My name is Norman S. I was diagnosed with symptomatic AIDS in December 1995 with 51 CD4’s. There were no viral load tests at the time and in February 1996, commenced AZT, the only Health Canada approved treatment. Over the next 10 years, the ARVs included AZT, 3TC, Saquinavir, Zerit, Norvir, Viracept, Sustiva, Fuzeon, Viread and Kaletra.
Celexa, Septra, Marinol, Bactrum, Losec, Teveten, Pariet, Crestor, Lipitor, Welbutrin, Prozac, Hydrochlorothiazide and Lorazepam were prescribed to deal with side effects including weight loss, thrush, night sweats, bloody stool, nail fungus, lipoatrophy, shingles and anemia. Other physiological and psychological factors were present as well.
With Fuzeon, I took on a regimen of twice-daily injections, and after ten years of ARVs and drug related lipoatrophy, had little body fat. There were persistent ISRs such as redness, swelling and hardening of the skin. I participated in a clinical trial in May 2005 sponsored by the Canadian Immunodeficiency Research Collaborative to evaluate using the Biojector® CO2 injector rather than standard hypodermic needles. Again, the ISRs persisted. On the regimen with Fuzeon was Kaletra, Viread and 3TC.
After years of research in HIV/AIDS, nutrition, and a decade of ARV regimens, pills, serums, needles, CO2 guns and most all, drug side effects, except death, I stopped drugs May 16, 2006. From August 2006 to January 2007, there was a 49% decrease in viral load and a 38% increase in CD4 cells. I am over one year of being drug free, and during that time have saved provincial health plans $50,000 in medication costs. Fuzeon alone costs $2,650/month.
Readily available monthly supplement costs for Selenium, NAC, Tryptophan and L-Glutamine range from $100-$120. My results are not unique and many people with HIV are living quite well without medications.
Viral load and CD4 count, the blood markers utilized to assess health and determine therapy, do not necessarily make for a healthy individual. With a decade of ARV therapy and so-called good numbers, I was not healthy. I experienced high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, abnormal liver functions, the onset of osteoarthritis, duodenitis, peripheral neuropathy, nocturia, lipoatrophy, and the progression of Hepatitis B to a grade 2. Most side effects have eased and for the first time in ten years have presented normal liver functions. Hepatitis B is a pre-existing condition and kept in check with proper diet.
There is a more humane approach to HIV/AIDS management by treating us rather than the disease.