Dr Martin White
Review Application by Peter Black
Dear Dr White
In his Director’s Submission, Principal Medical Officer Dr Brown endorses Medical Examiner Dr Green’s decision to decline me a medical certificate on the basis stated that I do not ‘meet the medical standards in Civil Aviation Rule Part 67’, nor do I meet the requirements for ‘flexibility in accordance with section 27B(2) of the Act’. Their decision is founded on the facts and claims set out in Dr Brown’s Submission.
It’s alleged that I have not been ‘acting in reliable and responsible ways’; that my ‘patterns of decision making’ about my health are ‘foolish’; that I am mentally ‘unstable’, and that I have not ‘been displaying particularly rational decision making around [my] own health’ – and all this is claimed to ‘jeopardise aviation safety’.
These opinions are founded on the fact that I have chosen to discontinue taking the anti-retroviral drugs prescribed to me, efavirenz, emtricitabine, and tenofovir.
Plainly put, it’s Drs Green’s and Brown’s view that only a mentally impaired and psychologically disordered person would elect not to take these drugs.
My stated reason for not doing so, namely that they make me ill whereas when I am not taking them I feel fine, is dismissed as dull-witted, deranged, irrational, and evidence that I am an irresponsible and unreliable person.
The fact that I have found that taking the drugs make me ill, when I’m otherwise well, does not factor in Dr Green’s and Dr Brown’s opinion.
They appear not to consider that it would be singularly foolish, irrational, irresponsible, and dangerous for me to fly while sick on the drugs on account of their documented exceptional toxicity (detailed below).
On the contrary, in the expert medical opinion of Dr Green and Dr Brown I would be ‘displaying particularly rational decision making’ by taking drugs that make me sick and, by extension, by flying aircraft while feeling sick.
Drs Green and Brown imply that my agreement to take the drugs would demonstrate that I am a sensible, rational, stable, responsible, and reliable person, who qualifies for ‘flexibility in accordance with section 27B(2) of the Act’ and thus the grant of a medical certificate to fly.
I dispute the allegations that my decision not to take ARV drugs is indicative of stupidity, derangement, irrationality, irresponsibility, unreliability, and that I am therefore a danger to myself and to anyone flying with me.
I’ll demonstrate that my decision to avoid the drugs is perfectly intelligent, informed, rational, and responsible, and that Drs Green’s and Brown’s refusal of a medical certificate to me is both unreasonable and insupportable. And unscientific, inasmuch as serious and competent doctors are supposed to base their opinions on evidence presented, and not just toss out a slew of ex cathedra ipse-dixitisms set in officious medical argot.
It’s not alleged by Drs Green and Brown that I am currently sick. This is because they accept that I am perfectly well. As you know, being HIV-positive does not mean one is ill. Indeed, the vast majority of the millions and millions of people around the world alleged by doctors to be ‘HIV carriers’ have no idea of their ‘HIV carrier status’. This explains publicity campaigns in many countries to ‘Know your status’ by getting tested, so that people can be told that they have a virus in them that they never knew they had.
These campaigns are based on the notion that unless ‘HIV carriers’ all over the world are told they are ‘carriers’ and start taking ARV drugs made and richly sold by pharmaceutical corporations, then in about ten years time they will inexorably develop one or more of 30 odd age-old diseases rechristened AIDS, from pulmonary TB to invasive cervical cancer, and die.
The trouble is, every prediction based on this medical model has failed.
On 14 January 1986 Dr Anthony Fauci was quoted in the New York Times: ‘By 1996, 3 to 5 million Americans will be HIV positive, and 1 million will be dead of AIDS.’
(Dr Fauci is the director of the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, a dominant branch of the National Institutes of Health, the founder of its Division of AIDS, head of a large AIDS research laboratory, and one of the US government’s leading spokesmen on AIDS. He is also the co-author, with his deputy Dr Clifford Lane, of the AIDS chapter of the authoritative reference text, Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. He can justifiably be regarded as America’s top AIDS expert.)
About a decade and a half later, the US Centers for Disease Control reported that a mere 16 765 ‘AIDS deaths’ occurred in the US in 1999, of a national population of about 270 million – which amounts to a miniscule, entirely uneventful 0.006%.
Likewise in South Africa: on 14 May 1999 the Witness newspaper quoted the Department of Health’s claim that ‘Up to a third of people in KwaZulu-Natal are infected with HIV, the virus that causes Aids. This figure is up from 1.61% in less than a decade.’ (KwaZulu-Natal province has about 10 million people, 85% Zulu.)
This led an editorial in the newspaper to predict the next day: ‘It has been confidently asserted that one third of the population of KwaZulu-Natal is now infected with the Aids-causing HIV virus. This statistic has been arrived at by a national survey that pools data from antenatal clinics … [T]he actual position is … very possibly worse. These figures match the dire predictions made years ago when Aids first caused concern. There was a time when those predictions were discounted: now the alarm is shown to be well founded. … [T]he rate of infection [is] increasing exponentially … Death does not come with terrifying swiftness: a full decade may pass before the sufferer (and carrier) eventually dies. … By the end of the first decade of the first millennium, most of those infected will probably be dead. Dying parents, many of them single mothers, will leave millions of orphaned children to be cared for. The work force that powers production in all sectors will be decimated, and worse. The potential for catastrophe is enormous.’
