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AIDS Awareness Red Ribbon


HIV/AIDS
and
Complementary therapies

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 of lives!

Bradford McIntyre, Guest Speaker - Seminar: Alternative Methods of Managing HIV/AIDS

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 viral load.

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 problem.

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 support.

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!

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copyright Bradford McIntyre



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