AIDS + Syphilis - The Hidden Link by Harris L. Coulter, Ph. D. copyright 1987 by the Cente
AIDS & Syphilis -- The Hidden Link
by Harris L. Coulter, Ph. D.
copyright 1987 by the Center for Empirical Medicine
ISBN 1-55643-021-3 (paperback)
published by North Atlantic Books
2320 Blake St
Berkeley, CA 94704
Wehawken Book Co
4221 45th St NW
Washington, DC 20016
Note from the uploader: I have not typed this text verbatim. This is a
summary/extract of Dr. Coulter's work. I do not expect anyone to necessarily
agree with him, but he does have a few points that are worth considering.
Harris L. Coulter (hereinafter abbreviated HLC) proposes that the AIDS virus is
not the primary cause of AIDS, but merely an opportunistic virus that takes
advantage of a situation already existent within the victim's body.
He bases this conclusion on several phenomena, and he takes a while to explain
Microbes do cause disease, but not all those who are exposed to a given microbe
contract that disease.
There are two theories about treating disease. One is to attack the microbes,
and the other is to increase the "resistance" of the sufferer so that his own
system throws off the disease. Every new disease that emerges renews this
age-old argument among physicians. Almost every physician will agree that a
person's lowered resistance makes that person more susceptible to any disease
that comes along, but some do not believe that diseases can be thrown off by
increasing the patient's resistance level to those diseases.
The virus ostensibly responsible for AIDS is called by several names:
human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus
lymphadenopathy-associated virus (LAV)
human T-lymphotropic virus type III (HTLV III)
AIDS-associated retrovirus (ARV)
human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV)
also, complicating the matter, are two other viruses which CAUSE THE SAME
PROBLEM: LAV-2 (HIV-2) and SBL 6669V-2. 3 separate viruses causing the same
disease caused some consternation among various doctors and scientists. It was
The virus cannot be isolated from half the sufferers, and antibodies to it
(indicating previous or ongoing infection) are not found in 10% of the
patients. It cannot be detected at all in cases of Kaposi's Sarcoma.
"The AIDS virus is probably little more than another 'opportunistic' infection
of an _already destroyed_ immune system -- at the most a 'co-factor' which may
possibly give rise to AIDS when combined with other factors.
"This is already known to be true for PCP. The Pneumocystus carnii is found in
more than 95% of helathy persons and is life-threatening only in the individual
with a defective immune system.
"According to the accepted wisdom, this happens when the imune system is first
destroyed by the AIDS virus. but what is true for the PCP microorganisms may
be equally so for the AIDS virus. Perhaps _both_ can get a foothold only when
the immune system has been compromised." (direct quote, Ch. 1)
Between 1948 and 1953, syphilis cases dropped from 106,000 per year to fewer
than 10,000 per year. No effort was made to determine if the drug being used
(penicillin) was truly curative; "clinical impression" remained the basis for
the positive evaluation of penicillin treatment.
In the early 1960's, new cases started to increase. Incidence in the U.S.
peaked at 25,000 cases in 1965 and just over 32,000 in the early 80's (HLC
seems to be referring to _new_ cases occurring with these numbers--RWF). It
has declined slightly since then.
"The reasons for the increase have been much discussed, and the ocnsensus is
that (1) the apparent elimination of syphilis as a health threat contributed to
sexual liberation whereas (2) syphilis was not really iliminated at all, merely
disguised and masked. It remained a source of infection which was revitalized
by the relaxed sexual attitudes of the 1960's and 1970's." (direct quote, Ch.
"What is more, syphilis prepared the ground for the emergence of AIDS."
The typical AIDS patient is likely to show evidence of previous infection with
Three-quarters of AIDS victims are "gay" (bear in mind that this book was
written in 1987. Numbers may have changed since then--RWF).
Homosexual males are 14 times as likely to have syphilis than heterosexual
males. 75% of syphilis occurs in males -- almost half are either bi-sexual or
Previous syphilis was the SECOND most important risk factor for AIDS (in 1985).
(The primary risk factor was "# of male sex partners per year".)
Intravenous drug users are at an even greater risk of acquiring syphilis than
of acquiring AIDS.
23% of heterosexual AIDS patients are drug users.
One-third of intravenous drug users (suffering from AIDS) are homosexual.
HLC cites a study in Denmark where 100 homosexual or bisexual men were tested.