Six years later the Human Science’s Research Council’s ‘HIV Prevalence’ report in December 2005 claimed 40,7% of women in KwaZulu-Natal are ‘infected with the Aids-causing HIV virus’.
A decade after it was ‘confidently asserted that one third of the population of KwaZulu-Natal is now infected’ and ‘a full decade may pass before the sufferer (and carrier) eventually dies’, leading the newspaper to predict, ‘By the end of the first decade of the first millennium, most of those infected will probably be dead’, the prediction has utterly flopped. There is no evidence whatsoever of any public health ‘catastrophe’ in which the population of KwaZulu-Natal, particularly female, is being ‘decimated’. No unusual death rate has been reported and the population is growing normally, and this explains why the newspapers are losing interest in their once exciting big story.
These failed predictions expose the error of the early but still widespread dogmatic medical opinion that if you are ‘HIV-positive’ you will certainly develop one or more of 30 odd diseases from pulmonary TB to invasive cervical cancer in about ten years time and die of it unless you take ARV drugs.
There is no epidemiological or other evidence to support the notion that because I don’t take ARVs I ‘run the heightened risk of a heightened catastrophic disease process ensuing’, as alleged in my ‘history of HIV Carrier Status’.
There is no scientific basis whatsoever for Drs Green’s and Brown’s belief that while flying I’m likely to fall very seriously ill all of a sudden and crash the plane (like after a sudden, unpredictable heart attack or stroke), whereas were I to obediently and reliably follow doctors orders and take ARVs every day this is unlikely to happen.
The fact is I’m an uncommonly healthy person. This is why I do ‘not have a regular doctor’, as my ‘history of HIV Carrier Status’ correctly records. Apart from a brief bout of pneumonia in May 2009 for which I went to hospital for three days – at a time of acute stress and exhaustion in my life from seeing to my mother’s business difficulties and her own resulting health challenges – I’ve hardly been ill a day in my life.
Whether in fact I actually had Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia as ‘suspected’ is anyway doubtful: no lung biopsy was performed, and as you well know, PCP cannot reliably be diagnosed without one.
But even if I did, which is far from proven, hardly known to doctors is the fact that PCP can occur in immunocompetent adults: Dei-Cas E. ‘Pneumocystis infections: the iceberg?’ Medical Mycology. 2000;38 Suppl 1:23-32: ‘New detection tools have revealed that hospitalized patients can be latently infected with Pneumocystis and that immunocompetent hosts develop transient Pneumocystis infections. Pneumocystis organisms circulate in human populations, being able to infect hosts with diverse susceptibility levels. In fact, airborne Pneumocystis infection can display a large spectrum of clinical presentations and most likely, we recognize at present only the tip of the iceberg.’ (http://j.mp/fVa9Do)
PCP doesn’t occur as a ‘catastrophic event’ either (to cite the rousing term used in my ‘history of HIV Carrier Status’).
There’s no question that I’ve recovered completely from my pneumonia episode, and that by all clinical measures I’m perfectly healthy again. This is not a matter of any dispute as between me and Drs Green and Brown.
Dr Brown correctly concedes that merely being HIV-positive is not a sufficient reason to deny me a medical certificate, and accordingly he hastens to state that this was not the sole basis of his decision.
Evidently he accepts that one can be HIV-positive and live a healthy life like anyone else.
Rather, Dr Brown states that his decision to refuse me a medical certificate ‘is based on the combination of features that constitute this applicant’s medical condition. Those features include HIV carrier status; Haematological profile; Medications in use and their side-effect profile; and the applicant’s apparent reliability and responsibility.’
I will address these stated considerations seriatim. In so doing I’ll show that Drs Green’s and Brown’s notions that were I to take ARV drugs, they would (a) raise my CD4 cell count; (b) lower my viral load to undetectable levels; (c) keep me healthy; and, (d) prevent me falling ill with a sudden life-threatening illness, are not supported by the medical and scientific literature.
These are all medical fallacies, albeit still popular among doctors who haven’t bothered to keep up with the medical literature and study the matter for themselves.
‘HIV carrier status’
All informed doctors and all ARV drug manufacturers agree that ARV drugs make no difference to anyone’s ‘HIV carrier status’. In other words, all informed doctors and all ARV drug manufacturers agree that no quantity or duration of ARV drug treatment alters one’s ‘HIV carrier status’ from positive to negative.
Commenting on the abandonment of officially promoted aggressive ‘HIV-AIDS’ treatment policy in the US at the end of the 1990s, Dr Anthony Fauci (mentioned above), who was one of the co-chairs of the panel convened to review the official treatment regime, agreed, more or less, that not only is the medicine dangerous, it doesn’t work either: ‘It’s clear we’re not going to eradicate the virus with the drugs we have now. And we’re starting to see a greater and greater realization of the accumulation of toxic side effects.’
And as I’ve pointed out, and Dr Brown agrees, being an alleged ‘HIV carrier’ doesn’t bear on my fitness to fly: I’m not disqualified from flying merely because I’ve been diagnosed HIV-positive.
