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Thursday, February 18, 2016

After covering up the CFS relationship to AIDS for over three decades.

The CDC calls Chronic Fatigue Syndrome "a devastating disorder."

 How Dan Peterson's Friend Mary Guinan Helped the CDC Corrupt the Hard Drive of AIDS and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Research

     Historians who want to trace the series of missteps that led to the HHV-6 pandemic and Holocaust II may benefit from taking a close look at a little known researcher at the CDC who played a curious role in both of the supposedly separate AIDS and chronic fatigue syndrome epidemics. Her surprising inability to see an obvious link between the two syndromes may be one of the important seeds of the whole HHV-6 disaster. She is mentioned in both the Shilts history of the early AIDS epidemic and Hillary Johnson’s journalistic account of the CDC’s bungling of the epidemic of facetiously-labeled chronic fatigue syndrome.
     According to Shilts, Mary Guinan worked for James Curran in the CDC’s venereal disease division. She was the person who sent James Curran the first ill-fated report on the first cases of what would eventually be called “AIDS” in “homosexuals.” With fellow VD chasers Harrold Jaffee and Curran, she shared the CDC AIDS Task Force’s  preoccupation with venereal diseases epidemiology. She helped impose the CDC heterosexist venereal groupthink on the emerging data of what would eventually be gayified epidemiologically into “Gay Related Immunodeficiency (GRID).”
     Ironically, considering what turned out to be the role of HHV-6 in AIDS, Shilts reported that in 1981, “on a hunch, Guinan called a drug company that manufactured medicine for severe herpes infections. They told her about a New York City doctor who had been seeing . . . dreadful herpes infections in gay men.” (ATBPO p.72) Shilts wrote that “Guinan was shaken by her investigation. She was accustomed to dealing with venereal diseases, ailments for which you receive an injection and are cured. This was different. She couldn’t get the idea out of her head: There’s something out there that’s killing people. That was when Mary Guinan hoped against hope that they would find something environmental to link these cases together. God help us, she thought, if there’s a new contagion spreading such death.” (ATBPO p.72) One way that God certainly wasn’t helping was by having a VD-obsessed doctor and her colleagues trying to comprehend a pandemic that wasn’t, strictly speaking, venereal.
     In Shilts’s account of Guinan, seeing the epidemic through gay-obsessed lenses was a given. He wrote about one of her days in 1981: “It had been another typical day of gay cancer studies for Mary Guinan. She had wakened at 6 a.m to breakfast with gay doctors and community leaders and asked again and again, ‘What’s new in the community?’ What new element might have sparked this catastrophe.” (ATBPO p.82) It was just gay, gay, gay—24/7—for the AIDS Task Force. They simply couldn’t wash the gay out of their hair. It was one of those times when every gay person should have checked to see whether they still had their wallets. Someone was about to sell them a gay epidemiological bridge.
     As Shilts sympathetically presents Guinan, he inadvertently nails the whole CDC psychological and sociological bias problem: “Guinan felt helpless and frightened. This was the meanest disease she had ever encountered. She strained to consider every possible nuance of these peoples’ lives.” (ATBPO p.83) What she really meant was gay nuances of gay lives. It is supremely ironic that Shilts wrote, “The CDC, she knew, needed to work every hypothesis imaginable into the case-control study.” (ATBPO p.83) Every hypothesis imaginable? Not by a long shot. How about the hypothesis that these cases were just extreme versions of the DuBois 1980 Atlanta cases that the CDC had been informed about? The un-gay cases.
     The process of identifying the emergence of the epidemic in nongay drug users, as described in Shilts’s book, makes it clear how gaycentric the thinking of the pioneers of the AIDS epidemiological paradigm was: “At the CDC there was a reluctance to believe that intravenous drug users might be wrapped into the epidemic, and the New York physicians also seemed obsessed with the gay angle, Guinan thought. ‘He’s said he’s not homosexual but he must be,’ doctors would confide in her.” (ATBPO p.83) Everybody was becoming an expert on gayness in those days. Given the reluctance to even see connections in those cases of nongay drug-using outcasts, it should come as no surprise when years later anyone saw the obvious connections between the epidemics of AIDS and chronic fatigue syndrome they were treated like they were strictly out to lunch. The AIDS paradigm was fatefully and messily intertwined with all the psychological baggage of sexual titillation and repulsion. If the CDC was unprepared psychologically to see drug users “wrapped into the epidemic,” how about all the good clean living white heterosexuals with the AIDS-like permutations of the immune system that characterize chronic fatigue syndrome?
