Tim Horn, an Administrator and paid staff member of the AIDSmeds forums, recently gave me a compliment. I think. Horn posted a thread at those forums, acknowledging the transition of Emery Taylor, which I reported on a few weeks ago.
Horn called this blog “one clear-eyed ‘alternative hypothesis’ site”, and I appreciate that. Really, I do.
Too often, the divide between AIDS dissidents and AIDS apologists is vicious and hateful, even between those of us who have the most in common: a ‘HIV-positive’ diagnosis, health problems, and a need for information we can trust.
When I wrote Emery’s story, I expected to get more flak from my fellow dissidents than I’ve gotten. But if apologists think that Emery is dead because he didn’t take his meds, as some of the commenters at Horn’s thread suggest, they really miss the important lessons we can all learn from Emery’s life.
Emery made an informed decision to LIVE in the way that best made sense to him. Had he taken his ARVs for the twelve years of life he lived with his diagnosis, who knows if he would have had so much enthusiasm and vitality. Maybe he never would have gotten KS, but died instead of liver failure, or heart disease. Who knows?
Why are these folks unable to see that some of those people faithfully taking their ARVs are also dying? Is that evidence that no one should take them? The logic has to work both ways, or not at all.
This isn’t a game, and it isn’t about second guessing patient’s choices. It’s about educating people that there are options and that the drug cocktails prescribed for ‘HIV’ are not without complications and adverse affects.
It’s also about the importance of recognizing and acknowledging warning signs about distress and disease in our own bodies.
As far as I’m concerned, all of us fall short and put ourselves at risk when we stop asking questions and just accept what we are told, regardless of which group we find ourselves in. We have far more in common than we realize, and we should be asking who really benefits from the division?
UPDATED March 21, 2011
I tried to register at the AIDSmeds forums, using the nickname “resistanceisfruitful”, and my regular email address. Considering the thread in question was based completely on my blog post, it seemed reasonable to ask to be allowed to express my appreciation, and perhaps clarify some of the questions members there were asking. Because of Horn’s previous comment, I was hopeful that the AIDSmeds forums might allow input from an “open eyed” alternative thinker.
Alas, it was not to be. The paid staff and administrators of the forums just informed me that “Regrettably, your applicationto join AIDSmeds Community Forums has been rejected.”
No explanation given.
Is it no wonder some of us are suspicious of these sites and the people who run them? Since I thought I detected an olive branch being extended, I refrained from making some other observations about the AIDSmeds forums, but considering the blatant censorship being practiced there, it seems fair to make them now. Does it seem odd to anyone else that AIDSmeds goes out of their way to claim their staff and administrators are free of the influence of pharmaceutical companies.
The forums in question are moderated by AIDSmeds/POZ paid staff and volunteers: David Evans (paid staff), Tim Horn (paid staff), Ann Smith (volunteer) and Andy Velez (paid staff). None of our moderators have any conflict of interests (e.g., personal financial relationships with antiretroviral manufacturers).
It would certainly be good to know if there was any influence by these manufacturers on a website promoting AIDS information.
So, who does pay the salaries of the five key employees at AIDSmeds Team? AIDSmeds.com is one of seven “brands” owned and operated by Smart + Strong, which specializes in a “vast web of online social networking”. S+S’s other blockbuster brand is POZ.com. It’s reasonable to assume their paychecks come from Smart + Strong.
However, S+S’s branded sites are chock full of rotating ads for pharmaceutical companies, as well as other AIDS service providers and agencies who are in turn dependent on pharmaceutical funding.
All anyone has to do is look around a bit to discover that none of these sites would exist without the financial support of pharmaceutical companies.
To say there is no personal financial relationship boggles the mind. The paychecks may come from Smart + Strong, but the money that covers those checks comes from Pharms. Plain and simple.
Nope. We’re not influence at all by the money that supports the sites that pay our salaries. Not at all.
But what really chaps my ass is that none of these paid hacks had the decency or the courage to give me a reason for denying my right to comment on a thread that was based on my own work!
Give me a break.