Re: SO SO SO SAD
Jan 13, 2009
You asked for reaction to the misinformed denialist who wrote in. So here is one voice to add in the wilderness.
I contracted HIV in 1983 before it had even been discovered. How do I know? Because I was part of a federal study, the Multi-Center AIDS Co-Hort Study that is still in progress.
This study took and stored specimens that could be used for research later as knowledge grew about the disease that would eventually be named AIDS. When the HIV anti-body test was developed, it was tested on us first; it is how I know I became positive before the virus was even discovered. Much of the long term research about AIDS has come from this study and from the abject persistence of people like me who kept fighting.
This study, among others, has proven beyond all medical certainty the correlation between HIV, immune system destruction, disease progression and longevity.
So I have been positive and lived with AIDS for 25 years, since way before any medications were available. I am what could be considered a health nut - avid bodybuilder (no steroids), took multi-vitamins, ate organic, never smoked or took recreational drugs, and never even tried poppers (another favorite culprit for denialists).
So what happened to me? Over the course of the first 15 years, when I had the luxury of declining all medications, my t-cells slowly eroded and my health gradually and incrementally deteriorated until I faced crisis stage in the mid-1990's.
This is when my luxury of time ran out. It is also when I buried my best friend of 25 years. As devastated as I was to lose my closest friends and lovers, I knew it was time to act if I was to survive.
I now know my genetics are what have made me a long term slow progressor which is why I did not progress to AIDS as quickly as most of my friends who I buried long before. And believe me, we tried everything.
What changed for me? One thing and one thing only: the triple drug cocktail was developed at the right moment and I dove into a new journey. My health immediately responded, began a dramatic reversal and I have returned to a healthy stable state.
The only difference between when I was sick and now was the meds plain and simple. And it has been a long road to regain my health.
When I read about Maggiore and other denialists who sacrifice their lives as they cling to their misguided ideas, it makes me furious. Not because they are deserving but because I know they have influenced other more gullible people to forgoe the real therapies that could save their lives in favor of pop bromides and phony vitamin potions. They are no better than witch doctors - except they are gambling with other people's lives.
So keep up the struggle against these lunatic denialists. I would not be here were it not for the biochemical researchers who persevered and developed effective therapies. I am living proof.
One last note: let's never give up hope for a cure. But don't listen to those who claim it lives in a vitamin or in aspirin. They're snake oil salesmen and won't be around when that cure is discovered like I was when the cocktail was developed.
Response from Dr. Young
Thanks for posting and sharing your personal story.
I think that one of the most important voices to counter the denialists (immoralists, in my view) are those of persons infected and affected by HIV.
Be well, BY
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