"I was diagnosed HIV Positive in Feb 2002. I’ve always believed in the holistic approach to illnesses, and years ago threw Prozac I was prescribed down the toilet. At the time of my HIV diagnosis I had a good friend who supported me. He also had a strong holistic approach. For someone who hardly ever went to the doctors having to go to the hospital twice every 3 months to have blood tests done was very stressful but my friend said, "Go with your sunglasses on, and hold your head up high", that really helped.
I maintained a positive attitude, but when I went to see the doctor and told him I had an alternative approach, within a matter of minutes he tried to destroy my ‘positivity’ and told me virtually that there is no point having that attitude and, "Do you know how serious this is?" and how someone who thought like me and had a holistic approach is now in a wheel chair.
At the time I was quite vulnerable, and hearing that crushed me a bit. After that I went to the hospital in tears. I did maintain my health regime though and a year later My CD4 count went up from 250 to 650. Instead of encouraging me the doctor said the result must be a mistake and again I felt crushed. It seemed when the counts when down it predicted doom, but when they went up it was an error, so there was no way out.
Since then I stopped taking care, and my CD4 count has been as low as 190. Every time I go to the doctor’s I feel they pressurise me to go on their drugs and when I tell them I don’t wish to they say, "Well, eventually you'll have to".
This has all felt an enormous pressure, for as well as having to deal with the other issues that go with being diagnosed with a so-called terminal disease, I feel that my views are not being recognised, and really felt alone with this. I went to other support groups that had the normal beliefs about AIDS, and the people there also said the same thing. I felt I was alone in this battle, until I discovered HEAL London. It was a relief to know that there were some intelligent people out there that think ‘out-side the box’ and that I was not alone in my views.
I don’t feel any support from the medical profession, as they are so one-sided in their views; They don’t support any patients who go against them, and don’t listen to them as a holistic being but just see them as a statistic, and it feels like they can’t wait for them to take their meds. This has made me lose more trust in medical professionals.
Apart from the diagnosis, physically, but for a few rashes, (which they also blame on the HIV) i have been in good health. But the psychological effects have been imense, and deterimental to progressing in my life in most areas."
(heterosexual, non-drug-using female)
A health professional comments:
Your experience of not being listened to by medical professionals is a very common one but of course I realise that that doesn't minimise the lack of consideration that you have personally experienced. As I'm sure you now know, there are many explanations as to why your test showed 'positive' other than the official explanation forced on you.
You rightly took care of your own health but you have found this difficult whilst being in contact with medical professionals who are trained to reduce people's life experiences into some form of statistic ('CD4'/'Viral Load' etc); to dismiss people's own explanations about their own health; and to pressurise people into certain forms of behaviour and accepting pharma treatments.