HIV :: Confusion and Conflict when it comes to HIV and AIDS

In Canada, HIV was first diagnosed among gay men. Later, hemophiliacs and others with health problems were infected due to tainted blood received through blood transfusions. People infected early on had no treatment available! A new and strange virus was weakening the immune system and causing illness in various ways, (what we now know as opportunistic. infections).

That’s all we knew! Those who were infected looked for ways to boost their immune system. Not everyone affected by the disease was dying. Unfortunately, the media wrote only about those who were being ravaged by the disease and dying.

People infected with HIV educated themselves. They learned about the positive impact to their health through nutrition, vitamins, minerals, herbs and botanicals and many alternative and complementary therapies. Often, the results were stable or boosted immune systems! The news spread and the evidence was affirmed to us through people who did not get sick. The above methods were used to aid in healing opportunistic infections as well as addressing the side effects of the drugs when pharmaceuticals became available.

There was and still is much confusion and conflict when it comes to HIV and AIDS. Many do not realize that HIV is not the same as AIDS. The media has not provided the necessary attention, information and the true realities of this disease to the world. Fear and stigma have risen when it should be declining. HIV infection can be managed. Incorrectly assuming that HIV is the same as AIDS; contributes to the belief that HIV infection means automatic death. In reality, there is a great deal that can be done to prevent the progression to AIDS.

As well as taking care of one another, fundraising, starting AIDS organizations, fighting for treatments and human rights, a network was created to inform and educate people in the ways of addressing HIV. Specifically, education about the immune system and the positive benefits of using alternative therapies was essential!

Around the world, people infected with HIV are very knowledgeable. They are aware that millions of people are addressing HIV through nutrition and vitamin and mineral supplements. These have proven to be beneficial and a great success, whether taking HIV medications or not. Many of us have lived 20 years or more! Yet, nearly a quarter of century since HIV crept into existence, the confusion and conflict continues regarding the benefits of these methods. This makes no sense!

Canada and other countries are prime examples of the recognition given to the use of the above treatment modalities. Scientists and physicians have shown the benefits through various studies. Many governments, such as Canada, have created additional funding for infected individuals, to purchase clean drinking water, food, vitamin supplements and complementary therapies. These have enabled assistance and improvement in many ways: diarrhea, nausea, neuropathy, irritated skin and rashes, wasting, fatigue, loss of appetite, immune suppression and successfully boosting the immune system, reducing side effects of the drugs and increased the efficacy of the HIV/AIDS drugs!

The conflict continues even though science and millions of affected people have more than proven the efficacy of these alternative treatments. The time is past due to end this conflict and acknowledge with rightful recognition their importance in the fight against AIDS! It is urgent that we use every available means to combat this disease and bring comfort to those in need.

Pharmaceuticals play a very important role in assisting the immune system when it is weakened and when the virus is out of control and causing serious problems. The only way to determine how the HIV is reacting in your body is through regular blood work. This knowledge of how HIV is reacting allows you and your physician to closely monitor your health status. You are better prepared to understand and address health issues. Often, people wait too long before getting tested and/or starting HIV/AIDS medications. Knowledge is the weapon to create a positive impact on our health. By using every available means, the more likely we are to survive!

We must end this conflict now!

Bradford McIntyre, HIV+ 20 years
Vancouver, B.C.

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