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!
How can there be any real understanding about HIV/AIDS and
HIV prevention, without the necessary information reported?
HIV/AIDS reported in the news is minimal, at a time when it needs
to be at the forefront. Money is being spent to try and determine
ways to provide HIV prevention strategies. In order to reach
everyone, HIV needs to be in the news! Talking about safe sex
and the need to use a condom or providing condoms is not working!
People believe HIV infection will never happen to them and many
still associate HIV/AIDS with gay people. Yet men, women and
children of every race and religious or spiritual belief are being
infected with HIV every day, all over the world! Even the Vatican
continues to oppose condom use to fight AIDS while HIV infection escalates!
People think because we have antiretroviral therapies there is no need
to practice safe sex or worry. There is no guarantee these medications
will work on everyone! An infected individual may be resistant to
all the drugs taken by the person who transmitted the disease.
One out of every 10 Europeans newly infected with HIV has a
drug-resistant strain of the virus according to a study released
at the 2003 International AIDS Society's 2nd Conference, on
HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment, held in Paris. Multiple sex partners
means multiple infections can occur with the likelihood of infection
with more than one HIV strain. This places an individual in
greater danger of illness and or death as well as any person
they infect. Some strains of HIV have been shown to cause illness
and death rapidly regardless of immune status. Being infected with
HIV may also include being infected with hepatitis C, as well as
other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
For years, the gay community successfully promoted and practiced
safe sex practices, which reduced the number of infections
dramatically over a period of ten years. With antiretroviral
therapies and fewer deaths associated with these treatments,
many gay people have discontinued safe sex practices. HIV infection
is not disclosed to partners and anal sex without a condom is
increasing at alarming rates. So now HIV infection is on the rise
again amongst gay people.
Also, the heterosexual community is not practicing safe sex,
which is evident in the statistics of HIV infection amongst
heterosexuals worldwide. Seventy five percent of the world
population infected with HIV is heterosexual. Fifty percent
of all HIV infections are in women. Repetition of these facts
is warranted, as there has been insufficient time or attention
given to the dispersal of proper information through the media
regarding HIV and AIDS and HIV prevention.
Studies show that anal sex is common throughout the world and in
some countries 60% of adults practice anal sex. Women in the
United States are reported to be seven times more likely to
engage in unprotected anal sex, than men having sex with men.
Condom usage is lower for heterosexual anal sex compared to
vaginal sex. Many men who have sex with men do not define
themselves as gay. More and more women are being infected
with HIV through sexual intercourse with their male partner,
unaware their partner is bisexual! In heterosexual
relationships, infidelity is also responsible for increases in
HIV infection among women.
There is the perception that if you are infected, HIV is
manageable. Managing HIV/AIDS can become a full time job!
It involves management of your health through doctor's
appointments, hospital visits for blood work and appointments
at hospital pharmacies to pick up your necessary HIV/AIDS
medications. You must manage the side effects of the drugs
and drug resistance. There are the demands of managing to
overcome each opportunistic infection. All of these are
essential to manage to stay alive!
HIV infection does not occur without an opportunity!
HIV can be stopped, but without more public awareness of
the risks involved, safe sex practices and the realities
of people living with HIV, the numbers of infections will
continue to grow and more lives devastated! This awareness
cannot be provided by AIDS organizations alone! Government
and the media need to play a more active role in HIV
prevention. The truth about HIV infection needs to be told!
Health authorities predict by the year 2010, there will
be 45 million new infections and 70 million people will
die of AIDS by 2020.
UNAIDS estimates as many as two thirds, of the 45 million
new HIV infections expected by 2010 could be prevented if
prevention programs were immediately expanded.
Reeta Bhatia, senior policy advisor for the International
Affairs Directorate of Health Canada says, "Engaging in
international HIV/AIDS work will help protect and preserve decades
of investment in the developing world and contribute to the economic
growth and stability on which an independent world economy depends to
function effectively. Global action is also necessary because HIV/AIDS
and other infectious diseases ignore geographical boundaries. Until
the epidemic is halted globally, every country is at increased risk.
In recent years, a global AIDS movement has developed and continues to
grow. Taken as a whole, this effort constitutes one of the largest
international peacetime collaborations in history. Today, more people
than ever before are engaged in the global response to HIV/AIDS,
including community-based organizations, business and labor, religious
leaders, youth organizations, women's groups, the entertainment
industry and a variety of government sectors. The strength of networking
and effective organization among people living with HIV/AIDS continues
to grow and to give an important voice to the epidemic. The commitment
of Canada and Canadians to respond to HIV/AIDS both at home and abroad
sends a clear message that isolationism is impossible in an
interconnected interdependent world, that we need international
awareness and understanding and that we need to recognize our common
humanity and the issues that unite us."
Our own judgments and those we place on others contribute to our
dis-ease and disease. This plays a role in how we
judge the disease. Moving everyone to a reliance on pharmaceuticals
leads us into a world where there is more resistance.
- physical resistance to viruses and bacteria.
- resistance to breaking the boundaries of our created differences.
HIV and AIDS has taught and shown me, that we are
ALL connected and there are endless possibilities!
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
These are issues that many others and I encountered
and we fought to bring about change.
It is my wish that those who are not aware, become aware
and help in the challenge to bring about change!
by Bradford McIntyre