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Old 06-28-2003, 12:36 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
AZT and anti-retrovirals do make people terribly sick
Anti-viral medications have side effects, not just anti-retrovirals. AZT is an outdated thymidine homologue.

As for the article, I would highly recommend reading things on PubMed, but you need to have a proxy to get in. The problem with this article is that it is not an academic paper, it is something written for a magazine or newspaper, or what have you.

The real, hardcore research is in the best scientific journals - get published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Science, Nature, etc. and there is a lot more believability.

I have a specialist degree in Immunology, from where I stand, I'd tend to agree with the majority opinion - that is, that the correlation between HIV and AIDS has been sufficiently established.
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Old 06-28-2003, 04:41 PM   #17
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I suppose I have a hard time understanding why antibotics aren't made more readily available. If this article is even remotely factual it would be useless to send aids drugs untill common diseases such a malaria and TB are cured, since these very conditions will still kill the patient even if treated with aids drugs. Is there thoughts that some professionals are trying to undermine the proposed funding for aids in Africa? It's a frightening article and I agree anitram, that Aids & HIV have been established but what about the way the number of cases are established in Africa? If there is any truth to what I read, and I have no way of knowing one way or the other except to keep looking for articles that dispute this, then the case numbers are somewhat speculated on. I just don't know..
Thanks for the link Melon. I'll keep reading up on this. I must say it's another side of this issue I've never seen.
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Old 06-28-2003, 08:04 PM   #18
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Originally posted by sue4u2 I suppose I have a hard time understanding why antibotics aren't made more readily available.
Antibiotics cannot cure viral diseases - they target bacterial infections as either narrow spectrum or broad spectrum drugs targetting anything from DNA replication to cell wall synthesis to metabolic processes. An antibiotic will not do anything against HIV, and there are current (rivalling) studies being done (I could look them up if you'd want) which both got published in Nature or Science, which argue one of two things. First, that decreasing antibiotic use would in turn decrease antibiotic resistance. And second, that decreasing antibiotic use will have no effect on antibiotic resistance, this is where addiction plasmids come in, but that's a whole other ball game.

Antibiotics have to be made available on a case by case basis and MUST be prescribed only when they're necessary and then furthermore must be administered properly. This is actually not so in the majority of cases and now antibiotic resistance has become a huge pain in the ass.

Now I know you didn't mean this - but meant that antibiotics could be used to treat the diseases AIDS patients are dying from, but the fact is that we have come to the point where antibiotics are becoming startlingly ineffective, and while all this money could be thrown in that direction, prevention of acquiring HIV, in my opinion, should take precedence due to the high numbers of infections yearly.

Quote:
If this article is even remotely factual it would be useless to send aids drugs untill common diseases such a malaria and TB are cured, since these very conditions will still kill the patient even if treated with aids drugs.
It depends on the stage AIDS is in.

You will never "cure" common diseases like malaria and TB for several reasons. One, out of the thousands of diseases out there, how many has humanity eradicated? ONE. That's right, one. Two, there is an animal pool in both the case of malaria and TB, and there is also the case of rapid mutation by HGT (horizontal gene transfer) which means that you're essentially making 6th and 7th generation antibiotics with decreasing levels of success.
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Old 06-28-2003, 11:14 PM   #19
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Of course, what was I thinking. I completely understand antibotics will not cure bacterial infections, and preach often to people who want to take them for the least bit of cold symptoms I'm just wishing for something to make a difference in the lives of the Africian people. I also realize diseases such as these will never be completely eradicated, but great strides have been made to eliminate the epidemic nature of them in the developed countries. It does start with building wells for clean drinking water and more sanitary living conditions and getting the so called leaders that are holding the nation back, out of there. It's such a massive problem, but I have to feel there is hope. and I do actually. After all, we care and all the World sees the emergency here. Thank's for the info and sharing your vast knowledge on the subject. Post any information you can. I and many others are reading.
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Old 06-28-2003, 11:22 PM   #20
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I honestly don't really know what to suggest because it's a complicated thing. I understand the science, that is my background. I am not a politician or a businessman, I don't really understand why they're backtracking and taking an issue that should be simple and making it into something infinitely difficult.

Sometimes I think the public has been somewhat mislead on the subject of AIDS, and even cancer. Yes, money is needed, but there will never be a silver bullet solution, because from a scientific standpoint, there can't be one. Could we treat with antibiotics? Yeah, sure you could target TB and malaria and cholera and what have you, but you also have to weigh the risk/benefit factors and see what the long terms of overloading people on antibiotics are, see how realistic it is that these drugs will be administered properly, because you don't want a band-aid solution, you want something longterm, and ultimately by antibiotic overload you're putting the non-HIV infected population at risk.

Just this past week, there has been some new stuff published on the anti-HIV antibody that was discovered a while ago, but they're just now working out the structure (I don't think they've got the 3D crystal figure out yet, or anywhere close to it). Basically, you've got to ask yourself what is a better solution - look for new preventative measures or treat the disease more efficiently. Unfortunately, there's a split in the medical community, both in terms of opinion and funds when it comes to this, and I don't think that a solution for AIDS is around the corner.
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Old 06-29-2003, 02:16 PM   #21
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I did originally post these series of articles merely to start an intelligent debate on the subject, not to suggest that this is what I necessarily believe.

