Migration, Remittances & Foreign Aid Keep Corrupt Leaders in Power
Many people are encouraged and sometimes paid and helped to leave their countries by their governments. Removal of unemployed potential trouble makers is beneficial to the government in power. It is a kind of safety valve, ensuring continuation of corrupt government power that might otherwise be challenged.
Developing countries profit from emigration in two ways. First, unemployed citizens that leave the country lift the burden of providing for them and eliminates a source of civil unrest or political challenges. Secondly, the economies of poor countries benefit from remittances, i.e. money sent back to families in their home countries. Some countries depend on these remittances to prop up their economies. For example, in 2016 Mexico officially received $26.1 billion in remittances sent back to families by Mexican immigrants, mostly from the United States. That’s roughly 2.5 percent of Mexico’s GDP, which is a significant contribution to the country’s economy. Because this is an estimate with no way of knowing the exact amount, it may be much higher.
Remittances account for a significant part of the GDP of some developing countries in Africa. See values from World Bank/IMF, in the table below. As expected, the neediest countries receive the most remittances as a % of GDP. Although Nigeria is on the low side as a % of GDP, it is the most populous with comparably higher GDP, so that the actual amount is quite high.
Remittances as % of GDP
Source: “Where to Invest 2018,” Rand Merchant Bank, from World Bank/ IMF data
The Foreign Aid Trap
Government to government foreign aid with little or no accountability is also a part of this picture. Very little of the foreign aid actually gets to the people who need it, much less to infrastructure building that can encourage investment and raise standards of living and health. Leaders get rich while their people remain in poverty, sickness, ignorance and isolation. Corrupt dictators and their regimes benefit from keeping their countries poor. As long as the people are needy, the aid keeps coming. Corrupt governments are only accountable to their international donors, not to the people. Raising the economy and standard of living has the opposite effect. Any foreign aid should be temporary or emergency relief with strict accountability for its use. Without unaccountable foreign aid, governments would be dependent on their tax base and accountable to their people. They would be forced to encourage investment, develop infrastructure and contribute to economic development. In this case, raising standards of living and the economy boost the government’s income.
Additionally, poor countries have been prevented from developing by UN, advocacy groups and their own corrupt leaders. What these countries need are Infrastructure, (roads, reliable electricity, etc.), Investment (foreign and domestic), Employment, Education and Disease Control.
Natural and Artificial Migration
What is the reason for much of the new waves of migration flooding Europe and the United States? Are conditions getting that much worse in their home countries than previously, or is there another answer? According to open borders believers, it is because overpopulation is getting so bad. I have heard the refrain, “they are escaping from overpopulated countries because they have no place else to go.” That is pure rubbish aka propaganda. This myth is pushed by the United Nations and advocacy groups promoting a worldwide campaign for population control and open borders. The world is far from overpopulated by any definition, whether it is food scarcity or room for the people. Hunger usually has more to do with politics than anything else.
It is important to point out that there are two types of immigration, Illegal or unauthorized, and legal or sanctioned by receiving countries. Sending countries have historically been allowed by receiving countries to send people at a reasonable rate that allows for absorption with minimal cultural disruption. Strict guidelines have always required good health, no criminal record and evidence of self-support or a sponsor.
While a trickle of unauthorized migration with no supporting documentation has always happened, the current flood of unauthorized immigrants is a fairly new phenomenon. In many cases it is more like an invasion, complete with militant behavior, than simple migration. The flood is composed mostly of young, able bodied men, with only a few women and children. Poverty, overpopulation and violence, in the form of wars and civil unrest, are three of the “reasons,” aka excuses, given for the flood. However, these causes cannot explain the huge increase in numbers because there has been little or no change in the amount of distress in the world. What could have caused this sudden onslaught?
While some migrants are fleeing from violence in war torn areas, most are not, and they certainly are not displaced by the supposed struggling hordes of overpopulation. The image projected by pictures of overcrowded city slums is of wallowing masses of destitute people. That is certainly not the case for most of the world. Most of the people in poor countries are concentrated in cities for job opportunities, not because there is nowhere else to go. The remainder of each country is, if anything, under populated. So, if not overpopulation, why do they leave their homes and endure a difficult and dangerous journey to a strange land?
