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Old 06-29-2003, 01:16 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, 04:38 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, 05:01 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, 05:53 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, 06:44 PM   #25
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Very interesting, please keep up the discussion.
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Old 06-29-2003, 08:41 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, 09:21 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, 09:28 PM   #28
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Quote:
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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