HIV Gets In The Rear

Wednesday 6 June 07

The funny folks at queerty explain in layman’s terms the way the virus preserves its host cell while purging its junk material.  Read the article

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Family Fun with Full-Blown AIDS

Wednesday 6 June 07

Sing along to the The Family Guy, “You Have AIDS”. In this episode, Peter has to break the news to a patient that he has aids… because the doctor just can’t. And frankly, doctors are not the best at breaking this type of news. They are just too damn serious and lack empathy appropriate for the job. From one extreme to the other, do you think the Family Guy went too far?

Family Guy – You’ve Got AIDSWatch the best video clips here Doctor:
“I don’t know how to tell you this, so I’ll let these guys do it!”

Singers:
You have AIDS.
Yes, you have AIDS.
I hate to tell you, boy, you have AIDS.
You got the AIDS.
You may have caught it when you stuck that filthy needle in here.
Or maybe all that unprotected sex which we hear.
It isn’t clear, but what we’re certain of is that you have AIDS.
Yes, you have AIDS.
Not HIV, but full-blown AIDS.
Be sure that you see that this is not HIV, but full blown AIDS.
Not HIV, but full-blown AIDS.
I’m sorry, I wish it was something less serious, but it’s AIDS.
You’ve got the AIDS.

All we need is an AIDS dance and the loop is looped.

Super Healthy Aids Patients

Sunday 3 June 07

One Quarter of AIDS Patients Now Die From Other Causes was the conclusion of a September 06 study by the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.



The results came as a comparison of statistics for the period 1999 to 2004 and are, indeed, encouraging.



On the one hand it seems to say that treatments work better (or from a dissident point of view that less deadly medications cause death).



On the other hand it is quite sad to read what HIV/AIDS patients die of these days instead of AIDS: 76% drugs of the non-medical kind. The remaining is made up mostly of cardiovascular disease and cancers.



Earlier this month a friend contacted me to say he had just been diagnosed with hiv. He felt high anxiety to say the least, at the thought of what would happen to him and unable to think clearly of what next steps to take. We discussed the questions and options that were coming up and I thought "hey, I have been hiv for 11 years and now I can use my experience to relieve somebody else’s anguish! I might as well share the little I know with as many people who benefit from hearing/reading it!" So, here it is. My own, 100% biased take on how to cope with a recent hiv diagnosis.

  1. You’re better off knowing. Sure, ignorance is bliss (even today that crosses my mind) but knowledge really is power. The fact that you know you are hiv is not a death sentence. If you were feeling unwell for a while, now you know what was going on and now you can act to stay fit and healthy.
  2. You will be fine for many years. I made a mistake when I was diagnosed; I asked my doctor how long I had left to live. He hesitated and said ten years. It’s been eleven years now and not only am I still alive, I have not even been sick at all. I used to get endless throat complaints and now they are gone. Look after yourself the way you are meant to.
  3. Your life will not change dramatically. Mine has not unless I allowed myself to think that hiv was a big deal. When I got that new job, I was afraid that disclosing my ’status’ to the occupational physician would get me into trouble. Instead, I was able to tell him that I was no differently able than before and that as a computer engineer I didn’t put anyone at risk.
  4. Should you tell your friends? Your family? There is no rule but this one: if it is going to help you to tell them, then do. I know my sister would collapse if she knew so I will not tell her unless I need her to know. I would not like to feel that it was in the back of her mind when we are together, so it suits me better this way. After all I don’t tell her every time I have a cold sore/ headache/ bloated stomach – so why would she need to know about what goes on in my blood?
  5. Should you tell anyone at all? Yes, sexual partners should know but let’s face it, it is a bit of a conversation stopper. Choose carefully when you decide to tell them. Protect them. They will be worried about what that means for them; so make sure you understand what hiv means for you in the first place. Also if you are in a contract with someone else (business associate, mortgage or insurance) you may have a legal or contractual obligation to tell them. Give yourself time to consider in which case it is necessary to appropriate.
  6. Your friends will be supportive. The ones I chose to tell were wonderful and told me things I could never imagine they would. It made me realised how blessed I was to have them and how important I was in their lives. Very few drifted apart over the years, in fact just one did.

Parenzee Verdict is Here

Friday 27 April 07

From the Courts web site, R v PARENZEE

371I reject the evidence of Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos and Dr Turner.  I conclude, for the reasons expressed, that they are not qualified to give expert opinions about whether it has been proved that a virus HIV exists.  They are not qualified to express opinions on the tests that have been developed to diagnose the virus in humans.  They are not qualified to express opinions about whether the virus is sexually transmitted.  The opinion evidence of these two witnesses is therefore inadmissible.

372 I find that the respondent’s witnesses are all qualified to give expert opinion evidence in their respective fields. I find that the evidence that HIV exists is compelling.  Even assuming that Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos’ and Dr Turner’s evidence was admissible in a trial, I am satisfied that no jury would conclude that there is any doubt that the virus HIV exists. I consider no jury would be left in any doubt that HIV is the cause of AIDS or that it is sexually transmissible.

373In my view, the probative value of the evidence proposed to be called by the applicant is minimal.  The proposed evidence lacks cogency.

374 I am satisfied that no miscarriage of justice has taken place because the evidence now proposed to be adduced was not so adduced at trial.

375 For the reasons I have given, I reject the submission of Mr Borick QC that I should apply the test according to how the case might have been different at trial.  The question to be answered is whether the failure of the jury to have heard the evidence might have led to an unjust conviction.

376 For the reasons I have given, I do not consider that the evidence proposed to be called is plausible or cogent.  There has been no miscarriage of justice.

