When it comes to
how we view HIV/AIDS, the most visible, is the fear, illness, disease
and death tolls. What we don't see, are the great numbers of individuals
infected with the HIV virus, living! We don't see or hear about the countless
individuals who have been infected, who are not using HIV drug intervention.
We must not, we can not, discount the ability of individuals to have a
positive impact and create wellness, using every available means they
have to combat the HIV virus. From the beginning when HIV first hit the
gay community, no treatment, meant people went into action and sought
out alternative therapies and supplements and created a network. A network
for wellness! Many individuals who have tested positive, and many who
have never been tested, but are sure they would test positive, have never
taken HIV/AIDS drugs. Taking responsibility for their life and health,
has been overwhelmingly effective. Out of a probable 17 years living with
the HIV virus in my body, I have gone without drug treatments for 13 of
those years. But we don't see or hear this side! We also miss seeing and
hearing about individuals engaged in drug treatments, who go off their
medications for months and even years.
Recognizing the ability of the body to heal, promoted many to choose to
combat HIV in a non medical direction. Often times people were effective
in preventing illness and disease for years, before drug intervention
was ever necessary. Time allowed, because being infected with HIV does
not mean instant illness, instant death! Others have gone on living, never
having any sign of HIV/AIDS related opportunistic infections, illness
or disease. Some, although they test positive, there has never been any
virus replicated in their body. Equally so, those who are on drug treatments,
have learned to address the importance of diet, exercise, alternative
therapies and supplements, mind, body, spirit.
Living life and living years, 20 years for many, with more to come!
So much fear has been created around HIV infection and AIDS. The camouflage
uniforms worn in the army, disguise and hide, so not to draw attention,
able to blend in. The fear associated with HIV/AIDS has kept us in the
dark, many fear loosing their family. friends, home and job, causing people
to hide the fact they have been infected with the HIV virus. So no one
can see, hear, or know the truths of those living with HIV and AIDS. Most
often when individuals die from HIV related illness or AIDS, the funeral
announcements rarely say HIV/AIDS was the cause, but use cancer, heart
disease or any other camouflage.
How can we tell the real number of HIV related deaths? How can the public
know and understand HIV/AIDS, without the truth? Individuals dealing with
HIV and all those around them who are affected but not infected, they
know these truths!
Science, pharmaceutical companies, the medical profession and government,
have all but ignored much of what many people living with HIV/AIDS have
to say, which is a major contribution in the understanding of this virus.
Science and the medical profession provide HIV/AIDS information to the
media. The media takes this information and in so doing, does it without
a real balance of understanding. Unfortunately the fear has undermined
our understanding. We see people dying, and certainly in many parts of
the world there is malnutrition, lack of medical attention and affordable
pharmaceutical resources, causing countless deaths. We see the fear associated
with sex and the need for safe sex practices! We hear about the deaths.
We hear about drug cocktails, medications being approved. We see people
taking a handful of pills. We hear about the resistance to drugs, and
we visually, through the media, see those sick with wasting syndrome,
PCP pneumonia, kaposi's sarcoma , or crippled by neuropathy.
What is alarming about this situation is the medical profession holds
the HIV virus responsible for any and all illness when a patient is diagnosed
infected with HIV, using the excuse that a condition is HIV related. It
is because of this rampant over diagnosis that little or no search is
undertaken for what is causing the health problem. Many have died, many
suffered greatly due to mis-diagnosis or no diagnosis. Other diseases
occur, and with a condition in progress or out of control and very little
attention given it, this allows for many suffering and dying. Not from
HIV, but from an invasion of bacteria, fungi, viruses and cancers, unaware
to those not looking.
We don't see individuals living a happy and full life, whether it be with
or without drug treatments. And we don't see it because the fear has people
afraid to talk about HIV/AIDS or disclose they have been infected. So
we don't have people coming forward to tell their side of HIV/AIDS. How
are we going to get people to come forward when the stigma attached to
HIV/AIDS has created so much fear. People are hiding their HIV infection!
This is likened to the early days of cancer, hiding the fact, only whispering
the C word! Everyone who develops cancer does not die, it makes no sense
to believe everyone who is infected with HIV will get sick or die either!
We don't see those who get sick but benefit from the drugs and have their
health restored, many returning to the work force. We don't see or hear
about individuals who test positive for HIV or have AIDS, in relationships,
falling in love. We don't see the many relationships where one partner
is infected and one is not, and the partner who is negative, is not infected.
The public needs to understand HIV and let go of the fear, each person
taking part in a global prevention strategy. These days pharmaceutical
resistance is evident, with HIV, not only is a person infected with a
strain or possible multiple strains, but along with it, comes the possibility
of resistance to all the drugs the infected individual has taken.
We don't know how each person will react to HIV infection. We need to
put money back into wellness!
We must not wane from our efforts in safe sex education, prevention, and
research. Never was it more important to keep up our efforts, creating
less toxic and affordable drugs, and providing proper health care including
alternative therapies and supplements.
With proper awareness and education, we can go about living our lives
responsibly, " showing up for life", without fear. Not afraid
of talking about HIV/AIDS or conversations about safe sex.
Letting go of the fear, we can all talk to our family and friends and
co-workers we discuss our personal lives with. Our employer can know health
related information. And, if need be, we can ask for help and receive
help! We can also eliminate false perceptions and judgments due to shear
ignorance. There is more power in people knowing the truth, than there
ever was in the fear and hiding! A shift in perception is nothing short
of a Miracle!
by Bradford McIntyre
sent via email December