This is being encouraged by advocacy groups for various reasons, including those who want to bring down Western civilization such as Islamists, Communists and their sympathizers. The new flood of migrants originated largely as a way to disrupt Western civilization and impose socialism, Communism or Islamic Sharia Law and is supported by money and propaganda from advocacy groups. People are paid, promised jobs, given new clothing, supported on their journey with food, water and shelter, and often are given ship or rail passage. Where does all this money come from? It comes from wealthy donors and other backers that seek to change the world to fit their ideologies.
How can you help? Read my new book, Saving Africa From Lies That Kill: How Myths about the Environment and Overpopulation are Destroying Third World Countries that is now available in print and eBook through Amazon, and available on line in paperback through Barnes & Noble, Books a Million.
Learn the truth and how you can help change this horrible situation of longstanding crimes against poor countries by international organizations and advocacy groups.
Habitual climate miserablists should take a look around at the real world now and again. This year’s poor UK wheat harvest, reported by the BBC with a ‘climate change’ tag, looks like the exception not the rule.
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The International Grains Council (IGC) is reporting that global corn, wheat, and rice production is on pace to set new records this year, destroying an incessant parade of media claims that global warming is devastating crop production.
Here at Climate Realism, we have documented and debunked many of the ridiculous media claims that climate change is decimating crop production, some in the last month.
Global crop production, as well as crop production in most of the world’s nations, sets new records virtually every year as our planet modestly warms.
Now, the IGC reports – unsurprisingly – that the same is happening in 2020.
The online agriculture news service, World-Grain.com published a story, “IGC projects record output for corn, wheat and soybeans,” highlighting the findings of the International Grains Council (IGC), that it expects the harvest of key cereal crops, corn, rice, soybeans, and wheat, which are the core staple crops for many peoples around the world, to set records in 2020.
Who says the world is overpopulated? And what does that mean anyway? Hunger? Crowding? Environmental harm? For over 200 years we’ve been told that the world is overpopulated. But is it? Check this out.
In 1798, Thomas Malthus thought the world was overpopulated when world population was under one billion. In his book, An Essay on the Principles of Population, he advocated not supporting the poor and controlling the population. He was wrong.
When world population was about 1.3 billion, Charles Darwin, who’s Theory of Evolution was based on Malthus’ book, thought the struggle for survival would cause the extinction of underdeveloped cultures by developed peoples. He was wrong.
Francis Galton, creator of Eugenics, the so-called science of improving the human race, thought the African races were so inferior genetically that Chinese should be settled in Africa to drive the Negro races to extinction and replace them. He was wrong.
Around 1920 when the population was about 1.9 billion, Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood and a prominent eugenicist, believed we needed to get rid of “human weeds,” including dark skinned people from Southern Europe, Africa and India as well as the mentally or physically impaired. She advocated for sterilization, birth control, and abortion. She was wrong.
In the 1930s when world population was about 2 billion, Adolf Hitler believed the world was overpopulated and sought to gain “Lebensraum” (living room) by invading other countries and exterminating “inferior” people, including Jews and Gypsies. By doing so he sought to create a super race of Arian Germans. He was wrong.
In 1966 when the world population was 3.3 billion, to control population, under President Johnson, US AID began requiring population control quotas as a condition for receiving foreign aid. Mass sterilization camps were set up in poor countries using equipment supplied by the UN and US. He was wrong.
Meanwhile, in the 1960s the Green Revolution of higher yield, more disease resistant and more nutritious varieties, increased crop yields by orders of magnitude, making it possible to feed the world without sacrificing forests and other pristine wilderness areas.
When The Population Bomb was published in 1968 by Paul Ehrlich, world population was about 3.7 billion. He believed the world was overpopulated and required drastic action to reduce the population in order to prevent mass starvation and collapse of the society. He was wrong.
In 1972, after nearly 30 years of controlling disease carrying insects, DDT was banned by the EPA in spite of overwhelming evidence refuting claims of harm; the ban was based more on political fears of growing populations in developing countries than on real science or perceived harm. Before the ban DDT eliminated Malaria in the developed world. Developing countries were threatened with loss of foreign aid if they did not discontinue DDT use. Most did, but India did not comply.
