Friday

HIV Faith and Breastfeeding--part I


photo by Jessie McClain
Belief based on arrogance, ignorance, greed, and the rightness of your side is a sad religion. It makes for bad science. And that is what we have regarding the belief that HIV=AIDS=Death. Bad science and a very sad faith. The hiv/aids faith has created an economic imperative in the medical community: test kits, drugs, infant formula, or the last resort pasteurized human milk. The believer gives her/his blood so that the medical church can declare health or not. Faith is in the test. The test knows. The test is infallible like the pope. And if you fail THE TEST, then you are ill and must go through the exorcism of drugs...drugs that can kill. If you survive the drugs, you are still not pure enough because you have failed the test. If pregnant and the test failed, then it becomes a triple whammy of exorcism: drugs, c-section, and infant formula for the baby. If the baby is positive, then the baby also must face the exorcism of drugs.
Are the tests infallible? Who stands to made enormous amounts of money when all people are required to be tested? How is legislation passed on making hiv testing mandatory? Why do we believe that a test will determine our health, and not how we actually feel? What is the reasoning behind taking healthy populations and using antibody testing to determine health or non-health? The healthy person feels fine until they take THE TEST. THE TEST shows they have hiv. Now they feel sick, both physically and emotionally. But are they sick? It's an antibody test. A positive antibody tests shows the following possibilities a) the body has encountered the organism and successfully fought off the disease, b) it is fought off a disease but not necessarily the disease being tested for, c) the test kit was contaminated prior to testing, d) the testing itself was contaminated, e) you might have the disease but further testing is necessary. Now if you are pregnant and getting an antibody test then you are encountering another problem: the pregnancy itself may cause the antibody test to turn positive--this is not only true for hiv/aids but for other antibody tests during pregnancy such as the alpha-fetal protein. Now if the test is given to an infant, one encounters even more problems. The blood that is circulating in a newborn is maternal blood. In principle, if the mother is hiv positive, then the blood of the newborn is hiv positive. Infant's gradually make their own blood but will have maternal antibodies for up to 18 months or even longer. Thus antibody testing on a newborn tells you one thing, the hiv status of the mother not the infant's hiv status. PCR testing is the standard for determining an infant's hiv status. It is considered reliable at one month--but a retest must be done some months later because it isn't that reliable.
THE TEST becomes critical. For a healthy pregnant woman in the USA who believes in the diagnosis and what the health care system can do; a positive test will mean drugs (that may outright kill or maim the unborn baby), it will mean a C-section with all the risks of surgery to both mother and baby), not breastfeeding (increasing risks to the mother of breast and ovarian cancers), using formula (increasing the infant's risks to diarrhea, pneumonia, SIDS, future cancers-breast in particular, respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses). The infant will be presumed to be at risk, whether in fact that is true or not, thus increasing medical interventions increasing the risks of illness and death.
And it all boils down to faith in THE TEST.
Copyright 2008 Valerie W. McClain

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