11 Feb (A LARGE US CITY) – She called my name from the chart. We left the waiting room and walked back to her office. As we sat down, she looked at me with a serious expression, took a carefully-choreographed breath and said, “Your HIV test result is positive”. I felt as if hit by a large electric shock – a pulse that made me feel like I had physically left my body. Despite the shock, I remember the drone of statements that followed as I sat there, tears running down my cheeks, overwhelmed by a tremendous sense of panic.
by PATRICK L.
I am a healthy divorced man in my late 40’s – a mental health professional living in a large Midwestern city. In early 2009, I was suffering from the usual bout of seasonal valley-smog-driven asthma. My doctor prescribed two types of inhalers; one for immediate relief and the other for long term care.
In years past – when it was difficult to breathe – I found relief by using the acute inhaler with one to three huffs and the daily inhaler twice a day. Over time, I learned that I was over-using the inhalers at that level and that, over time, the inhalers can cause cancer and can compromise my immune system.
As a result, I came down with a massive attack of Shingles in 2009 – across my scalp and over my chest. I also had large patches on both inner thighs and penis. I had experienced shingles about 10 years earlier, after “coming out” to my wife, going through a divorce, and starting a new life as a gay man.
While suffering through this latest bout, I visited a physician-friend and his wife.
“Jason” (the doctor) was concerned about my symptoms and expressed fear that I had contracted HIV. He said that I urgently needed an HIV test.
The next day, I left work early and went to the local Gay and Lesbian Center where they administered a quick swab test, before sending me back to the waiting room.
After a short while, a young lady called my name and escorted me to another private room. She asked me a series of questions and wrote down my answers.
This was the start of a battery of questions I answered during my first visit to an HIV clinic; NO, I didn’t not use intravenous drugs – NO, I didn’t engage in self-destructive behaviors.
When it was time, she administered another test and walked me back to the waiting room. As I waited there and glanced at the faces of those who waited with me. Names, forced smiles and greetings were exchanged as patients disappeared behind the waiting room door. Before long, it was my turn.
Still struggling to grasp the news, she feigned compassion and slowly read (for dramatic effect) from a prepared script that coerces shocked and vulnerable patient into believing he or she is infected with something while never actually declaring it: (see AAHIVM’s script)
- You may need to take time to adjust to this.
- Many people say that it gets easier once you get over the initial shock.
- With proper medical and social support, people with HIV can expect to lead very productive lives.
- Now that you have HIV it’s important that you receive regular medical follow-up, even if you are feeling healthy.
At the time, I didn’t realize how manipulative the script was or what it was designed to do. With a sense of immediacy, she wanted to set me up with an appointment at an HIV clinic.
- Who can be supportive of you in dealing with this?
- What questions do you have about HIV infection?
- Knowing that you have HIV, what are your concerns about giving HIV to someone else?
- Who do you believe may need to know about your result?
- Are there particular partners you are worried about?
- What will you do after you leave here?
- Who will you talk with about this news?
Still in shock, I sat alone with nowhere to turn; and yet, her questions droned on. She gave me the contact number of an HIV clinic, along with her card. She offered a complementary hug. I sensed at the time that she believed that everything that she was doing was for a greater good.
On my way home, I called a nurse-friend who had worked with HIV and AIDS for years. She served the dying and was the only person I thought to call at the time. She came to my house and held me while I cried. She said she’d be there for me through everything.
For the next few days, I crashed into that wall over and over again; hitting just as hard as that moment when first given the news. The flashbacks were as vivid and real as if I was still sitting there, receiving the same death sentence over and over, again and again. What do I do? Who do I tell? How do I tell?
After many years of counseling patients in a hospital intensive care using and in practice, counselors like me are taught to help patients accept catastrophic news and find peace. We help them find a way to work through the pain and emotions; to seek good medical care and live as full a life as possible. But when it happened to me, my mind was blank and I only wanted to withdraw. This isolated me further, making me even more vulnerable to the HIV clinicians.
My HIV clinicians never suggested that the test results are unreliable or their claims might be false. But once you receive the “positive” result, there are no second opinions within the medical system I knew. There are no options, or information reflecting that the HIV Industry is a construction of false-positives. They never made any attempt to rule out the dozens of other factors that are known to cause false positive test results. According to my HIV clinic and doctors, the information I’ve gathered since 2009 does not exist – that things like vaccines, herpes and cross-contamination don’t really cause false positives. They expressed to me in no uncertain terms that I could only move forward with more tests, more drugs, and more counseling. I only had one direction to move.
In this way, I was manipulated into the “HIV system” rather quickly.
A sweet nurse practitioner (NP) gave me a thorough exam. She asked questions about my medical history, health, medications, family and sexual behavior. I said that I had been diagnosed and treated for tuberculosis and suffered from shingles and bronchitis. I also told her that I have been treated for asthma and fever blisters on my lips for several years.
She took notes and then asked me about flu shots, other vaccinations, and how I felt about them. She never said that any one of those illnesses could create a false-positive reaction to the tests based on the antibodies flooding my system. She simply had me make another appointment before sending me down the hall for a blood draw.
