Is Dean Esmay Dishonest? or Just Ignorant?
|Here he is repeating a lie told by Hank Barnes:|
The original lie, told by Hank, is about a study in the Lancet :
HIV treatment response and prognosis in Europe and North America in the first decade of highly active antiretroviral therapy: a collaborative analysisWhich shows that even though improvements to HAART have continued to decrease HIV viral load and increase CD4+ T-cell counts over the past ten years. There has not been a corresponding reduction in deaths or progression to AIDS during the first 1 year of treatment.
It doesn't say anything about lifespan, indeed it would be very difficult to learn anything about lifespan in a study that followed patients for --wait for it-- ONLY a single year!
Despite Dean's ignorant assertion: "HAART is a failure, in other words.", the graph below shows an example of the effect Haart has had in decreasing death from AIDS.
(UPDATE: The graph actually comes from this paper, the above URL is for an earlier paper with a similar figure by the same first author.)
Hank Barnes' take on the paper is far more dishonest and is precisely the sort of quote mining and slanted coverage, ignoring the main facts in order to prop up a failing agenda, that can be expected of Intelligent Design Creationists and other "deniers" of reality.
"In short, T-4 cells increased, viral load decreased -- but patients did not live any longer as a result of these wonderous drugs."
No Hank, the drugs do increase lifespan versus placebo, even in the first year of treatment. Even AZT monotherapy does that, and HAART is a vast improvement over AZT alone.
(Click to enlarge.)What the Lancet study showed was that deaths in the first year were not further reduced during the past ten years as refinements to HAART continued to decrease viral load and increase CD4+ T cell counts.
(Update: Graph is from figure 2 of:
Interestingly, neither Hank nor Dean mention these facts from the study:
"The proportion of heterosexually infected patients increased from 20% in 1995–96 to 47% in 2002–03, and the proportion of women from 16% to 32%."Perhaps because they're both rather fond of the erroneous contentions that:
1. HIV cannot be transmitted by heterosexual sex, and
2. That HIV cannot be a sexually transmissable disease because there are more men than women infected.
Number one is of course an abject lie or base stupidity depending on who is saying it.
Number two is simply an erroneous conclusion based on an improper understanding of what a founder effect is, and how that could lead to an increased number of males infected when HIV was first introduced to the male homosexual population in North America and Europe.
I fully expect Dean to accuse me of ad hominem attacks. Please note, I am not saying you should disregard what Dean says because he is ignorant, I am saying you should disregard what Dean says about HIV/AIDS because what he says is wrong! He's wrong because he's ignorant of what the Lancet study actually says.
I believe Dean's ignorance in this case is because of his reliance on Hank, so I've sent him a copy of the paper. No response, no retraction of his earlier statements, will mean a check mark in the dishonest category for Dean in my book.
UPDATE: I'm sorry Dean, was that a yes to both questions?
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