An adult film performer who was diagnosed HIV positive causing the whole porn industry to shut down in California has now re-tested and been diagnosed HIV negative. The multi-billion dollar industry can now breathe a huge sigh of relief and resume production. Another porn performer was diagnosed HIV positive late in 2010. Derrick Burts left the porn industry and became an advocate for the use of condoms in pornography. But these two stories ought to be thought-provoking for two reasons.
What should happen when public health issues arise, versus what actually did happen with AIDS
This issue goes to the heart of the problem with HIV/AIDS and really highlights the fundamental problem with medical science as a whole at present, especially with the regular threat of world-wide, life-threatening epidemics such as bird-flu, SARS, swine-flu, or next month's pandemic-du-jour.
What happens in principle is that some apparent pattern of ill-health amongst a number of people is noticed by health officials, which raises the question, "What could the cause of this be?" When a number of people who have something in common with each other (eg, they live in the same geographical area, work in the same place, have been part of a network of people among whom there may have been a sexual connection) get a similar set of symptoms, it suggests there may be some factor in the community that could be affecting multiple people simultaneously.
HIV test designer Dr Rodney Richards and cell biologist Dr Andrew Maniotis are two of Dr Jonas Moses guests in this special report on public health policy. Debating also is guest Audrey Serrano who recently won $2.5m for incorrect diagnosis as HIV+, and for the pain and distress she suffered as a result for taking unnecessary and debilitating AIDS drugs and having her daughter taken away, from which she is still recovering.
Rodney Richards and Andrew Maniotis reveal a few of the substantial - and shocking - fundamental flaws in testing for HIV and other diseases and their ramifications for both individuals and publich health policy.
Have you ever been diagnosed HIV positive at one point, yet later on decided to have another test and found you were diagnosed HIV negative instead? Have you been told that it couldn't happen, or that it is 'extremely rare', or that 'your first positive diagnosis must have been wrong'?
People are led to believe that HIV tests are reliable in that they reliably detect HIV and that there are rarely ever any false positives. And so, even though you may be dutifully getting tested regularly as the doctors want, especially if you are a gay man, AS SOON AS you get one positive diagnosis - testing stops. You may be told there is no point in doing any more because, " That's it: You've got it for life."
The short answer is “Yes”. The longer answer is “Yes, but…”, and the ideal answer is "No". Basically we recommned HIV test avoidance completely, but we recognise that for psychological reasons it is not always possible.
Let me clarify. Firstly, I’m going to challenge the assertion that anyone is definitely HIV+. Essentially the reason for this is that the notion that HIV tests are accurate is absolutely risible, and the evidence for this is not only in HIV test kit literature, it is voluminous in medical literature too. There are so many other factors that can cause repeatedly positive diagnoses on HIV tests, which include ‘poorly understood cross-reactions in healthy people’ (from an HIV test kit documentation) that everyone should consider their HIV positive diagnosis suspect at the very least.