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Experimental Treatments Effective?
Aug 27, 1996

The article at http://www.electriciti.com/explore/Articles/Beck/HIV_Article.htmldescribes an experimental electrical treatment method for HIV and other viruses.Are the studies cited therein with respect to neutralization of HIV in a petri dish by small electrical currents accurately characterized? Have any controlled studies been performed with respect to the described treatment method or similar methods?I recently read that the Chinese have been effective in treating HIV with herbal medicine,and have achieved a reduction of the virus to undetectable levels in some patients. Do you know any details regarding the recent Chinese herbal treatment studies? The failed baboon marrow transplant attempt on Jeff Goetz has been widely reported. Reports indicated that his condition nonetheless improved, possibly due to the effects of low-level radiation treatments intended to stop his immune system from rejecting the transplant. I heard that studies were proposed with respect to treatment of HIV with radiation as a result. Have such studies been conducted? If so, what are the results?

Response from Dr. Cohen

I'd put off answering your question because you've raised so many questions, but I think I'll answer it with a single point. The short answer to all of your questions is "I don't know." Now it may sound bad for an AIDS specialist to be "ignorant" of so many potential therapies. If so, I'm guilty. But I read the AIDS and infectious disease journals and the reputable AIDS newsletters, and I attend God knows how many AIDS conferences and meetings every year, and I am in constant communication with other experts in my field. After all that, I figure if I haven't heard of something, there's a reason for it.

I'm not saying that something useful couldn't arise outside of the mainstream of scientific research. It's happened before. . . but not very often. Frankly, when it comes to AIDS, I can't think of any formerly "alternative" therapy that has withstood the test of time and become proven and widely used; everything we use today came out of the "mainstream." Common sense tells me that electricity and radiation and herbs are probably not going to do much for AIDS. There has been an "herb-of-the-month" since the beginning of the epidemic, and except for boosting the profits of health food stores, I'm not sure that much has been gained. Now that protease inhibitors are lowering people's viral loads by up to 99.9%, it's going to be hard for alternative therapies to compete.

They WILL compete, however, only because many people who are very skeptical when it comes to "mainstream" therapy will accept alternative therapies with open arms, not demanding the same evidence from their herbalist that they would demand from their physician. We need to be skeptical of everything we use to treat HIV infection; we need to demand that a benefit be demonstrated. The NIH has funding for research into alternative therapies for AIDS, and that's how we should approach this issue.



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