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April 28, 2010

CIVIL LIBERTIES AND HEALTH OF HIV-POSITIVE PEOPLE UNDER ASSAULT

Sean Strub "The approach to prevention and treatment of HIV in the U.S. has undergone a radical and dangerous shift over the past few months," writes POZ magazine founder Sean Strub (left) in a must-read article on his brand-new blog for POZ, adding: "When important public health officials announce publicly that they seek to put everyone with HIV on treatment, it is cause for concern and ethically unacceptable without informed consent." This eye-opening, hard-hitting expos√©, entitled "Medical Ethics and the Rights of People With HIV Under Assault," demonstrates just why the new drive to make anti-AIDS drugs for all the central weapon in AIDS prevention is so dangerous, and who is promoting it. "Neither the state of the science or government guidelines support antiretroviral treatment for every person with HIV, but advocates, public health officials and pharmaceutical companies are promoting the idea."

The current crop of AIDS-fighting drugs has seriously toxic effects on the majority of those who take them. As Sean points out, "The longer people with HIV take the drugs, the more we learn about toxicities and side effects. Fat redistribution causing facial and bodily disfigurement, including what is known as 'protease paunch', 'buffalo hump' and 'chipmunk cheeks'; dramatically increased risk of heart attacks and stroke; bone demineralization causing increased fracture risk; premature aging; kidney failure; all these are risks of antiretroviral HIV treatments."

That's why a program to prematurely make all the HIV-positive take these drugs, even when they don't need them as yet, endangers their health in very serious ways. Yet the most powerful AIDS official in the country, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, is pushing this new treatment-as-prevention policy, and it's been officially adopted in San Francisco. Big Pharma is pushing the dangerous new policy because it's "a boon to pharmaceutical companies looking to increase their potential markets," and these companies are funding the education programs for doctors designed to keep them "up-to-date" on AIDS.

Sean is one of the most widely respected AIDS activists in the country and one of the best informed (and his article was written with the counsel of the great pioneering AIDS-fighter Dr. Joseph Sonnabend.) Sean demonstrates in detail how the new "treatment-for-all-as-prevention" strategy "risks harming some people with HIV, preventing or greatly delaying the research necessary to determine the best point to start therapy, increasing criminalization prosecutions [targeting the HIV-positive] and creating unnecessary new HIV infections by undercutting non-pharmaceutical HIV prevention strategies that have been proven effective," all without the informed consent of the patients, as medical ethics requires.

Anyone concerned with either civil liberties or AIDS ought to read this ground-breaking article, which you can do by clicking here.



Posted by Direland at 08:40 PM | Permalink

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