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J.P.
Unregistered

HIV controversy
      #2347 - 04/04/00 09:04 PM

Howdy,

Recently there have been anonymous postings here on The Body as well as other web sites - these posts are telling us that the AIDS/HIV relationship is a myth and that the meds are the real culprit, killing us while we're being told it is the HIV.

I am not a doctor, nor a 'bio-medical' specialist, but I do have a healthy dose of common sense and a better than average grasp on reality. I have to say that these posts are dangerous and ill concieved.

I have been HIV+ since 1985 and have only recently begun the Cirx/Epiver/Zerit cocktail. For 12 years I watched HIV slowly take its toll on me. I am healthy, relatively few OI's but there has been a noticible progression of the illness - this did not come from drug therapies! I took no antivirals, or any other drugs until 1997. So for someone to tell me that the antivirals are the real killer seems to me to be absurd. Even more so when the medical evidence shows that my lot in life improved after I began taking meds (150K+ viral load down to undectible levels, and a 250 T count up to over 800).

Does HIV cause AIDS? I don't know. But I do know what daily life shows me, which is: HIV destroys T cells and the damaged immune system cannot fight relatively simple infection. AIDS is diagnosed when T's drop below 200 and there are a few other factors present (OI's, etc).

So is there a connection? Common sense says there is. Common sense also tells us that protecting yourself from transmition of HIV helps reduce the infection rate - to tell us that the reduction in infections is not connected to the changes in lifestyle so many have made is asinine. Perhaps the anonymous poster has a point, and perhaps there is a conspiracy to kill us for the money. All I can say is it would be of more help if they presented proof with thier allegations rather than just try to spread fear and mistrust.

Thank you.






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DScott
Unregistered

Re: HIV controversy new
      #2349 - 04/04/00 09:05 PM

I have noticed the same thing on other boards throughout the net. I find it extremely dangerous as well as condecending to those of us who are living with this virus, and living proof that the current medications, while not perfect, are instramental in imporving the quality of our lives, and providing hope where there was little.
I was diagnosed with AIDS in March 1997. I had suspected that I was HIV positive for several years prior to that, but in all reality did not want to have the "death sentance" officially made. At the time of my diagnose, I had, logically, never been exposed to any of the anti-viral medications. Yet my CD4 count was at 44 and my viral load was measured at just under 1/2 million (four hundred and ninety some odd thousand). I had a marked decline in my health. While I had never been physically ill, my energy level was extremely low and was quite lethargic in everything I did. On May 15th 1997 I began combination therapy. 7 weeks later, my CD4 had risen to 92 and my viral load was at an undectable level. Tests at that time could detect down to 500 copies. My total outlook on life took a dramatic turn for the positive. I suffered NO side effects from the medication. Instead of nausea, my apatite became ravenous. My energy level went through the roof. No one could believe the difference that I experienced. Now 1 and 1/2 years, my CD4 has risen to 156 and my viral load remains undetectable (tests now measure to 25 copies). These results were from the first of Janurary 1999. Overall, I couldn't feel better. And still "side effect" free.

I do feel though, that those who preach that message tend to take their cue from the media. It seems that the media these days offers a very one-sided view of treatment. In most of the recent coverages, theyt have expound on those who fail treatment, while not balancing their reports with those for whom the treatments are succeeding. It seems they are interested only in the negative.




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NanciLee
Unregistered

Re: HIV controversy new
      #2352 - 04/04/00 09:06 PM

i love to see stories like yours. mine is a bit similar. diagnosed just sept 98, few on going bladder infections, yeast infections but nothing major. went to get a house and couldnt pass the life insurance! otherwise, i'd never know.

started AZT 3TC and Crixovan treatment but by the 3rd day was so sick. got worse and worse and had to finally go in the hospital for 2 weeks. my 'doctor' thought i had all kinds of things, toxo, this and that but it turned out, when i changed doctors, that i was only very resistant to AZT and had a case of salmonella to go along with it.

anyway, now on 3tc Crix and Zerit, which gives me no problems at all. the time and eating thing is a bug but so what. Zerit is extremely expensive here in the bahamas, $1300 per month for just zerit (!) but works fine for me.

how can people see all these positive stories and not realize the durgs are helping. i am due to get my viral loads tested again, we cant be sure they were accurate as they were kept all weekend, then shipped to the states, etc. etc. they said a cd4 of 10 and viral load of 350K which should have made me a very sick kid while i was not. so we'll see when i am retested after 4 months on the new program.

keep thinking positive. there are many many MANY worse things that cuold happen to us. this is at least under control and definitely in the public eye so treatment is on the top of everyone's plate! suppose it were some obscure disease that had no real background and then we could talk feel sorry for ourselves.

we'll make it. i am sure.