During the two-week period between my first visit and the next appointment, my racing mind and overwhelming emotions continued to flood through me. I had trouble focusing. I couldn’t sleep. I often felt like I was outside of my body. Memory and thinking were difficult, at best. I was often unaware of hunger and thirst. I wanted to be alone because simple experiences – a word, sound, the glimmer of fear – would take me back to the moment of “the diagnosis”, relived again and again. I endured severe stress.
Fortunately, my work as a counselor helped me to focus on my clients during the day. Despite the blessing of work, my service to others hardly suppressed the silent but constant scream that prevailed within my mind. At home or alone, it was impossible to squelch.
As a trained mental health professional, I sometimes worked with some patients who want to kill themselves. I now found that thought moving in and out of my own emotional framework.
At my next appointment, the NP brought in my “numbers”. She described how she thought the test worked, although little of what she said made sense to me – based upon everything I knew from the work I had done over the years.
According to her, my “viral load” was 39,000 and my CD4 was 50,000. For a patient with a recently new exposure, we’re told that the “viral load” is expected to be 3 to 4 times that and the CD4 should be much lower. She said that the numbers seemed odd, but never expressed any notion that my test could have been a false-positive or that the HIV, viral load, and CD4 tests are, according to the FDA and manufacturers, too unreliable to use for diagnostic purposes.
Eventually, my interview turned into a sales pitch of expensive black box drugs to start my treatment, being careful not to say that – if taken as prescribed – they will compromise my health and immune function, causing me to ACQUIRE an IMMUNE DEFICIENCY SYNDROME (AIDS) and die. From what my “positive” friends said about how they physically and emotionally feel on HIV drugs, I didn’t want to start them until absolutely necessary.
After expressing my reluctance about starting the drugs, she said she was “willing to wait a little while” before raising the issue again.
She scheduled another appointment in three months and I left.
As a trained counselor who worked within a hospital environment, I found it odd that she never mentioned nutrition, wellness, supplements, or basic self-care principles. She simply planted the seeds of fear, despair and medication, then, left me to decide what to do next. The NP and I were just going to watch and wait. Her high-pressure sales pitch left me feeling more alone than ever.
As a gay man who witnessed the news reports, government statements and hysteria since the 1980s, it was hard not to notice the tremendous fear that was deliberately built around the letters H-I-V.
Back then, we were told that if you caught “the virus” you were certain to die. With the announcement of this new rogue virus came a new test, patented by the doctor who falsely claimed to have discovered the new mysterious virus. With all of the mass hysteria and fear, no one paid attention to the details. Fear releases neurochemicals into a part of our brain called the amygdala. This is the survival part of the brain and drives the fight-or-flight process. It is part of the unconscious mind. When we are operating from fear and the unconscious mind, we accept directed information at a hypnotic level.
The pharmaceutical industry and US government pay activists, clinicians, the media, and ubiquitous social marketing websites like POZ, Manhunt, The Body, AIDS Meds, AIDSTruth, Air – hundreds of websites, newspapers, television and radio programs to target gay men and minorities into believing that getting tested is the responsible thing to do.
To understand the difference between social marketing and propaganda, consider the work of Lazarsfeld and Merton (1948), who were cited by marketing gurus Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman (1971) to identify three conditions for rendering propaganda effective:
- Monopolization (the ‘absence of counter propaganda’);
- Canalization (taking established behavior and enlisting it in a particular direction) and;
- Supplementation (the reinforcement of mass media messages by face-to-face contact in local organizations).
In this way, the US Government and Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH), pharmaceutical and healthcare industries use propaganda (not social marketing) to translate the irrational hysteria of HIV into an important civil right. While the vast majority of white heterosexual men and women rarely give HIV a second thought, large crowds of gay men and minorities gather at pharmaceutically-funded pride events and waiting rooms where men and woman wait in noble trepidation – noble because, for mostly gay and black men, the duty to submit to HIV testing has become a rite of passage – a pharmaceutical mitzvah.
With the intimacy of a confessional, the result can go two directions:
- NEGATIVE – A sigh of relief – dodged that bullet again. I have confessed my sins and I can go out into the world again.
- POSITIVE – The brain downshifts “hard” into the amygdala, pushing the fight-or-flight response that results in an Acute Stress Disorder, which generally leads to an almost irreparable Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This immediately drives the target into an altered state of consciousness. From that moment on, most patients are easily controlled by their clinicians with little more than verbal suggestion. Even if the patient successfully resists at the first meeting, their descent and search of the shell-game of pharmaceutical disinformation will eventually lead them to frustration and despair, making them more vulnerable during the next visit.
Researchers (B. Van derkolk) explain that trauma is downloaded at the cellular level and can have permanent, long-lasting effects on the human body. Every cell of the body has over a million neuro-receptors on it. During a traumatic event (like a death sentence), the brain fires neuro-peptides in response to the event. Those neurochemicals quickly flood the body; they find their receptor sites, load and lock. At that moment, the body is vulnerable, responsive and reactive to any word, smell, taste, physical or emotional reminder – as if the event is occurring again and again, which compounds the original event.
