David Barton Again Says Bible Teaches HIV Vaccine Won't Be Discovered; Distorts Vaccine Research

David Barton continues to mislead his audiences about HIV research. Earlier this year, he told Charis Bible College students that a vaccine won’t be discovered for HIV because the Bible teaches HIV is the penalty for being gay. Then he misrepresented two separate studies on HIV vaccines to make it appear vaccine research had been halted due to lack of success.
Barton did the same thing again Saturday, April 11th at the Faith Baptist Church in Knightdale, NC. He told the audience the Bible teaches that no HIV vaccine will be found and then he misrepresented two studies so that he could seem right. Watch:

If Barton is right, then why don’t all gays get HIV? And why is HIV a straight disease in countries other than the United States?
What I wrote in early March is still true about Barton’s claims. At about 1:56 into the clip above, Barton shows a headline touting the discovery of a HIV vaccine. Then he says, “six weeks later” another article came out saying the vaccine didn’t work. However, what he doesn’t tell his audience is that he is deceiving them. The first headline was about one study and the second headline was about another study conducted four years later. To Faith Baptist Church, Barton said essentially the same thing as he said at Charis Bible College. What I wrote then about the claims applies to this speech:

…Barton said he might be wrong because of a 2009 article in Popular Science with the headline: “For the First Time Ever, An HIV Vaccine Shows Success in Trial.” This was taken from the New York Times and is a report about the RV 144 vaccine trials, also known as the “Thai Trials” because the six-year study was conducted in Thailand. According to the NIH News, the trials began in 2003 and demonstrated safety and modest effectiveness. Barton implies that this trial was halted; it was not.

In the video, Barton first showed the Popular Science headline and then said:

The headlines came out and said, for the first time ever an HIV vaccine shows success in trial. Oh my gosh, I guess there is, I guess I must have misinterpreted the Bible, cause the Bible’s true, and then six weeks later, they came out with this that says, NIH halts trial of HIV vaccine after it fails to work. The newspaper said it worked but none of the medical evidence said that it worked. So they still don’t have a cure.

The problem with Barton’s presentation is that the second headline didn’t come out “six weeks later.” Rather it came out four years later in 2013 and was about an entirely different attempt to create a vaccine.

The Yahoo News article Barton referred to (the second headline – NIH Halts Trial of HIV Vaccine After it Fails to Work) is only available via Internet Archives and is dated April 26, 2013. The Yahoo article linked to a NIH announcement that the HVTN 505 clinical trial had been halted. The HVTN 505 trial results had nothing to do with the earlier success of RV144. The RV144 trial was reported in 2009, the same year that the HVTN 505 started. The NIH has more on the HVTN 505 trial on the NIH website.

Barton got the time frame wrong and made it appear that the two headlines were related to each other.

Barton’s use of the headlines is extremely deceptive. In fact, progress continues to be made which builds upon the modestly successful vaccine already available. In fact, R144 vaccine does offer protection from HIV infection. An extension of the success of R144 is being conducted in South Africa now. 
It is hard to understand how Barton could make this mistake unless he either didn’t read the articles (just relied on the headlines but didn’t read the articles) or he is intentionally misleading people.

Update on the HIV Vaccine that David Barton Said Was Halted

Yesterday, I pointed out that David Barton tried to prove his belief that God would not allow researchers to find a vaccine for HIV by misrepresenting research on the subject. Barton first pointed to a successful vaccine trial (RV144) but then led his audience to believe RV144 was halted by showing them a headline announcing that another study (HVTN505) had been stopped by the NIH. In fact, as I demonstrated, RV144 was deemed safe and modestly effective (see that post for video of Barton’s slight of hand).
Curious about the current science involving RV144, I wrote to the NIH to learn the status of the program. As it turns out, a new development was reported by the NIH in February of this year involving the vaccine Barton said was halted. From the 2/18/15 NIH press release:

NIH-Sponsored HIV Vaccine Trial Launches in South Africa

Early-Stage Trial Aims to Build on RV144 Results

HVTN laboratory staff

(View larger image. HVTN laboratory staff Nomzamo Tabata (left) and Owethu Mahali process specimens at The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation in Cape Town, South Africa. Credit: Brooke Auchincloss)