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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: HIV controversy new
      #2354 - 04/04/00 09:07 PM

Hello. The only problems I have with the anonymous "AIDS conspiracy" postings is that they are anonymous and impersonal. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but let's try to be a bit more personal, here. This is a community bulletin board, not free advertising space.

So, to the person who posts these things anonymously, saying nothing but simply posting a URL: Please step forward and present your views. Allow others to ask questions, contradict you, agree with you, or whatever. Let's get some dialogue going.

Otherwise, your postings simply seem cowardly and manipulative.

Yours,

Sud.




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A wife
Unregistered

Re: HIV controversy new
      #2358 - 04/04/00 09:09 PM

The drugs brought my husband back from the verge of death. 'Nuff said.



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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: HIV controversy new
      #2360 - 04/04/00 09:10 PM

I do not post these url's for any other reasons than to point people to articles that are informative. I believe that people should have access to all the information on this subject so that they can make an informed decision on what course of action to take regarding their health. People need to know that these drugs have serious side effects that can be irreversible. They should also have access to what HIV tests are testing for and that these tests can cross react with other proteins in your blood. They should also know how the labs determine the results from these tests, and that these results are interpreted differently in different labs and countries. Your test could be interpreted HIV+ in the USA and the same test could be interpreted HIV- in Australia.

I post anonymous for the simple reason that I don't want to be subjected to personal attacks. I am very open and willing to have discussions on this important subject but I have found from watching other boards that they just turn into shouting matches. I do not believe that there is any conspiracy happening. I do believe that peer reviewed scientific research has been greatly harmed by government science. Robert Gallo would never have gotten away with announcing at a press conference in 1984 that he had discovered the probable cause of AIDS without first publishing his findings in a peer reviewed journal if he had not been a government employed scientist. Peer review of scientific findings is imperative to the integrity of science.






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Sud
Unregistered

Re: HIV controversy new
      #2363 - 04/04/00 09:12 PM

Thank you for writing!

Let me make my point clear: when I say "anonymous" I am not referring to the fact that you don't include your name but, rather, to the fact that you simply place a URL on the bulletin board. I don't think I was being very clear, and I probably would have been better off saying something to the effect of, "Please post the URL, but also include some personal comments about the site."

I am happy that you actually wrote something this time. I am not challenging you - in fact, I agree with most of what you say. I work in a research institution and understand fully how drug companies sponsor research and how the results are skewed in favour of the drugs the company produces. The same drug companies act as a sort of "mafia" when it comes to alternative therapies, trying to oust herbal and vitamin remedies from the market. One idiot overdoses on a herbal remedy (in spite of the warnings on the bottle) and the product is instantly banned. But, let's just try to imagine how many people have died from stomach haemorrhaging due to taking too much aspirin, or committed suicide by using non-prescription or prescription drugs. What about addictive drugs....valium, sleeping pills, etc? These drugs remain on the market in spite of the obvious risks and abuses. I'm not saying they shouldn't be there - but let's be fair to herbal and alternative remedies.

I have read books by HEAL, and am conversant with the philosophies of the scientists who support the theories presented there. Personally, I agree that the drugs have nasty side effects, that the HIV/AIDS is possibly not as accurate as we would like to believe, and would even go so far as to suggest that the new problems regarding several new drug-resistant strains of the virus are likely caused by (or agitated by) some of the retro-viral treatments. Who knows? But we should be as well-informed as we can be - I agree with you on this. We need to make educated decisions. I think a lot of people make decisions out of fear when it comes to HIV/AIDS.

My partner is healthy and does not take drugs: he adheres to a healthy lifestyle and deals with HIV that way. However, we are both constantly reassessing the situation and are willing to consider anything if the nature of his problem changes. Drugs are not an option now, but could be considered as a "last ditch" effort at some point. Maybe not. But they are not an option at the moment. We try our best to be well-informed and educated. We are partners with his doctor when it comes to treatment decisions. We try to find balance.

