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The way we address HIV is cause for concern
by Bradford McIntyre
The truth is that there are millions of people living to whom HIV has not caused illness and death. This information brings joy and hope to the heart of any person who has ever dreaded the onset of AIDS.
Initially, we only saw the deaths of those infected with HIV. Science, medicine and the pharmaceutical companies looked for answers, but fear set the standard that HIV infection was a fatal disease. Many cried out for answers. Pressure led to the release of drugs and the direction was set! High dosages and problems with toxicity played a major role in many of the lives considered plagued with HIV. What has happened is that the pharmaceutical companies have manipulated the shape of AIDS. They provide the medical profession with treatment information and dosages. As well, they are providing funding and treatment information to the AIDS organizations and in return AIDS organizations are promoting the treatment information provided by the pharmaceutical companies. These drug companies know they have a vulnerable market! Drugs are promoted to combat HIV when the suppliers know that many AIDS drugs may be unsuccessful. Whether It's over a short or long term, many do fail. HIV strategies evolve and outwit the immune system. Therefore, some individuals are in constant need of new drugs when their drugs fail and resistance develops. The more HIV/AIDS drugs that an individual takes, the greater the risk of drug resistance occurring.
Another thing which ensures many individuals choose the drug treatment, is the continual fear promoted by the pharmaceutical companies and the medical profession to influence an individual into believing they will progress to disease and/or die without HIV/AIDS medications. Often, a physician tells patients that those individuals who do use supplements and complementary therapies: "they die!" Individuals voicing anything other than the pharmaceutical company's ideology of HIV/AIDS and treatments are discredited. This is all too clearly understood by millions of people throughout the world.
Even the media has not told the true story but only conveys the information provided by the pharmaceutical companies. It is the responsibility of the media to investigate and then report! It is important and necessary to recognize the need for voices from all walks of life to be heard, thus helping to create a better understanding. One of balance!
Since the beginning, living with HIV has prompted many to learn about their bodies, to gain understanding of its needs. Large numbers of people have incorporated the knowledge of HIV/AIDS medications, how they work, what they do, dosages to take with or without food, side effects and benefits! Antiretroviral medications deplete many of the micro nutrients necessary to keep the body healthy. Without proper nutrition how can anyone be expected to combat HIV or combat the side effects of the HIV/AIDS treatments? Without complementary therapies, patients are at a greater risk of failing drug treatments because they can't tolerate the side effects. They may decide to discontinue a treatment, which could have proved beneficial, had they been able to overcome the initial side effects. Providing proper nutrition and Complementary therapies can address the immune system and many of the side effects of HIV treatments.
There are no shortages of scientists and physicians as well as individuals living with HIV, who have realized another understanding of how HIV and other diseases can be affected. The fact the emphasis on treatment is placed predominantly on medical and pharmaceutical while other methods are not given the same deserving recognition, is in direct conflict with the way in which people infected with HIV have managed their infection!
Over half of the people infected with HIV ARE using alternative and complementary therapies. Regardless of HIV infection or not, in the United States alone, for every individual who seeks out medical and pharmaceutical care, three times as many people are seeking out alternative and complementary care. Here in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where I live, I would say the numbers using alternative and complementary are even higher! Yet alternative and complementary care is not included in health care!
HIV has shown us that it is reacting differently from person to person. However, we began by trying to treat everyone infected with HIV alike. Each one of us is physically different with what is happening in our body. In the treatment of any disease, we must be careful not to have tunnel vision, or rely totally upon science, medicine and in particular, pharmaceuticals to maintain our health. The responsibility is ours, not something we pass on for someone or something to fix. There is much we can do in the fight against disease!
Many who have been living with HIV (some for two decades now) have no need for antiretroviral treatment because their immune system is strong. Others, who are on HIV medications, have included nutrition and replacement therapy (vitamin supplements, herbs and botanicals). Successfully boosting the immune system and positively addressing the efficacy of drugs and there many side effects. Whether it is being able to avoid treatment entirely, prolong treatment or in conjunction with medical and pharmaceutical treatment, we must recognize the importance of using every available means in the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
An integrated health care system is the will of the people! World wide! Governments can include complementary treatment and supplements into health care to benefit those living with disease. Pharmaceuticals are an important part in research and treatment and there is no shortage of work ahead for pharmaceuticals. But, what the pharmaceuticals can't do is address the need the body has for nutrients.
What stands out for me about having lived with HIV for 19 years is the ability individuals have shown to positively impact the immune system using a nutritional diet and complementary therapies. Incorporating vitamins, minerals, herbs and botanicals into daily life provides the necessary requirements for an immune system to be up and running at optimum capacity. In my own experience, I did not take HIV/AIDS medications for 13 years, out of the 19 years I have been infected!
It is important to understand the immune system and what it needs to be able to carry out all its functions. Knowledge is necessary of the cells, the nutrients and all they require to be up and running to maximum capacity. The digestive system and organs all require their own needs be met. The immune system knows how to run the body and keep it healthy. On the other hand, we as human beings may not have been as conscientious. This creates far more for the immune system to handle, when the immune system does not have the proper requirements to provide balance and harmony throughout.
The immune system is made up of proteins and cells and these cells require nutrients. A healthy nutritional diet of protein is necessary to rebuild muscle. Protein provides the building blocks for new cells, including muscle and immune cells. Individuals infected with HIV have much higher protein requirements! Nutritional needs of those infected with HIV are 10% higher than someone not infected with HIV. A nutritional diet, which also includes vitamin-rich fresh fruits and vegetables, has been effective in boosting the immune system and reducing the side effects of the HIV/AIDS medications, as well as maintaining and improving health. Nutrition is a primary defense! However, we don't see or hear this side!
Funding, education and implementation of nutritional supplements and complementary therapies in health care is paramount. Nutritional supplements can be introduced into health care quickly and effectively, having positive effects on individuals with illness and disease. As a bonus, there are no toxic side effects. We must look to what is causing illness and disease and incorporate natural healing with traditional methods. Understand the immune system, all the workings of the body and when the body conveys immune deficiency!
Pharmaceuticals have played an important part in the evolution of how we understand disease and treatment. With the uncertainty of long-term effectiveness of experimental approaches and deaths associated with pharmaceuticals, it is time we validated the successes of people using nutrition and natural supplements in the fight against HIV and all illness and disease. These can have a major impact on health and can add years to one's life. However, the multi-national pharmaceutical industry is providing information about HIV/AIDS to make money and ensure continued financial success. How long will we continue in this direction and at what cost? Will the cost be the risk of causing illness in healthy people?
The body needs more than the HIV drug combinations and people all over the world are in agreement! Individuals not on medications know the importance and the work required, to remain off, or go off HIV/AIDS medications. Many individuals on medications are not relying totally on combination therapy. They are including the use of complementary therapies (CAM) and they ARE successfully boosting the immune system, reducing the side effects of the drugs and increasing the efficacy of the HIV/AIDS drugs.
I strongly recommend that the world community embrace this shift and redirect the focus from the negative health condition to the positive solution.
Vancouver, B.C. Canada
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