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Monday, October 5, 2009

New Trial of HIV Vaccine in Gay Men Begins - Gay Men?

HIV the virus that causes AIDS, always the first line of health stories on our TV and in newspapers, has been the buggeyman for gay men for nearly three decades now and they still haven’t found a cure for it – or a vaccine. Cynics will say that the interests of the Big Pharma will never allow that to happen. They say the same thing about cancer.

In other spheres: the religious right will say “it serves you right, why did you have to engage in doubtful behavior”; doctors will upbraid you for not wearing a condom and your father, who has lived with your gayness reluctantly, will throw up his hands and never bother to invite you for those family dinners. What does the government say? Nothing. They follow the science.

God forbid, when we consider what is publicly known as fast-tracking meds, the result may not be good. Pharmaceutical companies have already been hit by huge lawsuits. In that case, humankind is out of the fire and into the frying pan. The debate is never-ending. What about vaccines and other controversial drugs for AIDS, for example?

Not so fast, some say. According to a group of people, scientists in various fields in Biology, HIV is not the cause of AIDS. These scientists and others are called, branded, rather, AIDS deniers by the mainstream scientific community which affirms categorically that HIV is the cause of AIDS. HIV dissidence is split in two actually, like this: those who strictly believe that yes, the bug exists but is a harmless passenger virus, and those who will say, poo! poo! the thing does not exist, and that porcupine-like ball you see is not HIV but a malignant cell. Hello?? Either way…

Interestingly, another guy,Canadian filmmaker Brent Leung, decides to go see things for himself and makes a documentary about the whole debate and comes up with House of Numbers. Before that, we have The Other Side of AIDS by Robin Scovill. I have not seen the House of Numbers yet, however I have read about the dissidence. And when asked whether I thought the dissidence had an agenda, I said I did not know, and still don’t. The whole dissident theory makes for a very compelling read but is one that hits you to the core in that deniers will say is that because gay men lead, shall we say, fast lane lifestyles – some of us do, it is true - we will perhaps unwittingly veer towards harm’s way by not paying attention to our health. Dump those chemicals you have your medicine cabinet…

All those people immortalized in quilts, what about them? They died because of the massive doses of AZT they were given and now after years of refining they have come up with less lethal meds your liver can accommodate and metabolize, so they say, and that is why people are living longer and leading normal, healthy lives. Really? go tell it to those people who take five hundred pills a day. Those have a different story to tell.

Africa? They are dying of hunger and of those tropical diseases we have never heard of in our neck of the woods and they have no infrastructure. After all, they live next to open sewers. Women? It is because they engage in gay men style sex and boom! They get the bug. Where have I read (or heard?) that tops are less at risk of catching the virus? Even the WHO - world Health Organization - admits they may have overblown statistics to draw attention to this syndrome. No, WHO said in December last year, infection continues in those risk groups (guess who?) and no, it is not crossing over.

Meanwhile, from where we sit, watching the whole debate unfold and not knowing who or what to believe in, aware that there are people who either have passed or are suffering with the disease, we are left helpless. Can we take a more proactive role? Why don't we start with the media? We do need a more investigative media, one we can rely on, one devoid of corporate interests that are intrinsically linked to Science (in a bad way?) to give us a clear picture. Why don’t we bring people like Robert Gallo, Peter Duesberg (these two go back decades working together and now bitter foes – apparently) and Luc Montagnier, to the hot seat and demand of them what the hell is going on. So many questions.

Read further:

The World’s Most Reviled Genius
Can the scientist who denied the cause of AIDS be trusted to cure cancer?

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