Herbal cures not valid substitute for AIDS treatment

philipcheng

Sometimes there is an inclination to distrust the U.S. government and Western medicine. We have heard about things like the medical industrial complex. So as an alternative, some people are more willing to trust natural remedies. In most cases, trusting these kinds of herbal healers would not be a problem. But for serious diseases like AIDS, any so-called cure is immoral because it spreads false hope. In certain parts of Africa, there is little or no access to antiretroviral drugs. Those with AIDS have little hope and sometimes cling to any cure that anyone proposes.

An example is seen in Gambia. In 2007, President Yahya Jammeh proposed and administered an AIDS cure. The Gambian health ministry claimed the cure eradicated the virus from patients. However, the original viral load tests were done in a university in Dakar, Senegal and showed patients still had significant amounts of the virus in their blood. The government dismissed this claim and refused to reveal what was in the cure. So how do you spot a hoax AIDS cure or any other herbal cure?

Well, there are a few ways: First, no medical expert or healer would ever claim that a cure is a miracle breakthrough or that   it can cure 100 percent of patients. Also, no medical expert would claim that a certain substance can cure many different diseases. First of all, there is no single cure that can work for everyone. Different people react differently to different medicines. There are all different types of people with all different body types; no cure will be 100 percent effective. Other times, people have allergies which do not allow them to take a certain medicine, whether it is synthetic or herbal.

Another example is that just because a medicine is natural does not always mean that that medicine is good. Many natural chemicals can be harmful to humans. For example, hemlock and ricin both occur naturally in the castor bean, and they are extremely toxic. Also, note that just because a substance is man-made does not mean that it will be bad for you.

A third way to tell is by seeing how many people a herbal drug has been tested on. The only way to check a drug’s effectiveness is by testing it among many patients. However, some herbal healers may say they have not been able to do adequate testing because the U.S. government shut them down or suppressed information on their cure to protect U.S. interest in established lucrative medical companies.

They claim that the medical industrial complex exists through government. Even if this were true, the only way to know a drug’s effectiveness is through extensive testing.

Conspiracy theories may say that the government or medical companies may be suppressing the cure for AIDS. However, the truth is that western medicine still has difficulty finding a cure. Antiretroviral drugs can suppress HIV in the body’s system, but they cannot cure patients. The tricky part is that the virus inserts its genetic material into a host’s cells and remains dormant for years or decades while the patient takes the antiretroviral drugs. Current research is looking for a way to destroy these infected cells. Furthermore, government conspiracies asserted by these kinds of herbal healers may be overblown.

The U.S. government does not solely support lucrative drugs. For example, the government is currently doing research on human hormones such as interleukin-2. Like the human genome, these cannot be patented and therefore cannot yield large profits.

So, people can be skeptical of the U.S. government: it is healthy to do so, and it is their right as U.S. citizens: but people should also be wary of herbal healers.