VIRUSMYTH HOMEPAGE


CHANGING AIDS TREATMENT
AIDS Establishment Becoming Less Aggressive With Medications

By Nicholas Regush

ABCNews.com 18 December 2000


It was only a matter of time. But sadly, it has taken the federal government and so-called AIDS "experts" four years to do a flip-flop on what has become conventional AIDS treatment.

Federal guidelines have been urging doctors to prescribe anti-viral drug cocktails to even those HIV-positive individuals whose immune systems are intact -- the majority of people now being treated.

It appears that his "hit hard, hit early" strategy that was defended vigorously beyond sound scientific reason is about to be cast away in favor of primarily treating people only when their immune systems show strong signs of damage -- the minority of people now being treated.

New Less Aggressive Guidelines Coming

Both the United States section of the International AIDS Society and the National Institutes of Health will issue these new guidelines in January, reports the British magazine, New Scientist.

One reason for the coming policy change is the growing admission that these highly toxic drugs can do far more harm than good when given early. In fact, this has been the position of many leading British AIDS doctors as well as a minority of American AIDS researchers who have long contended that these drugs should be prescribed very cautiously.

The "hit hard, hit early" gang routinely ridiculed this position, even in the face of growing evidence that patients who previously had no ill symptoms were developing a wide range of side-effects. Some were suffering heart attacks, liver and kidney damage. Others were developing dangerously high cholesterol levels and diabetes and varying degrees of deformities.

Early and Often Not Good

Readers of this column may recall that more than one year ago, I took strong issue with conventional AIDS treatment (See "The Drawbacks of Anti-HIV Drugs"). I referred to "a drug induced-nightmare of unprecedented magnitude for many people who have tested HIV-positive."

Even back then, it didn't take much sleuthing to reach that conclusion. Just an open-minded person who didn't have his hand in the drug industry till or the rare medical reporter who didn't put a halo around AIDS science. One good look at the scientific literature and you could divine big trouble was brewing.

The reaction to my column by AIDS "experts" was predictably hostile. Some high-profile types even wrote to ABCNEWS questioning my competence. This has been a typical tactic used by churlish AIDS science leaders who try to silence their critics.

Now these so-called "experts" will have to endure some humiliation for aggressively pushing a treatment strategy that was primarily based on a discredited theory, namely that HIV's furious replication in the body can only be halted by early treatment.

Humiliation, however, may not be enough.

What Is the Retribution?

How many HIV-positive people have suffered terribly because U.S. AIDS "experts" have built a fortress of arrogance and denial around the "hit hard, hit early" approach? To what extent has the intimate relationship between the drug industry and so-called "AIDS medicine" perpetuated four years worth of unnecessary and damaging treatment to many thousands?

Who are the medical leaders who have pushed for "hit hard, hit early" for four long years? Should they be held accountable? How about a congressional investigation, for starters. Maybe the medical media will finally awaken from their stupor and do some homework. And what about all those so-called AIDS "activists" who carried the "hit hard, hit early" message to thousands? A closer look at who has been funding them will be very revealing. A hint: Can it be the drug industry?

All this, of course, should also make us seriously consider how much faith we should even have in the official version of what causes AIDS. There are some scientists who question the conventional view that HIV is the culprit. Among them, some still believe that HIV is somehow involved; others contend that science has made a terrible mistake and grossly oversimplified how AIDS develops.

Fiction Truer Than Reality?

To help you think about the horrific possibility that one day the U.S. government will also be forced to announce another flip-flop, this time about the cause of AIDS, I am going to recommend two imaginative novels.

Caleb Carr's Killing Time is an expedition to the future where much of the information that makes up reality may be unreliable. In fact, the citizens in this future world must live with "manufactured truths."

The Closing Argument, by Charles Ortleb (a friend) is a shocking courthouse drama raising questions about the "truths" manufactured by the federal government and science about AIDS.

Both books should leave you worrying that reality may not be what it seems. And that is an important first step to gaining better appreciation of the complex dynamics of AIDS science and politics.


Nicholas Regush produces medical features for ABCNEWS. In his weekly column, published Mondays, he looks at medical trouble spots, heralds innovative achievements and analyzes health trends that may greatly influence our lives. His latest book is The Virus Within.


VIRUSMYTH HOMEPAGE