54 showed evidence of AIDS antibodies, 46 did not. Of the 54, 36 (63%) had had
syphilis, 12 of those 4 or 5 times. Of the 46, 16 (35%) had had syphilis, and
none as often as 3 times. Yet the incidence of gonorrhoea (another venereal
disease) was about the same.
He cites a 1984 CDC study: twice as many Karposi's Sarcoma/PCP cases had had
syphilis ( 68% as opposed to 36%) as those who didn't suffer from either
problem, yet the incidence of gonorrhoea was much the same (86% as opposed to
HLC proposes a causal connection between AIDS and syphilis.
He states that syphilis may be misdiagnosed as AIDS (two citations here:
Raymond A. Smego, et al., "Secondary Syphilis Masquerading as AIDS in a Young
Gay Male." North Carolina Medical Journal 45 (1984), pp 253,254; and J.A.
Stroh, "The Great Imitator Keeps Up with the Times." Hospital Practice, Nov.
15, 1986, pp. 33-38).
AIDS may be acquired through blood transfusion. Syphilis shares this trait.
"AIDS seems to occur in the newborn. But this is merely a parallel with
congenital syphilis, of which there are almost 300 cases a year.... Thus
congenital syphilis is probably being diagnosed as AIDS."
Other groups have a high incidence of AIDS, and syphilitic background is
evident in all of them.
HLC gives statistics for Haiti and Uganda, indicating that prior to 1930, both
countries had an incidence of syphilis upwards of 70%, and both currently have
high populations of AIDS victims.
A wealth of other statistics link AIDS and syphilis.
"The connection with AIDS is obvious."
But, if the disease is an AIDS cofactor, why not 100% in all surveys?
Unreliability of laboratory tests for presence or absence. In principle, a
positive test means the disease is present, a negative test means no disease is
present. However, false results are easily possible. Visually checking for
treponemes can be misleading, as antibiotics inactivate it, and organisms taken
from mouth, rectum, cervix, or vagina imitate its shape.
The VDRL and RPR tests will show positive for other illneses and conditions
than syphilis. False negative tests can also show under certain conditions.
The FTA-ABS tests for the treponemal antibody, but cannot distinguish between
syphilis and other treponemal diseases (such as yaws). False positive tests
may result for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and related
conditions, as well as for women in pregnancy.
However, Stephen S. Caiazza, M.D. (in NY State) states that his AIDS patients
often test negative when standard tests are used, but the positive tests for
syphilis or its symptoms approach 100% when more sophisticated tests are used.
HLC suspects that if all AIDS patients were given a full battery of syphilis
tests, incidence would be found to approach 100%.
The AIDS virus may, itself, obscure the serological tests since these rely on
antibodies which AIDS infection compromises.
Statistics for U.S. AIDS cases:
25% intravenous drug abusers
4% heterosexuals, not intravenous drug abusers
the above account for 95% of all cases.
3% blood transfusions
remainder are of "undetermined" origin, and include congenital AIDS.
"We maintain that the syphilis connection provides the first plausible
explanation of the apparently bizarre distribution of AIDS cases in the world."
The syphilis treponeme is usually found extracellularly, but can penetrate
tissue cells and live inside them, where it is protected from the penicillin.
Of course, the AIDS virus is also known to be capable of penetrating
lymphocytes and other cells and living there, sheltered from the action of most
kinds of drug therapy.
In the Danish study of 100 men:
of those with syphilis among AIDS patients: 29% had primary syphilis, 43%
secondary syphilis, and 37% latent syphilis.
of those with syphilis NOT AIDS patients: 52% had primary syphilis, 39%
secondary syphilis, and 9% latent syphilis.
Penicillin does not affect ALL the viruses of Treponemus Pallidum (the syphilis
organism). T. pallidum is, at once, one of the most sensitive and most
resistant germs to the action of penicillin.
Syphilis may manifest itself as many other diseases.
Syphilis undermines the immune system, too!
Since antibiotics only mask the disease, it has slowly burned out the immune
systems of a large proportion of those who have been treated for syphilis with
antibiotics -- knowingly or unknowingly (antibiotics prescribed for other
reasons may affect T. pallidum as well) -- since 1945.
1) Lymphadenopathy is "one of the most characteristic symptoms" of syphilis.