Thank you for finally writing - I'm happy to get to know more about you and how you think.

Yours,

Sud.




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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: HIV controversy new
      #2364 - 04/04/00 09:12 PM

I am relieved that we have cleared the air on this. I am not doing these postings to cause any trouble, I just feel that people have been getting only one side of the AIDS debate for so long that it is hard for many to accept that everything they have been fed may not be true. Last night Dateline NBC did a story about Valerie Emerson who won her court battle to keep her son off of the AIDS drugs. I find it scary that a parent has to fight to keep her son off dangerous drugs that cure nothing. It also disturbs me that they are giving AZT to pregnant women when so much is known about the terrible side effects of that drug. The whole AIDS scare has gotten so out of proportion to what is actually going on that it seems allot of desperate and dangerous actions are being taken for nothing other than the cause with little regard for the effects.



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J.P.
Unregistered

Re: HIV controversy new
      #2366 - 04/04/00 09:13 PM

Finally, there is some discussion about this rather than just 'hit and run' postings.

Perhaps, the posting of the information you have disclosed here would be more helpful than just saying "your AIDS drugs are killing you". I have asked numerous times on this board about alternative therapies and have never recieved a reply - but I certainly see the 'scare tactic' postings which tend to make me disbelieve what you have to say - call it my cynical nature.

Don't tell me that my cocktail is killing me when the test results say otherwise. But do tell me what reasons you have to say it. Are the tests wrong? Do they lie? I have been 'followed' by 5 different doctors in the past 14 years, had labs taken by 5 different labs and while the results vary from lab to lab, the trend they showed was indisputable - a slow decrease in my T4 count, and when the viral load tests came around - a steady increase in VL.

It was not until just over a year ago (I am repeating from my original post) that I started on meds - and say a dramatic drop in my VL and a significant increase in T4s. I ask you whether seeing is believing?

Give me information not alarmist rhetoric. I am open to all information, especially since I am not, nor have ever been, a huge fan of medications. But as a husband and father of 3, I am more interested in living as long as I can, than I care about 'crix belly'.




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Sud
Unregistered

Re: HIV controversy new
      #2369 - 04/04/00 09:14 PM

Hello, JP. I'm also glad that we've all actually started to discuss this. (I'm "Sud", another person who prefers a personal touch to "hit and run".)

There is probably no such thing as a right or wrong way to treat this virus. If you've read some of my postings in this stream, you'll know that my partner is a longterm nonprogressor who has never taken meds. He is strong and healthy, takes a lot of vitamins, a few herbs, and adheres to a very healthy, vegetarian diet. Both of us are vegetarians (I am HIV-, however), like to exercise in moderation and try to eliminate as much stress in our lives as possible. This is not a "cure" but, at least for now, things are working out well.

We both try to educate ourselves as much as possible regarding meds and alternative therapies, but find that the emotional support we get from loving friends, my partner's doctor, and both of our therapists is especially helpful. We just try to stay as well-informed as possible about everything relating to this virus, and will hopefully be able to make rational decisions regarding how we deal with how HIV affects our lives.

I think it's great that our anonymous friend wants everyone to be informed, but I was originally was very critical of his/her approach. I am happy that he/she has decided to write something, and now that I see what this person has written I sense some sort of concern there.

I am not against HEAL or any of the organizations that have viewpoints that differ drastically from the commonly known one of "hit early hit hard" (with meds), but you are right to say that some of it sounds like scare tactics. However, I do understand where they're coming from: whenever you try to propagate something that appears to be left wing, you usually have to be pretty extreme to get peoples' attention.

Regarding alternative therapies, what would you like to know? Our local AIDS organizations produce a lot of documents regarding alternative therapies, as well as vitamin lists, etc. If you have a P.O. BOX, I would gladly collect some and mail them to you. I live in an area that is full of resources for PWA's.

If you would like to be on a list, please check www.onelist.com and do a search for "HIV" or "AIDS". You may find a list regarding alternative therapies.

Yours,

Sud.




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Sud
Unregistered

Re: HIV controversy new
      #2371 - 04/04/00 09:15 PM

Thanks and, as I said before, there's nothing wrong with your former postings except for the impersonal air about them. Prefacing a suggested URL or an article with a personal comment, and establishing some connection with the person you're responding to is all that is needed to keep this space as a community bulletin board. I feel somewhat protective of this space, and would really like to continue to feel as if we are all part of an internet community here.

Furthermore, even though your points are good, people will accept them more readily if you show that you understand their situation and reveal a bit about how you feel. If you just shove the information at them, it becomes the same sort of thing as the medical profession shoving drugs at people.

I really agree that we all need to be informed and need to take ownership of what is happening to us (not just regarding HIV/AIDS, but in everything we do or experience). It is great that you are trying to give people an opportunity to see another side of things. Don't be surprised if you get some angry feedback, though: people really, really want to believe what the scientists tell them, and may be angry at you for offering something "new".

Yours,

Sud.






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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: HIV controversy new
      #2374 - 04/04/00 09:16 PM

JP:

These quacks who claim that HIV does not cause AIDS are a dangerous menace to all of us in the prevention community because they for the most part say HIV is harmless, so safe sex is not a requirement.

Unfortunately, they are led by a few of influential scientists who get the media to listen to them because they make such outlandish claims. Men such as Duesberg and Root-Bertstein, among others, all of whom should know better.

I can assure you quite simply that HIV is the etiological agent that causes AIDS. The biological aspects of the disease are sometimes not well understand, but in this case, it is clearly cut and dried. A tenth grade biology student could follow the science of it, as far as coming to the conclusion that HIV causes AIDS.

I take every opportunity to caution people about these anti-HIV AIDS theorists and any others of the same ilk who prey on people's uncertainties and who make dangerous claims that may in fact lead some people to their deaths. I encourage you to challenge them whenever you see them.

I am glad the drugs are working for you, and I hope your health remains robust. Good luck.






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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: HIV controversy new
      #2377 - 04/04/00 09:17 PM

The AIDS rethinkers have never endorsed not having safe sex. They are only focused on the scientific proof of what causes AIDS. If they did not believe in what there research is telling them then why would they jeprodize their careers over this. You say that any tenth grade biology student could understand the proof that HIV causes AIDS, then why are there no scientific papers claiming that their research proves HIV causes AIDS. And if you know of one I wish you would direct me to it because I would really like to read it.



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Carol
Unregistered

Re: HIV controversy new
      #2379 - 04/04/00 09:18 PM

In the end who cares about this argument. It's besides the point. The point is if I have unprotected sex with someone I can infect them. The point is--that if I do not take medicaiton and I am HIV positive and I do NOT have that non-progressor gene (like most of us) I will definitely get sicker and probably die. If you just look at the history of the epidemic--or take a look in Africa. No medication = almost certain death. There are hundreds of thousands orphans in Africa and none of their parents took any meds--they did not even have antibiotics!!! THis is nonsense but great for paranoids and other people who like to invent conspiracies. Mr. Annonymous, I suggest you do not take meds and all your people do not take meds because this will guarantee that you will not have a future and will not be a danger to those who may be prey to your nonsense.



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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: HIV controversy new
      #2382 - 04/04/00 09:19 PM

I am sorry but the proof is just not there for what you are saying. In Africa the definition of an orphan is if the child is not living with its parents. Many parents in Africa have to leave there children with others because they cannot support them. It is true that many in Africa die because they have no access to antibiotics, but they die of the same diseases that they have been dying of for thousands of years.
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HIV=AIDS Controversy: Out of Africa
Charles Geshekter who teaches African History at California State University, Chico, reviews the public hysteria of the public health types in Africa.


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The Epidemic of African AIDS Hysteria
Charles Geshekter

* * *

The alarm over AIDS in Africa—"the new Black Plague"— reached a fever pitch at the recent AIDS Conference in Geneva. A closer scrutiny of the facts suggests that it's time to cool down the rhetoric.
What exactly is an "AIDS" case in Africa? What is the scientific basis for claims about HIV prevalence?
Millions of Africans have long suffered from weight loss, chronic diarrhea, fever and persistent coughs. In 1985, western researchers suddenly re-defined these symptoms as a distinct illness (AIDS), declaring they were caused by a sexually transmitted virus (HIV).
Based on clinical symptoms, not laboratory analysis, the definition of "AIDS" in Africa differs decisively from the one used in the U.S. and Europe. By treating the effects of poverty as sexually contagious, AIDS in Africa suddenly seemed as widespread as malaria, dysentery or sleeping sickness.
How can one virus cause 29 different "AIDS "diseases almost entirely among males in Europe and America, but afflict African men and women in nearly equal numbers? What accounts for the African gender distribution of a virus whose transmission requires a thousand heterosexual acts?
Researchers assumed that AIDS in Africa was driven by a sexual promiscuity similar to what produced—in combination with recreational drugs, venereal disease and over-use of antibiotics—an epidemic of immune deficiency among a small sub-culture of urban gay men in the West.
Such assumptions are useless for a continent of 650 million people where no comprehensive sex surveys have been carried out. No one has ever shown that people in Rwanda, Zaire or Kenya—the so-called "AIDS belt"—are more active sexually than people in Nigeria which has reported only 5500 AIDS cases out of a population of 110 million or Cameroon which had 9600 cases out of 12 million.
HIV tests identify antibodies, not the virus itself. And the tests are notoriously unreliable among populations compromised by parasitic infections or anemia caused by malaria. People who suffer from tuberculosis or bouts of dysentery carry many other antibodies, making it impossible to prove which bacteria caused certain symptoms.
A 1994 study in central Africa showed that conventional microbes responsible for tuberculosis and leprosy were so endemic that over 70% of HIV-positive test results were false. This is important to remember every time the media reports 16,000 "new" HIV infections a day.
Dr. Val Turner of Royal Perth Hospital (Australia) explains that Africans who get an "AIDS" diagnosis are considered heterosexual cases simply because they come from a country where heterosexual activity is presumably the mode of transmission. "Knowledge of actual sexual contact," says Turner, "is not a requirement."
With its elements of sex, blood and death, AIDS sells more newspapers than any disease in history. The drumbeat that "safe sex" is the way to prevent AIDS inadvertently frightens many Africans from visiting a clinic for even minor ailments. According to Dr. Chifumbe Chintu, "Africans with treatable medical conditions (such as tuberculosis) who perceive themselves as having HIV infection fail to seek medical attention because they think they have an untreatable disease."
A Tanzanian study showed that simply providing pregnant HIV-positive women with inexpensive multivitamins resulted in healthier babies and a noticeable increase in post-natal immunities. Convinced they were dealing with a viral infection, the mystified researchers conceded that "how the individual vitamins produce these effects was not understood."
While health officials fixate on condom distribution or make evangelistic demands for behavior modification, approximately 55% of sub-Saharan Africans lack access to safe water, 60% have no proper sanitation and over 50 million pre-school children are malnourished.
Having millions of Africans threatened by "AIDS" makes it politically expedient to use the continent for vaccine trials or for distribution of severely toxic drugs like AZT that radically affects the liver and kidneys, causes muscular diseases and destroys red blood cells.
At the Geneva Conference, the AIDS Vaccine Initiative spokesmen lobbied for $500 million "to encourage drug companies to move toward the eventual goal of profiting from AIDS vaccines." When a U.N. panel condemned U.S. safety standards for vaccine tests, calling them a form of "cultural imperialism" that was inappropriate for Africa, Dr. Peter Piot of the UNAIDS Program welcomed such misguided advice as a "shift from older attitudes of paternalism and protectiveness to greater empowerment by developing countries."
The real threats to African lives are famine, rural poverty, migratory labor systems, urban crowding, the collapse of state structures and the sadistic violence of civil wars. When essential services for water, power or transport break down, public sanitation deteriorates and tuberculosis, dysentery and respiratory infections increase.
The weight loss, diarrhea, fever and persistent cough that define AIDS in Africa are found equally among men and women because of environmental risks to which they are regularly exposed. Dr. F.J. Millard, a local physician, described conditions in rural South Africa that produce a rising incidence of "AIDS" symptoms: "the area suffered from neglect during the apartheid years. There is poverty, malnutrition, violence, unemployment and overpopulation."
The best predictors for "AIDS" anywhere in Africa are economic deprivation, malnutrition, poor sanitation and parasitic infections, not extraordinary sexual behavior or antibodies for a virus that has proved difficult to isolate directly.
Journalists should familiarize themselves with the contradictions, anomalies and inconsistencies in the bio-medical dogma about HIV/AIDS. Once they consider the non-contagious explanations for "AIDS" cases in Africa, they can stop the relentless proliferation of terrifying misinformation that equates sexuality with death.







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