AIDS, more than any other disease, has been surrounded by stigma and mystery ever since it was recognized over a decade ago. Researchers are still debating it's cause, and even whether it is, in fact, a new disease. So far, conventional medicine has offered no answers as to how to treat AIDS. Meanwhile, certain alternative physicians are approaching the disease from a different perspective, and their work is proving that, contrary to popular belief, AIDS is not a death sentence.
A basic premise of alternative medicine is that all diseases, if properly approached and treated in time, are reversible. This includes AIDS ( Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome ), as the following stories suggest ; A man suffering from AIDS for 5 years came to Joan Priestly, MD, of Los Angeles, California. His doctors had told him that his case was terminal and had given him five months to live. He was suffering from severe weight loss and diarrhea and was ravaged by oportunistic infections and Crohn's disease.
Today, over one year after beginning agressive treatment with Dr. Priestly, the man, despite a continued low T-cell count, which is considered a marker for AIDS and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infection, is symptom-free, has regained forty pounds, and lives a productive, engaging life.
A patient suffering from night sweats and fever, and diagnosed as HIV positive (HIV is commonly believed to be the cause of AIDS) was weak and faint all of the time as his T-cell count continued dropping. He sought out Robert Cathart III, MD, of Los Altos, California, a pioneer in the use of Vitamin C therapy as a treatment for illness. Fifteen months after beginning intravenous Vitamin C treatments, the patient's T-cell count has risen from under 300 to 600. He felt healthy, and for the first time in his life went over a year without having a cold or flu.
In 1984, Jon was diagnosed with Kaposi's sarcoma, a form of skin cancer common to gay men with AIDS. He had also been suffering with hepatitis for a year. After adopting a protocol of nutritional supplementation, herbs, and diet, under the supervision of Laurence Bagley,MD, of Foster City, California, his symptoms began to improve.Today, over nine years later, Jon is healthy and working two full-time jobs.
These are just three cases of people with AIDS or HIV who have turned their illness around and are now on the road to health. Other cases will follow as this study explains the various methods that are being used outside of the framework of conventional medicine to keep people with AIDS alive. To understand how and why such treatments work, though, it is important to examine what AIDS is and what it is not.
AIDS is defined primarily by what appears to be severe immune deficiency, and is distinguished from virtually every other disease in history by the fact that it has no constant, specific symptoms. Once the immune system has begun to malfunction, a broad spectrum of health complications can set in. "AIDS" is an umbrella term for any or all of some twenty eight previously known diseases and symptoms. When a person has any of these microbial diseases or opportunistic infections, and also tests positive for antibodies to HIV, (thought by most scientists to cause the immune destruction), an AIDS diagnosis is given.
The diseases that mark AIDS differ widely from country to country, and even from risk group to risk group. In the United States and Europe, some of the most common diseases associated with AIDS are Kaposi's sarcoma (a form of cancer), pneumocystic pneumonia, Candidiasis, and mycobacterial infections such as tuberculosis, toxoplasmosis (a disease caused by protozoa that damages the central nervous system, eyes, and the body's internal organs), cytomegalovirus, and the herpes virus. Other, more general conditions, not included in the twenty eight indicator diseases, but often associated with the disease, include diarrhea, weight loss, night sweats, fevers, rashes, and swolen lymph glands.
The Trouble With Defining AIDS
By January 01 1993 extreme alterations were being made to the original definition of AIDS. Previously, in order to be diagnosed as having AIDS, it was necessary to have one or more of twenty five symptoms listed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as well as being HIV positive. In January, the CDC added three new conditions .... cancer of the cervix, bacterial pneumonia, and tuberculosis, which, when found in combination with the HIV virus, would constitute AIDS.
The effect of this decision will be to dramatically and artificially inflate the statistics of people who have AIDS. In the United States alone, the figures will show a rise from 250,000 to 400,000 (from 1982 to date), with a huge increase in the number of women with a sudden AIDS diagnosis. This caused famed British epidemiologist, Dr. Gordon Stewart, to ask the pertinent question," will any woman with cervicitis, any man with urethritis, or protatitis, or genetourinary cancer, or any cancer, or perhaps severe infection, or any other unspecified, wasting, or multiple disease, who happens to be HIV positive, be diagnosed and registered as having AIDS and treated for HIV disease, because those in the business can expand their domain across any diagnostic code and scrupple?"
There are some striking differences between the various "risk groups", or groups of people within which AIDS has remained concentrated. Karposi's sarcoma, for instance, one of the earliest symptoms by which AIDS was diagnosed, is twenty times more common in gay men with AIDS than in all other American AIDS patients.
Tuberculosis, meanwhile, is mainly seen in intravenous drug users. AIDS in Africa, by contrast, lacks the distinction of "risk groups", but is said to be distributed evenly among the population and between the sexes. There, AIDS is defined primarily by diarrhea, wasting, fever, and a persistant cough: symptoms that have all been quite common in Africa for decades and are seen in most tropical diseases.
Because of these and other discrepancies, there is much confusion and dissent about what AIDS really is, and even if it is accurate to classify it as a disease entity. The common factor that all these disconnected symptoms and diseases revolve around is HIV. If HIV antibodies are detected, these diseases converge as AIDS; if not, then they are diagnosed simply for what they are. In other words, any degree of immune suppression, in the presence of HIV, is classified as AIDS.
This has led to a kind of diagnostic chaos never before seen in medicine. The answer as to who has AIDS and who doesn't may depend on which doctor a person questions. There is also tremendous dispute about whether if fact, HIV is the cause of AIDS. This question has been argued both in the media, the AIDS community, and the scientific literature, and still remains unresolved. One camp believes that HIV causes the immune suppression that leads to AIDS, while the other argues that various environmental risk factors such as recreational and pharmaceutical drugs, sexually transmitted diseases, and bacterial infections are the real cause of the immune suppression, and that HIV is just a by-product of an already suppressed immunity. This also raises questions about how people "get" AIDS. Do they "catch" it or do they "acquire" it over a period of several years ? All of these questions need to be resolved before the true nature of the relationship between AIDS and HIV can be fully understood.