General lymphadenopathy and enlargement of the spleen are also very
characteristic features of the AIDS syndrome. Typically, a history of
"progressive generalized lymphadenopathy antedates AIDS by about 18 months."
AIDS-related complex (ARC) also involves swollen lymph nodes.
2) AIDS is marked by deterioration, destruction, or collapse of the thymus and
a decline in the numbers of T-lymphocytes.
"There is no clinical sign or symptom associated with AIDS that has not already
been reported in the syphilis literature."
The AIDS virus may invade the central nervous system, causing nervous disorders
and meningitis, like syphilis does.
AIDS greatly resembles latent syphilis.
Cytomegalovirus infection (found in 95% of homosexual men, often in the semen),
Hepatitis B, and Epstein-Barr virus infection all have immune-suppressive
capacities. Human semen itself is immunosuppressive when it passes into the
bloodstream (as may happen during anal sex). Amyl nitrate inhalents (poppers)
are also immunosuppressive.
Syphilis, as well, is an immunosuppressive disease.
Most medicines used to treat syphilis are immunodepressant, themselves.
Penicillin depresses the bone marrow, which produces leucocytes and other blood
Tetracycline is depositied in the bones and impairs the formation of
granulocytes, thrombocytes and lymphocytes and leadds to the generation of
atypical ones. It suppresses phagocytosis, causes a plethora of leucocytes,
and modifies the production of blood components.
Erythromycin may suppress lymphocyte function and increase numbers of
"But in tracking the genesis of AIDS we are interested in the whole way of life
of those who are particularly vulnerable." Homosexual men are interviewed.
Among the most common presentations found are:
Gonorrhoea: multiple incidents, treated by antibiotics.
Hepatits: high incidence.
Non-specific urethritis: treated with antibiotics.
Dermatological eruptions: specific, palliative, and prohpylactic use of
antibiotics, tetracycline,a nd corticosteroids for skin eruptions; reports of
prescribed tetracycline for 5 to 18 years continuously.
Sedatives, tranquilizers, and mood drugs: for psychological conditions. used
with and without prescriptions
Chronic sore throat: more than 50% report frequent episodes requiring
Herpes simplex: 25% report chronic herpes; 90% herpes within the past 10
Allergies: high incidence of history of chronic and severe allergies, allergy
medications, and symptomatic suppressants.
Lymphadenopathy: frequent to chronic swollen lymph glands in 40% for up to 25
years preceding survey
Diarrhoea: high incidence, frequent parasites supected, and treatments with
and without confirmation of actual organisms in 30% of those interviewed.
Recreational drugs: nearly universal use of marijuana; a multiple and complex
use of LSD, MDA, PCP, heroin, cocaine, amyl and butyl nitrites, amphetamines,
barbiturates, ethyl chloride, opium, mushrooms, and what are referred to as
One fourth of the sample shared nine or more of these conditions, and all
diagnosed as having AIDS or ARC were in this smaller group.
Physicians give little thought to the possible immunosuppressive effects of the
medications they prescribe. Roger Finch, Nottingham City Hospital, England:
The action of antimicrobial agents on the immune system is largely ignored
in clinical practice, although a variety of effects -- mostly in
experimental systems-- on both cell-mediated and humoral immunity have
been recognized....Among the many antimicrobial agents that have been
studied, rifampicin, the tetracyclines, and the cephalosporins have
attracted most attention.
The relevance is usually minor, but not for individuals in whom twenty
"incidents" of gonorrhoea per year for two or more years are a fact of life.
The homosexual population, in particular, consumes these drugs regularly,
_often on a prophylactic basis_, and thus suffers their full immunosuppressive
Tetracycline is the drug of choice, it seems, for nearly every venereal
The "gout specific" (since gonorrhoea causes gout and arthritis) class of drugs
is the one most often given for gonorrhoea (National Disease and Therapeutic
Index). The leading "gout specific" --colchicine--acts directly on the bone
marrow, impairing the production of white-blood cells ("leukopenia") and
granulocytes ("agranulocytosis"), and sometimes causes aplastic anemia.