     Guinan’s San Francisco trip with Harold Jaffe to interview AIDS patients and heterosexual controls also revealed the CDC mindset: “The CDC staffers could tell gay from straight controls by the way they reacted to the questions about every aspect of their intimate sexual lives. Heterosexuals seemed offended at queries about the preferred sexual techniques, while gay interviewees chatted endlessly about them.” (ATBPO p.96) Oh those gays! A herd of chatty Cathies if ever there was one. Given the bias-laden epidemiology that this chattiness was about to imprison the gay community in, one is tempted to say that loose gay lips sank a proverbial legion of gay ships. If one were watching this on a screen in a movie theater, one would want to scream out to the clueless gay interviewees for their own sake, “For Heaven’s sake, shut up!”
     Guinan was one of the CDC researchers credited by Shilts with recognizing that hemophiliacs and blood transfusion recipients might ultimately also become victims of “gay pneumonia.” She also was one of the first to worry about the AIDS infection possibilities of “semen depositors.” (ATBPO p.132) Guinan cast a wide net: “No sooner had she convinced the CDC that intravenous drug users were indeed a category of GRID cases separate from gay men, then her field of investigations discovered the first reported GRID cases among prisoners and prostitutes.” (ATBPO p.132) Unfortunately epidemiological net wasn’t wide enough to catch the 1980 DuBois Atlanta Cases of immune dysfunction. Also unfortunately for her, she helped create the very consequential epidemiological urban myth of Patient Zero. She was the first person to come in contact with Gaetan Dugas the so-called gay Typhoid Mary who the CDC would turn into the “Patient Zero” or more appropriately, “Scapegoat Zero,” of the epidemic depending on your point of view. He would become an icon for all the venereal gaycentric thinking down at the CDC.
     In one of those amazing moments in Holocaust II in which a scientist comes so face-to-face with the truth but fails to see what is right before their eyes, Shilts reports that when Guinan was studying drug users, “blood sampling of the intravenous drug users also revealed that, although many were infected with cytomegalovirus, the viral strains were all different. This was strong evidence that the herpes virus had not developed some new virulent strain. No single strain emerged, lending further weight to Don Francis’s hypothesis that a new virus, not CMV was a work.” (ATBPO p.133) The CDC, in retrospect, was most likely eyeballing strains of an undiscovered virus that would be called HBLV when Gallo’s scientists supposedly “discovered” it in 1986. It was subsequently named HHV-6. In retrospect it is pretty obvious that the CDC was looking at HHV-6 but thinking it was only CMV. (And those who wanted to see a retrovirus would have been especially predisposed not to see a new DNA virus like HBLV/HHV-6.)
     It is interesting and perhaps revealing that Guinan and her colleagues could deal with the fact that the disease or syndrome manifested itself differently in gay men and drug users—presumably for reasons that would ultimately be figured out. But God forbid that anyone would subsequently suggest that even though there were differences in the manifestations of chronic fatigue syndrome and AIDS that they were essentially manifestations of the same agent and the same pandemic. Distinctions were not turned into differences where drug users and gays were concerned, but where the gays with AIDS and the middle-class straights with chronic fatigue syndrome were concerned, every distinction,—even the teeny-tiniest or most irrelevant kind—was immediately considered a dramatic how-dare-you-compare-these-apples-and-oranges difference. Such bogus thinking would be at the heart of the “chronic fatigue syndrome is not AIDS” paradigm which would guide public health through the next three decades.