​A clinical trial called HVTN 100 has been launched in South Africa to study an investigational HIV vaccine regimen for safety and the immune responses it generates in study participants. This experimental vaccine regimen is based on the one tested in the U.S. Military HIV Research Program-led ArchiveRV144 clinical trial in Thailand—the first study to demonstrate that a vaccine can protect people from HIV infection. The HVTN 100 vaccine regimen was designed to provide greater protection than the RV144 regimen and has been adapted to the HIV subtype that predominates in southern Africa. The results of the HVTN 100 trial, expected in two years, will help determine whether or not this vaccine regimen will be tested for efficacy in a large future study in South Africa.

“A safe and effective HIV vaccine is essential to reach a timely, sustained end to the HIV/AIDS pandemic,” said Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. “The launch of HVTN 100 marks an important step forward in building upon the promising results of the RV144 trial to produce an HIV vaccine that could have a significant public health impact in southern Africa, where the HIV/AIDS pandemic is most pervasive.”

So Barton was not only wrong to mislead Charis Bible College students by using one study to claim something false about another study, he failed to tell them that progress is being made currently toward the creation of a vaccine. Who will reeducate them? They are now ill-equipped to discuss these issues intelligently with their congregations. It is hard to calculate how many people they will mislead as a result.
 

Ugandan Scientist Who Chaired President Museveni's Anti-Homosexuality Committee Runs HIV Project Funded by CDC

UPDATE: I have updated the title of this post to reflect new information from the National Institutes of Health. According to NIH spokesperson, Renate Myles, the CDC funds the grant led by Jane Aceng, not the NIH. Myles wrote:

NIH does not fund this grant.  The grant referenced in your blog was awarded by the CDC.  Please correct your post since it is causing quite a bit of confusion.  NIH Reporter includes data files on research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). I would recommend that you contact the CDC to learn more about the grant and how it is structured.
All the best,
Renate Myles

……..
The committee of Ugandan researchers and scientists who gave President Museveni cover (see their final report here) to sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was chaired by Jane Ruth Aceng. Dr. Aceng is a pediatrician and Director of General Health Services at Uganda’s Ministry of Health. She also is a principal investigator for the National Institutes of Health, currently leading a project which addresses “HIV response” in Uganda. See below to see the three grants she has received since 2012.

I wonder if the CDC and NIH will evaluate such requests for funding differently now in light of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act.  Dr. Aceng is supposed to be leading an effort to address HIV response and yet her failure to stand up to the President’s misuse of science will weaken her nation’s ability to reach vulnerable populations. It is also quite possible that straights will fear coming forward for testing and treatment because they may be afraid of questions about their sexuality. People from all over the ideological spectrum agree that the bill will harm Uganda’s efforts to address HIV/AIDS (e.g., UNAIDS, Harvard’s Ed Green).
At the least, I hope the NIH and CDC will take steps to secure project leaders who are actual leaders.
H/t Joe Amon

David Barton: AIDS is a Consequence of Homosexuality

History is not the only disciplined tortured by David Barton.
Either unaware or uncaring that AIDS is transmitted primarily among straights in Africa, Barton today said AIDS won’t be cured because it is God’s judgment on gays. Then he added, even if the disease is cured, some other disease will come along as punishment.
Religious leaders can be a force for good in stopping the spread of AIDS in Africa but not with messages like Barton’s.
 

What Uganda Should Be Worrying About

At the same time Uganda is threatening to make consensual same-sex relations punishable by death or life in prison, the nation is facing a jump in the rate of HIV infections. The Ugandan Parliament website reported today on a Ministry of Health briefing which disclosed that the HIV rate has increased to 7.3% in 2011 from 6.4% in 2004.

Given the rush to enact a law depriving gays of life and liberty, one might think that the driver of this increase is homosexuality. However, that is not the case. According to the article, married couples are driving the chamges.

Dr.Musinguzi warned that the HIV/AIDS rates that had gone down in the 1990s have now shot up and require urgent redress. The new statistics point at Women bearing the biggest burden of the disease with 55% of the new infections discovered amongst women.

