Rethinking HIV

HIV is not a sexually-transmitted disease. It’s just not.

How did I come to this conclusion? The better question is how science came to the conclusion that it was.

What is HIV?

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS, if not treated. Unlike some other viruses, the human body can’t get rid of HIV completely, even with treatment. So once you get HIV, you have it for life.

HIV attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the CD4 cells (T cells), which help the immune system fight off infections. Untreated, HIV reduces the number of CD4 cells (T cells) in the body, making the person more likely to get other infections or infection-related cancers. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease. These opportunistic infections or cancers take advantage of a very weak immune system and signal that the person has AIDS, the last stage of HIV infection. 

How do we diagnose it?

We look at your blood and test for antigens or antibodies. There are all sorts of tests, but my main takeaways: just because you tested negative doesn’t mean you don’t have HIV. Also just because you tested positive doesn’t mean that you have HIV.

Who gets HIV?

  • Prisoners. In 2010, over 20,000 prisoners had HIV.
  • Drug Addicts. People who inject drugs are 28 times more likely to get HIV. 
  • Heterosexual Females. The made up 19% of the new cases in 2016.
  • Gay males. Gay men account for 70% of the new infections in the US.
  • People in southern Africa. Far and away the most prevalent place for HIV.

Ok. So all of these people either have anal sex or drug addictions? Maybe you can buy into that. I’m going to keep asking questions. 

Are there any other things that all these groups have in common? 

Yes. Malnourishment. These groups all have different reasons for being malnourished, but they all are. Or can be.

How would you explain the disparity between the black people getting HIV so disproportionally compared to other races? 

A couple of different things. First off, they have lower body fat percentages than these other races. You know this already, but this study spells it out. That’s really it. I was going to say socio-economic disparities would be the other thing, but in this day and age it has to be drastic to cause malnourishment. Like in Africa.

What is so unique about Africa that people get HIV so often? 

HIV_world_map
HIV Prevalence Map

It’s a perfect storm of black people with low body fat and malnourishment. The economic and agricultural climate make it much more difficult to get and stay healthy, whatever that means.


So how do you explain the newborns with HIV in Africa? 

They’re born to HIV positive mothers. Those mothers are obviously passing along their nourishment to the child. I don’t think there’s a logical leap here. If the mother is malnourished, the children are likely to be malnourished. Here’s a study looking at the weights of these new borns.

What about drug addicts? 

You’ve seen these people. They do not look well. Many of these drugs are appetite suppressants, and they are often forced to choose between their next meal and their next fix.

But straight females get it too, right? 

Think about it. Straight females are most likely to have a negative body image or suffer from anorexia or bulimia. People with anorexia may develop immune deficiencies that may alter T-cell populations. That’s essentially what we call HIV.

Why do gay black guys get it so often way more often than any other subset?

A couple different reasons here: they start off with lower body fat percentages. They have malnourishment and/or body image problems. The gay culture is typically one of chiseled jawlines and thin waists. Maybe that’s a stereotype. [Here’s an article that digs into that part of gay culture.] Also worth noting, the receivers are much more likely to get HIV.

Why do old people get it more often? 

We’ve covered my opinion on aging, so almost by definition now, the aging population is underweight or malnourished [see How to age like white people]. Because of this they are more vulnerable to immunity problems. 45% of Americans living with HIV were 50 or older. 27% were 55+, and 6% were 65+. In general, older people are more likely to get it. Here’s an article that discusses it in more detail.

 

Before you call total bullshit, I didn’t invent anything here. I used the data already collected over years of scientific research, and questioned the logic behind it. I am not saying that HIV/AIDS is not real. I am just saying that the cause of the lowered immune response should be questioned. It’s hard to cure a disease when you don’t know what causes it. 

 

Sources:  

  1. https://www.healthwellfoundation.org/fund/hiv-and-aids-wasting-syndrome-and-anorexia-due-to-hiv-or-aids-medicare-access/
  2. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/news/20021211/eating-disorders-linked-to-immune-system
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/statistics/overview/ataglance.html
  4. https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/data-and-trends/statistics
  5. https://www.avert.org/professionals/hiv-social-issues/key-affected-populations/prisoners
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4968570/ -lower body fat article
  7. https://diginole.lib.fsu.edu/islandora/object/fsu:183280/datastream/PDF/view
  8. https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/guide/seniors-boost-immunity
  9. http://discovermagazine.com/2004/feb/why-aids-worse-in-africa
  10. https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/42/6/836/286703
  11. http://www.aho.afro.who.int/profiles_information/index.php/Swaziland:Food_safety_and_nutrition
  12. https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/42/6/836/286703
  13. https://www.healthline.com/health/false-positive-hiv-test#prevention
  14. https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/gender/women/index.html
  15. https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/about-hiv-and-aids/symptoms-of-hiv
  16. https://www.avert.org/hiv-testing/whats-involved
  17. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2014/07/10/330217262/why-hiv-spreads-less-easily-in-heterosexual-couples

A brief critique of science

Science is a very useful tool that has lead us to some wonderful discoveries. Here’s how it can lead us astray:

Just because the data collected in the experiment is as predicted, doesn’t make the theory in question right. The scientific theory is simple and powerful, and it’s been used correctly for thousands of years to help us discover some amazing things. But consider for a moment that the hypothesis is wrong, and the experiment verifies it. Other scientists check the logic by repeating the experiment, and if it checks out, it must be correct. Then the next guy comes along and expands on that theory with a new idea, and a new experiment to verify it. 

Before long, there’s so much information that could be a left turn from the truth. The craziest part of all of it, no one will ever believe me. Science is written as truth, [and in most fields it is] so anyone that questions it must be wrong.

The idea that all the science leading up to this point is right, makes it where we can’t really have any more big discoveries. Spoiler alert: it’s not.

Science fills in gaps with theories, without saying they’re theories. “I don’t know” are the most powerful three words for new developments. Speculation masked as fact just muddies the waters for new research.

Science is not clear on what is still a mystery. The unknowns in medicine would terrify you, so we pretend like the aren’t unknowns.

So how did I come up with my theories? I looked at only data. I wasn’t trying to prove anything. I didn’t have any major background that made my theories fit with ten other ones. I was only looking for the truth. Not something that sounded good when your doctor said it.

How can I question science?

I have a background in hard science, so I know how it works. The science of vision is not hard science. Psychiatry is not hard science. Genetics is not hard science. That lead me to one more question: why? The answer to that is that we don’t understand how the human brain works.

Really smart people can conduct really interesting studies and completely miss the point if they have the wrong assumptions, and it happens more often than you would think.

So why do I think I’m right? Because all I did was use the data already gathered in other studies, I just made the right assumptions, and things started to fall into place.

I don’t ignore case studies that don’t fit the model. I try to explain them. My theories are not bigger than the truth. I made a model to fit the facts, instead of cherry picking facts to fit a theory.