Tuesday, 10 June 2014
I was interviewed by a gentleman in the field of HIV epidemiology and prevention programs. He works primarily on the HIV Sero-conversion Study – a study exploring factors associated with HIV transmission in Australia, and the experiences of people who have recently been diagnosed HIV-positive. His research interests include gay men’s understandings of risk of HIV, and the ways in which they negotiate sexual risk. The conversation was taped for future transcription and reference.
This is a summary of the key points that we covered in the interview on HIV transmission and risk factors:
· Concern that the viral model of AIDS is flawed and that the biochemical imbalance model is a better fit
· Treatment guidelines; I said I don’t concur with current treatment guidelines in regard to early commencement of cART and since the guidelines have changed dramatically over the years, how can we be sure that the current guidelines are best for the patient?
· Effectiveness of cART; since people in the west testing positive have a deficiency in cysteine (which is a component of the pathway responsible for cell-mediated immunity) giving cART without cysteine will mean that the immune system will not be able to handle any infections itself and that it therefore must be the medications killing the pathogens (not one’s reconstituted immune system)
· Concerns about why cysteine supplementation isn’t provided to people testing HIV positive since it’s documented in research papers to increase CD4 count and reduce viral load
· HIV positive patients are not being given an informed choice about when to commence the medications as side-effects are glossed over and early commencement of treatment is encouraged
· Research using CD4 counts generally don’t allow for CD4 subsets (ie type 1 cell-mediated immunity CD4s and type 2 humoral immunity CD4s); the reverse migration from blood and lymph of CD4 cells into the blood is not factored in when assessing CD4 counts; this confounds the data analysis and thus significantly impacts on any conclusions drawn
· The accepted model of progression to AIDS (without the intervention of cART) is a steady CD4 decline with viral load increasing correspondingly; my own blood test results showed both CD4 and viral load to be declining; when this was brought to the attention of my doctor, I was told that ‘everyone is different’ and this is not an aberration – despite the apparent contradiction to the viral model of AIDS
· Supporting evidence on the research into the biochemical imbalance model of AIDS was provided by showing him a copy of Heinrich Kremer’s book THE SILENT REVOLUTION IN CANCER AND AIDS MEDICINE
· Discussion on my intention to wean myself of cART over the coming 15 months despite being advised by my doctor that reducing the dose will allow for viral mutation which may lead to the medications becoming ineffective and thus resulting in my becoming sick and dying; I said I was prepared to take the risk
· Discussed risk factors for becoming HIV positive: using nitrate inhalers, crystal meth and long term anti-biotic use
· AIDS in Africa and how it affects a different demographic to the west (ie heterosexual vs homosexual) and how AIDS manifests as diseases such as tuberculosis in Africa and pneumonia in the west
· Mentioned my concerns about the PARTNER study for sero-discordant couples and how the data was interpreted
· Spoke about how helminth parasites stimulate the humoral arm of the immune system and how it’s been documented that killing helminth parasites will reduce the HIV viral load of the patient
· The nine points of Bradford Hill’s criteria for assessing causality between a pathogen and a disease state (in this case the causal links between HIV and AIDS)
· How viewing the viral model from within any one discipline, the model seems coherent, but when it’s viewed across many disciplines, the model starts to collapse and the cracks begin to show
We have agreed to stay in touch.
Q: Can you change any aspects of the belief systems of people who are deeply embedded in the system, and who are trained to not believe anything that a less life form says (i.e. a ‘patient’)? – David Crowe.
A: I believe the answer is ‘yes’ – though it’s hard work and requires the patience of a saint!
My own HIV specialist GP kept telling me I’d soon be dead and was looking at having me committed and put on drugs against my will at one point. I continued to visit him (which is difficult when being so confronted) and continued to ask questions.
I find that asking questions (rather than stating facts) gets a better outcome as you’re not stating a position but question[ing] current scientific paradigms.
I’ve taken my chart in to him recently and told him that I’ll be weaning myself off the medications over 52 weeks and he said (to my surprise) “we all need to keep an open mind” and he’s intrigued now with my persistence and my determination.
I do believe you can make a difference and I’m doing so in very small steps. – Jay Garland