A growing body of research has found that many young gay children suffer from post-traumatic stress into adulthood. On many levels, they perceive their environment as hostile and threatening – from family, religion and other social environments. Under this stress, the amygdala constantly fires, searching for danger in their stressful world. As an adult, conditioned by 25 years of messages, posters, stories and media that HIV is an automatic death sentence, the psyche of individuals who receive the “bad news” immediately responds in a very dramatic way. The clinical name for the moment that HIV+ results are delivered is called iatrogenic – a disease induced by a clinician’s words or treatment (used especially for adverse reactions and complications that result from medical care).
Dr. Bruce Lipton’s research on “Epigenetics” explains that the human’s perception of their environment then instructs the DNA how to function. DNA is just a blue print for our progression in life. How we perceive our world tells our DNA what to do. If I perceive my world as threatening and hostile, my DNA responds in a way that causes me to be vigilant, which then taxes my immune system and can cause all sorts of physical issues.
Imagine the stress and physiological changes that occur every time you enter the testing center, or after you test positive, or when they report that your numbers have gone up or down. These simple events cause major distress on the emotional and physical body, while the epigenetic response compromises the immune system even further. These factors – along with the introduction of immune-compromising HIV drug therapies – and it’s easy to see how the stress and drugs can compromise human DNA at the root. Rapidly causing the recipient of this information to decompensate physically and emotionally.
After four years of this emotional roller coaster, I have mixed emotions:
- Based on Robert Gallo’s (look up Gallo and fraud) poor work and evidenced by over 2500 clinicians around the world who reflect science to the contrary; this retrovirus called HIV cannot harm me nor create a deadly health-oriented outcome.
- Based on the work of Luc Montagneir (discoverer of the HIV virus) 11/30/09, if you have a strong immune system you can rid yourself of the virus in approximately three weeks.
- Based on the work of the Perth Group out of Australia, they have demonstrated that Gallo’s work is flawed. The research that exits from Gallo’s work reflects no existence of a virus to begin with.
That said – I am now a healthy man who lives a healthy life and makes healthy sexual choices. I take care of my body by eating a nutritional diet that supports my immune system. I take probiotics, exercise daily, meditate and work to maintain healthy stress levels. Despite the tremendous propaganda, the current scientific evidence reminds me that I am virus-free and healthy, which eliminates the doctor-caused (iatrogenic) component of this tragic diagnostic experience.
I thought my story was complete when I contacted OMSJ in 2012. They offered to have my blood retested – the results have changed my life.
Based upon their instructions, my naturopath drew two 5ml vials of blood for retesting. He sent one for standard PCR analysis and the other to a major medical institution for analysis. Although the PCR results reflected a “viral load” of 29,000 (10,000 less than point of diagnosis and I am not on meds), the more accurate testing found no evidence of HIV in my blood at all.
Needless to say, when I received this information I was beyond thrilled! I now know that the test results from 2009 were nothing more than a lie. My pure excitement was overwhelming and beyond anything I had thought possible. I felt like the door to the cage I was trapped in had been thrown wide open and I was once again free to live my life.
About five days after this grand news arrived, the reality of what happened smacked me so hard, the PTSD response so profound, that I felt myself completely tipped over again. You see, the technology is almost never used because, as Robert Gallo claimed, it is too expensive. In reality, that lie is promoted by Gallo, HIV doctors, clinics, labs and hospitals that profit from the sale of his useless HIV tests. The test we used cost only $500, and that cost would probably go down if more samples were tested that way. I’ve since learned that other institutions charge as much as $17,000 per test, but they demand that fee to dissuade people from using something other than the industry’s useless bread-and-butter HIV tests.
My reality was starkly present and I was very much aware. This new information stood alone. All of my medical records now reflect that I have a diagnosis of HIV, in every institution and at every level. I am on a register of HIV diagnosis with the state I live in. All the insurance panels have me listed with an HIV diagnosis. All the physicians that have ever been involved in my health care have it on record and insist that I have the disease. The doctors continue to blame every symptom I come down with for any random illness or physical anomaly, on the HIV. They recommend that I be on the HIV medication, and mistreat the symptoms for the illness that is presenting.
My entire social network believes that I have HIV (because we are taught to accept and bravely tell) and because the tests performed are rarely used, they are ambivalent about their support of my new thought. If I have sexual relations with a lover or an acquaintance, I am still required to inform about the diagnosis, even though I have evidence that I was probably never infected. Then I have to hope they accept the new information.
I now avoid HIV doctors and clinics at all cost and, as far as I am concerned, a good ND (natural doctor) is the only way to go now.
The door to the cage is now open, but I am still trapped, unable to fly out. The realization that I am still in the cage, has the same profound effect on my biology as the day I received the fatal news several years ago. The physical and emotional PTSD is very powerful, and continues to be something I manage on a daily basis. I hold on to my new test results, it empowers me emotionally and physically to reign in the PTSD. I “know” I am healthy and I “know” that I am HIV free. It took several months to get my head around all of this and to manage the PTSD response. I may still be in the cage, but I don’t have to die from it. Now the real work begins. To live.