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Bradford's Essay
On HIV: Science, Medical, Pharmaceutical, Government and Media
Bradford's Essay
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Science, Medical, Pharmaceutical, Government and Media
by Bradford McIntyre



Not to take away from the seriousness of HIV, but it is time to let go of the fear!

How we view disease, along with the constant bombardment of fear associated with HIV is cause for alarm. We must educate ourselves, those in the medical profession and our future doctors to address a broader understanding and treatment of disease. The fear and terror associated with HIV and the fact that the medical profession continues to contribute to fear is the first thing we need to overcome! Studies with healthy animals show that when subjected to constant fear and stress they surrender the will to live. Countless deaths of individuals infected with HIV can be attributed to fear. Telling people they are going to progress to disease and die, just because they have been infected with HIV is not true! Yet, these are the messages continually expressed by many in the medical profession.

Even with the latest drug treatments and decline in deaths, many in the medical profession still convey information to patients in a way that promotes fear. Patients are not recommended to take HIV drug treatments, but patients are told to take the drugs or they will progress to disease and die. Physicians should give test results and recommendations for possible interventions and treatments and should extend support without this negative dialogue. My concern is that doctors often provide no hope!

In 1985, I was told by an AIDS specialist to go home, inform my family, arrange my finances and funeral and that I had six months to live! Large numbers of individuals have been given this inhumane death sentence and this continues today! No one should be told he or she has six months to live! Many may give up and not pursue healthy initiatives since the situation was conveyed with less than a hopeful dialogue. Unfortunately, this does not occur just with HIV, but with many physicians who treat all types of illness. This negative dialogue has seriously impacted upon many lives emotionally.

Is it ethical in the diagnosis of disease, to give patients a probable life expectancy? Patients are given negative messaging by the medical profession and told they have six months to live or told there is nothing more that can be done! Health professionals should teach patients to take responsibility for their health and not to be victims! Physicians should assist patients to live! It is important to recognize an individual's willpower. Many patients are told that they will die and do! Many others discover through their will and through the rediscovery of the purpose for being, the ability to live! Often, they live for much longer periods of time than predicted!

Individuals involved in first aid, paramedics, doctors and nurses in emergency rooms and hospitals, they all know first hand the importance to be calm and give patients confidence, avoiding panic and fear! This is equally important in a physician's office and what physicians have been taught and trained to do! It is extremely important for physicians to convey test results and possible treatments accurately and without personal opinions, sarcasm, ridicule and fear tactics! Conveying all available treatments and means to provide help in a supportive and positive way.

When relaying information, doctors must presume that the patient does not have any previous knowledge of their problem. Explanations of test results or treatments should be given in a supportive tone, non-threatening, non-fatalistic and non-judgmental. The language and voice used to convey information is very important and a part of what we call a 'bedside manner'. It is even more important to receive diagnostic information without personal opinions. Relaying information to a patient ensuring they understand as much as possible! NOT placing limitations on a patient's life! Making individuals aware of how much control they have over their lives. Consider to what extent information may undermine health and lack of purpose, as well as affecting or undermining other areas of a person's life. Many health professionals do nothing to eliminate stress and contribute to that stress in avoidable ways.

There are many people who are very much in touch with their bodies and know what is going on in their body. The medical profession can recognize this, rather than dismissing it entirely and relying only on medical knowledge and resources.

Ron Rosenes, a Board Member of the Canadian Treatment Action Council says, " One of the hallmarks of western or allopathic medicine is the belief, proven with microscopes in the 19th Century, that germs cause disease and that killing germs or in this case HIV virus, is the best way to restore health. CAM practices generally strive to promote healing by viewing the individual as a part of a larger framework that includes body, mind, spirit and environment."

Many people who are in touch with their bodies have incorporated nutrition, exercise, controlling stress, herbal and dietary supplements, homeopathy and naturopathy, meditation, visualization and making plans for the future. All of which contributed to their well-being. Recognition of this by the medical profession is lacking. It has been my experience and that of others that insufficient attention is given to the patient who is aware of his or her health and body. When a patient includes alternative therapies in conjunction with medical resources, frequently physicians ignore anything other than the medical resources!

Dr. Jon Kaiser says, "Many physicians have little faith in the body's ability to heal and that is why they promote reliance on drugs."

I was told the virus would kill me. Repeatedly, this is expressed to others and myself during discussions with physicians. Patients come out of doctors' offices and AIDS clinics teary eyed, faced with fear conveyed by physicians! However, I do not feel this is proper dialogue. This kind of dialogue does conjure up fear in most individuals, affecting them psychologically as well as physically. AIDS patients do not have to be hopeless, helpless and passive in the face of the illness!

We need to find better ways for providing health care and improving the quality of life for people living with serious disease. We can recognize the influence that our thoughts and emotions have on our health and the importance of holistic therapies that nourish all aspects of being. Positive thinking, nutrition, exercise, supplements and spiritual resources, all contribute to wellness and a longer life span. All this, we should be able to discuss with health professionals, allowing for a peace of mind and a quality of life not given by time allotted diagnosis. I realize the difficulty in making change. However, I do believe we can all work together in order to educate, ensuring proper information and awareness. I am committed to doing everything I can in order to create awareness!