Apparently Drs Green and Brown think that a positive reading of an Elisa antibody test – maybe repeated, and maybe followed by a Western blot antibody test – signifies that the test subject is an ‘HIV carrier’. Just as, until as recently as the middle of the 20th Century, all doctors believed that a positive reaction to a Wasserman test signified infection with syphilis, calling for immediate, repeated injections with arsenic (Salvarsan). It’s universally recognised today that the test was useless and the treatment both useless and deadly (just a few decades later, any doctor injecting arsenic would be locked up by the police).
Conventional medical wisdom that HIV-positive equals ‘HIV infection – not propounded by the test manufacturers themselves, only by doctors – was long ago debunked by Papadopulos-Eleopulos et al. in ‘Is a positive western blot proof of HIV infection?’. Bio/technology 11, 696-707 (1993). (http://j.mp/e8alHC and http://j.mp/gQEmxL)
In this comprehensive review, the authors show that antibody tests are non-specific and do not indicate ‘HIV’ infection. This is because the proteins used in the tests that are presumed to be viral are demonstrably cellular. But more importantly still, the performance of these tests has never been validated by reference to the gold standard of isolated virus.
Hence Abbott Laboratories explicit concession in its operating manual for its AxSYM HIV1/2 gO antibody test: ‘At present there is no recognized standard for determining the presence or absence of antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2 in human blood.’ (http://j.mp/fagDD9)
And this is why no manufacturer of any sort of ‘HIV antibody test’ claims that its test categorically proves ‘HIV’ infection.
Nor, contrary to popular belief, do so-called ‘viral load’ tests detect ‘HIV’ (my ‘history of “HIV Carrier Status”’ speaks of my having ‘detectable virus in his blood’).
On the contrary, ‘viral load’ tests are so unreliable, so non-specific, that they are not even permitted for screening blood, let alone for diagnosing or confirming ‘HIV infection’.
The manufacturer of the leading ‘viral load’ test, Roche Diagnostic Systems, Inc., accordingly cautions (as do other such test manufacturers Organon Teknika and Versant in the same FDA-mandated terms) at the top of the first page of its HIV-1 Monitor test manual: ‘The Amplicor HIV-1 Monitor test is not intended to be used as a screening test for HIV or as a diagnostic test to confirm the presence of HIV infection.’ (http://j.mp/gWxafW)
This is because it does not ‘test for the virus itself’ as the commonly heard phrase goes, i.e. the test is not specific for ‘HIV’. Nor, as the popular misnomer ‘viral load’ misleadingly implies, does the test tell you how many viruses you’ve got in you per unit of your blood; it merely copies and amplifies ribonucleic acid (RNA) assumed, but never actually proven, to be viral.
Drs Green and Brown appear to be labouring under the further misapprehension that a CD4 cell count is an index of health, the strength of the immune system. It isn’t.
In their review ‘Surrogate End Points in Clinical Trials: Are We Being Misled?’ published on 1 October 1996 in Annals of Internal Medicine 125; 7:605-13, Fleming and DeMets pointed out that CD4 cell counts are ‘as uninformative as a toss of a coin … Effects on surrogate end points often do not predict the true clinical effects of interventions. … Three … trials, including the Concorde Trial showed an inverse relation between survival and improved CD4 cell counts.’ Which is to say, the better patient got on AZT according to doctors telling them how nicely their CD4 cell count was rising, the faster they died.
In the abstract of his paper, published in January 2005 in Health Affairs 24;1:67-78 under the title ‘Surrogate Endpoints And FDA’s Accelerated Approval Process’, Fleming made the point that ‘To use surrogate endpoints and the accelerated-approval process, challenging issues must be addressed to avoid compromising what is truly in the best interest of public health: the reliable as well as timely evaluation of an intervention’s safety and efficacy.’
The ‘challenging issue’ concerning doctors’ reliance on CD4 cell counts as a marker for ARV efficacy, instead of looking at whether the drugs actually make ill people better or keep healthy people from falling sick, is that, as Fleming himself had noted nine years earlier, the popular medical practice in the AIDS era of performing CD4 cell counts is ‘as uninformative as a toss of a coin’.
The central myth of the HIV theory of AIDS that ‘HIV’ kills T4 (CD4) cells, though attractively simple and elegant, like the medieval humoural theory of disease, is unsupported by any in vivo or in vitro studies.
For more than a decade many AIDS experts, including the Nobel Laureate David Baltimore, have pointed out that the decrease in T4 cells is actually due to the down regulation of the CD4 molecule on the cell surface and not to cell death. This is discussed in depth by Papadopulos-Eleopulos et al. in their pivotal paper ‘A critical analysis of the HIV-T4-cell-AIDS-hypothesis’ Genetica 1995. 95:25-50. (http://j.mp/gxyAfx and http://j.mp/gFUg6e)
Certainly there’s no evidence whatsoever for the popular myth that ‘HIV’ attacks and kills off CD4 cells in the blood, thereby weakening the immune system and leading to the onset of certain opportunistic diseases or malignancies. This fable at the heart of AIDS mythology was interrogated and dismantled years ago by Papadopulos-Eleopulos et al. in their just-cited paper.