Today the world population is about 7.5 billion. USAID, UNFPA, (UN Fund for Population Activities), UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), WHO, World Bank, International Planned Parenthood, Population Council, Marie Stopes and other groups continue the Overpopulation Myth with abortion, sterilization, IUD implantation and birth control activities in poor countries around the world. They are still wrong.
So, is the world overpopulated? Not by any measure. Let’s look at what we mean by overpopulated.
Do we have enough food for everyone?Yes. Thanks to modern agricultural techniques and high yield crops there is more than enough for at least 11 billion people without any increase in acres cultivated. Advancing technology will probably multiply the yield still further as it has in the past. Myths against modern pesticides, herbicides, modern agricultural techniques and biotech crop enhancements (aka GMO) are used to keep poor countries on subsistence agriculture, which results in deforestation to replace depleted fields.
Is the food distributed fairly? No. Other than disasters and wars, hunger has more to do with local politics than with food supplies. Corrupt governments, propped up by government to government foreign aid, which the poor rarely see, are incentivized to help with international population control schemes, but not to build infrastructure, attract investment and help to raise the standard of living of their own rural poor. As long as the people are kept poor, the aid money keeps coming, so corrupt governments have little or no incentive to improve conditions for their people. Foreign aid must be replaced by foreign and domestic investment in infrastructure with accountability.
Is there enough room for all the people? Compared to the land area of the earth, the population is very small. For perspective, if all the people in the world were placed in an area the size of Texas, each person would have almost 93 square meters. A family of four would have 372 square meters. That’s about 4000 square feet, enough for a 2000 square foot house and a yard or garden. This thought experiment puts population in perspective with the size of the earth. No one is suggesting we actually do this, except for the loony left who are grasping at straws to defeat this argument against the overpopulation myth.
Global average population is 55 people per square kilometer of land area, excluding Antarctica. That’s 17.96 acres per family of four. In 2016, over 54% of the population lived in cities, which covers only 2.7% of the land. That means that 46% of the population is rural and lives on 97.3% of the land area. That calculates to 26 people /km2 in rural areas or 38 acres per family of four. Yes, I know that large areas are uninhabitable. Even if we assumed 50% uninhabitable, that’s still a lot of land per person. The fact that only 10% of the land is actually inhabited doesn’t change the picture. There is still a lot of land out there to accommodate and feed a larger population. All this doesn’t even count the 71% of the earth’s surface that is water, which is a food source and a highway between markets.
Is Overpopulation causing Climate Change? As a part of the biosphere, the human race is a small contributor to the total carbon and carbon dioxide gas, and is exceeded by orders of magnitude by land and sea vertebrate animals, and even more extremely by insects and other invertebrates, both in numbers and total mass. One estimate claims there are 300 pounds of insects for every human pound, or 1.4 billion insects per person. With almost 2 million different species described so far and possibly many more un-described, estimates vary widely, even for human populations, especially in poor countries. Corrupt governments may over estimate numbers and under report economic conditions to receive more foreign aid dollars.
Is the environment being harmed by too many people? No. Poverty, including subsistence farming, not population, causes environmental harm and deforestation. Modern agriculture and higher yield crop varieties can end deforestation and provide surplus crops to sell. Roads, electricity, clean water and disease control can provide a healthy workforce and energy to attract investors and run industry. Historically, improved infrastructure and opportunity also stabilize populations and reduce family size. By keeping the poor in poverty, environmentalists actually are doing more harm to the environment. Raising standards of living means people will be able to care for their environment.
Many developed countries have bought into the overpopulation myth to the point that their birth rates are below replacement value. Japan, which reached one of the lowest global birth rates of 1.4 in 2014, has started paying people to have children because of the looming demographic catastrophe of too few people to work and support the elderly who cannot work. Some of the highest density areas of the world are the richest. Look at Shanghai. It is not only the most populated city in the world, 24 million, with an average population density of 2050/km2 (3854/km2 urban) but is one of the most prosperous.
Rural poor areas in developing countries are underpopulated. With diseases from insects and contaminated water taking a high toll and attrition from migration into cities by the young and healthy, there are not enough healthy people to build infrastructure and markets and raise the standard of living of the rural poor. They already have population control by disease and poverty. They certainly don’t need birth control, sterilization and abortion.