Science and the medical profession provide HIV/AIDS information to the media and the media disseminates it without a real balance of understanding. The fear associated with HIV/AIDS has kept us in the dark. We only see people dying and certainly in many parts of the world, there is malnutrition, lack of medical attention and affordable pharmaceutical resources, all contributing to countless deaths. We only see the fear associated with sex and the need for safe sex practices! We only hear about drug cocktails and the latest approved medications. We only see people taking a handful of pills. We only hear about the resistance to drugs and we see through the media, only those sick with wasting syndrome, PCP pneumonia, Kaposi's sarcoma, or crippled by Neuropathy.

The public needs to understand HIV and let go of the fear with each person taking part in a global, prevention strategy. These days, pharmaceutical resistance is evident with HIV and not only can a person be infected with a strain or possible multiple strains, but along with it, comes the possibility of resistance to all the drugs the infected individual has taken. We do not know how each person will react to HIV infection. We need to put money back into wellness! We must not wane from our efforts in safe sex education, prevention and research. Never was it more important to keep up our efforts, creating less toxic and affordable drugs and providing proper health care, including complementary therapies and supplements. There is a need for research, pharmaceuticals, studies and fast tracking drugs, but why can't we include research, studies and the fast tracking of nutritional supplements and complementary therapies too? Many people worldwide have put into practice and shown us the positive effects of proper nutrition and complementary therapies, when it comes to living with HIV/AIDS today!


AIDS kills more people than any other infectious disease.

Infectious diseases are the 3rd largest cause of death!


Individuals should not have to suffer all losses due to illness!

Men, women and children are suffering with HIV/AIDS. We need to assure that these people are cared for, not discriminated against! We must provide funds for proper nutrition, housing and health care for these individuals to aid and contribute to their well-being. We need to get rid of the false perceptions and judgments. Like Doreen Millman said at the 1996 AIDS Conference in reference to how a 63 year old grandmother got AIDS. She said, "It just doesn't matter!" Neither does an individual's race, religion or sexual orientation matter! Don't look for differences; look at how we can help one another.

I do not believe it is naive to think we can make the necessary changes, but rather it is naive to think that we can continue on our current course neglecting those who suffer from poverty, illness and disease. People are judging those who are sick, disabled and poor.

At the X1V International AIDS Conference 2002, Nelson Mandela said,"Stigma, discrimination and ostracism are the real killers."

People living with illness are no different from anyone else, except for their disease. Prior to this, they were hard working people, contributing to society. Once sick, they are expected to do without and not have those things they had in their life before sickness! Why do we allow this?

Many people have nothing due to the lack of funding and the effort it has taken for them to survive through their illness. People should be entitled to the right to a quality and standard of living, which promotes wellness and healing, not death and dying. The stress that people are enduring while trying to maintain a home, food, and health is putting them at risk of continued health problems. This in turn means they are in greater need of medical attention! Once again, this taxes an already taxed health care system.

Illness and poverty can strike any one of us, at any time! What is happening affects us all. We can no longer look at others or view other places in the world where people are sick and dying and continue to neglect caring for them, without recognizing how it affects society. We have the means to provide all that is necessary, but we will have to work together to correct the global imbalance. The richer countries have a moral responsibility to help out poorer countries.

We have been warned by science that we are faced with an ever-increasing battle -- the battle against the bug! Every country is at risk of every disease. Here in North America, many people take for granted our quality of life, while others here and elsewhere in the world are faced with poverty, poor sewage and sanitation, famine, drought, environmental devastation and disease, along with millions of people dying. These are problems facing us all. These very same circumstances affect people in every part of the world. We cannot continue to allow millions to suffer and millions to die and expect we will not be affected.

We have to make the necessary changes and care for one another. If HIV and AIDS have not brought this realization, then surely West Nile, SARS, Mad Cow, Monkey Pox and Ebola are convincing enough! It is time to realize that it is only a matter of time before this major global epidemic will affect each and every one of us and that possibly, we will have to deal with some other new bug as well! This is happening already. Look at the impact of SARS and its effects on health care, travel, tourism, jobs, our economy and relationships with other countries. We would do well to pay attention and learn from the enormous poverty, illness and deaths worldwide caused by HIV/AIDS.

At the XIV International AIDS Conference in 2002, Nelson Mandela in his closing speech said, "AIDS is a war against humanity."

Travel has catapulted the virus from one part of the world to another. HIV/AIDS in Africa is not isolated to Africa; it is a worldwide problem. The Health Laboratory Services estimates that there are 10,000 Africans infected with HIV in Britain. An estimated number of newly infected adults and children in Africa reached 3.5 million by the end of 2002. One out of every three adults is infected with HIV in the southern African countries and 30% of pregnant women under the age of 19 are HIV positive. In Zimbabwe, 2000 people die of AIDS every week. In places like Mumias Kenya, HIV infection and AIDS ravage villages. People don't even have clean drinking water, or food!

"Sixty million Africans have been touched by AIDS in the most immediate way. They are either living with HIV, have died of AIDS or they have lost their parents to AIDS. But the toll of those directly affected is even higher," says Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.

...positive attitudes are not simply 'moods'

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