But irrespective of whether CD4 cell counts actually have any clinical significance, as most doctors who haven’t studied the subject believe they do, my ‘Haematological profile’ according to my CD4 count is anyway improving without ARVs. It was low when I had pneumonia, but it’s rising, and at last count it was over 110.
‘Medications in use and their side-effect profile’
Since I am healthy, I’m not taking any ‘Medications’. Therefore no ‘Medications’ are ‘in use’, so their ‘side-effect profile’ is immaterial. This consideration would only be relevant if I were taking the drugs – in which case it would be highly relevant.
My ‘history of HIV Carrier Status’ records that I ‘stopped antivirals in June, and had decided to stay off these, as he feared he may not be eligible for his pilot’s licence if taking antiretrovirals’.
This is because the ‘side-effect profile’ of the ARV ‘Medications’ I took for a few months in 2009 was so severe (detailed below) that they made me very ill. And this is why I quit taking them and have no intention of ever taking them again.
It’s true that I concluded that I wouldn’t get a pilot’s license if I were sick, made sick by the toxic drugs.
Although in the expert medical opinion of Drs Green and Brown this shows I am ‘foolish’ and not ‘rational’, and is evidence that I am mentally perturbed, I prefer to be healthy rather than sick. I also believe it would be irresponsible of me to fly while sick.
All informed doctors agree that indefinite ARV treatment is not an option on account of its extraordinarily severe toxicity, and all informed doctors know that ARVs make most people ill.
On 12 May 2001 the British Medical Journal reported that ‘The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning letter to manufacturers of AIDS drugs cautioning them to tone down the optimistic tenor of their antiretroviral ... billboard and magazine ... drug advertisements. Thomas Abrams, director of the FDA’s division of drug marketing, advertising, and communications said that current antiretroviral advertisements directed at consumers are misleading as they fail to depict the limitations of AIDS drugs and also feature healthy looking people … sexy and athletic models in the prime of health who were climbing mountains, sailing boats, and riding bikes. These are pursuits which are quite difficult for people with HIV infection, who have to take drugs several times a day that have debilitating side effects … The advertisements therefore violate the Federal Food and Drug Act.’
In short, it’s known to the FDA that people on ARVs suffer such ‘debilitating side effects’ that they do not enjoy the ‘prime of health’ as others not on the drugs do, and that they are made too sick by the drugs to go ‘climbing mountains, sailing boats, and riding bikes’. And flying aeroplanes.
It appears that both Drs Green and Brown have been gulled by the sort of ARV advertising that the FDA has banned as fraudulent and illegal.
As mentioned above, it’s alleged that I ‘run a heightened risk of some catastrophic disease process ensuing’ because I don’t take ARV drugs. This wholly unscientific statement is not supported anywhere in the medical literature.
On the contrary: In ‘Grade 4 events are as important as AIDS events in the era of HAART’ in Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 2003 Dec 1;34(4):379-86, Reisler et al. reported their review of the cases of 2947 patients treated with ARVs between 1996 and 2001, conducted with the stated objective: ‘To estimate incidence and predictors of serious or life threatening events that are not AIDS defining, and death among patients treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in the setting of 5 large multicenter randomized treatment trials conducted in the United States’ – i.e. to determine the toxicity of ARVs having regard to the incidence of dangerous side effects, sometimes fatal.
Noting that ‘All 4 classes of antiretrovirals (ARVs) and all 19 FDA approved ARVs have been directly or indirectly associated with life-threatening events and death’, they found that more than twice as many people (675) had suffered a drug related life-threatening (grade 4) event as against an AIDS event (332). The most common causes of grade 4 events from ARV drug toxicities were ‘liver related’. ‘Cardiovascular events’, the researchers found, are ‘associated with the greatest risk of death’.
They concluded: ‘Our finding is that the rate of grade 4 events is greater than the rate of AIDS events, and that the risk of death associated with these grade 4 events was very high for many events.’
So treated with ARVs then, one’s greatest risk of dying is not from developing an AIDS-defining disease but from ARV-induced liver failure and ARV-induced ‘cardiovascular events’. Like a sudden heart attack while flying an aeroplane.
In plain speech, Reisler et al. found the cure to be deadlier than the disease, and that heart failure caused by ARV toxicity is the leading cause of death among people treated with ARV drugs.
(Yet oddly enough, ARV drug manufacturers claim their drugs selectively poison ‘HIV’, not the cells of the human body.)
Though Dr Brown claims ‘we believe that public safety responsibilities require us to consider the potential aviation safety implications’ of my refusal to continue taking ARV drugs, he and Drs Green evidently haven’t stopped to ‘consider the potential aviation safety implications’ of their insistence that I take ARVs, with all their severe ‘life-threatening’ ill-effects, including the risk of a sudden fatal heart attack while in the air.
In January 2001, when the US Department of Health and Human Services was announcing its abrupt renunciation of its ‘hit early, hit hard’ ARV treatment policy, Dr Fauci explained: ‘We are very concerned about a number of toxicities associated with the long-term use of anti-retroviral drugs. … We are seeing an increasing number of patients with dangerously high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. … The bad news is that we now must find ways to deal with unanticipated toxicities, including the potential for premature coronary disease.’