The physician may prescribe one of the cephalosporins (Mefoxin, Cefobid,
Keflex, Ancef, Ceclor, Velosef, Cefotan, Duricef, rocephin, Keflin, Ultracef,
etc.) which are structurally very similar to penicillin and have similar
adverse effects on the immune system: bone-marrow dperession leading to
impaired lymphocyte response and reduced numbers of granulocytes
("granulocytopenia") and thrombocytes ("thrombocytopenia"), as well as such
allergic reactions as urticaria, maculopapular rashes, breathing difficulties
caused by sudden constriction of the bronchial tubes ("bronchospasm"), and
anaphylactic shock. These are prescribed for :vaginits, candida infections,
acute gonorrhoea, lymphadenitis, anal fistula, pelvic inflammatory disease and
other infections of the female genital tract, non-venereal urethritis,
lymph-node enlargement, vulvitis, and others.
Another class of antimicrobials are the sulfonamides, including
trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim), sulfisoxazole (Gantrisin), and others.
The untoward events that follow the administration of sulfonamides are
numberous and varied...may involve nearly every organ system....certain
reactions include drug fever, complete suppression of bone marrow activity with
profound anemia, granulocytopenia, and thrombocytopenia.
Many other immuno-suppressant drugs are prescribed for the peripheral symptoms
of many of the venereal diseases. Skin rashes, for instance. The common drugs
prescribed for these are highly immunodepressant.
And the medicine for candida (another sexually transmitted disease) sometimes
serves to intensify the infestation rather than alleviate it.
"The immune system is a highly complex system of defense which is by no means
entirely understood by medicine today. Its principal characteristic is
resourcefulness. ...The immune response involves every aspect of the body's
functioning, since any mechanism can be called into action when needed for
purposes of protection. Thus interference by a drug with any aspect of the
body's functioning can have reverberations on its system of immune response."
The New York Times' Lawrence Altman: the AIDS virus "could have mutated in
some unknown waay as a reaction to the widespread use of antibiotics."
("Linking AIDS to Africa Provokes Bitter Debate")
"Since these drugs are the foundation of modern therapeutics, no one is anxious
to put such issues on the agenda. And yet they must be put on the agenda. The
continuing assault on the immune system from the drugs used in modern medicine
has helped prepare the ground for the modern scourge of AIDS."
HLC quotes Peter Duesberg, University of California: "AIDS virus is not
sufficient to cause AIDS and...there is no evidence, besides its presence in a
latent form, that it is necessary for AIDS...AIDS viruses could be just the
most common occupational infection of those at risk for AIDS."
HLC quotes "needlestick cases", where nurses and other health workers
inadvertently inject themselves iwth AIDS-contaminated blood--without any
harmful consequences. "A typical case was reported in 1984: a nurse in
England jabbed her finger while resheathing a hypodermic needle used on an AIDS
patient and probably injected herself with the patient's blood; thirteen days
later she came down with a sever influenza-like illness, followed by sore
throat, headache, muscle aches, facial neuralgia, and then a non-itching
macular rash; she also had arthritic pains and general lymphadenopathy bu
recovered spontaneously in three or four weeks without taking any medication."
Other cases are quoted, and the following is mentioned: "By March 31, 1987
over 1224 needlestick cases had been reported to the Centers for Disease
Control. Of these only 370 cases had been comprehensively tested, but it
appeared that only one person had even developed AIDS-virus antibodies, while
none had become sick with AIDS or even with the AIDS-related syndrome (ARC)."
He also lists a number of other statistics, indicating that: "These facts cast
very serious doubt on the lethality of the AIDS virus in the absence of a
notable cofactor. In our view, a history of syphilis is the indispensable
Data is presented on the African Swine Fever virus.
"With both the AIDS virus and the ASF virus found in both pigs and AIDS
patients, there seemed to be at least a plausible hypothesis for
investigation. Moreover, the NYC Health Dept. had laready announced in Sept.
1985, that a random test of 160 blood donors at the NY Blood Center disclosed
that 5 showed evidence of infection with the ASF. One of these five,
additionally, showed evidence of infection with the AIDS virus itself. ASF
infection had never before been documented in humans."
No investigations have been forthcoming.
Every aspect of the AIDS issue has been entangled in politics from the very
outset. The term "Haitian" was eliminated from statistics. The pork industry
objects to discussing ASF. And the possibility that AIDS is related to
underlying syphilis and the abuse of antibiotics has not been mentioned at all.
These examples show that supposedly scientific or medical issues have enormous
political, social and economic dimensions.
"AIDS can probably be caused by a number of different microorganisms in an
immunosuppressed host. Precisely which virus could be the cause is an
interesting topic for research, but probably less important for treatment,
which should focus on the devastated immune systems of the potential AIDS
victims. Today they are sitting ducks for whatever virus happens to be playing
the role of cofactor.
