinformation, calculated to obscure a
man-made origin of the epidemic.

One of my key arguments is that the spread of AIDS would have
been far too extensive, over a 20 or 30 year time period, for
us to have failed to have noticed it, earlier.

Let's start by summarizing some of the arguments in favor
of an early origin.

* AIDS started in remote villages of Africa.  It went unnoticed
for years, because these remote location were virtually cut off
from civilization.  No one saw the disease present, there.  The
people were so isolated and backward, that no one knew or cared
about them.  AIDS had no opportunity to spread outside the
village for a long time. At last, when there was finally migration
to urban areas, the epidemic took off rapidly.

* My assumption of annual doubling is incorrect.  It may
double for a period of time, but not indefinitely.  It has slowed
down in recent years.

* AIDS began in lower-risk populations, and spread more slowly.
When it finally hit high-risk populations, it took off rapidly.

* We DID have a billion or so HIV infections by 1980. We merely
didn't notice it, because it was misdiagnosed, or because the
infected people were still asymptomatic.

Let's take these, one at a time:

"REMOTE VILLAGES":  One obvious problem with this is that 
some of the same people arguing about "remote villages" have
also argued specifically that AIDS existed in the U.S. well before
1970.  Recall for example, how I cited a supposed HIV blood
sample from 1969, in St. Louis.

For the sake of argument, let's forget the U.S. for a minute, and
just concentrate on Africa.

We have a clear paradox, here.  On one hand, Africa is decimated
in many locations- large percentages of entire nations infected.
It would seem that AIDS spreads much FASTER than in the U.S.

But perhaps we are really talking about two very different Africas,
superimposed on one other.  The Africa of remote villages, versus
the urbanized Africa.  In the former, AIDS can linger for decades,
without spreading widely, or becoming obvious to the rest of the
world.  In the urbanized Africa, AIDS spreads like wildfire,
due to promiscuity, poor health care, crowding, etc.

Many Africans take offense at both of these stereotypes of Africa.
The "remote village" image, they say, is more in the minds of
Westerners who watch too many Tarzan movies, and is simply
not in tune with history and reality.

The "poor and promiscuous" image is condescending and racist,
they also say.

I agree about the tendency of arrogant Westerners to stereotype
Africa, with very superficial knowledge.  However, purely
for the sake of argument, let's pretend that these images are true.

A $64 dollar question:  When we examine old blood samples
of Africans, from which of these two very different "Africas"
are we drawing?

The newspaper and internet articles give no clue.  It makes a
very major difference.  If the samples are from "urbanized"
Africa, we should expect the very rapid spread that goes with
that territory.

On the other hand, if we claim the samples to be from the
"remote village" version of Africa, I would have some
other questions and objections.

We have said that these are villages virtually cut off from
civilization.  If so, how did we come by blood samples,
in the first place?  Supposedly, we barely knew that these
villages existed.

Did someone specifically make an exploratory expedition
to hidden, remote villages to take blood samples?  And then
to preserve them for several decades? 

For what purpose?   Just so that in the case that several decades
later a deadly epidemic should break out,  we would know
whom to blame?

Obviously, if we were taking blood samples for some reason,
then the villages must have had at least some contact with
civilization.  If large numbers of people there had odd infections,
and were dying of unknown diseases, someone should have taken
notice.

If the old blood samples were not from remote villages, then we
are GUESSING that AIDS originated in remote villages.  The
samples do nothing in themselves to support than contention.
In fact, they would pose a worse problem- if the samples are from
more urbanized areas, then AIDS should have spread all the
more quickly.

"ANNUAL DOUBLING DOES NOT CONTINUE INDEFINITELY"
"AIDS BEGAN IN LOW-RISK GROUPS"-

The annual doubling effect in gays, then later in women and teens,
is amply documented and often cited.

The rate DOES slow down, in time.  However, it does not slow 
down by caprice, by magic, by coincidence, for no reason.  There
has to be a REASON for it to slow down.

What are some of the reasons? When we develop a screening test
to protect the blood supply, the rate slows.  If people finally start
paying attention to safe-sex guidelines, and using condoms, then
the rate slows.  If the "high-risk" subgroups die off, and new
infections are "lower-risk" groups, then the rate slows down.

I point out that NONE of these factors take place, prior to
the detection of the fact that a new disease exists.

Let's contemplate the issue of blood supplies.  In the U.S.
epidemic, the first identified AIDS case was in 1981.

In June of 1982, the CDC first adopted "AIDS" as the official
name of the new disease.  By August of 1982, the CDC first
asked blood banks not to accept blood from "high risk" groups.

By 1985, blood testing commenced, giving nearly 100%
protection of the blood supplies.

In other words, we nipped the blood supply problem in the bud,
taking the first protective actions only two months after we had
even given a name to the disease [1].

Even with this, some 90% of the entire hemophiliac population
of the country had become infected (www.web-depot.com/
hemophilia).

Think how very differently the epidemic would have proceeded if
we did not have this quick protection.  If the blood supply is
unsafe, then EVERYONE is a "risk-group".

In the U.S., someone needs blood every 3 seconds.  Some 14
millions pints of blood are given to some 4 million patients,
every year (source: www.americasblood.org).

