Thursday, November 02, 2006

South Africa's turnabout - News & Features - International Herald Tribune

Because Reality Exists whether you believe in it or not

So slightly more than a decade after a real AIDS epidemic (as opposed to the supposed "Autism epidemic") and countless deaths that could otherwise be mitigated and prevented, the South African government has finally decided to put the woo, wishful thinking and general anti-science and reality worldview to one side and deal with the problem staring them in the face.

Once upon a time, it might have been argued that HIV does not cause AIDS but that was close to 3 decades ago. You might have also argued that anti-retro viral drugs either do not work, or are not worth the the cost (literal and metaphorical) when the life extension was so short, the cost insanely high and the side effects rather extreme. And yes, one could then well argue in that situation that sanitation, food and vitamins are possibly alternative modes of treatment.

But seriously, it takes a serious dose of denialism to do this over the past decade. Here's a very very brief two paragraph distilling what had happened:
To many here, Tshabalala-Msimang's fall from grace is an example of democratic pressures at work. Mbeki, who once questioned the scientific link between HIV and AIDS, fell silent on the issue years ago after being internationally criticized. But until now, Tshabalala- Msimang has been the public face of his government's AIDS policies.

An unrelenting advocate of vitamin and nutritional defenses against HIV, she has been widely derided for stating that anti-retrovirals are "poison" and for advocating a diet heavy in garlic, beet root and other traditional remedies as a way to forestall the development of AIDS. Under her tenure, the government resisted giving pregnant women drugs to reduce the transmission of the HIV virus to fetuses until forced to by a court order.

In reality, if you will search this blog and click on the relevant links, it simply does not give you a full flavour of the sort of insanity that gave rise to this, insantiy that really is no different from say the tulip bulb hysteria in the Netherlands when a single bulb could buy you a house.

Most of the time, wishful thinking doesn't cause much harm, and let's face it, we can more than easily go through life believing fervently in the supernatural without it affecting our lives in any adverse fashion. But sometimes it happens, refusing chemo or radiation therapy despite being at stage one cancer because you belive that hocus pocus will actually cure you (and when you restrict your "reseach" to the woo sites). Or when you simply deny the weigh of scientific evidence to subject yourself or children to really horrific treatments e.g. lepron treatment for autistic kids on the false premise that their condition is caused by mercury and that testosterone is making it hard to remove it from their bodies and therefore you basically chemically castrate them by removing the "excess" testosterone from their bodies.

Guess what? Does not help.

So please please please no more, it's just too painful to read.


Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home