The way we address HIV is cause for concern
by Bradford McIntyre
March 4, 2004
The truth is that there are millions of people
living to whom HIV has not caused illness and death. This
information brings joy and hope to the heart of any person who has
ever dreaded the onset of AIDS.
Initially, we only saw the deaths of those infected
with HIV. Science, medicine and the pharmaceutical companies looked
for answers, but fear set the standard that HIV infection was a
fatal disease. Many cried out for answers. Pressure led to the release
of drugs and the direction was set! High dosages and problems with
toxicity played a major role in many of the lives considered plagued
with HIV. What has happened is that the pharmaceutical companies
have manipulated the shape of AIDS. They provide the medical profession
with treatment information and dosages. As well, they are providing
funding and treatment information to the AIDS organizations and
in return AIDS organizations are promoting the treatment information
provided by the pharmaceutical companies. These drug companies know
they have a vulnerable market! Drugs are promoted to combat HIV
when the suppliers know that many AIDS drugs may be unsuccessful.
Whether it's over a short or long term, many do fail. HIV strategies
evolve and outwit the immune system. Therefore, some individuals
are in constant need of new drugs when their drugs fail and resistance
develops. The more HIV/AIDS drugs that an individual takes, the
greater the risk of drug resistance occurring.
Another thing which ensures many individuals
choose the drug treatment, is the continual fear promoted by the
pharmaceutical companies and the medical profession to influence
an individual into believing they will progress to disease and/or
die without HIV/AIDS medications. Often, a physician tells patients
that those individuals who do use supplements and complementary
therapies: "they die!" Individuals voicing
anything other than the pharmaceutical company's ideology of HIV/AIDS
and treatments are discredited. This is all too clearly understood
by millions of people throughout the world.
Even the media has not told the true story but only conveys
the information provided by the pharmaceutical companies. It is
the responsibility of the media to investigate and then report!
It is important and necessary to recognize the need for voices from
all walks of life to be heard, thus helping to create a better understanding.
One of balance!
Since the beginning, living with HIV has prompted
many to learn about their bodies, to gain understanding of its needs.
Large numbers of people have incorporated the
knowledge of HIV/AIDS medications, how they work, what they do,
dosages to take with or without food, side effects and benefits!
Antiretroviral medications deplete many of the micronutrients necessary
to keep the body healthy. Without proper nutrition how can anyone
be expected to combat HIV or combat the side effects of the HIV/AIDS
treatments? Without complementary therapies, patients are at a greater
risk of failing drug treatments because they can't tolerate the
side effects. They may decide to discontinue a treatment, which
could have proved beneficial, had they been able to overcome the
initial side effects. Providing proper nutrition and Complementary
therapies can address the immune system and many of the side effects
of HIV treatments.
There are no shortages of scientists and physicians
as well as individuals living with HIV, who have realized another
understanding of how HIV and other diseases can be affected. The
fact the emphasis on treatment is placed predominantly on medical
and pharmaceutical while other methods are not given the same deserving
recognition, is in direct conflict with the way in which people
infected with HIV have managed their infection!
Over half of the people infected with HIV are
using alternative and complementary therapies.
Regardless of HIV infection or not, in the United States alone,
for every individual who seeks out medical and pharmaceutical care,
three times as many people are seeking out alternative and complementary
care. Here in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where I live,
I would say the numbers using alternative and complementary are
even higher! Yet alternative and complementary care is not included
in health care!
HIV has shown us that it is reacting differently
from person to person. However,
we began by trying to treat everyone infected with HIV alike. Each
one of us is physically different with what is happening in our
body. In the treatment of any disease, we must be careful not to
have tunnel vision, or rely totally upon science, medicine and in
particular, pharmaceuticals to maintain our health. The responsibility
is ours, not something we pass on for someone or something to fix.
There is much we can do in the fight against disease!
Many who have been living with HIV (some for
two decades now) have no need for antiretroviral treatment because
their immune system is strong. Others,
who are on HIV medications, have included nutrition and replacement
therapy (vitamin supplements, herbs and botanicals). Successfully
boosting the immune system and positively addressing the efficacy
of drugs and there many side effects. Whether it is being able to
avoid treatment entirely, prolong treatment or in conjunction with
medical and pharmaceutical treatment, we must recognize the importance
of using every available means in the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
An integrated health care system is the will
of the people! World wide! Governments
can include complementary treatment and supplements into health
care to benefit those living with disease. Pharmaceuticals are an
important part in research and treatment and there is no shortage
of work ahead for pharmaceuticals. But, what the pharmaceuticals
can't do is address the need the body has for nutrients.
What stands out for me about having lived with HIV
for 20 years is the ability individuals have shown to positively
impact the immune system using a nutritional diet and complementary
therapies. Incorporating vitamins, minerals, herbs and botanicals
into daily life provides the necessary requirements for an immune
system to be up and running at optimum capacity. In my own experience,
I did not take HIV/AIDS medications for 13 years, out of the 20
years I have been infected!
It is important to understand the immune system
and what it needs to be able to carry out all its functions.
Knowledge is necessary of the cells, the nutrients
and all they require to be up and running to maximum capacity. The
digestive system and organs all require their own needs be met.
The immune system knows how to run the body and keep it healthy.
On the other hand, we as human beings may not have been as conscientious.
This creates far more for the immune system to handle, when the
immune system does not have the proper requirements to provide balance
and harmony throughout.
The immune system is made up of proteins and cells and these
cells require nutrients. A healthy nutritional diet of protein is
necessary to rebuild muscle. Protein provides the building blocks
for new cells, including muscle and immune cells. Individuals infected
with HIV have much higher protein requirements! Nutritional needs
of those infected with HIV are 10% higher than someone not infected
with HIV. A nutritional diet, which also includes vitamin-rich fresh
fruits and vegetables, has been effective in boosting the immune
system and reducing the side effects of the HIV/AIDS medications,
as well as maintaining and improving health. Nutrition is a primary
defense! However, we don't see or hear this side!
Funding, education and implementation of nutritional
supplements and complementary therapies in health care is paramount! Nutritional supplements can be introduced into
health care quickly and effectively, having positive effects on
individuals with illness and disease. As a bonus, there are no toxic
side effects. We must look to what is causing illness and disease
and incorporate natural healing with traditional methods. Understand
the immune system, all the workings of the body and when the body
conveys immune deficiency!
Pharmaceuticals have played an important part in the
evolution of how we understand disease and treatment. With the uncertainty
of long-term effectiveness of experimental approaches and deaths
associated with pharmaceuticals, it is time we validated the successes
of people using nutrition and natural supplements in the fight against
HIV and all illness and disease. These can have a major impact on
health and can add years to one's life. However, the multi-national
pharmaceutical industry is providing information about HIV/AIDS
to make money and ensure continued financial success. How long will
we continue in this direction and at what cost? Will the cost be
the risk of causing illness in healthy people?
The body needs more than the HIV drug combinations
and people all over the world are in agreement! Individuals
not on medications know the importance and the work required, to
remain off, or go off HIV/AIDS medications. Many individuals on
medications are not relying totally on combination therapy. They
are including the use of complementary therapies (CAM) and they
ARE successfully boosting the immune system, reducing the side effects
of the drugs and increasing the efficacy of the HIV/AIDS drugs.
I strongly recommend that the world community embrace
this shift and redirect the focus from the negative health condition
to the positive solution.