By Christine Maggiore
Your last column on the dangers of AIDS drugs left me with a lot of
questions. Are people who test positive being treated for HIV or AIDS? Was AZT discovered as an AIDS treatment? Is it still being used today? On what basis does somebody get an AIDS diagnosis? If, as you suggest, AIDS drugs are whats damaging the immune system, what did AIDS patients die from before the AIDS drugs came into use?
Confused in Orange County
Dear Confused, In the early 1980s, a group of common illnesses and conditions were re-labeled AIDS, a designation promoted as 100% fatal. Today, receiving a positive result on an HIV antibody test turns any of 29 previously known health problems into a diagnosis of AIDS although none of the 29 conditions are unique to people who test HIV positive, and all have established causes and treatments unrelated to HIV.
According to current medical opinion, the only response to a diagnosis of HIV positive is to disregard how we actually feel, place our faith in laboratory tests that purport to measure our health, and take toxic, experimental chemical compounds that manufacturers not only admit have terrible side effects, but havent been shown to make us well or keep us from becoming ill. (From the fine print: Ziagen, Crixivan insert drug name here does not cure HIV infection or AIDS. At this time, there is no evidence that fill in the blank will help you live longer or have fewer of the medical problems that are associated with HIV or AIDS.)
While these drugs are directed at attacking or debilitating HIV, HIV has not been proven to cause AIDS, and HIV positives who live in uncom-promised good health (like me) are not taking the recommended tests and treatments.
Prior to the announcement of an AIDS virus and the invention of HIV antibody tests, doctors noticed that certain individuals engaged in health compromising activities were suffering from aggressive forms of pneumonia and cancer not prevalent in the general population. Unfamiliar with the manifestations of immune stress caused by particular risk behaviors, physicians treated these conditions with immune-suppressive cancer chemotherapy and multiple courses of powerful antibiotics. Many experts contend that these early AIDS patients, already weak from health compromising activities, were devastated by the numerous, toxic, often experimental drugs and chemotherapy given as treatment for immune deficiency. Ironically, as these early AIDS patients became sicker, recommendations began for prolonged use of even more powerful drugs as a way to prevent future illness. Some AIDS researchers and AIDS historians are convinced that this misguided chemical overload to the immune system spawned the rash of deaths in the early 80s and set the stage for the re-marketing of cancer chemotherapy as AIDS treatments.
AZT was developed over 30 years ago as a potential chemotherapy treatment for cancer. Chemotherapy is an extremely toxic chemical compound designed to kill all growing cells in the body. Because of the severe damage chemotherapy causes, it is administered for only very limited amounts of time and is never used as a form of cancer prevention. Even with limited use, many cancer patients succumb to its toxicity or the opportunistic infections brought on by chemotherapys damaging effects on the immune system. In 1964, AZT experiments on mice with cancer showed that AZT was so effective in destroying healthy growing cells that the mice died of extreme toxicity rather than the cancer. As a result, AZT was shelved and no patent was ever filed.
Twenty years later, foreseeing the potential for AIDS therapies, the pharmaceutical company Glaxo-Wellcome re-marketed AZT as an antiviral drug for HIV and received FDA approval for its use as an AIDS treatment after one highly flawed study of only four months duration. Although the study was halted before the long-term effects of AZT were known, it was determined that treatment with the drug should be continuous and life-long. Independent studies conducted after FDA approval concluded that AZT does not improve health or delay onset of the diseases renamed AIDS. Additionally, AZT and other antivirals like it (ddI, D4T, 3TC, and ddC) have been shown to destroy the kidneys, liver, intestines, and central nervous system, and cause five of the 29 official AIDS-defining conditions (lymphoma, diarrhea, dementia, T-cell depletion and muscle wasting), as well as neuropathy, life-threatening anemia and impotence.
Protease inhibitors are a new class of AIDS drugs that are mixed in cocktails with older chemotherapies like AZT and ddI. Approved in just 72 days, the fastest and most lenient review process in FDA history, long-term effects of protease inhibitor use are entirely unknown. The ever-growing list of adverse effects and unsuccessful experiences are sobering. Drug-induced organ failure, liver toxicity, physical deformities, diabetes, blindness, impotence and sudden death are among the post-approval effects being noted in the medical literature.
Despite evidence of damage and death from AIDS chemotherapies and experimental cocktails, healthy individuals who test positive for protective antibodies to HIV as well as those who are negative but believe they have been exposed to HIV are frightened into taking these toxic treatments. Pregnant women and people in prisons are often given no choice, and direct observation therapy (forced medication) is being considered by doctors and legislators as the ultimate means of compliance.
The good news: as alternative information on AIDS spreads, more people choose to take responsibility for their health, and question the use of immune-suppressive treatments for immune deficiency. As information challenging the HIV hypothesis reaches mainstream venues, people are learning to trust their ability to be well and to rely on evidence of clinical health rather than surrogate markers from lab tests. For many who test HIV positive, the diagnosis becomes an opportunity for gaining new knowledge and for living in wellness.
ALIVE & WELL Alternative AIDS Information Network (the organization formerly known as HEAL Los Angeles), offers free information, free meetings and classes challenging the HIV-AIDS paradigm. Call toll-free for details (877) 92-ALIVE.
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