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Is it Time to Return to a "Hit Early" Approach?

by Bradford McIntyre

HealthDev.org - [pwha-net]
January 16, 2005
Is it Time to Return to a "Hit Early" Approach?
(Wayback Machine web.archive.org)

    The answer to whether it is time to return to a "Hit Early" approach is unequivocally NO!

For starters, there are far too many problems with the HIV test to begin with; many are receiving a false positive!

Originally, it seemingly appeared that anyone infected with HIV would progress to disease and die. This has long since been realized to no longer be true. We have individuals all over the world who are living 20 years or more without progression to disease and without the need for medications. This idea that everyone should be on medications has already been shown and proven by those of us infected, to be the wrong way to deal with HIV!

Treating everyone alike is wrong; HIV reacts differently in each person! Individuals would not only be needlessly put on HARRT, but these medications and there toxicity, may prove to cause more illness and progression to disease. Often the treatment is worse than the disease!

There are people who have been infected with HIV who have never developed and may never develop AIDS. Very often, individuals who were put on HIV/AIDS medications just because they had tested positive but without showing any signs of illness or immune suppression; they did not need medications!

Whether it was due to side effects or regime, over the years, many people stopped taking their medications and large numbers have gone on living without HIV/AIDS medications. Often for many years!

Individuals infected with HIV have shown time and time again that what are necessary is; adequate sanitation, proper housing, proper food and nutritional support and clean water for drinking and cooking! These should be provided and if they were provided; even more people would likely not have to introduce HIV/AIDS medications. Far more would fare better than the great number of deaths we see in poorer countries, particularly tropical zones where circumstances may actually accelerate illness and progression to AIDS and causing death.

We are not seeing these kind of deaths here in Canada, for the most part we have all the above mentioned and medications available through health care. I was able to go without HIV/AIDS medications for 13 years out of the 20 years I have been living infected with HIV. There are many people who have been living with HIV just as long or longer; who are not taking medications. This is common knowledge here and in many places around the world.

I am saddened to see people put on medications when what many need is not medications but proper sanitation, food and water. How can anyone be expected to fight off a virus when their living conditions are less than adequate, where people are already suffering from dysentery and other virus's and diseases. It is hard enough to keep diarrhea under control that is caused by the HIV/AIDS medications when you have proper food and water! In the richer countries of the world, where food and supplements are plentiful and accessible, individuals are living longer! When infected with HIV and living without the necessities of life, such as clean water and quality food, we have progressive illness and many more deaths.

Just because an individual is infected with HIV; this does not necessarily mean that they will go on to develop opportunistic infections or AIDS.

And people living with HIV have already brought about this realization, as well as, the fact that there are alternative ways to deal with and treat HIV that do not mean using pharmaceuticals! There are people throughout the world living with HIV, without HIV medications; who have continually fought to bring attention to this fact.

There is much debate and concern in regards to combination therapy and protease inhibitors. The pharmaceutical companies promote viral load testing to show that a lower viral load obtained with these combinations actually improves immune function. In some patients, reducing the viral load was successful, but the cd4 count did not go up. Evidence has and continues to show that these drug combinations are toxic to the body. They can suppress immune function and advance progression to full-blown AIDS even while viral load drops to undetectable levels. Some people with AIDS, who take these combinations and have a lowered viral load, are developing life-threatening problems!

Pharmaceutical companies would have us believe that individuals are living longer solely due to antiretroviral and protease inhibitors. This is only partly true. There ARE people who cannot tolerate or have not taken any antiretroviral drugs. They are living long and healthy and are full of vitality without the drugs! A major reason for the change in mortality is due to those people who have opted out of standard treatments for HIV. Also, there are large numbers of individuals who are infected but with no illness. These two groups of individuals are often ignored.

Personally, I am taking HIV/AIDS medications, so I know the definite benefits when they are necessary. Without them, developing opportunistic infections, illness and death is a real situation for me and I am dependant on the drugs! I recognize the role they play. I want to see people in need receive the necessary medications. However, never should we move again and treat everyone HIV+ alike!

Never should a person be put on medications just because they have tested HIV positive! We already know not everyone needs HIV/AIDS medications!

Bradford McIntyre
Vancouver, Canada


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