Is the planet overpopulated? By all measures of overpopulation, the earth is far from capacity to support its people. Since overpopulation advocates have been scaring us for 200 years, why should be believe what they keep saying? Quit worrying about an assumed problem that has yet to materialize. The real problem is with the population control advocates, the abortionists, the sterilizers and the international governmental and nongovernmental organizations that keep paying these organizations for killing off the hope of the future while keeping people in extreme poverty: poor, sick, isolated, ignorant and controlled. Free market solutions are the answer, not money given to prop up corrupt government officials, which the poor rarely see.
The rural poor in developing countries need disease control, electricity and roads to end isolation. They need Employment, Education, Investment, Infrastructure and Disease Control to join the 21st century. It is possible and you can help.
How can you help? Get involved through charities, investments and campaigning against policies that hurt and oppress the poor. Be an advocate for economic development and against population control.
Note: Updated from an earlier post, June 2019.
Learn the truth and how you can help change this horrible situation of longstanding crimes against poor countries by international organizations and advocacy groups.
Renewable energy – not so clean, not so sustainable and not good for developing countries
Those profiting from the Climate Change and the renewable energy game don’t want you to see the Planet of the Humans movie, which reveals the ugly truths behind popular renewable energy schemes. It has been deleted from Youtube but was preserved at the site below. Watch and learn.
NOTE: Although this is a good expose of renewable energy schemes, including solar, wind and biomass, there is even more to the story. Cleaner and more sustainable alternatives are not mentioned, including nuclear, abundant clean natural gas, hydroelectric and geothermal energy. Ecological harm, although mentioned as disrupting the environment, did not really include the huge tole on birds, bats and beneficial insects that are being chopped up or burned alive by wind turbines or mirror array solar energy farms. The movie paints a depressing no-win picture of dwindling scarce resources, burgeoning population and unsolvable pollution problems. All of these assumptions are unfounded or exaggerated, now as they were 40 years ago.
Poverty, not high population, causes environmental harm. Raising the standard of living of poor countries through investment in energy, transportation and healthcare infrastructure and jobs, as well as modern agricultural practices, can protect the environment, stabilize the population and reduce deforestation.
Additionally, to insist that poor countries forego fossil fuels, which have developed modern nations, and go straight to unreliable and intermittent wind or solar energy, is irresponsible or criminal. See earlier posts at this site, and/or get my book: Saving Africa from Lies that Kill: How Myths about the Environment & Overpopulation are Destroying Third World Countries. To buy the book from Amazon, click here. Read the introduction and first chapter free through Bookfunnel by clicking here
I just checked the best seller ranking of my book, Saving Africa From Lies That Kill: How Myths about the Environment and Overpopulation are Destroying Third World Countries on Amazon.com. For a non-fiction, non-biographical and non-pop culture book it is coming up in the rankings very nicely. Thank you. This is encouraging because the message of raising African and other poor countries out of poverty and into the 21st century is so important.
See rankings and other information from Amazon at the end of this post. Read the first chapter free through Bookfunnel by clicking here
Saving Africa From Lies That Kill: How Myths about the Environment and Overpopulation are Destroying Third World Countries is an award-winning finalist in the Social Change category of the 2019 International Book Awards. The book is available in print and eBook (USD $2.99) through Amazon and other online outlets. For easy access, just click on the link to the Amazon listing here.
After reading the book, please remember to review it on Amazon; reviews are very important to reach more readers. Share the book with a friend and do your part to end bad practices.
In Saving Africa From Lies That Kill, Kay Kiser exposes the long-standing crimes committed against developing nations by the United Nations, World Bank, USAID and Planned Parenthood.
Under their guise of “aid,” these organizations mire the underprivileged in isolation, poverty, sickness, and ignorance. In her book, Kiser argues:
Poverty, not overpopulation, causes environmental damage. Higher standards of living and lower infant mortality can improve the environment and stabilize the population.
Developing nations need access to reliable electricity in order to end energy poverty. This will, in turn, provide clean water, develop transportation, and power hospitals, homes and industrial investment.
The Green Revolution and modern agriculture can feed everyone and end deforestation.
Fortunately, you can do something about the problem—and Kiser shows you how!
DEDICATION To the poor and the oppressed striving to live free. All profits from the sale of this book will be applied to organizations that are working to alleviate the suffering of the rural poor in developing countries, and to bringing them into the twenty-first century.