The research attributes the trend to multiple sexual partners as the key driver to the spread of the disease. 80% of the men interviewed by health experts accepted leaving with concurrent multiple sexual partners while 68% of the women lived the same lifestyle.

The Speaker of Parliament Rt.Hon. Rebecca Kadaga who officiated at the opening of the dialogue re-echoed the need to lay new strategies to reverse the HIV/AIDS trend.

“Although a number of achievements have been made in the fight against AIDS, the epidemic seems to have shifted from single young persons to those married and in long term relationships. I am also concerned that the rich women are now more vulnerable to HIV than others. This is a worrying trend,” the Speaker noted.

Gays are a negligible aspect of the HIV picture in Uganda but the Parliament is wasting time debating homosexuality. The MPs should be spending their time worrying about the sexual behavior of straights. It is beyond belief that the Ugandan Parliament is risking donor funding over the Anti-Homosexuality Bill when the more immediate issue for HIV is infidelity among straights in long term relationships.

 

 

 

Bryan Fischer responds to Rick and Kay Warren over AIDS-HIV link

In a column hosted on the American Family Association website, Bryan Fischer defended his denial of the HIV-AIDS link. On Monday, Rick and Kay Warren released a statement to me which condemned Fischer’s recent campaign to support the work of Peter Duesberg. Duesberg is a professor of biology at UC – Berkeley who claims that HIV is a harmless virus and does not cause AIDS.

In his rebuttal, Fischer restates arguments from his previous columns and at times, inadvertently argues against himself. For instance, Fischer chides the Warrens with Uganda as an illustration:

Warren knows for a fact that the only nation in Africa that has been able to dramatically reduce its AIDS rate is Uganda, which has done it by emphasizing abstinence before marriage and fidelity after. It makes perfect sense. If the cause is bad behavior, the cure is good behavior. Pastor Warren ought to be down with that, since that’s exactly what the Scriptures teach.

If you want to solve the AIDS crisis, the solution is simple, and it’s not found in a test tube. If you’re a man, stop using poppers, stop having sex with other men, and don’t shoot up. The beauty of that solution is that it doesn’t require billions and billions of dollars.

First of all, Uganda has reduced the AIDS rate by reducing HIV transmission among straights. According Harvard AIDS prevention expert, Edward Green, gays have a very small impact on the situation there. The ABC approach (abstinence, be faithful, condom use) has been quite helpful there, but this is not what Fischer suggests in his very next paragraph. Instead, Fischer’s advice to men in Uganda — “stop using poppers, stop having sex with other men and don’t shoot up” — would be nearly meaningless. Fischer and Duesberg’s Stop, Stop and Don’t Shoot won’t stop HIV but the ABC method does.

What Fischer does not do is confront the horrendous consequences of his campaign already realized in South Africa. As the Warrens pointed out, the South African government took Duesberg’s advice from 2000-2005 which led to thousands of babies being infected and over 330,000 deaths, as estimated by two follow up studies.

Yesterday, I wrote the AFA’s Tim Wildmon to ask if the AFA agrees with Fischer’s views. No reply has come as yet.

Related:

Rick and Kay Warren condemn the American Family Association’s denial of link between HIV and AIDS

Rick and Kay Warren condemn the denial of link between HIV and AIDS as promoted by the AFA’s Bryan Fischer

Early in January, Bryan Fischer, issues analyst with the American Family Association, threw his support behind the belief that HIV does not cause AIDS. On his daily talk show, Fischer hosted University of California, Berkeley professor, Peter Duesberg, who is the principle proponent of the theory that HIV is a harmless virus and that AIDS is the result of lifestyle choices, such as drug use and promiscuity, which weaken the immune system. Duesberg says that gay men are at special risk since they use drugs and engage in casual sex more so than other groups.

In a column on the AFA website, Fischer wrote:

So what is the cause of what we know as AIDS? What is the cause of this condition that is killing people? Duesberg’s answer can be found in one word: drugs.

And specifically, drug use connected with the kind of sex that is far too common in the homosexual community. While the average heterosexual has somewhere between seven to 14 sexual partners in a lifetime, it is not uncommon for homosexuals to have hundreds, even thousands, of sexual partners.

