Intended for healthcare professionals

Choice

Western medicine: a confidence trick driven by the drug industry?

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7358.0/h (Published 03 August 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:h

Extravagant claims in HIV/AIDS

Just back from attending the 14th International Conference on AIDS in
Barcelona, Spain, along with 17 000 people.
Since the discovery of antiretroviral medication, and especially since the
International Conference in Vancouver in 96, there is extrahordinary
marketing of ARV.

To wit:
The name HAART "Highly Active Antiretrovial Treatment" is intended to
convey the idea that ARV are "highly active" ie very efficient, whereas
Not a single person with AIDS has been cured - or will ever be cured (I'm
quoting international scientific experts like Dr Siciliano) even in my
country, the United States. The best we can do is keep people alive a few
years, when there are not too many toxic side-effects.
This marketing has led lots of people to believe that AIDS could be cured
with a few pills, and even morning after pills, with a drop in precaution
as a result, and infections rates going back up even in the U.S.!

Now that there is a - justificable- drive to fund treatment for poor
countries, all speak of "Life saving treatment"...Providing ARV drugs to
Africa is desirable but it must be understood as a non-solution, it will
only allow a limited number of people to survive while we search for more
efficient means.

Beware of giving false hope to populations.
Today's ARV are temporary bandades, unless there is more independant and
fundamental research

Competing interests: No competing interests

03 August 2002
Nance F Upham
NGO V-President
01 Durban