     For all her good work Guinan was eventually rewarded with the position of assistant CDC director. Unfortunately for all the victims of HHV-6, what she did do at the CDC didn’t have as much impact on the well being of the world as what she did not do. It was Guinan in 1985 who got a call from Dan Peterson, a former colleague and one of the two doctors who are credited with recognizing an outbreak of the absurdly named “chronic fatigue syndrome” in their Lake Tahoe practice. According to Hillary Johnson, “The two had become friends during a shared stint at the at the University of Utah hospital in Salt lake City in 1976.” (OW p.31) Also, according to Johnson, “Peterson had frequently sought her counsel on different infectious disease cases; he had also struck her as a gifted diagnostician.’ (OW. P.31)
     Johnson reported that “Guinan listened as her former colleague described his Tahoe patients, her curiosity aroused by the possibility that this ailment, which three recent medical papers had described, was occurring in epidemic form. Previously, researchers had described it as a sporadic illness. She remembered too, that Atlanta clinician Richard DuBois had made a presentation to agency staff on the malady early in 1983, even proposing that the new mono-like syndrome might be a second epidemic of immune dysfunction rising concurrently with AIDS.” (OW p.31)
     Did this lead Guinan serendipitously into a more complicated epidemiological vision of a variable epidemic that included both what was called “AIDS” and “chronic fatigue syndrome”? Not on your life. These first CFS patients were not gay and not drug users. They were from medical practices that could be described as being devoted to folks who ride in the middle and front part of society’s bus. Such stark social differences would make it of no consequence or interest that study after study would show one immunological and neurological similarity after another between AIDS and chronic fatigue syndrome. Guinan had helped build a paradigm that was so gay, gay, gay and so socially radioactive that the links between AIDS and CFS would be willfully ignored, buried alive by denial, and through a kind of determined public health radio silence, for all intents and purposes, be covered-up big time.
     Ignoring the obvious, Guinan sent the future “CFS” patients of America on one of the greatest medical wild goose chases in history. According to Johnson, she passed the Peterson cases on to Larry Shonberger, chief of the CDC’s epidemiology within the Division of Viral and Ricketsial Diseases. Not surprisingly, Johnson reports that “Schonberger and his staff of epidemiologists had a mandate to monitor and occasionally investigate outbreaks of viral diseases, with the exception of AIDS, which by 1985 had been awarded a separate division and staff and more than half of the federal agency’s entire annual research budget.” (OW p.32) And so, because of Guinan’s phone call and her very questionable judgment, CFS research headed down exactly the wrong road
     Had Guinan wisely directed the Lake Tahoe cases in the direction of the CDC’s AIDS division back in 1985, there was still a chance that the political and medical apartheid of the “chronic fatigue syndrome is not AIDS’ paradigm and Holocaust II might not have been able to fully materialize. But AIDS had been so gayified and turned into such a sexual bogeyman and scarlet letter syndrome, that Guinan and everyone else at the CDC couldn’t for the life of them admit that average (i.e. heterosexual) Americans were coming down with any similar or related form of acquired immunodeficiency. Instead those people were given the whitewash of a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. Those good country people, to borrow a term from Flannery O’Connor, couldn’t in a million years be suffering from something that had at one time or another been called Gay Cancer, Gay Pneumonia, and Gay Related Immunodeficiency. After all, they weren’t gay.

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More evidence Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and AIDS are part of the same epidemic?

A Preliminary Comparative Assessment of the Role of CD8+ T Cells in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Multiple Sclerosis
"HIV disrupts proper CD8+ T-cell signaling"

Thought for the Day, February 18, 2016

Three Big Books

Two books on amazon

Everyone needs to know what the CDC is hiding about CFS and HHV-6. NEW YORK NATIVE contains both volumes of THE CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME EPIDEMIC COVER-UP. The print version is $23. Only $7.98 in Kindle.

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