I embarked on my third course of ARVs since 1998. For ten of the sixteen years I have been HIV-positive, I was able to manage well enough without ARVs and I continue to believe there is no reason for otherwise healthy HIV-positive—let alone negative—gay men to take these drugs. To those who want to wave a recent study about the benefits of early intervention in my face, I would ask them why they put so much faith in a science that has utterly failed us to date.
In nearly every conversation I’ve had with Affecteds who are experimenting with ways to reduce the toxicity of antiretroviral (ARV) regimens, questions about “AIDS drug resistance” comes up. Resistance is often raised as a boogeyman in research trials of monotherapy and intermittent treatment options. While drug resistance—especially bacterial antibiotic resistance to staphylococcus or tuberculosis, for example—is increasingly a problem in modern medicine, one is unlikely to hear drug resistance discussed quite the way it is with AIDS. No other pathogen is described as “sneaky”, “clever”, or more mutable than HIV, despite the fact that retroviruses do not even meet most definitions for being a living entity, let alone have a brain.
I am dumping a lot of summary information here, without getting into details, but I need to start somewhere. When I zoom out and look at the big picture, it is clear that I am still a long way from being a “healthy” person, and frankly, I no longer expect to become one. The goal now is to mange chronic disease and maintain as good a quality of life as I possibly can.
Gawd forbid this period of inactivity be mistaken as some sort of ill omen. What I can say is that I’m alive and doing well by most measures that matter. I am struggling with fatigue, and depression, which may help explain my absence online.
I quit the low-dose darunavir monotherapy on May 29, almost exactly one year after I had restarted ARVs. I am satisfied with, if not excited about the “numbers”, which I will update in a future post, along with additional news about my health and medical status.
As I spend time this week with one of my dearest friends, a man who has been HIV-positive since at least 1987, and who has been on ARVs almost continuously since 1990, I am reminded that Affecteds have always had the option to consider alternatives to conventional pharmaceutical treatment. Last night we recalled some of […more]
During our last office visit a couple of months ago, the infectious disease specialist I am now seeing repeatedly referred to “The Guidelines”, as if they were some kind of Holy Grail for treating her patients. The guidelines she was referring to are actually several documents, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human […more]