377 At the trial, the three complainants gave detailed evidence of their sexual contact with the applicant.  Ms C, who has been diagnosed with the virus, gave evidence that her only sexual contact during the relevant time before she was diagnosed as HIV positive, was with the applicant.

378 When the strain of HIV, for which she had tested positive, was compared with the tests from the applicant, the genetic sequence of her HIV positive test had a variance of about 1% from the sequence of the applicant.  There was evidence at trial that of all the virus profiles on the database of the SA Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science, the closest profile to that of the applicant was that of Ms C.  The closest unrelated sequence to either the applicant or Ms C had a variance of about 4%.

379 The applicant presented with AIDS symptoms.  His CD4 count was extremely low and his viral load count was very high.  After he was prescribed antiviral medication, his CD4 count increased and his viral load decreased.  He exhibited the symptoms that might be seen in a person who has contracted HIV/AIDS.  He responded to antiretroviral medication in a manner that is expected and is predictable, according to mainstream experts.

380 For these reasons, I refuse an extension of time in which to grant permission to appeal. If an extension of time for permission to appeal were to be granted, I would refuse permission to appeal.

At last an update about this case. A letter from Parenzee’s mother was published in the Dissident Action MSN group letting us know that the verdict will be pronounced on Friday next (27 April) at 2PM.

In her letter, Parenzee’s mum makes a few points worth noting:

She thinks her son did not do anything wrong when he did not disclose his status. I respectfully disagree, as Andre obviously thought the hiv diagnostic WAS a big deal, which is precisely why he did not tell his partners about it.

She writes that the only infected girlfriend of the three was also a drug user and “was struck off the nursing record for stealing drugs from one of the hospitals where she was working.” This is pretty much shooting your defence in the foot, since it gives credence to the whole hiv thing which they are denying exists in the first place.

Heart-wrenching stuff nonetheless. Nobody wants to be Andre. Nobody wants to be the mother who has to live with this anguish. Nobody wants to be a hiv partner and feel betrayed either. So, what’s a judge to do? We will find out on Friday.

By giving away millions of dollars to HIV and AIDS reseach, does the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation play in the hands of pharmaceutical companies to the detriment of people with (alleged) hiv and aids?

Probably.

Is the foundation evil?

Probably not.

I sincerely believe that Bill and Mel do what they think is best. As far as I know neither of them has experienced HAART, a positive test result and long may they live without ever having to!

The title link was sent to me in a comment to a previous post. Obviously its author did not read the blog or understand my position since he accuses me of backing pharmaceutical companies, promoting a cure and a vaccine and tells me that my foundation belongs to Bill and Melinda. For those reasons I did not allow the comment to be published but do take all suggestions into careful consideration.

The link relates to a LA Times article published in January 2007 which shows the Foundation in a very bad light.

The Times found that the Gates Foundation has holdings in many companies that have failed tests of social responsibility because of environmental lapses, employment discrimination, disregard for worker rights, or unethical practices.

More worryingly, the article explains that the foundation has major holdings in companies which directly counter countered the foundation’s charitable goals, e.g.

Pharmaceutical companies that price drugs beyond the reach of AIDS patients the foundation is trying to treat.

Do we believe Bill and Mel are doing this on purpose to make even more money for themselves? Is this an unavoidable countereffect encountered by most philanthropical enterprises? I believe they are doing their best to help but what do you think?

Vote now.

VIRIP = Next HIV cure?

Friday 20 April 07

Slashdot report on the new findings of a team of researchers at the University of Ulm, Germany who identified a new molecule in the fight against hiv. VIRIP, the virus-inhibitory peptide, is found in human blood.

Tweaks to its amino acid components boosted its anti-HIV potency by two orders of magnitude. Tests also showed that some derivatives of the molecule are highly stable in human blood plasma, and non-toxic even at very high concentrations.

That it is non-toxic is great news but as slusich points out in a comment, how many times have we heard of new, miracle molecules being discovered, cures promised in the next few years? As time passes and we never hear of those wonderful discoveries, we get disappointed and see more of our friends dying.



The bad news now is that VIRIP is costly and will need to be injected. Besides, it may take years before an effective treatment can be developed from this discovery.



In the meantime, I bet you that the shares for IPF PharmaCeuticals GmbH, the company responsible for developing VIRIP, jumped today! Their slogan is Peptides for Life. Cute!



References



Treatment worse than HIV?

Saturday 14 April 07

My mother died of cancer. Cancer made her hip swell inexplicably and caused her discomfort when she walked. Chemotherapy made her lose her hair, her sight, her dignity, her well-being, her job, any strength she had left.



I was reminded of this dilemma – let the disease or the cure kill you- while watching the AIDS Inc. trailer on YouTube. The video itself only features fragments of sentences which make it a little to sensational for me to be able to form an opinion about the movie. Does it hold any truth or new argument?



However, the CNN website has an article from 1998 about this particular dilemma, When The Cure Seems Worse Than the Disease. In a nutshell, disease is bad, treatment can be really bad but without a treatment the disease can get worse. Which leaves us with the same dilemma, really. How far down the line are we willing to stick with the treatment?



Faced with serious side-effects caused by the treatment, I wonder if I would have the courage to face the disease by itself – save my dignity and make the suffering shorter? Would I be aware enough to realise when the time was coming to take that step? Would I let medecine try everything it can on me, until my last breath, just in case?



Tell me what you would do.





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Gleaned from a seemingly abandoned blog, this cute contribution by an adorable individual.



AIDS=Adorable Individual Determined to Survive




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