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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 18, 2005 / 16 Mar-Cheshvan, 5766

African AIDS: A Phantom Epidemic?

By Drs. Michael A. Glueck & Robert J. Cihak

The Medicine Men
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Your Medicine Men find the AIDS-in-Africa story very difficult to sort out. This should not be surprising, since no one else has sorted it out, either.


Social and political factors complicate the situation; reliable information is rare.


But it is possible to suggest not only that the AIDS "epidemic" is vastly overstated and overrated, but also that resources spent fighting it might better be employed on more basic, and more general, infrastructure and health needs. This is not to deny the reality or the tragedy of this disease or the many other diseases rampant in poor parts of Africa. It is to point out that, when medical realities collide with scaremongering and false realities, the latter too often triumph.


Even today, the cause for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS or HIV/AIDS) remains controversial.


Most HIV/AIDS diagnoses are not based on identifying the HIV virus itself but by finding an antibody to the virus in the bloodstream. The virus does not seem to directly damage many cells but is thought to impede immune system function.


Some scientists find that other physiological insults, such as overwhelming and repeated infections from contaminated IV needles used by drug abusers and from homosexual sexual activity, overwhelm and weaken the immune system, and cause most AIDS cases.


On top of these controversies, the criteria for diagnosing AIDS have changed three or four times. And each time the criteria change, the number of people qualifying for the diagnosis increases.


In the past, a person might have HIV antibodies and tuberculosis; nowadays, this counts as HIV/AIDS, as do dozens of other combinations of signs and symptoms. These changing criteria result in higher numbers of people being diagnosed with AIDS with each change in the criteria, creating an epidemic of diagnostic "grade inflation."


In this country, homosexual sex and the use of contaminated hypodermic needles are the most common routes for spread of the HIV virus, with the mix of transmission paths also remaining controversial. In the developed world, health statistics derive from professional practice and sophisticated sampling techniques.


In Africa, poverty, distance and isolation make accurate, continent-wide diagnosis and statistics impossible. As a result, most health and population statistics are estimates or guesses, often driven by political and cultural agendas and always driven by the need to generate more outside funding from wealthier regions of the world. Thus, the severity of just about everything gets "oversold."


This is especially true for AIDS. Proper diagnosis can require trained medical people, medical history, physical examination, blood tests and sophisticated facilities. These are rare in most parts of Africa, and few Africans can afford this level of medical care even where it is available.


AIDS information is also difficult to assess because the definition of AIDS is different in Africa. Indeed, blood test results don't even figure in the official diagnostic criteria.


It's all done on "points" defined at the "AIDS in Africa" meeting in Bangui in October 1985. This meeting resulted in a U.N. document (Bangui1985report.pdf) that described Africa as a continent "where adequate laboratory facilities are often lacking." Because of this lack, the meeting participants concluded that AIDS in Africa could be diagnosed without a blood test by scoring 12 points out of a possible total of 50, based on symptoms and signs alone.


People having the first three (10 percent weight lost, protracted asthenia [weakness] and repeated attacks of fever for more than a month) have already racked up a score of 11. A cough scores two more points, and "the diagnosis of AIDS is established."


Many other non-specific signs are worth points, such as diarrhea, lung disease, signs consistent with herpes virus infections, generalized lymph node enlargement and "neurological signs." In other words, many Africans diagnosed with AIDS would not carry the diagnosis in the developed world. And many people have these qualifying symptoms from the many other diseases prevalent in poor regions.


Scientists have done some studies including blood tests. These have limited value because many of the needles used are already contaminated. In the U.S., almost all injection needles are discarded after a single use. In parts of Africa, needles are often re-used in medical clinics without thorough cleaning (much less sterilization) between uses.


Also, because of popular distrust of government clinics, many needles are used at home, where they're even less likely to be sterilized between uses. Indeed, according to the article "Mounting Anomalies in the Epidemiology of HIV in Africa: Cry the Beloved Paradigm," in the March 2003 International Journal of STD and AIDS, contact with contaminated blood via needles and transfusions, and not sex, may well be the primary infection route for two-thirds of the HIV infections.


But if it is impossible to determine the extent of the epidemic, it should be easy to tell whether AIDS has, as predicted, "decimated" sub-Saharan Africa. Clearly, this has not happened. Sub-Saharan Africa's population is estimated to have increased by 73 percent over the last two decades, to 752 million (according to the Population Reference Bureau's 2005 World Population Data Sheet at http://www.prb.org/pdf05/05WorldDataSheet_Eng.pdf) from 434 million in 1985 (according to the U.N. Population Division, as reported by Tom Bethell in "The American Spectator," October 2005).


In another analysis, South Africa's population continues to grow at a rate most consistent with "no AIDS" projections. In other words, predictions based on the hypothesis that AIDS kills have not come true.


But even if these population estimates are way off, one implication is clear. Committing resources to fight a non-existent epidemic makes no sense, except to those making a living off the funds generated by the scares. Resources fighting phantom epidemics can't be used to improve basic sanitation and nutrition, the foundations of health.


In sum, it is quite possible that fighting AIDS as the scaremongers desire would kill and sicken more people than AIDS treatment would save.



Editor's Note: Robert J. Cihak submitted this week's comment.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., is a multiple award winning writer who comments on medical-legal issues. Robert J. Cihak, M.D., is a Discovery Institute Senior Fellow and a past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Both JWR contributors are Harvard trained diagnostic radiologists. Comment by clicking here.

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