Kay Kiser is a chemist and microbiologist with experience in technical writing, management, crisis counseling, and education. She holds several patents and authored a chapter in an ACS monograph. Her first book, Perverted Truth Exposed, revealed progressive perversion of science.
File Size: 5750 KB
Print Length: 269 pages
Publisher: Illumify Media Global (October 8, 2018)
Are most cases of HIV/AIDS in Africa really misdiagnosed endemic diseases?
The Claims: HIV/AIDS from unsafe heterosexual contact is rampant in Africa. Many children are left as orphans because both parents have died from AIDS.
The Truth: While HIV/AIDS is undoubtedly present in Africa and other destitute areas, there are problems with its reported transmission, diagnosis and treatment. HIV infections in the developed world occurs almost exclusively among homosexual males and IV drug users who share needles with infected people, and heterosexual transmission is rare. In Africa, half of those diagnosed with HIV and HIV/AIDS are heterosexual women, so there must be other mitigating circumstances. It is possible that actual infections are acquired through non-sterile injections in contraceptive clinics. This could help to explain why HIV in Africa is diagnosed equally among men and heterosexual women. It is very likely that HIV and HIV/AIDS are over diagnosed in Africa and other poverty stricken areas of the world with or without actual HIV testing. Many cases of AIDS in Africa may have little or no connection to the HIV virus or indiscriminate sexual practices. Those that are malnourished or have chronic diseases such as TB or malaria naturally have compromised immune systems, i.e. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS, from these conditions without carrying the actual Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
Because of poor healthcare facilities and abilities, HIV/AIDS may be diagnosed based on symptoms without HIV testing in many rural and isolated areas. In other areas, where actual testing for HIV antibodies is done, a high incidence of false positives is likely to occur. This is due to the poor specificity of the test and reaction with antibodies from other diseases and conditions. Most of those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, whether tested or untested for HIV, have been assumed to have full blown HIV/AIDS through disparate symptoms recognized by the UN WHO including fever, headache, rash, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, chronic diarrhea or cough, all of which can be caused by many common parasites or infectious diseases as well as severe illnesses such as malaria and tuberculosis (TB). UN WHO has named TB as a leading indicator of HIV/AIDS and lists TB as causing 2/3 of HIV/AIDS deaths. HIV/AIDS itself does not cause death; it opens the way for other diseases that kill people. Reporting TB deaths as HIV/AIDS deaths without confirmation of HIV bolsters the statistics, as does reporting orphans as AIDS orphans. At this time it is impossible to know how prevalent over diagnosis is in Africa and other poor areas.
Over diagnosis of HIV and HIV/AIDS, when promoted by the international media, paints a picture of Africa that packs a triple whammy for AIDS advocates and international population control governmental and nongovernmental organizations. First, it excuses high death rates and failure to treat endemic diseases; secondly, it incentivizes HIV/AIDS research funding in developed countries by falsely declaring AIDS a heterosexual pandemic; thirdly it has the potential for vindicating population control programs in the minds of potential donors by creating a false picture of rampant immorality and promiscuity. As a bonus, it also encourages the use of condoms that furthers population control agendas.
HIV facts and questions:
HIV causes AIDS: Unlike those who deny that HIV causes AIDS or that it even exists, I do not deny that HIV causes AIDS or that HIV exists. I do question some of the current statistics, testing and treatment options. Because it is politically incorrect to question the UN WHO recommended practices and conclusions, those who question the status quo will undoubtedly be accused of denialism by AIDS advocates in order to conflate, confuse, discredit and silence anyone daring to question the efficacy of the current testing and treatment methods, even when it might lead to better understanding and improved protocols.
Non-HIV AIDS: TB, Malaria, dysentery and other serious chronic diseases cause a more common form of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS, that has no connection to HIV/AIDS or sexually indiscriminate behavior. It is well known that anyone who is chronically ill and/ or malnourished naturally has a compromised immune system. Other opportunistic diseases are easily acquired by persons whose immune systems are compromised. By labeling these non-HIV AIDS cases as HIV/AIDS, it can be an excuse for not treating the underlying conditions.
