The Importance of Integrative Medicine in the Treatment of HIV/AIDS
On December 2, 2013 president Obama marked the 25th Anniversary of World AIDS Day by pledging $100 million to research on finding a cure for HIV. Discussing his new push for funding, Obama remarked that "The United States should be at the forefront..
For our answers let's go back to December 9, 1993, when more than 100 persons assembled with their physicians and their medical records in New York City at a major press conference. They had been selected over a twelve month period if they could prove with medical verification, including blood work up, viral load, CD4 and CD8 count, that they had made major improvements without relapse with their AIDS diagnosis. These individuals followed more than 20 different alternative treatments programs. An independent panel of medical and scientific experts brought to the press conference more than 25,000 scientific references[
All of this was precipitated more than a year and a half earlier by a group of AIDS patients who came each day to a medical facility in the Upper West Side of Manhattan to be attended by a group of physicians, nurse practitioners, and other therapists helping them to restore their immune systems and adopt a more positive, optimistic state of mind. The theoretical framework behind our program was simple: instead of trying to kill the virus with antiretroviral pharmaceuticals designed to stop viral replication before it kills patients, we focused on what benefits could be gained by building up the patients' natural immunity and restoring biochemical integrity so the body could fight for itself.
As they began to make major improvements, one of the patients spoke up one evening. He explained that in addition to his own progress in combating AIDS naturally, he knew of other individuals who were using more natural and holistic modalities all across the country and that the world didn't know of this. The world only knew of the official AIDS treatment: AZT. He and the other people being treated at the facility all feared the mainstream treatment because they had seen how many of their friends and partners as well as other AIDS patients had died or become extremely sick using these aggressive drugs and yet, the natural modalities had been virtually ignored in any public discussion on AIDS. So it was at their urging that the press conference evolved.
That day in December could have been historic if only members of the press, scientific community, government agencies, activist organizations and foundations had chosen to attend and been open to a different medical paradigm. Despite the fact that more than 7,000 individuals from the media and these other groups had been invited on three separate occasions in the months leading up to the press conference, not one showed up. Clearly this was an intentional boycott. As a result, the patients spent the entire afternoon, each giving their own testimonials, showing their records and having their physicians speak about the remarkable improvements they saw; but the findings presented largely remained a secret from the rest of the world.
Tony Brown, of PBS, learned of the press conference and began to look carefully and meticulously at the AIDS patients who had made remarkable recoveries, inviting more than eight to appear on his national television program. I was also invited to appear on Tony Brown's program since these were my protocols and I had been working every day with these specific individuals for more than 16 months. The program profiled one man named Louie, who submitted medical records showing that he experienced a life-affirming reversal of AIDS and all of its conditions. You can go to Tony Brown's Journal archives and review the entire film at your leisure.
Up to that point, I had spent every day for years working with people with AIDS-defining conditions, written twenty-two articles on living with AIDS naturally and a 750 page reference book with nearly 100 pages of it covering how to treat AIDS naturally. Further, I had produced a documentary, Living with AIDS Naturally: The Real Heroes, chronicling the story of AIDS patients in the nineties that did not respond well to orthodox therapy but improved after incorporating natural holistic protocols to their treatment programs.
After all this, one would have thought that this information would have permeated into the mainstream AIDS dialogue. In fact, just the opposite occurred. Because I challenged the safety and efficacy of AZT and called into question the science behind conventional AIDS treatment, I was personally attacked as an AIDS denialist, which I categorically deny. There is no debate that HIV exists and that it attacks the immune system. What is still up for debate is whether pharmaceutical drugs are the complete answer. Back then and still today, there is no opportunity for questioning, you are either on board or thrown overboard and then attacked.
Despite the array of devastating side effects that AZT is known to produce, it is still used today in combination with other medications, albeit at much lower doses. Today, if any physician were to prescribe AZT in the same amount that was typical in the 1980s and early 1990s, they would more likely than not be brought up for medical malpractice. While survival rates have increased with the introduction of new anti-retroviral treatments, the mainstream treatments continue to focus on pharmaceutical drugs to the exclusion of holistic lifestyle therapies. This is especially alarming given the extensive body of independent scientific research spanning decades that indicates that we were right all along about the critical importance of treating AIDS patients by incorporating a comprehensive, immunity-enhancing behavior and lifestyle modification approach that incorporates diet and nutritional therapies, detoxification, exercise, meditation and stress reduction.
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