By partnering with Duesberg, Fischer brought AIDS denialism closer to the mainstream of evangelicalism. In response, Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren and his wife Kay issued a statement to me about Fischer’s and Duesberg’s denial of the HIV-AIDS link. The Warrens’ statement is powerful and decisive. It is reproduced here in full:

Since AIDS was first discovered in 1981, 30 years of non-stop scientific research by the US military, the medical community, our government, and by every international health organization has proven over and over, with countless irrefutable results, that ONLY people with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) develop AIDS.  To imply the disease is caused by anything besides HIV is quack science, like claiming the earth is flat, or the moon is made of cheese. Since 1985, when the virus that creates AIDS was isolated, every doctor on the planet, except Peter Duesberg, has known that HIV is the only cause of AIDS.

Duesberg’s denial of the entire body of research, and his rejection of thousands of scientific trials and papers, would be laughable if millions of lives weren’t at stake.  But his view is deadly.  Unfortunately, Duesberg convinced some people in Africa that HIV was not the cause of AIDS and as a result many people there needlessly became infected with the virus, and some have subsequently suffered and died.

It is frustrating – and frightening – for those of us in AIDS ministry to see someone like Dr. Duesberg play to people’s bias and prejudices.  For the past eight years we have worked with thousands of churches around the world and in America who have ministries to those infected and affected by AIDS.  No one deserves this illness, and we must not ignore those among us who are infected or affected by HIV and AIDS.  There are numerous ways to acquire the virus – sexual activity, blood transfusions, being born to an HIV positive mother, dirty needles –  but what matters isn’t  how a person became infected as much as how we will respond. People with living with the virus are people that Jesus created, loves, and died for. Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan teaches us that when you find someone bleeding on the side of the road, you don’t say “Was it your fault?” You just help them in love!

Let’s be very careful about what reality we deny; lives are at stake.

When the Warrens write that Duesberg convinced some in Africa that HIV and AIDS were not related, they are referring to the period of AIDS denial in South Africa from 2000 to 2005. In 2000, Duesberg was invited by South African President Thabo Mbeki to provide advice on AIDS policy. Subsequently, the South African government displayed antagonism toward AIDS treatment and prevention programs which involved anti-retro viral drugs (ARVs). Nicolo Nattrass, writing in African Affairs, said that President Mbeki questioned the science behind the epidemic. However, the consequences were devastating. According to a Harvard University press release and a study from the journal African Affairs, over 330,000 deaths could have been prevented if ARVs had been used. The Harvard release, citing a 2008 study, added that 35,000 babies were born with HIV due to failure to implement appropriate drug based prevention programs.

If anything, the African epidemic provides evidence counter to Duesberg’s theory. The epidemic there is driven by heterosexual activity. The stereotype about gay men spreading HIV via lots of drugs and sex is not applicable there.

Given what is at stake, the Warrens’ statement is important. The American Family Association has a sizable audience which includes GOP Presidential candidates. Confusion over something as basic as what causes AIDS could become a barrier to the progress made in ministry and treatment for those with HIV/AIDS. As the Warrens remind us, lives are at stake.

Uganda health minister linked to Bahati bill deputy Julius Oyet

Bruce Wilson at Alternet has much detail on this story, including background on the relationship of Oyet to the New Apostolic Reformation.
Newly appointed Minister of Health Christine Ondoa is also a minister in Julius Oyet’s Lifeline church. Oyet is a Ugandan proponent of the Seven Mountains teaching which calls Christians to gain dominion in a nation by gaining prominence in all domains of society, including the government.
Oyet prophesied Ondoa’s rise to the Cabinet. Oyet is well connected to the government via relationships with President Museveni and his deputy status with David Bahati (in 2010 Oyet was deputized to collect petition signatures in support of the anti-gay bill), author of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The Bahati bill co-sponsor, Benson Ogwal is a longtime friend according to this report.

Making reference to Revelation 12:11, finance state minister Fred Jacan Omach said Ondoa’s appointment is a sign that “we have a spirit-filled President”.
UPC MP Benson Obua Ogwal, a long-time friend of Ondoa, said having known her integrity and incorruptible character, her elevation did not surprise him.