Unfortunately, for USAID, UN WHO and activist NGOs or agencies that provide aid to poor countries, because their emphasis is on required or coerced population control and not on treating disease, many clinics do not have the basic medicines, equipment or facilities to treat endemic diseases, but have store rooms filled with birth control drugs, condoms and other birth control and abortion materials and equipment. This is a human tragedy and a crime against humanity that must be stopped. It is unconscionable that Western aid not be heavily weighted toward supplying medicines and equipment for prevention and treatment of endemic diseases.
Recommendation: In both HIV/AIDS and non-HIV AIDS, treatment should always begin with addressing the presenting diseases and malnutrition. Once the patient is stabilized then HIV/AIDS treatment can begin, but only after further confirmation of the original diagnosis of HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS treatment drugs further compromise the immune system so that treatment of weakened, disease ravaged patients and those with non-HIV AIDS using these drugs may do more harm than good.
International aid organizations should be encouraged or required to reverse their decades old practice of oversupplying population control materials and under-supplying needed medicines, facilities, equipment and supplies to treat endemic diseases.
Demographic Shift: HIV/AIDS in developed countries is confined almost exclusively among homosexual men and IV drug users who share needles with HIV infected people. The expected pandemic in developed countries never materialized. According to official statistics, Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 2/3 of the HIV incidence in the world, with Southern Africa, (South Africa and Botswana), accounting for most of that. 15 to 25% of the South African population has been diagnosed with HIV or HIV/AIDS. More than half of the HIV positive people in South Africa are heterosexual women. Heterosexual contact is blamed for causing the spread of HIV, but in other countries heterosexual transmission is very rare. Unless the HIV virus has mutated, this theory of frequent heterosexual transmission cannot be valid and other mitigating factors must be considered.
Shared needles as a possible source: One theory is that the reuse of hypodermic needles for injected birth control drugs is responsible for the spread of HIV, and, if true, could account for the higher incidence in women in Africa and other poor countries where injected birth control is required or advocated. Injectable birth control drugs such as Depo Provera that must be reinjected every 3 months are sometimes administered in a clinic, but more often the drug and the syringes are given to patients for administration at home. Because viruses do not live very long on surfaces outside the body, HIV could not be transferred unless an HIV infected person has used the needle just prior to reuse by a second person for birth control. This could only happen in a clinic where multiple women are injected one after another without proper sterilization of needles.
How are these in-home administered reused needles causing HIV/AIDS without an immediate HIV contamination source in each case? It is more likely that in-home injections with improperly sterilized needles would transfer opportunistic bacterial infections such as staph and strep. The whole idea of giving hypodermic syringes to uneducated people is ludicrous; it is the worst of the birth control methods, and the best way to spread more disease and misery. Poor women with little or no concept of microbial infective agents are unlikely to discard or destroy needles even if the package instructions say to discard after use.
Recommendation: If this form of birth control must be injected every 3 months, it should only be done by a professional in a clinic with properly sterilized or disposable needles. If birth control is desired, a better alternative would be insertion of an IUD, Intrauterine Device, which does not require regular follow up treatments.
Could Depo-Provera make women more susceptible to HIV infection? According to this theory, the active ingredient in Depo-Provera, (Depo-medroxyprogesterone acetate, aka DMPA), may chemically predispose at risk women to acquiring HIV through sexual contact with infected men, through thinning of vaginal epithelial cells and immunosuppression. Three recent meta-studies show a statistically significant link between use of the drug and incidence of HIV in at risk women. The link to HIV transmission was not established statistically for use of either oral contraceptives or another injectable contraceptive drug, NET-EN, (norethisterone enanthate), in these studies.
Clinical Diagnosis without HIV testing: In rural poor areas of Africa HIV/AIDS may be diagnosed without HIV testing by the clinical indicators listed by WHO such as fever, headache, rash, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, chronic diarrhea or cough. These symptoms may also be caused by endemic diseases such as TB, malaria and other insect borne diseases, dysentery and other water borne diseases, parasites and malnutrition. WHO considers TB to be a leading indicator of HIV/AIDS. Some people diagnosed without HIV testing may instead have non-HIV AIDS caused by these endemic diseases.
Diagnosis with HIV testing: Clinical HIV tests detect antibodies to the virus, not the virus itself. HIV tests have a high incidence of false positives, so that retesting and other confirmation are needed after a positive test result. False positives of HIV testing may be the result of non-HIV AIDS caused by other diseases and pregnancy because the HIV tests are non-specific and may detect antibodies to other diseases or conditions.
