Proving AIDS/Vaccine Link, Part 2

TRKeske trkeske at aol.com
Sun Jan 3 00:01:28 EST 1999


In the late 1970s, about 1000 gay men in New York city were
participants in an experimental hepatitis B vaccine trial. 
A few months later, the first known cases of AIDS were

About a year later, some 6700 gay men in the San Francisco
were guinea pigs in the same experiment.  Again, very
shortly after, the first cases of AIDS appeared in the city.

Dr. Paul O'Malley, the health investigator who headed up
the Merck/CDC hepatitis B study in San Francisco,
reported that of the first 24 AIDS cases in that city,
11 were from the vaccine trial [1]. 

Similarly, in New York, of the first 41 AIDS cases, some
25-50% were reported to be participants of the vaccine

Part 1 of this series showed that the statistical odds against
this high proportion of vaccine participants, by random
chance alone, is astronomical.  The overall probability came
to about 1.7 in 10^26 (10 followed by a string of 26 zeroes).

This figure is true EVEN IF the epidemic were assumed to be
natural, and even if you assume that AIDS was incubating
silently in the general population, long before it was discovered.

The estimate represents the odds of sexually promiscuous men
in the vaccine trial being so heavily represented in the
first AIDS cases, versus similarly active men in the general
gay populations in the same cities.

Actually, this figure is a significant underestimate, because it
limits the pool of possible first cases to the citizens of New
York and San Francisco.

It is not statistically interesting that the first AIDS cases should
have been in these cities, since they have the largest gay populations.

However, when you compute probabilities, you have to be very
careful to consider whether events under consideration are 
independent and of equal probability.

If you have a few black marbles in a jar with many white marbles,
you in general have a smaller chance of pulling a black marble
at random out of the jar.  If you dump in thousands more of white
marbles in the jar, the odds of pulling a black marble go down,

The question is, how large is the jar, and how many white marbles
are there?  In this case, the white marbles are sexually active gay
men who are not participants in the vaccine trials, and who would
have equal opportunity to be among the first AIDS cases.

What qualities make a gay man into an eligible candidate to have
been among the first AIDS cases?  

Obviously, sexual promiscuity is the primary quality.  Are gay men
in Chicago, Boston, Atlanta or Florida as promiscuous on average
as gay men in San Francisco or New York?   Probably, gay men in
most major urban centers do not differ, drastically.

If the conventional wisdom linking AIDS to Africa and Haiti are correct,
then vacationing or travel to these areas would be  a qualification.  Do
gay men in Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Florida, or any other major
city travel to these destinations less than gay men in San Francisco
or New York?  There is no obvious reason to suppose this to be true.

The very fact that AIDS tracked New York and San Francisco, where
the vaccine trials had been held, is thus a somewhat suspicious factor
in itself.

The real size of the jar not only the size of the entire United States, but of
major urban centers in the world.  The real number of white marbles is
the number of sexually active gay males in all major urban centers of
the world.

Rest assured, any remaining quibbling on the question is pure Devil's
advocacy, and should be regarded as probable, intentional propaganda
(a more kindly assessment than gross stupidity).

The statistical odds against the high proportion of vaccine trial
participants are beyond imagination.

This simple fact is the first tiny baby-step toward a realization.  We've
proven that there is beyond reasonable doubt a non-coincidental
relationship between the vaccines and the outbreak of AIDS.  But is
this relationship a causal relationship?

To answer this question, you try to look at every conceivable
explanation for the statistical connection, and debate each one
of them.  The number of credible explanations is not all that
overwhelming.  To date, the opposition in the debate have
offered only two possible explanations.

I've had several suggestions that the gay men in the vaccine trial
were simply getting more regular health check-ups, and thus their
HIV status was detected more readily.

It is obvious enough why this argument is bogus.  We are considering
the period of time when AIDS did not yet even have an agreed upon
name.  There was no diagnostic test for asymptomatic AIDS.  
You knew that you had the new disease only when its unique symptoms
became overwhelmingly obvious.

Most gay men, whether in the vaccine trials or not, would have had
about the same in ability to detect that they had the purple lesions of
Kaposi's sarcoma, and other such distinctive symptoms.

I also had the suggestion that the vaccine itself may have weakened
the immune system, and exposed a latent HIV infection more quickly.

To examine this possibility, you might ask what became of the vaccine
itself- was it put into use?  Where any changes made to its manufacture?
Where there any reports of health problems associated with vaccine?
How many people have received this same vaccine by now?

Inquiring minds, of which the gay community has had too few, would
want to know such things.

The answers that they would have received, had they inquired:

A great many people have received the same vaccine, by now. 
No significant, proven reports of health problems.  The CDC
vehemently denies that it causes any immune suppression, or
other side affects.

Does this exonerate the vaccine trials?  Quite the contrary, it
makes them much more suspicious.  It exonerates the vaccine
ITSELF.  Yet, the statistical link to the vaccine trials is
overwhelming.  What explains the paradox?

To quote the CDC, concerning the safety of the hepatitis vaccine [1]:

    "An historic report in 1994, published in the Institute of Medicine,
      National Academy of Sciences, reviewed in the medical literature
      for evidence that vaccines, including hepatitis B vaccine, can 
      cause a variety of immune and neurological health problems.
      An independent committee of physician experts concluded that
      there were no case controlled observational studies or controlled
      clinical trials conducted on hepatitis B vaccine either before or
      after licensure to scientifically evaluate persistent reports that
      hepatitis B vaccine can cause sudden infant death syndrome;
      Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) and other central demyelinating
      diseases including transverse myelitis, optic neuritis, and multiple
      sclerosis; and immune system dysfunction including chronic

In brief, the vaccine is supposedly as safe as cherry soda pop, and
has no ill effects on the immune system.    Therefore, it is unlikely
that it merely exposed latent HIV more quickly,  by taxing the 
immune system.  What else, then, might be the explanation?

The statistical correlation is so strong, the explanation might
also be expected to be something "strong".  We are not looking
at something subtle, something indirect, something vague.
There are no wimpy, half-baked explanations that are likely
to live up to the challenge of satisfying the statistical sledgehammer.

By Occam's Razor, the simplest explanation might be best: 
perhaps the vaccine was contaminated, either with HIV itself,
or with other, animal viruses.  Contamination would likely have been
in individual batches.

All other contending explanations are more than welcome for
examination and debate.  However, I do believe that the alternate 
explanations are already scraping bottom, with very little credibility.

More likely, the gay community is on the slow road to a major
revelation.  It is dragging its feet all the way, but not to worry- 
there are very determined people who will bear the burden of
dragging and carrying you to the realization.
Tom Keske
Boston, Mass.

[1] "Hepatitis B Disease and Vaccine Facts"

CORRECTION: in a previous post, I referred to "Don Cantwell", when
I meant to say "Alan Cantwell"- a gay doctor whose writings about AIDS
merit reading.  I crossed the wires with "Don Cantwell" because this was
the name of a former coworker of mine.

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