This is (maybe!) the final in a long line of letters for an interview process by Village Voice reporter, Elizabeth Dwoskin, who says we can read her story today.
From Elizabeth Dwoskin, Village Voice, to Liam Scheff; subject: “deadline question”; sent 3/30/2009, received 3/31/2009
I am going to press tomorrow. You have asked me to submit correspondence in writing. I’d like to know, looking back, how you feel your work has been considered by the public and by the press. Has it had the effect you hoped it would have?
The Village Voice
Liam Scheff to Elizabeth Dwoskin, 3/31/2009
No, not really. What do the kids have? What have they been given? Has anybody offered to help any of them? Their bodies were used in medical experiments, while they were children – while they were Orphans. This is the United States, no? We believe in capitalism, so we say. We should at least PAY these people for their time. And for those who live with permanent scars from the studies? And those who died? Nothing, nothing to their families, nothing. We give not a penny, and not a damn.
On the other hand, we have Bill Gates, Bono and Oprah raising and spending millions and billions for projects in Africa, that result primarily not in the creation of clean-water wells, or infrastructure development, but in sex-projects, in experimental circumcision of black men (NY Times), and testing of pregnant women with Nevirapine, while hiding the negative results, and burying the bodies (FoxNews), or in more invasive studies into the sex lives of Africans, which yield zero results, and actually increase the number of people given the HIV positive diagnosis:
(MedPageToday “Two major clinical trials of a compound called Ushercell (cellulose sulfate) were halted yesterday after a data review in one of them showed the compound increased the risk of HIV infection, rather than reducing it.”).
Am I pleased? You’ve got to be kidding me. Everybody who has defended using orphaned children in these trials – Columbia Presbyterian, the NIH, Glaxo, Pfizer, Genentech, the New York Times, now, having used their bodies without their permission to test very serious drugs, with many many of them dead, what are you going to do for these kids, for their families?
Nothing. They’re just worried about, what, whether everybody has the same lockstep belief system regarding the diagnosis. That’s been the primary concern of those whose work this is, to make sure that we’re all on the same page about the ‘life-saving’ nature of the drugs, the polyreactive HIV tests, and the overly abusive AIDS diagnosis – and that we don’t bother ourselves to really think about it as critically as we’d think about any other scandal, about the Iraq war, about AIG or Enron. We’re not supposed to think about it. We’re not permitted in polite company to be critical of the AIDS industry.
These kids are nothing but collateral damage in a business plan for them. If it weren’t so, they’d be paying them, seeking them out, reimbursing them, the way that you or I would get paid to volunteer for a drug trial.
Meanwhile, after patting themselves on the back for doing such a good job (despite the fact that some 200 of these children are now dead), does anybody bother to publish that these drugs (HAART) given to pregnant women actually increase rates of premature birth, sickness and death in the children who take them?
Investigators from the European Collaborative Study noted a “worrying” increase in severe pregnancy-related adverse events in HIV-positive women taking HAART, including the death of their babies during the early weeks of life and described adverse outcomes during pregnancy amongst women taking HAART. AIDSMap
But, I guess we’re still supposed to say, “life-saving drugs” and not ask if we could be doing a damn thing to improve this situation…
So say the AIDS police.
[ps] And this information is not new:
Conclusions: HIV infection treated with HAART prior to pregnancy was associated with a significantly higher risk for pre-eclampsia and fetal death. [Article]
. . . . . .
“The probability of developing severe disease at 3 years of life was significantly higher in children born to ZDV+ [Zidovudine, AZT treated] mothers than in those born to ZDV- [no AZT] mothers…The same pattern was observed for severe immune suppression…
Finally, survival probability was lower in children born to ZDV+ [AZT treated] mothers compared with children born to ZDV- [no AZT] mothers. “
Rapid disease progression in HIV-1 perinatally infected children born to mothers receiving zidovudine monotherapy during pregnancy. AIDS. 13(8):927-933, May 28, 1999.
. . . . . .
“Children of study women who were prescribed ZDV [Zidovudine, AZT] had increased adjusted odds of any anomaly…[T]he lack of data on potential adverse effects of this therapy is still a concern….
Babies whose mothers had ZDV [AZT] exposure during pregnancy had a greater incidence of major malformations than those whose mothers did not. “
Newschaffer CJ et al. Prenatal Zidovudine Use and Congenital Anomalies in a Medicaid Population. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2000 Jul 1; 24(3): 249-256.
. . . . . .
“The study cohort included 92 HIV-1-infected and 439 uninfected children…Antiretroviral therapy (nonprotease inhibitor) was independently associated with FTT [Failure to Thrive] in our cohort…
ZDV [Zidovudine, AZT], in particular, alters mitochondrial metabolism and may have direct nutritional effects “
Miller TL et al. Maternal and infant factors associated with failure to thrive in children with vertically transmitted Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 infection: the prospective, P2C2 Human Immunodeficiency Virus Multicenter study. Pediatrics. 2001 Dec; 108(6): 1287-96.
Taking HAART during pregnancy is associated with premature delivery, according to European data published in the November 18th edition of AIDS. The investigators also found that the initiation of HAART before pregnancy was particularly associated with premature delivery and that infants born prematurely had a high mortality rate.
These findings echo those of a UK study presented to the Seventh International Congress on Drug Therapy in HIV Infection in Glasgow last month.
Increasing numbers of HIV-positive women are taking HAART during pregnancy both to protect their own health and to prevent mother-to-baby transmission of HIV. Investigators from the European Collaborative Study noted a “worrying” increase in severe pregnancy-related adverse events in HIV-positive women taking HAART, including the death of their babies during the early weeks of life and described adverse outcomes during pregnancy amongst women taking HAART. […]
From 1986 to the end of April 2004, a total of 4372 live births were recorded by the investigators. Overall, 19% of births were premature, but the investigators noted that the percentage of premature births increased significantly with the use of HAART during pregnancy (from 16% in the period of analysis ending in 1989 to 25% in 2004, trend p < 0.002). The investigators also noted a similar trend in the prevalence of low or very low birth weight babies.
A total of 66% of deliveries were by elective caesarean section at week 38 of pregnancy. However, the investigators noted that there was a trend for more emergency caesarean or vaginal deliveries to be performed since HAART became available during pregnancy (p < 0.002).
Women taking HAART were significantly more likely to give birth prematurely than women taking AZT monotherapy (26% versus 17%, p < 0 .002). In both univariate and multivariate analysis HAART during pregnancy, particularly if initiated before pregnancy was highly predictive of premature delivery.
. . . . . .