This point has been made by others." He quotes J.L. Levy and J.L. Ziegler,
"Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is an Opportunistic Infection, and Kaposi's
Sarcoma Results from Secondary Immune Stimulation." The Lancet (July 9, 1983),
79-81: "AIDS is itself an opportunistic infection. It causes disease only in
individuals who are already immunocompromised by hepatitis-B, cytomegalovirus,
parasites, or other immunosuppressive factors...immunologically competent
individuals are not at risk of acquiring the syndrome." Peter Duesberg
observes "the disease would then be caused by an as yet unidentified agent
which may not even be a virus...However, the virus may be responsible for the
early, mononucleosis-like disease observed in several infections..."
"AIDS is the long-term price paid for a short-term benefit and is thus the
medical parallel of our depletion of the ozone layer, the destruction of
tropical rain forests, the burdening of hte atmosphere with suplphuric acid
from coal-fired power installations, the poisoning of rivers and oceans with
"The short-term benefit has been the quick cure of illnesses with antibiotics.
The long-term price is impairment of the immune system"
Repeated infection with secondary venereal diseases, in addition to oral and
anal contact with semen and feces is bad for the health.
One major cause of AIDS is the progressive disabling of millions of immune
systems by uncured syphilis. Another major cause is the very drugs used to
"Modern 'scientific' medical practice relies very largely on medicines whose
ultimate effect is to impair the patient's immune system."
"Prevention is more promising than treatment. The danger of AIDS can be warded
off by avoiding actions and substances which damage the immune system. This
includes exaggerated sexual practices and exaggerated consumption of
therapeutic or non-therapeutic drugs. Anyone with an ongoing syphilis
infection will have to take particular care to avoid concomitant exposure to
the AIDS virus."
Stephen Caiazza, NYC: "We suspect that AIDS is caused primarily by virulent
immunosuppressive treponemes with the AIDS virus functioning in a manner still
undefined, but presumably as a permissive and/or synergistic cofactor. The
so-called 'AIDS virus' masks the presence of syphilis and confounds our ability
to detect it."
Caiazza and his associates have treated several dozen patients on the syphilis
hypothesis. They recommend intravenous aqueous penicillin (40 million units a
day for 20 days). Aqueous penicillin can penetrate the blood-brain barrier,
which many other drugs do not do. For out-patients they prescribe oral
doxicycline, which also penetrates the blood-brain barrier, as well as
benzathine penicillin and oral tetracycline, depending on the patient's
condition and circumstances.
"This treatment is essentially the same as aggressive treatment for tertiary
syphilis. As such, it threatens further immune-system suppression, but patients
who are desperate are willing to run this risk."
They do report signs of improvement.
"But the penicillin treatment of AIDS is fighting fire with fire and cannot go
Certain factions in the drug industry, as well, may wish to sell AZT, which is
more profitable than penicillin.
But the underlying problem, the immune defect, is as yet untreatable.
Homeopathic and naturopathic medicine, which work _with_ the body rather than
against it, seem promising.
HLC comments on the book, "Healing AIDS Naturally," by Laurence Badgley, MD,
who seeks to cure AIDS by supporting the body's own natural powers of
recuperation--the immune system.
But "scientific medicine" seeks to use violent medications that destroy the
body's defenses. (quotes HLC's).
"However, a system of medicine whose long-term effect is to impair the
patient's immune system can hardly be a reputable 'science'."
End of summary
Comments from the extractor of this information:
HLC presents interesting ideas here. The idea that vaccination and
immunization undermine the body's immune system has been around for a while; I
heard it myself about 20 years ago, when my parents (who were somewhat
health-conscious) refused to allow me to be further immunized. However, HLC
supports his theories with scientifically obtained statistics, as well as
logical conjecture and empirical evidence.
HLC states that the immune system is depressed by most antibiotics; halted,
even, in some cases. That syphilis, a known immunodepressant disease, should
precede AIDS in many cases should not be surprising. AIDS only appeared as a
_known_ disease within the last few years. The HIV antibody has (according to
rumors) been detected in frozen blood samples dating from 1969. It's been
around a while.
I am not responsible for this information; I will assume no liability from its
use or misuse. I post it here simply for the information of those who are
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank