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A Word from John James on this Special Issue on Treatment and Survival

September 8, 2000

This issue of AIDS Treatment News brings together some of the most important information on the effect of modern HIV treatment on improved survival. Some cautions:
  1. Almost all doctors today agree that not everyone infected with HIV needs to take antiretroviral or other drugs. But everyone with HIV does need medical monitoring and care -- and access to treatment when and if it is appropriate for them.

  2. Just because studies described below found that those with treatment had a fraction of the death rate of those without does not necessarily mean that your chance of survival will be correspondingly increased by antiretrovirals. The reduced death rates reflect the benefit of treatment for those who needed it most.

This article is part of our series to counter misinformation about AIDS treatment and prevention. Fringe groups are aggressively promoting such ideas as that HIV is harmless (or does not exist) in ways that encourage people to ignore medical and infection-control advice, risking their own health and the health of others. They are telling people that AIDS drugs are worthless poisons, prescribed because of a vast mistake or corruption, and suggesting that people with HIV or AIDS reject most or all medical care for that condition.

These bizarre theories -- sometimes presented with dozens of hundreds of misused references or snippets from legitimate scientific articles -- have led some people with HIV to stop all medical care based on one-size-fits-all conspiracy theories, regardless of their individual medical condition. Some of the believers are highly intelligent, and properly skeptical of mainstream authority; some have sincerely tried to investigate both sides of the controversy. Often they have found mainstream professionals too busy to talk with them, and not interested in explaining their work to the public -- while medical cultists, flush with mystery money but with no responsibilities for actual AIDS research or patient care, have spent years learning how to slickly package their arguments, complete with celebrity endorsements.

The following article, and others in this series, focus on bringing together findings of recognized scientists and explaining them for those who are not medical specialists. All of the articles will be available on our Web site (

-- John S. James, AIDS Treatment News


ISSN # 1052-4207

Copyright 2000 by John S. James. Permission granted for noncommercial reproduction, provided that our address and phone number are included if more than short quotations are used.

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