THE ARTICLE on AIDS
Information and news about AIDS was prolific and all over the media in the late 1980’s and early ‘90’s. Today, news of terrorism and economic collapse seem to be grabbing the headlines and considered the ‘news’ stories of the day. But what about AIDS?
Homeopath, Melissa Burch, on her international Internet Radio program, Voice America, brought the topic back for discussion with her co-host, Dr. Tim Striker, a special guest and internationally known homeopath, Jeremy Sherr and a patient, Gareth Jones from the UK.
Dr. Striker gave a synopsis of AIDS stating that knowledge of the disease was first begun in 1981 – the first case being diagnosed in the United States. Since that time over 67 million people have been diagnosed with HIV and over 25 million have died. This eclipses the Black Death plague in the Middle Ages and, therefore, can be said to be the most lethal pandemic in human history – so it is still VERY important news.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, AIDS is now leading cause of death, with the average life expectancy now 47 years. In Botswana, figures released indicate that up to 45% of pregnant women have HIV. This means that it is not just homosexuals and drug addicts that are afflicted – it is spreading to mothers and children. There are now 15 million children orphaned as a result of this disease and this figure is expected to rise to 45 million by 2012. AIDS is the fourth largest killer worldwide and is now affecting the world much more than international terrorism.
What has changed in the past two decades is the treatment? Dr. Striker explained that new developments of anti-viral drugs have been able to ‘slow down’ the effects of a positive HIV diagnosis and that, in itself, has been good for patients. However, the effectiveness of these drugs is still questionable. First, they do NOT cure – only slow down the growth so life is prolonged. Secondly, treatment is very expensive. People who are affected require multi anti-viral drugs mainly due to the complicated infections that come up due to their compromised immune system. And thirdly, these drugs are not without side-effects: nausea, vomiting, liver damage, neurological symptoms, to name a few, so taking the drugs is not an ideal for those taking preventative treatment.
Jeremy Sherr, while continuing his practice in Tel Aviv, NY and the UK, as well as teaching homeopathy through his Dynamis School program, has been, in the past few years, working on an AIDS project in Tanzania, Africa with a pioneering African homeopath and traditional herbalist, Sigsbert Rwegasira. For the past, four years, Jeremy has worked with 40-50 AIDS specific cases in Tanzania on an individual basis and the results have been very encouraging. Sigsbert, a practicing homeopath for over 15 years, began his interest in the treatment of Malaria, which is also a major health problem in Africa, and more recently with the treatment of opportunist diseases that arise in people affected by AIDS and HIV+. His results with Malaria treatment have been so remarkable, the Tanzanian government, after an intense investigation, has now given full support to homeopathy making it one of the official medicines of Tanzania. This has legitimized his work and enabled him to continue his work freely. Sigsbert is in the process of building a school, clinic and training center to teach local health care providers about homeopathy.
With these two exceptional homeopaths working together, the hope for the future might be looking brighter. But lets look at the bigger picture. Why focus on Africa for a homeopathy project? First that is where the most cases of AIDS are now found and with the realities of the environmental, cultural and economic conditions in this area, Africa is the perfect ‘ground’ for research and discovery in regard to the use of homeopathy for AIDS treatment. For one thing, treatment is easier to monitor – treating with anti-viral drugs requires checking all the time and that requires access to medical facilities – labs, etc and using the expensive drugs. This is difficult in Africa. Most Africans are not amenable to this follow up and cannot afford the expense of anti-viral drugs either. Also the African paradigm of thinking is traditionally more holistic – they think in terms of the whole person culturally. Homeopathy, as we all know, can treat the whole person so as to enhance health which not only helps fight the disease but offers a better quality of life overall. Africans ‘get it’.
Another important factor is that many in Africa do not want to go to the clinic to ‘receive’ an AIDS diagnosis, because the diagnosis can also be a ‘death sentence’. AIDS is such a taboo that a person can be totally isolated from his family and community – just being labeled as being HIV+. Since homeopathy does not diagnose, treatment for the symptoms can take place without a diagnosis (one can ONLY receive anti-viral drugs with a diagnosis). Also many do not have access to labs for tests, etc. AND even if they did, there is the additional concern of going to the hospital for fear of catching other diseases, like malaria or TB. A compromised immune system, that is AIDS, requires protection from exposure to these other complications and potential infections.
So what is Jeremy Sherr proposing…..
