HIV and AIDS - NATUROPATHIC PHYSICIANS
by Bradford McIntyre
October 22, 2004
In many countries throughout the world, people
are going to naturopathic physicians when faced with a health
It is naturopathic physicians, not medical doctors,
who are specifically educated as physicians but with an expertise
in alternative medicine. The naturopathic physician spends years
of pre-medical training, which is the same as a medical doctor,
as well as spending another four years in naturopathic training
at University. The United States, Australia, Canada, Germany,
New Zealand and South Africa all have 3-4 year courses with a
Here in Vancouver, the Health Professions Act forbids
the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia from
acting against a medical doctor practicing "alternative medicine"
unless the therapy can be demonstrated to be more dangerous than
the conventional therapy. This same Act demands that naturopathic
physicians, who are specialists in alternative medicine, must
prove the absolute safety and efficacy of a treatment before it
is allowed to be included in their practice. This double standard
is ridiculously biased and does not recognize the naturopathic
physician's expertise. Naturopathic physicians are licensed to
diagnose and treat all medical conditions. Naturopathic physicians
are specifically trained in the appropriate medical use of all
natural prescriptions. However, the government continues to deny
their ability to treat patients according to their needs by restricting
naturopathic doctors from the same access to necessary prescriptions,
labs and other diagnostic tools.
Naturopathic physicians are primary care providers!
Government must recognize the value and credibility of naturopathic
medical care and emphasize more, the value of preventive health
care. It is particularly important now when we are experiencing
a health care crisis in this province and across Canada. Government
can advocate better acceptance of naturopathic medicine by the
The naturopathic physician spends a great deal of
time with me to explain my health condition and he gets to the
root cause of the problem. Often, the naturopathic physician has
answers for me where my MD does not! My naturopathic physician
teaches me and emphasizes specifics in diet improvement, healthy
lifestyle changes and approaches, which recognize the importance
of a healthy body, mind and spirit. There are few other physicians
For many people, their primary care provider is
a naturopathic physician. Many in the medical profession are on
the side of the government to change the scope of naturopathic
medicine because they are losing patients! Many people living
with HIV/AIDS have turned to naturopathic physicians. It is important
to be aware that licensed MDs are legally required to use first
line pharmaceutical intervention or risk losing their professional
I. Poeitzer says, "More and more citizens are utilizing
naturopathic medicine because it is safer, non-invasive, respects
the body's natural healing potential and it has proven success.
This move towards naturopathic and other non-allopathic modalities
of health should indicate to you the political will of the people."
We may have jumped the gun and put all our efforts
into pharmaceuticals when it came to fighting AIDS.
Recognizing the ability of the body to heal has
prompted many to choose to combat HIV in a non-medical direction.
Often, people are effective in preventing illness for years before
drug intervention is ever necessary, or not necessary at all.
Others have continued to live without any sign of HIV/AIDS related
opportunistic infections or disease. For some who have tested
positive, there has never been any virus replicated in their body.
Equally so, many people who are on drug treatments have learned
to address the importance of diet, exercise, alternative therapies
and supplements, mind, body and spirit. Let's not close our minds
to what is right in front of us showing endless opportunities.
These are opportunities for us to learn, grow and have healthy
"Health is indeed determined by a wide range of
influences beyond the traditional health care system. Opportunities
and responsibilities to improve or influence health are shared
by everyone, including individuals, communities and governments",
says Diane Marleau, former Minister of Health.
In both Canada and the United States, health care
systems are being affected by the strains from use and rising
costs. Billions are being spent, while people look to the medical
profession to care for their illness. There is a whole consciousness
that supports disease and we can make an attitude adjustment.
If we took a little more care and responsibility for our health
and what we put into our bodies, there would be less demand on
our health care system. We must not allow ourselves to fall prey
to the belief that science and the medical profession has all
the answers, nor can we find all our answers in pharmaceuticals.
Science, medicine and the use of pharmaceuticals play key roles,
but so does the greatest disease fighter on the planet, our immune
Those having to make decisions in treatment around
choices for healing do not have an easy task. Every person is
unique. Each one of us will have different responses to HIV and
antiretroviral treatment. There are options and we do have choices.
Many have chosen natural healing! Not everyone is OUT publicly
about his or her disease and/or treatments and the number if known
would be many! In the United States, of those who went to hospitals
and sought out medical advice, three times as many people chose
It seems there is only money in illness and no money
There are no shortages of researchers exploring
the positive benefits of vitamin supplementation and complementary
and alternative medicine. However, government funding very often
never materializes! Without government funding, how can there
be any 'evidence-based' medicine for complementary therapies?
Government lags in funding, while science and the general public
already realize the benefits of complementary therapies.
Funding, education, implementation of complementary
therapies in our health care and recognizing the importance of
naturopathic physicians and securing their place in our health
care, is paramount! We should be studying the use of supplements
and including them in our health care. Funding is necessary for
additional research and fast tracking the implementation of them,
providing positive effects for individuals with disease. Saving
people's lives! It is the responsibility of governments around
the world to include and provide these life-saving, natural alternatives
in health care systems and ensure natural supplements continue
to be available. With choice there is hope!
People infected with HIV or have AIDS and all those
living with a disability need a quality of life that does not
undermine their health. There are people dying due to the stress
on an already stressed and suppressed immune system. There is
added stress due to a lack of funds available to support nutritional
diet and good health. Proper nutrition is necessary for HIV infected
individuals, as those who eat well feel better compared to those
who consume a less than adequate diet. Malnutrition can compromise
their ability to fight off infection. We should be making good
nutrition a high priority in AIDS treatment! There are people
living with HIV who are in constant need of medical attention
due to the poor quality of food and water. Water must be clear
of micro-organisms and tap water is not fit to drink by people
with a suppressed immune system, as they are susceptible to Cryptosporidiosis
and Microsporidiosis. There is a need and an added expense of
purchasing bottled water for drinking and cooking. The lack of
bottled water contributes to their disease. There is a need for
affordable housing, providing a comfortable and stress free environment
in which to live.
Health care would have a payback in reduced and
delayed usage with these provisions in place, as suggested by
studies confirming lower survival associated with these! A call
for action is necessary. The present situation dictates that these
are vital necessities for people living with HIV/AIDS throughout
the world! Since many people infected with HIV have neither the
health nor energy to work towards creating awareness and change,
it is my intention to speak through my experience for those whom
I hope will benefit. Ignoring the importance of meeting these
needs will bring an ever-increasing cost to our health care systems
and us worldwide. A simple exercise in these directions and implementation
would have an enormous impact on the fight against AIDS!
HIV / AIDS and Naturopathic Physicians
CHIS-UK Complementary Healthcare Information Service - UK