Monthly Archives: April 2006

Knowing is Beautiful – The Hidden Face of HIV – Part 1

by Liam Scheff
published at GNN, Accuracy in Media, and Tutto in Vendita
Spring 2005

Read as PDF

As a journalist who writes about AIDS, I am endlessly amazed by the difference between the public and the private face of HIV; between what the public is told and what’s explained in the medical literature. The public face of HIV is well-known: HIV is a sexually transmitted virus that particularly preys on gay men, African Americans, drug users, and just about all of Africa, although we’re all at risk. We’re encouraged to be tested, because, as the MTV ads say, “knowing is beautiful.” We also know that AIDS drugs are all that’s stopping the entire African continent from falling into the sea.

The medical literature spells it out differently – quite differently. The journals that review HIV tests, drugs and patients, as well as the instructional material from medical schools, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and HIV test manufacturers will agree with the public perception in the large print. But when you get past the titles, they’ll tell you, unabashedly, that HIV tests are not standardized; that they’re arbitrarily interpreted; that HIV is not required for AIDS; and finally, that the term HIV does not describe a single entity, but instead describes a collection of non-specific, cross-reactive cellular material.

That’s quite a difference.

Continue reading Knowing is Beautiful – The Hidden Face of HIV – Part 1

Sex Crimes – The Hidden Face of HIV Part 2

Published at GNN and Tutto in Vendita, 2005
by Liam Scheff
Read as PDF

The last few months have been exciting for the medical industry. First there was the Nevirapine scandal at the NIH, then the FDA falls apart over prescription drugs, and now, with a bang, AIDS 2.0 has arrived in NYC.

On February 12, The New York Times announced that “a rare strain of H.I.V. that is highly resistant to virtually all anti-retroviral drugs and appears to lead to the rapid onset of AIDS was detected…”

The carrier was a New York City man in his mid-40’s who “engaged in unprotected anal sex with multiple partners…hundreds of men… in recent weeks while using crystal methamphetamine.”

What made this man’s HIV different? Simple – he took lots of pharmaceuticals and got sick anyway. Clearly the AIDS drugs, which were supposed to cure his infection, weren’t able to, thus allowing the virus to make him very ill.

A New York City health official told the Times that it was the “first time” this had ever happened. Continue reading Sex Crimes – The Hidden Face of HIV Part 2