Thirty years since the discovery of AIDS, the world appears to be ready to look at the epidemic with a more optimistic lens: the death rate is going down in many parts of the world, thanks to innovation in anti-retroviral treatment, and there’s a global decline in new infections. This week, in a high-level meeting of more than 40 heads of states and ministers, the United Nations will set a new direction in the battle to eliminate HIV and AIDS. There will be the usual political wrangling and hostile debates over the next global political commitment on HIV and AIDS, especially on the issue of funding the global HIV response, but there is no denying that sense of hope prevailing among HIV and AIDS activists.
Unfortunately, that spirit of optimism will not reach Philippine shores. Citing government reports, the United Nations said that the Philippines is one of the only seven countries worldwide that diverged from the global trend: the country is experiencing a sharp rise in HIV infection, from one new infection a day in 2007 to five to six a day in 2011. The Department of Health’s official HIV registry is not showing an unusual rise in HIV deaths, but stories of deaths among young men (who had sex with men) due to AIDS-related complications are circulating within the gay, bisexual and transgendered community. These deaths, mostly a result of late diagnosis of HIV status and failure to access treatment, are increasing but remain undetected because of stigma: families of those who perished refuse to report the real cause of death.
Jonas Bagas (left) with the Philippine Delegation to the
UN High Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS inside the General Assembly.
We can only blame complacency and the lack of political leadership for the emerging HIV epidemic in the country. The government has been warned that the Philippines has all the necessary ingredients for a full-blown HIV epidemic, but authorities have taken false comfort from the fact that it has not reached the general population yet. That there is no large-scale HIV epidemic in the country is a product of our moral values, thus proclaimed former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a statement that captures the attitude among politicians toward the virus.
But HIV experts have warned that it is just a matter of time for the epidemic to reach the general population. Migrant Filipinos, especially women, are still considered vulnerable, but government data show that the epidemic remains concentrated: 80 percent of new infections have been transmitted through unprotected male-to-male sex among young Filipinos, mostly in urban centers (more than half of new cases are in Metro Manila); injecting drug users are the drivers of HIV infection in Cebu, and in some areas, new HIV cases are being reported among people in prostitution or sex workers. Unofficial projection by epidemiologists indicates that in five years, three out of 10 men who have sex with men and transgenders would be infected by the virus.
Countries that were able to halt their HIV epidemic have shown the importance of reversing and stopping microepidemics. It might be politically convenient to ignore the growing HIV infection among gays, bisexuals, transgenders, sex workers and drug users. The government can always resort to populist moves – conducting raids on gay-sex establishments, pursuing policies that treat condoms as evidence of criminal activities, or rounding up sex workers and drug users. It will get good media mileage, or perhaps some votes, but it won’t stop the virus from spreading.
Doing so, in fact, smacks of idiocy, a willful rejection of the growing evidence of what works and what doesn’t in addressing the HIV epidemic. Thirty years of AIDS have produced a body of lessons that could and should guide the Philippines: the importance of promoting large-scale and evidence-based safer sex interventions, not just abstinence; encouraging voluntary HIV counseling and testing; improving access to treatment; care and support services for Filipinos living with HIV and AIDS; and removing discriminatory barriers to access to HIV services, including those that stigmatize those who are vulnerable to HIV infection.
These are not rocket science, but the application of these standards is already revolutionary because of the big leap in perspective that they require from the political leadership, especially from President Aquino himself. He has no choice but to confront this legacy: ignoring it, the approach adopted by his predecessor, will only add fuel to the fire.
For years, the country’s HIV and AIDS programs have mainly been delivered by civil society groups and by government agencies that heavily rely on foreign donors. The government must step up its response by putting money and action behind its commitments to combat HIV and AIDS. It still can reverse and halt the epidemic, but the first step is to have the political will to do it.
Jonas Bagas is the civil society representative of the official Philippine delegation to the United Nations High Level Meeting on HIV and AIDS, which is taking place in New York from June 8 to 10, 2011. The meeting, which will gather more than 40 heads of state and ministers, marks the 30th anniversary of AIDS. Bagas is the vice chair of TLF Share, an NGO for the health and human rights of Filipino gays, bisexuals and transgenders.
This article was first published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Jun 10, 2011 and is republished with permission from the author. Jonas Bagas is also the Coordinator of the Akbayan LGBT Collective.
I'm afraid they can, with the ARVs. May God help the less fortunate and condemn the evil forces. Amen. (but before that we have to save ourself)
Well, there are currently 5 documentary films (on youtube of course) which question the conventional "HIV=AIDS hyphothesis". I'm afraid You will have to spend your precious time to watch these films to find out who is telling the truth, and who is selling the "truth"!
1 - HOUSE OF NUMBERS
2 - HIV=AIDS: FACT OR FRAUD?