I guess these articles do open some pretty major questions for me, though.

--If there is no FDA-approved HIV test and existing tests are subject to false positives, then how can we properly diagnose?

--Secondly, do the HIV drugs like AZT and other anti-retrovirals have risks that outweigh the benefits? And are the drugs killing people, rather than AIDS itself?

--Third, has there *really* been sufficient debate on the origin of AIDS? After all, it is a disease that has only existed in our language since 1981.

--Fourth, how can we even claim to know how AIDS affects Africa, if it is on the basis of estimates and improper / no testing?

When I read statements like what joyfulgirl wrote--

"All of my friends/acquaintances who were treated with AZT died. Every last one of them. My closest friend now has been living with HIV for 15 years, refused AZT, and is doing great, despite a history of some pretty heavy abuse to his body. Working with our friend the nutritionist, his T-cells went up 300% in 3 months which took him out of the danger zone. Now that he's clean and sober, we hope to see continued good results."

--it certainly does raise a lot more questions for me than answers. Do we really know that much about AIDS after all?

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Old 06-29-2003, 05:38 PM   #22
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I will think about the other things you've said when I've got a bit more time but for now,


Quote:
Originally posted by melon
--If there is no FDA-approved HIV test and existing tests are subject to false positives, then how can we properly diagnose?
You can make this argument for a number of diseases though. For example, anybody who has ever had to perform syphillis flocculation tests in a lab will tell you what an absolute pain in the ass they are and that false positives are astoundingly high. Still, it's the best thing we've got at the moment.
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Old 06-29-2003, 06:01 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
You can make this argument for a number of diseases though. For example, anybody who has ever had to perform syphillis flocculation tests in a lab will tell you what an absolute pain in the ass they are and that false positives are astoundingly high. Still, it's the best thing we've got at the moment.
Yes, but do syphilis drugs (antibiotics, if I remember right) kill you if discovered to be an incorrect diagnosis? And, if there is no FDA-approved HIV test and there are all these false positives, then why isn't the public more aware of this?

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Old 06-29-2003, 06:53 PM   #24
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Do anti-virals kill you? I don't know that you can make that argument per se. They are certainly toxic, but so is chemotherapy. Radiation therapy, chemo, those things are killing you every time you have a dose, but that's how cancer is treated.

AZT is one of the earliest treatment courses and since then there have been new drugs on the market, obviously the wish is to decrease toxicity while maintaining potency.

As for why the public doesn't know, I think the public is about instant gratification, and the public is necessary for money, both in terms of donations and in terms of supporting government backed AIDS research, which is why when you read an article it's always something positive, it's always some Dr. somewhere who's find something new and "promising" when it's no more than in the beginning stages of research.

The new antibody sounds like something that has a lot of potential. I am interested in reading more about it.
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Old 06-29-2003, 07:44 PM   #25
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Very interesting, please keep up the discussion.
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Old 06-29-2003, 09:41 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
Do anti-virals kill you? I don't know that you can make that argument per se. They are certainly toxic, but so is chemotherapy. Radiation therapy, chemo, those things are killing you every time you have a dose, but that's how cancer is treated.
Yes, but HIV is not cancer and you certainly don't keep someone on chemotherapy for years and years. Chemotherapy--which is precisely what AZT is--will knock out your immune system by itself. I cease to know how this drug is supposed to help anyone at all.

Quote:
The new antibody sounds like something that has a lot of potential. I am interested in reading more about it.
It is interesting. I will certainly try and keep up on this.

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Old 06-29-2003, 10:21 PM   #27
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Thanks Melon for the continuing articles.

Also thanks Anitram for your insight. This is a subject near to my heart and I appreciate the update.
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Old 06-29-2003, 10:28 PM   #28
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Originally posted by melon
Yes, but HIV is not cancer and you certainly don't keep someone on chemotherapy for years and years. Chemotherapy--which is precisely what AZT is--will knock out your immune system by itself. I cease to know how this drug is supposed to help anyone at all.
Maybe not continuously, but with recurrent cancers, you do keep people on chemo for a long time.

Kids with neuroblastoma who go for radiation therapy experience bone density loss, stuntted growth and all sorts of problems. What is the alternative to radiation for them? Probably death; the mortality rate is that high.

As for the immune system, I am an immunologist, I know what those drugs do. There are literally hundreds of immunosuppressants on the market, not all of them treat AIDS, but other diseases. Without immunosuppressants, there would be absolutely NO, not ONE transplantation ever done. How do they help anyone at all? In a million different ways. It is a matter of risk vs. benefit ratio, I suppose. I know people who have refused chemotherapy for their own reasons and people who have undergone dozens of experimental treatments, hoping to find the one thing that would save them. I can't say either option is wrong, you have to find what is right for you, and that is why those drugs are necessary. Because they hurt people, but they also help people live their lives.
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