Newsday dashed off a few of them: ‘death of hip bone tissue, increase in blood cholesterol levels, neuropathy or loss of nerve sensations, kidney failure, radical alterations of liver metabolism, diabetes, skin rashes, pancreas failure, severe anemia, liver dysfunctions so acute as to require transplants and near-instantaneous death due to buildup of lactic acid’.
New Scientist reported on 16 December 2000, under the headline No More Cocktails, that ‘Four years of “hit hard, hit early” HIV treatment may be on the way out in the US, as evidence mounts of the drugs’ serious side effects. AIDS experts in the US are about to complete a humiliating U-turn when the Department of Health and Human Services launches its revised HIV treatment guidelines in January.’
As leading US AIDS journalist Laurie Garrett put it in Newsday on 17 January 2001, ‘Instead of telling American physicians to “hit early, hit hard”, a policy in effect since 1996 that calls for giving HIV-positive patients powerful drug cocktails before the patients actually experience any symptoms of illness, the new National Institutes of Health guidelines will call for caution and delay in treatment.’
Dr Fauci was quoted in the New York Times on 4 February 2001: ‘We are adopting a significantly more conservative recommendation profile’ – the idea being, as article paraphrased him, to allow ‘the virus to remain in the body longer in return for sparing the patient the drug toxicities’.
In effect, in the face of the published evidence Dr Fauci conceded that ARVs are much more harmful than ‘HIV’.
The American ‘HIV-AIDS’ experts released their HIV Treatment Guidelines Updated for Adults and Adolescents the next day. In an editorial in the AIDS Reader in early 2002, ‘Update From Seattle: The 9th Annual Retrovirus Conference’, Jeffrey Laurence spelt out the reason for the policy reversal as being ‘the side effects of all HAART regimens [ARV combinations] and the limited evidence of survival benefit for initiating therapy in asymptomatic persons even at relatively low CD4 cell counts … Much of this is being driven by some prominent cardiovascular, endocrine, and bone metabolism effects of HAART.’
In a novel investigation later that year, the first of its kind to quantify the ‘Prevalence of adverse events associated with potent antiretroviral treatment in single, double, and triple regimens of AIDS drugs’, published in Lancet 358(9290):1322-7on 20 October 2001, Fellay et al. reported ‘a high prevalence of toxic effects’ in a cohort of 1160 patients.
More than two thirds of patients on ARVs suffered side effects severe enough to affect treatment adherence – i.e. prevent them taking the drugs as prescribed. Forty-seven per cent reported clinical problems like vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea, fat growth, mood swings, insomnia and fatigue. Blood tests revealed ‘potentially serious’ abnormalities among twenty-seven per cent. The researchers classed a ‘significant proportion’ of these adverse events as ‘serious or severe’. Kidney dysfunction and severe fatigue that were ‘probably or definitely’ due to their HIV treatment led to some patients winding up in hospital.
And as Reisler et al. found and reported concerning this ‘significant proportion’ of ‘serious or severe’ adverse events, on ARVs ‘the rate of grade 4 events is greater than the rate of AIDS events, and that the risk of death associated with these grade 4 events was very high for many events’; i.e. people treated with ‘potent combination therapy’ have a stronger prospect of being severely poisoned or killed by ARVs than they do of developing an AIDS defining disease.
So much for the mindless, ignorant, unexamined, robotic boilerplate one frequently hears from doctors when the grave toxicity of ARVs is raised with them, ‘The benefits outweigh the risks’. Clearly they don’t. On the contrary.
Not a single randomised, double blind, placebo controlled clinical trial has ever been conducted in which it’s been shown that people taking ARVs, alone or in combination, live longer than people who don’t, and that ARVs keep people healthy and prevent them from falling ill. The ARV manufacturers themselves are explicitly frank about this.
Such as the manufacturers of the three ARV drugs prescribed to me (and manufacturers of other ARVs warn alike):
Bristol-Myers Squibb says about efavirenz (Sustiva) in its ‘Prescribing Information’: ‘Patients should be informed that SUSTIVA is not a cure for HIV-1 infection and that they may continue to experience illnesses associated with HIV-1 infection, including opportunistic infections.’
Gilead Sciences is just as pessimistic about emtricitabine (Emtriva): ‘EMTRIVA is not a cure for HIV-1 infection and patients may continue to experience illnesses associated with HIV-1 infection, including opportunistic infections.’
Gilead Sciences says the same and more about tenofovir (Viread): ‘VIREAD does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS. The long-term effects of VIREAD are not known at this time. People taking VIREAD may still get opportunistic infections or other conditions that happen with HIV-1 infection.’
So what’s the point in taking them then?
Particularly because far from keeping people healthy and saving their lives, the biggest, best conducted case study yet conducted has found that ARVs shorten them.
