I read about AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) for the first time in 1983 in one of the many medical journals. The illness had just been renamed from GRID (= Gay Related Immune Deficiency Syndrome).
It was supposed to be a new illness that spreads among homosexual men and that very quickly leads to death. The search for a new virus was mentioned. They claimed that the illnesses could not be explained differently.
It surprised me that the first five AIDS patients in the USA, from whom the disease was formulated, did not know each other. Thus at first there was no clue for a sexually transmissible illness, but rather for me the question of lifestyle arose.
What was there in common with homosexuals that could be responsible for the disease process?
Peculiar Blood Values
Since I also worked as an occupational health specialist with the German airline Lufthansa since 1975, I had an overview of a large number of blood test results with homosexuals. (Actually a series of the first AIDS patients in Germany were employed by Lufthansa.) Already in the 1970’s I had noticed that an extremely low total leucocyte count frequently occurred in the male flight personnel. I held professional stress and the frequent time-lags responsible for it. Later I heard that it was already known in the 1970’s that frequent passive anal sex has immune suppressive effects. They were of the opinion that the immune system of the receptive partner must grapple with the sperm as a foreign protein every time which can lead to a reduction of the leucocytes. (Continuing immunological examinations of the leucocytes or rather the lymphocyte differentiation were only carried out later in the 1980’s. It was only possible to quantitatively measure the sub-groups of lymphocytes, for example different T-cells, after the monoclonal antibodies were discovered.)
Moreover it was well known that higher contamination was produced among homosexuals with known sexually transmissible diseases, such as Syphilis and Herpes illnesses. Above all the Herpes virus played a large role in all Cytomegalovirus (CMV). Much was reported about that in the 1970’s. In particular, they suspected that the Cytomegalovirus was a cause for Kaposi Sarcoma (malignant vascular tumor under the skin).
Then I heard about the so called promiscuous homosexuals with many different partners per evening, and it was quickly clear to me that a man cannot accomplish the above mentioned number of sexual contacts without sexually stimulative drugs.
Gallo’s Virus Myth
On April 23, 1983 Dr. Robert Gallo announced in a press conference that he had discovered a new virus – HTLVIII, later called HIV – which would destroy the T4 cells and thus was responsible for the AIDS illness. In the history of medicine there has never before been a case where a researcher publicly announced his results before he had published his work about it in a scientific journal.
Already on the same day – as was later established – Gallo had submitted everything for future HIV Tests to the Patent Office. A continuous T4 cell drop had been noticeable with AIDS patients. For test possibilities, they defined the disease AIDS: Either a PCP (= Pneuymocystis carinii Pneumonia, a special lung inflammation) or the previously mentioned Kaposi Sarcoma (KS – a special tumor of the skin), or both together plus a positive HIV test.
On the basis of that test, the groups of drug addicts and of hemophiliacs were quite quickly added to the risk group along with homosexuals. There was a publication at the time about the hemophiliac patients, which represented a well documented group because of their illness. The patients were affected by over 80%, while the investigation of the blood donors showed that they were affected only to 0.01%. I immediately noticed the discrepancy of the percentage distribution.
All facts known to me at that time collected together were sufficient for me as an explanation for the individual cases of AIDS. I did not need a new virus to explain the illnesses to me. From the official numbers I could not recognize an epidemic-like propagation of AIDS.
However of course I also had to believe that he had discovered a new virus, since I simply could not say ‘this is not correct’. At that point in time I did not have sufficient understanding of how one recognizes a new virus and how it is isolated. I only had more experience with that at the end of the 1980’s and beginning of the 1990’s. But more about that later – how did it continue chronologically?
In Frankfurt University hospital in the mid-1980’s a small working group of physicians was formed who were interested in the AIDS illness. The working group was led by Prof. Eilke Helm. In the first two years between four and five registered doctors in private practice took part. For me there was one crucial question that nobody could answer at the time.
It was stated that the new virus destroys the T4 helper cells. I did extensive laboratory tests with all my patients but what stood out for me was that AIDS patients in electrophoresis (a standard protein examination in internal medicine) had a very high, in some cases extreme number of gamma globulins (also called immune globulins or immune antibodies).
Now I still remembered the little bit that I had learned about immunology for my 1972 state examination. At that time they still knew very little about the immune system. However I remembered why the T4 cells are called helper cells – because they help the B cells to produce plasma cells, and then the gamma globulins (immune globulins or immune antibodies). How could it be that just the patients who have a loss of T4 helper cells (and I had patients with zero T4 cells who were fully able to work!) have such extremely high gamma globulins. I have never seen as high with any disease, namely more than 35-40, even 45 percent, instead of the normal 18 percent?
Actually they already would have had to find out, at that time, what only appeared in experiments many years later: That the T4 cells were not destroyed, but rather that they had migrated out of the blood and are therefore no longer measurable in the blood.
However the first research on this subject was only carried out at the end of the 1980’s and was published at the beginning of the 1990’s. They found out that there is not just one kind of T4 cells, but two kinds, the Th1 and the Th2 cells. They also found out that HIV/AIDS patients have a shift in the balance of Th1/Th2 cells, namely in the direction of Th2 – that means that they have a lack of Th1 and the Th2 even increases. However, these Th2 cells migrate out of the blood to where they can carry out their tasks, namely into the lymph vessels and into the lymph nodes for assistance to the B cells with production of the gamma globulins.
With this knowledge the mystery is solved. They did not need a new virus to explain the T4 cell reduction. As now noted they were not destroyed either, but rather only migrated from the blood into the lymphatic tissue. This then also explained the lymph node swelling typical with HIV/AIDS patients. In this way chronic, difficult to stop inflammations subside.
Now it also became clear why the official “Combo Therapy” [multidrug therapy] (that has a cytostatic effect) often – not always – results that the T4 cells increase in the blood and the lymph node swellings decrease. The “Combo Therapy” suppresses the inflammation processes in the periphery; the T4 cells again migrate back into the blood and again become measurable.
The newest work in recent years also proves that these T4 cells from the blood are in no way a question of newly produced T4 cells. The proof that it is a matter of old T4 cells which could not have been destroyed has been published in recent years. Why do they nevertheless stick to the virus theory? To this day nobody can yet show how HIV destroys the T4 cells.