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Healthy living combats AIDS

by Bradford McIntyre

Westender, Vancouver's Urban Voice
March 12, 1998.

    In regards to "AIDS activists want drugs fast tracked" (March 5): Those individuals who are not on any antiviral treatment, for whatever the reasons, have been combating HIV infection with nutritional diet, exercise and supplements, including alternative/complementary therapies used with or without medical resources.

Many people are developing resistance to combination therapies and protease inhibitors with known figures of drug failure at 35-50 per cent and climbing. Many suffer toxic side effects or develop resistance to drugs. For many it is not until there are no medical resources left, that they then look to see what else can be done.

Much can be done and more importantly many are not aware that HIV infection does not mean a death sentence. The fear associated with HIV, and the fact the medical profession continues to contribute to the fear, this is the first thing we need to overcome. Telling people they are going to progress to disease and or die, just because they have been infected with HIV, is not true.

Many infected have lived the last 15 years or more without HIV-related drugs and dealt with many of the same health issues as those on drugs, with great success due to nutritional supplements and complementary therapies.

We may have jumped the gun and put all our efforts into pharmaceuticals when it came to fighting AIDS. It would be wise to look at the contributing factors to immune suppression and address these. Fear, worry, anger, lack of rest, lack of proper nutrition and exercise and the use of drugs and alcohol can contribute to and are co-factors in immune suppression. There is hope with the success of science and medicine, but there is even greater hope in the successes of those individuals not on drugs who are healing.

My having lived going on 14 years infected with HIV without antiviral combination therapies suggests to myself and others that supplements can be used to boost the immune system and create longevity for a happy and healthy life.

Fast-tracking drugs may push us even further from the natural resources already available. With the uncertainty of long term effectiveness of experimental approaches and deaths associated with these drugs, it is time we validated the successes of people using natural supplements in the fight against disease. It is our responsibility to persuade government to include and provide these nutritional supplements in our health care.

And, insure natural supplements continue to be available in health food stores. With choice there is hope.

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