In August 2006, The Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Cohort Collaborative reported in Lancet 368:451-458: ‘The results of this collaborative study, which involved … over 20,000 patients with HIV-1 from Europe and North America, show that the virological response after starting HAART [Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy, i.e. ARV drugs] has improved steadily since 1996. However, there was no corresponding decrease in the rates of AIDS, or death, up to 1 year of follow-up. Conversely, there was some evidence for an increase in the rate of AIDS in the most recent period. [We noted a] discrepancy between the clear improvement we recorded for virological response and the apparently worsening rates of clinical progression.’
A covering editorial commenting on ‘these somewhat paradoxical trends’ noted: ‘The major findings are that, despite improved initial HIV virological control … there were no significant improvements in early immunological response as measured by CD4-lymphocyte count, no reduction in all-cause mortality, and a significant increase in combined AIDS/AIDS-related death risk in more recent years.’
The ‘paradox’ was that contrary to expectation, notwithstanding a transient, temporary early reduction of so-called ‘viral load’, antiretroviral drugs don’t improve CD4 cell counts and most importantly don’t save lives – on the contrary they bring on AIDS in people diagnosed HIV-positive and accelerate their death rate.
Again: so why should I take them then?
My ‘history of HIV Carrier Status’ quoted by Dr Brown speaks of my having ‘detectable virus in his blood … as a consequence’ of my decision ‘to stop antivirals and … stay off these’. The massive study cited above refutes the popular medical myth that ARVs reduce ‘HIV’ to undetectable levels. They don’t.
The study also refutes the fallacy recorded in my ‘history of HIV Carrier Status’ that ‘If he remains adherent to therapy it is possible … that he would have enough immune reconstitution in the future to perhaps apply for a pilot’s license at that time’. In other words that ARVs would ‘reconstitute’ my immune system. They don’t. (I will address so-called ‘immune reconstitution’ further below.)
The general medical belief that ARVs are life-saving drugs – or ‘life-extending’ in the words of George Bush II – is contradicted by some of the leading experts on the use of these drugs:
Professor Michael Saag at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, US, runs a major cutting-edge experimental AIDS treatment clinic sought after by pharmaceutical companies to try out their newest compounds. More than a decade ago he was interviewed for an article in the March 1999 issue of Esquire: ‘In one year, 157 of Saag’s patients collectively took 189 different drug formulas, with only three patients taking the same mix of HAART [combined ARV] drugs … despite such rigorous, individualized medical attention, Saag says, the HAART “dam” is already leaking and there is high danger of it collapsing altogether ... Failures are occurring right and left. … As physicians venture into even wilder frontiers of HIV treatment, the grand experiment with combination therapies, called Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy, or HAART, is rushing forward without any data. No-one is keeping track. … Perhaps the biggest difference between the cure paradigm and whatever paradigm we’re in now is, we now should expect failure with whatever [ARV cocktails] we first use. We should plan on it. We should prepare for it. Clinicians should expect failure.’ Saag complained that the death rate of his patients on ARV combinations was rising: ‘They aren’t dying of a traditionally defined AIDS illness … I don’t know what they’re dying of, but they are dying. They’re just wasting and dying. … It is sobering,’ Saag continued, ‘while we are making good guesses, they are just guesses. We don’t know what we are doing.’
The reason ‘the death rate of his patients on ARV combinations was rising’ – ‘They aren’t dying of a traditionally defined AIDS illness … I don’t know what they’re dying of, but they are dying. They’re just wasting and dying.’ – is because ARVs are extremely poisonous.
As is evident from the ‘Prescribing Information’ leaflets for the three ARV drugs that Drs Green and Brown insist I should take:
‘SUSTIVA® (efavirenz) … WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS …Serious psychiatric symptoms: Immediate medical evaluation is recommended for serious psychiatric symptoms such as severe depression or suicidal ideation. … Nervous system symptoms (NSS): NSS are frequent, usually begin 1-2 days after initiating therapy and resolve in 2-4 weeks. Dosing at bedtime may improve tolerability. NSS are not predictive of onset of psychiatric symptoms. Immune reconstitution syndrome: May necessitate further evaluation and treatment. … ADVERSE REACTIONS Most common adverse reactions (>5%, moderate-severe) are rash, dizziness, nausea, headache, fatigue, insomnia, and vomiting. … Serious psychiatric adverse experiences have been reported in patients treated with SUSTIVA. … Fifty-three percent (531/1008) of patients receiving SUSTIVA in controlled trials reported central nervous system symptoms (any grade, regardless of causality) compared to 25% (156/635) of patients receiving control regimens … These symptoms included, but were not limited to, dizziness (28.1% of the 1008 patients), insomnia (16.3%), impaired concentration (8.3%), somnolence (7.0%), abnormal dreams (6.2%), and hallucinations (1.2%). … In controlled clinical trials, 26% (266/1008) of patients treated with 600 mg SUSTIVA experienced new-onset skin rash. … Treatment with SUSTIVA has resulted in increases in the concentration of total cholesterol and triglycerides … Cholesterol and triglyceride testing should be performed before initiating SUSTIVA therapy and at periodic intervals during therapy. … Immune reconstitution syndrome has been reported in patients treated with combination antiretroviral therapy, including SUSTIVA. During the initial phase of combination antiretroviral treatment, patients whose immune system responds may develop an inflammatory response to indolent or residual opportunistic infections [such as Mycobacterium avium infection, cytomegalovirus, Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP), or tuberculosis], which may necessitate further evaluation and treatment. … Redistribution/accumulation of body fat including central obesity, dorsocervical fat enlargement (buffalo hump), peripheral wasting, facial wasting, breast enlargement, and “cushingoid appearance” have been observed in patients receiving antiretroviral therapy. … ADVERSE REACTIONS The most significant adverse reactions observed in patients treated with SUSTIVA are: • psychiatric symptoms … • nervous system symptoms … • rash … Serious psychiatric adverse experiences have been reported in patients treated with SUSTIVA. In controlled trials, psychiatric symptoms observed at a frequency of >2% among patients treated with SUSTIVA or control regimens, respectively, were depression (19%, 16%), anxiety (13%, 9%), and nervousness (7%, 2%).’