If you cannot detect a new disease, you cannot likely
protect the blood supply.

There is no controlling of behavior, no cutting down of
partners, no one motivated to use condoms.

IN SPITE of all these advantages, AIDS was doubling annually
for years.  With none of the logical reasons present to make
AIDS slow down, and with factors present in fact to make AIDS
spread much faster, I say that it is completely ridiculous for
anyone to challenge the assumption that AIDS would continue
doubling in America, or in most of the African population.

"WE HAD MANY HIV INFECTIONS, BUT SIMPLY DID NOT
 NOTICE"-

If AIDS existed in 1950, when should we have reasonably first
expected to become aware of it?

To answer that, I contemplated the question of how we actually
DID first become aware of a problem.

As you know, the first thing that we noticed was an increase in
usual cancers, such as Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), which existed
before AIDS, but was rare.  It became much more common as
an opportunistic infection from HIV.

Nearly everyone knows this much, but I needed more specific
information to determine when it should have become 
noticeable.  I figured out what information I needed, and went
in search of it:

What EXACTLY was the incidence of Kaposi's sarcoma before
AIDS?  What percent of AIDS patients develop KS?  How many
cases of KS would it take, to become evident?  A few dozen?
A few hundred? A few thousand?

You can estimate from the growth rate of HIV, how many 
people would become HIV+.   To estimate how many have full-blown
AIDS, you take into account the 10-year average incubation
period (cited by CDC).   I discounted all recent infections,
counting only people who would have been infected for at least
a decade.

You can multiply by the percent of HIV+ who should get KS.
Then you compare this to the old rates of KS.

How much of an increase in KS should it have taken to get
noticed?

I guessed at a doubling or tripling of the normal rate.  I should
suppose that the CDC, not being buffoons, is aware of the
emerging and reemerging diseases.  Diseases that are common
to one part of the world may encroach on another part of the
world.  Therefore, they should be monitoring the rates of
all diseases, common and uncommon, taking notice of any
sudden, drastic increases.   If a doubling or tripling would
elude them, and they are not doing their job to protect us,
then I will let them correct me.

I would also expect them to take notice if any sizeable number
of people are dying of infectious diseases that cannot be
adequately diagnosed.

I did not know in advance how this exercise would turn out.
I laid out the measurement criteria in advance, then set out
in search of the necessary information.

As it turns out, KS had only about 160 cases annually
in the U.S., before AIDS (CDC info).  It occurred
mostly in older men (over 50) of Mediterranean and Jewish
heritage [2].  It was significantly more common in Africa.

As for how many KS cases it would take to get noticed,
I found some confirmation in an old headline from the
New York Times, July 3, 1981:

        "Rare Cancer Seen In 41 Homosexuals" 

My estimate of a doubling or tripling would be 320-480,
turning out to be very generous.

I also found that the rate of KS among AIDS patients 
decreased over time, but was in the range of 25% to 50%.

This was all I needed.  If you started with one HIV infection
in 1950, with an annual doubling, how long would it take
for the KS to become noticeable in full-blown AIDS cases?

It works out that you would have an octupling  (x8) of the
KS rate by 1969- more than a full decade before we actually
noticed it, and far in excess of the doubling/tripling 
threshold.

As you can see, when you start digging into the matter in
more depth, the superficial plausibility of 1950s AIDS 
and "remote villages" dissipates.

The proposition that AIDS existed significantly before the
late 1970s is not only a lie- it is a preposterous lie.

What, then, does it mean when media reports and
distinguished scientists all persist in a pathetically
unrealistic scenario?

I suggest to you that it is a government propaganda effort,
cleverly implemented, but poorly planned.  It probably means
that someone contaminated the blood samples, to try to play
games with the truth as to where and when this epidemic
began.

I hope that this propaganda attempt will backfire and
actually have the reverse effect- calling attention to the fact
that we are being told lies, which must have some strong
motivation behind it- something too ugly to dare let the general
public realize.

Our government has been caught before, many times, at lies as
shameless, brazen, and elaborate.

I hope, too, that you will see how this argument is like gay
people arguing against the Religious Right.  No matter how
flawless your logic, not one point is conceded- they repeat
themselves like broken records, gibbering about "special
rights" no matter how many times you point out that they
themselves enjoy explicit employment discrimination protections
under the category of religious belief.

It ceases to be a serious debate: people with an ax to grind simply
play Devil's Advocate, play games with words, shoe-shuffle around
straightforward observations that are virtually irrefutable.

The pro-government, "Don't Worry Be Happy" crowd that pastes
a reassuring smiley face over a probable Holocaust is beyond
reach, as is the Religious Right on homosexuality.   My concern
is to reach impartial parties who don't already have a load of
ego and pride staked in publicly proclaimed position.

Tom Keske
Boston, Mass.

Sources:

[1] AIDS History Project, University of California
[2] The Merck Manual, http://www.merck.com
      CDC data: http://hivinsite.ucsf.edu/akb/1994
      New York Times, 1/1/95, "Breakthrough Seen in Kapos's 
      Sarcoma"




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