living eclipsed by ARV (Antiretroviral) drive
The intention or hope of the global initiative is to treat 3 million HIV positive people with antiretroviral therapy by 2005. However, the current guidelines recommend starting antiretroviral therapy in patients with cd4 counts which have fallen below 350cells/mm3.
Originally, it appeared that anyone infected with HIV would progress to disease and die. This impression has long since been accepted as false. There are individuals all over the world who are living 20 years or more without progression to disease and without the need for antiretroviral (ARV) medications.
The idea that everyone should use medications has already been shown and proven by infected individuals, to be the incorrect way to deal with HIV!
Treating everyone alike is wrong. HIV reacts differently in each person!
Individuals would not only be needlessly treated with highly active antiretroviral drugs (HARRT) but also, these medications and their toxicity may prove to cause more illness and progression to disease. Often, the treatment is worse than the disease!
Some infected people have never developed and may never develop AIDS. Very often, individuals were started on HIV/AIDS medications just because they tested positive. They did not show any signs of illness or immune suppression and they did not need medications!
Whether it was due to side effects or the regimen, over the years, many people stopped taking their medications. Large numbers have continued to live without HIV/AIDS medications. Often, they have managed in this way, for many years!
Individuals who are infected with HIV have shown repeatedly that the basic necessities for health are: adequate sanitation, proper housing, proper food and nutritional support and clean water for drinking and cooking! These are essentials and if they were provided, it is possible that less people would require the introduction of HIV/AIDS medications. Far more people would fare better than the great number of deaths witnessed in poorer countries. Circumstances in tropical zones may actually accelerate illness and the progression of AIDS leading to death.
In Canada, there are not the kinds of deaths, which occur in places like Africa . For the most part, we have the basic necessities and medications are available to us through health care. I was able to manage without HIV/AIDS medications for 13 of the 20 years that I have been living infected with HIV. There are many people who have been living with HIV as long or longer and who are not taking medications. This is accepted, common knowledge here and throughout the world.
It saddens me to see people starting medications when they may require simply the benefits of proper sanitation, food and water. How can anyone fight this potent virus, when the living conditions are less than adequate and where people suffer from dysentery, other viruses and diseases? Even when there is access to proper food and clean water, it is a difficult challenge to manage the diarrhea, which results from using the HIV/AIDS medications!
In the richer countries of the world, where food and supplements are plentiful and accessible, individuals are living longer! When people are infected with HIV and live without the necessities of life, the results are progressive illness and many more deaths.
The fact that an individual is infected with HIV does not necessarily mean that they will go on to develop opportunistic infections or progress to AIDS.
People living with HIV have affirmed this realization. They demonstrate the fact that there are alternative ways to manage and treat HIV that do not involve the use of pharmaceuticals! There are infected people throughout the world, who live without HIV medications and who have continually fought to bring attention to this fact.
We are not properly addressing the obvious. We have the opportunity to help prevent HIV and AIDS illness and death by using proper food, nutritional support and alternative and complementary therapies. In Europe and the United States, governments and pharmaceutical forces are working at making decisions that if successfully adopted will affect infected individuals. They may remove our rights to choose nutritional support and CAM (Complementary and Alternative Therapies). This will undermine what is often for many infected with HIV, a critical, first line of defence in the fight against HIV and AIDS!
Bradford McIntyre, HIV+ for over 20 years
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