Causes of False Positives: HIV testing is not specific to HIV and is prone to false positives. It tests for antibodies to HIV, not the virus itself, but can also detect other antibodies present in chronic diseases or those acquired over a lifetime. There are over 65 documented causes of false positives including TB, malaria, leprosy, hepatitis, Q fever, influenza or colds, herpes simplex, leishmaniosis, and Epstein Barr virus. Pregnancy or prior pregnancies are among factors that can cause false positives due to presence of HLA (human leukocyte antigen). Is it time to question whether HIV testing, without thorough validation, is valid in parts of Africa where the population is routinely exposed to numerous diseases that leave a heavy load of antibodies in their blood?
Validation needed for HIV positives: False positives are common so that, according to manufacturers’ instructions, positive tests must be retested in duplicate and then by another method to verify results, e.g. ELISA twice then Western Blot. ELISA, Enzyme Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay, uses an antigen for the (in this case HIV) antibody bound to a solid surface and an enzyme that causes a color change when the target antibody attaches itself to the antigen. Western Blot actually separates, by gel electrophoresis, each component in a mixture of antibodies bound to specific antigens. Medical testing protocols vary from country to country, so that the same test may be interpreted as positive or negative depending on the protocol. For example, UK does not use the Western Blot verification of duplicate ELISA tests, and different countries require from one to four Western Blot markers to verify and confirm a positive result.
South Africa uses duplicate ELISA only to verify positive HIV tests, resulting in 15-25% of the population testing positive, 60% of which are heterosexual women. South Africa also has a high rate of drug treatment for prevention of mother to child HIV transmission, which may mean that most HIV tests are conducted at gynecological clinics and obstetric hospitals on pregnant women. This is a problem since pregnancy is known to cause false positives. The incidence of HIV and AIDS in most of the other countries in Africa, and indeed the world, ranges from 0.1 to 5.0 percent of the population. South Africa’s 15 – 25% incidence needs a closer look. The fact that over half of these are heterosexual women is also problematic as described above.
Recommendation: South Africans and Botswanans when first diagnosed with HIV or HIV/AIDS need to be retested using a more stringent verification protocol in the future. Unfortunately, the drugs used for treating HIV can cause false negatives, so retesting those already receiving therapy may be useless or at lease confusing.
Opportunistic Diseases: When people sicken and die with HIV/AIDS, it is not the HIV that kills them; it is other opportunistic infections that are able to invade and thrive because HIV has crippled the immune system. TB is the leading cause of death in Africa, with or without HIV/AIDS. A diagnosis of HIV/AIDS can be an excuse not to treat underlying endemic diseases.
Treatment Options: HIV treatment drugs suppress the immune system further than the disease itself. Wouldn’t it make sense to treat the opportunistic diseases and malnutrition more aggressively first before suppressing the immune system further with AIDS treatment drugs? In some areas of Africa, TB and HIV are treated simultaneously, which is a step in the right direction.
Orphans from AIDS? AIDS orphans are defined as anyone 15 years or younger who has lost, depending on the country, their mother, one parent or both parents to “AIDS related diseases.” South Africa includes people up to 18 years old. WHO estimates that 70% of “AIDS orphans” have one living parent. TB is the leading cause of death in Africa and the leading clinical indicator of the presence of AIDS. Since many people in Africa live very short lives, with or without AIDS, how is this any different from the pattern of the past where lifespans are short and teenagers often are orphaned?
 References cited in Population Research Institute newsletter article: “While Admitting Risks, WHO Continues to Recommend Injectable Contraceptives for Women at High Risk of Contracting HIV” by Jonathan Abbamonte, April 20, 2017 as follows:
Brind J, Condly SJ, Mosher SW, Morse AR, Kimball J. Risk of HIV Infection in Depot-Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (DMPA) Users: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Issues Law Med 2015; 30(2): 129-39.
Morrison CS, Chen PL, Kwok C, Baeten JM, Brown J, Crook AM, et al. Hormonal contraception and the risk of HIV acquisition: an individual participant data meta-analysis. PLoS Med 2015; 12(1): e1001778.
Ralph LJ, McCoy SI, Shiu K, Padian N. Hormonal contraceptive use and women’s risk of HIV acquisition: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Lancet Infect Dis. 2015; 15(2): 181-9.