Many Ugandan protesters would be surprised to hear that they have a spirit-filled President.
While this appointment may be more political favor than prophetic fulfillment, the elevation of ministers to government Ministry is in keeping with the Seven Mountains mandate.

Uganda appoints GLB advocacy group to public health committee

In a surprising move, the government of Uganda appointed an organization aligned with GLB interests there to an important public health committee.

In a surprising, unprecedented action, the Uganda government has appointed LGBTI lobby group, Uhspa Uganda, to a committee to mainstream homosexual’s rights in Uganda’s Public Health Policies.
The Uganda Health and Science Press Association is a registered LGBTI network of groups.
The Health, Human Rights and Gender Committee is overseen by the Ministry of Health in Kampala. It brings together high profile activists, policy makers and donors to develop a Human Rights-based approach to health programming in Uganda.
A letter signed by Uganda’s Director General for Health Services, Mr Nathan Kenya-Mugisha, on behalf of the Ministry of Health, described Uhspa Uganda as a “key stakeholder” in mainstreaming minorities rights in health programming in Uganda.

All along opponents of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill have contended that the bill would drive gays away from any health or prevention services. This press release quotes Dr. Thomas Muyunga who confirms the effect of the AHB.

There are attempts by the Ministry of Health to support health delivery to LGBTI persons through the Most At Risk Populations network clinic at the national referral Hospital in Kampala. However, the clinic is poorly funded, and since the introduction of the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009 in Ugandan Parliament, clients visiting the clinic have dropped for fear of being arrested.
According to Dr Thomas Muyunga, an activist and a medical doctor, some of the clinic’s clients, think the clauses of the Bahati Bill have already become law, even though the bill expired with the Eighth Parliament of Uganda earlier this year.

With reports that the bill may soon return, I suspect it will take time for this public health committee to engage frightened people to come in.

Buturo censors human rights documentary

In Uganda, Nsaba Buturo is serving out his term as Minister of Ethics and Integrity. He lost his bid for re-election and will presumably not be back in that role. However, even as a lame duck, he is making waves. According to the Monitor:

Human rights defenders yesterday gathered in Kampala to voice their distress following Monday’s incident where Ethics minister blocked the viewing of a movie chronicling their experiences.

Led by Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) chairperson Medi Kaggwa, the rights defenders in a joint statement said Mr Nsaba Buturo’s move was unconstitutional.

“The documentary was one of the series of activities aligned in commemoration of the International Human Rights Day on December 10 and its aim was to highlight the work of Human Rights Defenders and the challenges they face,” read the statement delivered by Mr. Kaggwa.

In Uganda, the UHRC spearheaded the activities to mark the day in partnership with the UN Office of the Higher Commissioner for Human Rights, the Human Rights Network –Uganda, the Human Rights Centre and other organisations who work as rights defenders.

But while justifying his action, Mr Buturo said the organisers wanted to indoctrinate the youth on homosexuality.

Mr Buturo told Daily Monitor that the organisers refused to delete the homosexual content in the documentary.

The article then describes the nature of the censored content.

Mr Kaggwa said the film only contains interviews of human rights defenders on their experiences and challenges in performing their work as well as recommendations for promotion of human rights especially among the minority groups such as women and people with disabilities.

In the documentary that was shown to journalists at UHRC headquarters, Mr Kikonyogo Kivumbi comments on the rights of the homosexuals to health services and cites the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that allows medical practitioners to report gay patients to police.

“We are giving a very strong voice to Parliament not to pass the Bill because it will discriminate against minority groups like the homosexuals. Uganda is committed to fighting HIV and Aids and when minorities are threatened with arrest, they will fear to go for medication and yet it is their right,” Mr Kivumbi says in the documentary.

This is what seems to have aroused Mr Buturo’s disquiet in the documentary, leading to blocking of its viewing at the National Theatre.  Mr Buturo was not available for comment yesterday as his known mobile number remained unanswered.

If true, this would be more indication that the purpose of the AHB and other initiatives in Uganda is not to protect children, as proponents of the AHB claim, but to punish and eliminate an unpopular minority. There really is little doubt of this despite the claims of defenders.