There. I hope I’ve addressed your question. I am not well. I have never been well. But I continue to function.
I still do not see the correlation between HIV and my health; only a correlation in increased medical problems when I am taking the ARVs.
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 the simplest possible summation, Leibowitch has been treating HIV-positive patients with traditional ARV cocktails, called HAART. Where he leaves the path of traditional treatment guidelines is that once a patient is “stabilised”—meaning they have achieved respectably high CD4 counts, and their viral load is undetectable for six months—Leibowitch starts reducing the number of days per week that a patient takes these drugs, to as little as twice per week.
Each patient fell into one of three groups: <350 CD4 cells/muL; 351-499; and >500. This last group would be considered “normal” according to AIDS.gov, which lists the range for CD4 counts as 500-1000. Yet, according to this study, this group of so-called “healthy” patients were almost one and a half times more likely to experience a drug-related adverse effect.
The report reinforces another point that I find I must continue to drive home over and over again, and that is the definition of “low CD4 counts”.
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.
Stop the nukes! No, not nuclear weapons. Well, yes, those too, but today I’m writing about the increase in reports I’m seeing from the AIDS drug medical literature calling for an end to the use of nucleoside(tide) reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), not-so-ironically referred to as “nukes”. As I have written previously, there have been rumblings from clinicians and researchers in the medical literature since at least 2010 to get rid of the NRTI class of antiretroviral drugs entirely from treatment guidelines.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that this change will occur at anything comparable to the speed with which AZT and other poison pills were “fast-tracked” to market more than 25 years ago.
One of the most vexing issues I’ve had to deal with since I started exploring alternatives to ART (antiretroviral therapy) for keeping my immune system as healthy as I can, is my inability to abide by some of the most basic rules of scientific research. I’m not beating myself up too much for this failure, […more]
Rarely a day goes by that I do not scan the headlines collected from various blogs and sources by Google Reader. Smashing a recent lull in AIDS news, some pretty outrageous headlines have been breaking through lately. Last week, it was Baby AZeTa, the little girl in Mississippi who researchers claimed was cured of AIDS […more]
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]
Just a few days after news about Baby Rico broke among bloggers and other AIDS dissident outlets last week, AIDS researchers scrambled to find a way to push a very different story to the top of the corporate news chain this morning. “Baby Cured of AIDS” scream the headlines. No need to repeat all the […more]