Let’s again look at the bigger perspective and how treating AIDS patients with homeopathy could unfold. Philosophically, homeopathy is capable of treating epidemics. Historically, homeopathy was used to treat cholera, whooping cough, TB, influenza, etc. – with a success rate of up to 95%. In the big flu epidemic of 1918-19, in a village of 10 thousand in the UK where the people were treated homeopathically, only one patient died, whereas 60-70% of the infected population overall in the UK died. In epidemics, homeopaths have always put all the symptoms together – as if ONE PERSON – and come up with a grouping of remedies, called a genus epidemicus. This can lead to treat masses of people who exhibit a particular set of common symptoms, a disease pattern and fit into a ‘labeled’ disease diagnosis. There are so many people who are afflicted with this syndrome of HIV+ and AIDS, that this can possibly be considered an ‘epidemic’. While this is a controversial idea, mainly because those diagnosed with AIDS or HIV+ usually die of other ‘diseases’, Jeremy feels that the ‘epidemic’ aspect should be not be ruled out and considered in research. While ideally, homeopathic treatment consists of treating each and every individual for their unique symptoms, an epidemic scenario is a different breed. Time is of the essence and the mass of people affected might easier be treated if we could get the number of remedy possibilities narrowed down to – say to between 10- 30.
Then, with this manageable number of remedies, we could easily teach and train local health providers to treat AID’s patients in much less time and with much less cost, not to mention getting treatment into areas that are not accessible to hospitals and clinics. (This same process was used after WW II by UNICEF particularly in China to treat the massive numbers of children who were suffering from easily treatable health problems – the Barefoot Doctors.) As we know the cost comparison between allopathic drugs and homeopathic remedies is huge, with homeopathy being almost laughably less costly. (Homeopathy as a subject is complicated and takes longer to learn and understand, but we don’t have time…and with a smaller scope of requirements – remedy knowledge and focus directly on understanding of AIDS symptoms in particular – it could be done.) While allopathic medicine actually does a similar thing – pooling together all symptoms – the major difference is that they ONLY use physical symptoms, which is, in part, why they have probably failed thus far.)
What is needed is RESEARCH, but not where the medical establishment has gone thus far. We need access to research to show that homeopathy could be successful, to find those 10-30 remedies that could change the organism, to prove to the skeptics that homeopathy – a less costly treatment with less side effects could work, to train local health providers to reach patients and offer effective, low cost, no side effects treatment. A recent article in the NY Times about the search for a vaccine for AIDS (3/30/08) indicated that “after almost a quarter of a century of toil and struggle, the effort has crashed in failure.” According to the article, at the recent National Institutes of Health conference, at least one organization suggested shifting research from the allusive vaccine to ‘testing, treatment and prevention’. Instead of funneling money for MORE research in allopathic practice, even though they claim to be looking for novel ideas – why not put their money where their mouth is and really look at a ‘novel’ idea….one that is grounded in history, success and plausibility - homeopathy.
CASE STUDY: Also involved in the Radio discussion, was a patient of Jeremy Sherr’s – Gareth Jones from the UK. Gareth began treatment with Jeremy five years ago. He came for treatment for an HIV+ diagnosis with severe symptoms – T-cell count of 250 (a t-count of 200 moves an HIV+ diagnosis into AIDS), no energy, a carcinoma, swollen glands and a low mental state. He had been taking anti-viral treatment but developed side effects that were worse than the disease symptoms. After just two weeks of homeopathic treatment, his symptoms were vastly improved and he gradually stopped taking the anti-viral drugs and has remained well since. (Although he stated that at times in the past five years, he has experienced a resurgence of old symptoms and he had used the drugs occasionally, but only briefly and for the most part he relies mainly on homeopathy.)
Gareth, a professed worrier, emphasized the fact that the psychology of the diagnosis is grossly overlooked from the allopathic side. He believed that doctors just don’t have the tools or understanding to address those non-physical symptoms. Gareth went on to say that his emotional and mental state improved along with his t-count with homeopathy. He stated he especially appreciated the case taking interview – as it was the first time he felt he was being heard, and it was here that he realized the connections with his physical, mental and emotional states. He also felt it was important for both himself and the practitioner to share what was going on in his life as a result of having AIDS. This was not possible with his medical doctor.
While breaking away from the established health care system can be scary because you will get no support from your doctor, family or society, Gareth stated the upside is that it is individually empowering to become part of your own health care and the truth is that only you can determine what is useful or not.
As Dr. Striker stated, in addition, when receiving a diagnosis of HIV+/AIDS, or even Cancer, while it is often felt like a ‘death sentence’, it can also offer a psycho-spiritual evolution – an opportunity for a life transition. We need to keep addressing the bigger picture – a potential for life transition, not just for the individual but for the entire world.
In summary: homeopathy has been proven to be plausible, homeopathy can treat all ailments, homeopathy has historically been successful in treating epidemics, homeopathy has proven successful in the treatment of AIDS, homeopathic remedies are cheaper and have less side effects.
FOR MORE INFORMATION on this program and/or the work of Melissa Burch, Dr. Tim Styker, Jeremy Sherr and/or Sigsbert Rwegasira:
For Melissa Burch and Dr. Tim Stryker: www.innerhealth.us
For Jeremy Sherr: www. Dynamis.edu (I don’t know if he has a special site or email for this project -???)
For Sigsbert Rwegasira: http://tiamproject.com (although I would like to check with Margot on this, to see what, where, etc….)
© Melissa Burch & Dr. Tim Stryker