It appears to be of no concern to Drs Green and Brown that, apart from its other extraordinarily severe, sickening toxicities, efavirenz has pronounced neuro-toxic ill-effects; and they seriously suggest I should be flying while taking a drug that is known to cause ‘central nervous system symptoms’ in more than half of people taking it, including ‘dizziness’ in more than a quarter of cases. Along with ‘impaired concentration’, ‘insomnia’, ‘abnormal dreams’, and even ‘hallucinations’.
Apparently Drs Green and Brown do not consider that I would ‘jeopardise aviation safety’ while flying high on a drug like this. In their expert medical opinion, flying high on a drug like this would show that I am an intelligent, rational, responsible and reliable person.
‘EMTRIVA, [is] a nucleoside analog HIV-1 reverse transcriptase inhibitor … WARNINGS: LACTIC ACIDOSIS/SEVERE HEPATOMEGALY WITH STEATOSIS Lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis, including fatal cases, have been reported with the use of nucleoside analogs. … WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS … Redistribution/accumulation of body fat: Observed in patients receiving antiretroviral therapy. … Immune reconstitution syndrome: May necessitate further evaluation and treatment. … ADVERSE REACTIONS Most common adverse reactions (incidence ≥10%) are headache, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, depression, insomnia, abnormal dreams, rash, abdominal pain, asthenia, increased cough, and rhinitis. … Redistribution/ accumulation of body fat including central obesity, dorsocervical fat enlargement (buffalo hump), peripheral wasting, facial wasting, breast enlargement, and “cushingoid appearance” have been observed in patients receiving antiretroviral therapy. … Immune reconstitution syndrome has been reported in patients treated with combination antiretroviral therapy, including EMTRIVA.’
Emtricitabine is identified as ‘a nucleoside analog’ drug, putting it in the same chemical class as AZT, 3TC, d4T, ddI and ddC – about which the UK Adverse Drug Reaction Bulletin No.178 noted in 1996: ‘The antiretroviral drugs currently licensed in the United Kingdom are zidovudine (azidothymidine) [AZT], zalcitabine (ddC) and didanosine (ddI). … All are very toxic. Suppression of bone marrow elements can occur with any of the three, as can peripheral neuropathy.’
Lewis and Dalakas noted the year before in Nature Medicine 5:417-22: ‘It is self-evident that ANAs [anti-retroviral nucleoside analogues], like all drugs, have side-effects. However, the prevalent and at times serious ANA mitochondrial toxic side-effects are particularly broad ranging with respect to their tissue target and mechanisms of toxicity: Haematological [blood]; Myopathy [muscles]; Cardiotoxicity [heart]; Hepatic toxicity [liver]; Peripheral neuropathy [nerves].’
A few years later in September 1999 Brinkman et al. remarked in Lancet 354(9184):1112-5 that ‘[AZT and other nucleoside analogue drugs] are much more toxic than we considered previously. … The layer of fat-storing cells directly beneath the skin, which wastes away … is loaded with mitochondria … other common side effects of [AZT and similar drugs are] nerve and muscle damage, pancreatitis and decreased production of blood cells … all resemble conditions caused by inherited mitochondrial diseases.’
That nucleoside analogue drugs such as emtricitabine and AZT themselves destroy immune cells is emphasized by Cheson, Keating and Plunkett on the very first page of the preface to their standard text, Nucleoside Analogs in Cancer Therapy (New York: Marcel Dekker Inc, 1997), mentioning the ‘profound immunosuppression that often accompanies therapy with nucleoside analog drugs’, and their ‘potent immunosuppressive properties’.
Hence former South African President Thabo Mbeki’s correct observation in his letter to then Leader of the Opposition Tony Leon on 1 July 2000: ‘In your letter to me of June 19, you make the extraordinary statement that AZT boosts the immune system. Not even the manufacturer of this drug makes this profoundly unscientific claim. The reality is the precise opposite of what you say, this being that AZT is immuno-suppressive. Contrary to the claims you make in promotion of AZT, all responsible medical authorities repeatedly issue serious warnings about the toxicity of antiretroviral drugs, which include AZT.’
I fail to understand why I should be prescribed a type of chemical to ingest every day until I die that’s known to destroy blood cells, including CD4 cells, when according to the medical experts not having enough CD4 cells is bad for my health.