3 - AIDS INC.
4 - THE SCIENCE OF PANIC
5 - THE OTHER SIDE OF AIDS
"Does anyone out there believe that HIV is a hoax? Besides YouTube, is there any scientific evidence that this may be true?"
I do believe HIV is a hoax, and people need to wake up now before its too late. Scientific evidence? People who were interviewed in those documentary films are Nobel Prize winners, Professors, Doctors & HIV+ people. Will they claim something w/o any scientific evidence? Please read for yourself :
[HIV Test Are Not HIV Test]
Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 15 Number 1 Spring 2010
1- [HIV Tests Are Not HIV Tests]
Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 15 Number 1 Spring 2010
2- [HAS GALLO PROVEN THE ROLE OF HIV IN AIDS?]
3- [The Causes of AIDS]
4- [HIV Is Not the Cause of AIDS]
5- [DISSENTING ON AIDS]
THE CASE AGAINST THE HIV-CAUSES-AIDS HYPOTHESIS
6- [EVERYONE REACTS POSITIVE on the ELISA TEST for HIV]
published in Continuum (London) Winter 1998/9 5(5): 8-10
7- [Anti-Retrovirals Can Cause AIDS]
8- [WHOSE ANTIBODIES ARE THEY ANYWAY?]
Factors Known to Cause False Positive HIV Antibody Test Results
I dont agree with this statement. If anyone try to spend some time looking for the "foundation paper" for HIV = AIDS theory, apparently the "scientific evidence" supporting the HIV causes AIDS hypothesis has never grow at all since the USA announced to the World they found the "probable cause of AIDS" on 23 April 1984!
I'm glad to say on the other side, the body of "scientific evidence" against the hypothesis of HIV causes AIDS is indeed large and growing!
So... the World without HIV/AIDS might be closer if we can start to take in the whole picture, and open up our mind, never stop questioning the Orthodox and the powerful !
Gentlemen, speculate all you desire but as a man living with HIV and has watched friends die while taking the earlier medications back in the 90's, I can say the new medications out now are amazing! Further, whatever you may think if you don't eventually accept treatment when (and in a very few cases if) your CD4 counts drop you will not be around to argue your point!
Yes, with nearly 35 million infected across the world you will find people who will have no viral load yet test POZ and all other possible extremes, treating these unique cases is a delicate matter. However for the majority of people not seeking treatment when their T-cells drop equals death. I have watched two men who I love dearly fail to heed my repeated requests to get tested and end up in the hospital dying with less than 100 T-cells. They didn't will themselves back to health and a lack of belief in the infection didn't aid in their recovery, modern medicine brought them both back from the brink of death. They are both trying to recapture their live's and move forward after 18 months of medical care that could have been avoided if they had gotten tested and treated before they got terrible sick.
#10, you are entitled to your point of view but that doesn't alter the fact that without treatment the vast major of people infected with HIV will progress to AIDS and die from any number of opportunistic diseases. Sticking one's head in the sand will not make this fact go away!
As for the terms AIDS, give it a rest! AIDS is more a political term than a true medical term anymore because contracting any number of diseases can get you an AIDS diagnose not just having your T-cells drop below 200. Why is this true, to allow individuals as well as countries access to needed medical aid to control the HIV infection that they normal would not have access. This is the real reason for the very very wide definition of AIDS.
Again, #10 you are entitled to your opinion but understand that saying 'HIV is a Hoax' will lead people to not seek treatment and many will die needless deaths, like those in the Philippines, because of such willfully misleading statements. Enough with the inflammatory rhetoric, when your so called scientist come up with an effective alterative treatment to the present medications I will be happy to carefully investigate it and even try it if warranted. Until then do us all a favor by putting people's lives ahead of your blind ideology and stop calling the disease that has killed countless numbers of people a HOAX! God save us from the conspiracy theorist!!
First of all there is not a single scientific evidence (research paper) that came up with the conclusion "HIV is the cause of AIDS". If anyone out there can cite that evidence, please do it by all means (we waited for 27 long years since 1984, and still waiting). The scientific community especially those who claimed they have found the "probable cause of AIDS" cannot even provide this evidence to the public, and they expect all of us to believe what they claim?
"...I can say the new medications out now are amazing!"
Please watch between 12:07 and 14:19
"...if you don't eventually accept treatment when (and in a very few cases if) your CD4 counts drop you will not be around to argue your point!"
Please watch between 15:42 and 16:31
"...with nearly 35 million infected across the world..." Where did you get the 35 million from? the newspaper? the radio? or the TV? try United Nation database in Geneva, and you will find that the "35 million" is just an estimate, not 35 million infected (infected means they all have HIV in their body)
"...you will find people who will have no viral load yet test POZ..."
