|Questions and Answers About Aids|
|Does HIV exist?|
|Does HIV cause AIDS?|
|Does everyone who is diagnosed “HIV-positive” develop AIDS?|
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ARVs cannot cure HIV or AIDS (as the labels on the medication are required to state clearly). Even their alleged ability for a sustained halt of AIDS progression is highly questionable. The effectiveness of ARVs in having any benefits at all depends upon a number of factors, particularly the nutritional status of the patients and the level of CD4 cells at the point at which ARV treatment is commenced.
There is only limited evidence (from uncontrolled surveys) demonstrating that ARVs offer clinical benefits. There is some evidence that ARVs lead to improvements in surrogate markers such as the level of CD4 cells.
ARVs are capable of reducing viral load in the bloodstream, but whether this leads to conferral of benefits to the patient depends on other factors such as CD4 count and nutritional status at the time of administration of ARV treatment. Thus, in a population based analysis of 1219 patients on triple-drug therapy conducted by Hogg et al. it was reported that participants with CD4 cell counts of <50/microlitre were 6.67 times and those with counts of 50 to 199/microlitre were 3.41 times more likely to die than those with counts of at least 200/microlitre [Hogg et al JAMA (2001); 286:2568-2577].
Further, in a retrospective cohort study of 394 patients at an HIV referral centre in Singapore, Paton et al. found that malnutrition at the time of starting ARV treatment was significantly associated with reduced survival [Paton et al HIV Medicine (2006); 7:323-330].
The fact that none of the ARV products currently marketed in South Africa and beyond can cure HIV or AIDS is a little known fact. This gap of knowledge has two main reasons:
The pharmaceutical multinationals support special organisations, which infiltrate the hospitals in the developing world under the veil of charity. A main function of these organisations is, to take ARV pills out of the manufacturers box and “repackage” them in colorful daily supply boxes – removing any product information and warning notice.
One of thes “repackaging” organisations is called “Médecins Sans Frontières”, MSF (Doctors Without Borders). The picture above is taken from an MSF brochure. It shows how ARV pills are “repackaged” from the original containers (upper right hand corner) into a patient box, which no longer contains the warning notice – but instead the colourful logo of MSF.