by Bradford McIntyre
Initially, there were no drugs available to treat HIV/AIDS, but substantial numbers
of infected individuals collaborated, shared experiences and found an alternative way. Without medications,
people incorporated proper nutrition, exercise and complementary
therapies into their lives. People have been successful at staying
healthy and/or having wellness restored time after time using
complementary therapies, with or without HIV/AIDS medications.
We must acknowledge and give credibility to this reality! We must
acknowledge all of the many contributions by people infected with
HIV. They are the same people who raised funds and started AIDS
organizations, thereby providing and developing treatment libraries,
which contained files on all the alternative treatments used by
people living with HIV/AIDS. When HIV/AIDS drugs did become available,
HIV/AIDS research and drug treatment information was included
in these libraries.
Researchers, pharmaceutical companies and the medical
profession have learned valuable information from infected individuals.
Those affected were responsible for instituting what is referred
to as treatment holidays, or structured treatment interruptions.
A daily regimen while confined to a lifestyle of taking medications
and the fact that many were unable to handle the side effects
of the HIV/AIDS medications, prompted individuals to stop taking
their medications, for months or years. The knowledge gained from
these people opened the eyes of researchers and the medical profession.
This facilitated change and stopped the insanity of the HIV/AIDS
treatment protocol referred to as Hit them hard, hit them early!
It is because of the information gained from people living with
HIV that we have moved on and recognition is now given to the
importance of individualized treatments. People who have been
infected have brought about the understanding of which drugs work
and which do not. In this way, they have voiced the need for more
effective and affordable drug treatments -- and more!
However, there is an abundance
of information, which is not being provided by infected individuals
and obviously; this can be attributed to the stigma attached to
HIV. Because of the fear, there are
people who are not reporting how they are managing their illness.
Their status is not known, so they cannot be counted. The numbers
of individuals who have chosen natural methods is substantial
but without all the voices of those people heard; this has allowed
pharmaceutical companies and the medical profession to have a
monopoly over the direction of treatment and treatment information.
It is time for affected people to have their voices heard! The
use of HIV/AIDS medications is one direction of treatment and
natural healing with the benefits of complementary therapies is
another. Both must be recognized equally! Time, energy and money
must be given to both if we are to save millions and millions
It is time for complementary
therapies to be brought to the forefront and on an equal level
with pharmaceuticals. We have to persuade
everyone, pharmaceutical companies and their shareholders, government,
the medical profession, media and the public to recognize the
importance of using every available means when it comes to fighting
HIV/AIDS and all disease!
While dealing with HIV or AIDS, dedicated people
have worked tirelessly, creating awareness in the many areas related
to HIV and AIDS. Individuals spoke out; ignored the HIV stigma
and broke down the barriers of fear and discrimination in their
own lives as well as for the sake of others. Among the varied
issues, many pioneered the importance of complementary therapies
and their uses in treating HIV/AIDS. For some, the benefits from
their efforts were not always realized while they were alive.
Where some left off striving, others are going onward. This challenging
work will continue until science, the medical profession, pharmaceutical
companies, governments and media combine all resources to promote
the usage of complementary therapies as an integral part of the
methods for treatment of illnesses.
For 20 years, I have been living with HIV virus
in my body. I have gone without drug treatments for 13 of those
years, using alternative and complementary therapies instead.
While on drug medications, I have included alternative therapies
and have been able to positively impact my immune system and decrease
Those suffering with illness
and those who have watched loved ones get sick and die know all
too well that many health conditions were either not diagnosed
or misdiagnosed! In my own situation
this has happened numerous times. Often, my health problems have
not been dealt with by medical resources - it has been naturopathic
physicians and complementary therapies that have eradicated a
There are too few individuals who are not afraid
to talk about the fact they have been infected with HIV and who
are working to create awareness and education of the many issues
surrounding HIV/AIDS. There is very little attention given to
those who would voice alternative methods of managing HIV/AIDS.
Even the voices of AIDS activists have been lost
due to the fact many AIDS organizations are receiving funding
from both government and pharmaceutical companies. To speak out
in support for alternative choices in treatment would upset those
providing the funds and result in possible removal of that financial
The pharmaceutical companies would have us believe
that individuals are living longer solely due to anti-virals and
protease inhibitors. This is only party true. Certainly, there
are many individuals experiencing the benefits of the many drug
options, myself included. But there are even more who cannot tolerate
or have not taken any anti-viral drugs who are living long and
healthy lives, full of vitality, without them.
It seems there is only money
in illness, and no money in wellness. Funding,
education and implementation of alternative and complementary
therapies in our health care system and recognizing the importance
of naturopathic medicine is paramount. It is the responsibility
of government to include and provide these in our health care.
With choice there is hope!
copyright © Bradford McIntyre