How accurate are the tests used for the diagnosis of
"...stop calling the disease that has killed countless numbers of people a HOAX!"
AIDS is not a disease, AIDS is a "catergorization" of 30 different diseases, all known to exists well before the HIV/AIDS era, and all has cure to it. Doctors refer to a Tuberculosis(TB) patient w/o HIV as a TB patient and treat him with TB medication. If the same TB patient has HIV antibody, doctors treat him as an AIDS patient and give him HIV/AIDS drugs in addition to TB medication (they are giving him a hopeless over-treatment)! How magic is that?
"...when your so called scientist come up with an effective alterative treatment to the present medications I will be happy to carefully investigate it and even try it if warranted."
This is the reason you're still stuck with their priscription.
#12, i totally agree with you, more education needed. Let's not ignore/forget about the other side of the story. Don't forget "assumption" is the Mother of all screw up !
That said, I will be the first to say that there are HIV scientists and prominent HIV doctors who should be stripped of the degrees and spending time in prison for killing numerous HIV patients back in the early nineties with DDI, DDC and AZT, no one is debating that doctors previously over medicated their patients. Those who pushed these drugs were not virologists but cancer doctors who were stupidly treating a retro viruses with anti cancer drugs that were originally banned because they were more harmful to the patients then the cancer itself. I personally railed against the LA Gay and Lesbian Center here in Los Angeles when they attempted to force my HIV+ partner to start treatment with these drugs during the same time period. I even went as far as threatening a doctor's life who tried to scare my partner into treatment and painted me as trying to kill him by refusing treatment.
I was convinced at the time that the life expectance of those on meds was no better than those who chose not to take meds and in the late nineties a study proved this to be true. Sadly the qualify of life for those on meds was terrible compared to those who decide to refuse treatment, again I don't debate that the drugs use to suck!
However in contrast I was also there to see good friends who had sold off everything, cashed in the life insurance policies and maxed out their credit cards fully expecting to be dead in a month instead they rose from their death beds when they participated in early protease inhibitor studies (and many are still here and yes, still paying off their debts!! ;-).
As for the 35 million, if you are seriously going to quibble over the fact I failed to use the word “estimated” you have issues!! The “estimated” number (which was close to 33 million) was presented at the latest AIDS conference, but you probably won’t buy that data simply because they have “AIDS” in their name and they are “the man!” Further you fault me for listening to regular media outlets yet you are willing believe some quake on a YouTube video over thousands of doctors and scientists … interesting …
Then there is the issue of testing, so you have a problem with the fact that most of the tests don’t assay for virus but only for the antibodies. If this is your point then syphilis testing, among many other tests, are also invalid because they too test only for antibodies not the infection agent. I am not certain how to respond except to say that denial is not just a river in Egypt!! This said, your also failed to mention that presently many testing centers assay for the HIV virus itself, but then again you also claim the HIV is not killing people so I doubt this evidence will have any impact.
I am glad you brought you TB and HIV as one of my unfortunate friends was co-infected when he was admitted to hospital with Hep B, HIV, KS, PCP and suspected TB. Without going into to too much detail the treatment for TB is insanely hard on your body, HIV or no and will damage your liver though most patients are able to tolerate the treatment and their livers tend to bounce back over time. In my friend’s case treatment for one disease was contra-indicted by the presents of the others. Enlight of this the doctor chose to only treat the PCP and HIV in the hopes that his immune system would bounce back enough to suppress the KS and Hep B. They did cure the PCP infection but unfortunately the KS was way too advanced for his weaken immune system to fight it off. The doctor changed directions, once my friend's T-cell had recover enough with the HIV meds and the doc began suppress therapy for both Hep B and TB. This process took nearly a month but if he had gone start to chemo for the KS the hep B or the TB would have overwhelmed him. Regardless the suppress therapy took so long that the KS nearly killed him anyway. In short he lived because the doctor was amazing skilled at playing a very dangerous balancing act. As for TB meds fighting HIV, not a snowballs chance in Hell might as well pump the patient full of AZT. When you have a patient with only 80 T-cell you suppress the HIV virus so that the patients immune system can bounce back enough to tolerate the TB meds, anyone who says differently should be stripped of the medical license!
Lastly on the subject of meds, for four years I went without meds hoping that I would be one of the lucky ones and never need them, fat chance! At the end of year four my viral load jumped to over 200K and my T-cells dipped to 300 and no, I wasn’t able to wish it all away. My health was spiraling down hard prior to getting this news which merely confirmed what I already knew, I was losing the battle and if I don’t go on meds soon I be joining my friend in hospital. After being on Truvada and Isentress for 6 months now, my numbers are perfect and I feel great again. Thanks but I will pass on the snake oil salesmen from the YouTube video. Come on who in the world gets medical advance from YouTube. Pull your head out and see a real infectious disease specialist and soon, enough said!