‘VIREAD (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) … WARNINGS: LACTIC ACIDOSIS/ SEVERE HEPATOMEGALY WITH STEATOSIS and POST TREATMENT EXACERBATION OF HEPATITIS Lactic acidosis and severe hepatomegaly with steatosis, including fatal cases, have been reported with the use of nucleoside analogs, including VIREAD, in combination with other antiretrovirals … WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS New onset or worsening renal impairment: Can include acute renal failure and Fanconi syndrome. … Decreases in bone mineral density … Redistribution/accumulation of body fat … Immune reconstitution syndrome … ADVERSE REACTIONS … Most common adverse reactions (incidence ≥10%, Grades 2 - 4) are rash, diarrhea, headache, pain, depression, asthenia, and nausea … In HIV-infected patients redistribution/ accumulation of body fat including central obesity, dorsocervical fat enlargement (buffalo hump), peripheral wasting, facial wasting, breast enlargement, and “cushingoid appearance” have been observed in patients receiving combination antiretroviral therapy. … Immune reconstitution syndrome has been reported in HIV-infected patients treated with combination antiretroviral therapy, including VIREAD. During the initial phase of combination antiretroviral treatment, patients whose immune system responds may develop an inflammatory response to indolent or residual opportunistic infections [such as Mycobacterium avium infection, cytomegalovirus, Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP), or tuberculosis], which may necessitate further evaluation and treatment.’
Like the other two drugs prescribed to me, it’s obvious from this manufacturer’s information that tenofovir is also an extremely toxic drug with all manner of very serious adverse effects.
The ‘Prescribing Information’ for all three drugs notes that they may cause what doctors euphemistically call ‘Immune Reconstitution Syndrome’. Since all ARVs are potent general metabolic poisons, it’s hardly surprising that healthy people should fall severely ill when poisoned by them.
The first target of the cytotoxicity of nucleoside analogue ARV drugs is blood and bone marrow, where blood cells are generated. In its ‘Prescribing Information’ AZT manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline warns: ‘Patients should be informed that the major toxicities of RETROVIR are neutropenia and/or anemia.’ The Oxford Concise Medical Dictionary explains that ‘neutropenia [is a] decrease in the number of neutrophils in the blood. … It results in an increased susceptibility to infections. … [A] neutrophil [is] a variety of granulocyte (a type of blood cell) … capable of ingesting and killing bacteria and provides an important defence against infection.’
Any intelligent person would conclude that the ingestion of immune-cell killing, broad-spectrum metabolic poisons is likely to be the proximate cause of the onset of the deadly illnesses that follow. But no, when their patients get very sick with dangerous diseases as a result of the ARVs they prescribe, doctors say it’s a good thing: why, they’re experiencing ‘Immune Reconstitution Syndrome’ – they’re enjoying ‘immune reconstitution’.
For more than two decades we’ve been told by doctors (a) that a virus HIV causes immune deficiency, which in turn leads to the appearance of many diseases and thus to death, and (b) that ARVs reverse this immune deficiency by fighting the virus, thus preventing the appearance of the many AIDS defining diseases and death.
Now, with the recent invention of ‘Immune Reconstitution Syndrome’ as a new medical construct devised by doctors to rationalize the onset of serious diseases caused by the toxic ARVs they prescribe, we are told that ARVs reverse immune deficiency (‘immune reconstitution’), but patients continue to develop the same diseases and die from them. To prevent this, the patients are treated with more of the same agents that themselves cause immune deficiency, that is, with immunosuppressant ARV drugs. As George Orwell once observed, ‘Only a member of the intelligentsia would believe such a thing. No ordinary man would be such a fool.’
In the premises:
I ask that you accept that my decision to discontinue taking ARV drugs was well-founded, having regard to the documented facts about their extreme toxicity, noted by the US FDA and in innumerable medical and scientific research journals of impeccable repute; and having regard further to my own reported subjective experience of how ill the drugs prescribed to me made me feel – consistent with their exceptionally toxic ‘side-effect profile’ warned against by their manufacturers.
I ask that you accept that my ‘patterns of decision making’ about my health in refusing to continue taking ARV drugs were not ‘foolish’, and that contrary to Drs Green’s and Brown’s insulting claims to the contrary, my decision to discontinue the drugs is entirely consistent with ‘rational decision making’ and with ‘acting in reliable and responsible ways’.
I ask you to accept that my decision is not evidence of a mentally ‘unstable process’, and that no proper basis exists for this outrageous false and abusive allegation.
I ask you to accept that I am clinically healthy and that I am at no foreseeable risk of suddenly falling sick.
I ask you to accept that no reasonable, defensible case has been made out to support the allegation that my decision to avoid ARVs will ‘jeopardise aviation safety’ in any manner.
I ask accordingly that you set aside Drs Green’s and Brown’s unfounded, ignorant, incompetent, and mistaken determinations against me, and that you grant me a medical certificate for the renewal of my pilot’s licence.
If issue is taken with any factual or scientific aspect of my review application, I trust you will afford me my right of reply.
In his response, Dr White side-stepped all of Black’s grounds of review, and confirmed the decision taken not to renew his flying licence on the novel basis that because he’s HIV positive there’s a risk he’ll go mad. (As Schiller observed, ‘Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.’)