Well, for your information there are not only "a couple doctors" who are questioning the validity of the HIV/AIDS hypothesis, to be exact there are 2,780 (and growing too).
They include :
1) Prof. LUC MONTAGNIER - the 2008 Nobel Prize winner for the discovery of HIV. He said our immune system CAN get rid of the HIV virus within a few week, if we have a good immune system. So is that a lie too? Should we say he's one of the denialist too?
[AIDS truth exposed: Un-cut exclusive footage from House of Numbers]
2) Dr. KARY BANKS MULLIS - the winner of 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for improvement of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. He said the PCR CANNOT be used to prove HIV infection, if HIV ever exist!
[VIRAL LOAD AND THE PCR]
Why they can't be used to prove HIV infection
By Christine Johnson
Continuum November 2001
3) Prof. PETER DUESBERG - Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California at Berkeley, a pioneer in retrovirus research, the first scientist to isolate a cancer gene, member of the U.S. National Academic of Sciences, and recipient of the Outstanding Investigator Grant from the National Institutes of Health. In 1987, he is the first person to claim "HIV Is Not the Cause of AIDS". Unlike the "decree" that Dr. Gallo announced at the press conference in Washington DC on 23 Apr 1984 that he had found the "probable cause of AIDS-the HTLVIII virus (HIV)", Prof.Duesberg have his research papers.
Especially to #14, here's the list of 2,780 doubters Worldwide (or would you prefer Denialist?) who doubts the HIV/AIDS theory. Suprisingly I found 8 entries from Singapore and 2 from Malaysia, and other Asian countries eg. South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, HK, The Philippines, Vietnam, India, Thailand, Bangladesh, China etc.
Authorities ? KGB used to be Authorities? Remember our "Hero" Adolf Hitler, he used to be the Head of an Authority, he was very "powerful" too!
regarding to this, i would like to express my kind reminder to you that the comment i posted here are all back up with research papers (or scientific evidence) widely available to anyone, even to a 5 year-old who can use internet. Talking about proof, we are still waiting "patiently" for a proof for the HIV/AIDS hypothesis. If you are so kind to please provide us one. To be frank, we will never find one!
I feel terribly sad for every American, for their brilliant government had spend US$250Billion (1/4 of a $Trillion - more than to send humans to the Moon!) since 1980s to find the virus that is "suppose" to cause AIDS. Until today, no one can isolate this mighty retro-virus, not even 1 AIDS patient has been cure. Oh yes, maybe that's why they need another US$250Billion in the next 10 years to find a HIV vaccine to save the World!!! Good try ! Well i can't say if those money comes from taxpayers, i haven't come up with "evidence with studies or real proof" for this yet!
Like a good True Believer when presented with facts you chose to go on the defensive to reaffirm your delusion (most of the above scientist you named had their theories discredited in the late 90's) and disregard any of my previous comments. How typical as facts are too challenging for True Believers. Let's hope you have the good sense to talk with an HIV specialist soon otherwise I will need a psych so you can continue your argument from the afterlife!
Truth passes through three phases:
First it is ridiculed.
Second it is fiercely and violently opposed.
Third, it becomes self-evident.
— Arthur Schopenhauer
I just hope that this won't take us another 30 years from now, for it means so much more unnessasary sufferings of those being given an AIDS sentense.
May God bless the good and forgive those who sinned.
Regarding non progressers, we have a perfect example here, Yogie Wirastra. His story is featured in fridae's "Living with HIV". http://www.fridae.asia/newsfeatures/2010/12/17/10451.positive-voices-yogie-wirastra
Being tested positive for 8 years, he maintains a CD4 count of 400 w/o treatment. First i was very suprised to read about this, after more research i can say it's not just "luck" that he's still healthy today, he's healthy because he's NOT taking anything!
Look for Dr. Kary Mullis, the Nobel Prize 1993 winner for Chemistry who invented the PCR (Polymerase Chaqin Reaction). He strongly against the use of PCR for HIV "Viral Load" test!
The HAART or ARV is a potent anti-biotic drugs, that kills almost everything inside the body, including germs, bacterial, virus and other pathogen. In the short term, people on HAART will show a lower number of Viral Load than the HAART naive one, and even to undetactable level, cos they are all killed by the drugs. But in long term the body will experience damage from the side effects of the drugs and the cells will stop their DNA synthesis and die off. When the body could not handle this assault by the drug, Liver failure will occur. Studies shows that in USA the majority of AIDS patient on HAART died because of Liver failure, which isn't 1 of the 30 "Opportunistic Infection disease" under the AIDS "umbrella". There is NO research that shows HAART actually saves life. Try to look at the insert or the box that came with those ARV drugs!
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