Sunday, February 7, 2016
"In general, the metals [lead, mercury, cadmium and other metals] found in breast milk are usually at lower levels than are found in maternal blood. Thus breast milk is not the primary pathway of exposure for infants, prenatal trans-placental exposure is a much greater concern....infants fed formula made with tap water are at the highest risk from metals contaminating the water supply."
Natural Resources Defense Council, http://www.nrdc.org/breastmilk/lead.asp
The situation in Flint, Michigan is making headlines around the nation. Unbelievable, upsetting and really heartbreaking that children, adults and pregnant women have been exposed to lead in their water. Government officials have known about this contamination and kept quiet about it for over a year. Which to my mind borders on criminal behavior. I listened to Erin Brockovich on RealTime with Bill Maher. She stated what is happening in Flint Michigan is just the "tip of the iceberg." She mentioned a number of other cities in various states in our nation that are struggling with contaminated water supplies. I read Michael Moore's website in which he details the situation in Flint. http://michaelmoore.com/10FactsOnFlint/
In 2014 in West Virginia thousands of gallons of a toxic chemical, MCHM, leaked into the Elk River contaminating water supplies to 300,000 residents in the area.
A number of states have confirmed that drilling/fracking has contaminated water supplies and/or private wells.
In another article they state, "Public water supplies in 42 US states are contaminated with 141 unregulated chemicals for which the US Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] has never established safety standards..."
Recently in Greene County in Pennsylvania they found high levels of radiation (60 times EPA levels) in a stream that flows towards a water treatment plant near Pittsburgh. http://www.wtae.com/news/radiation-found-in-greene-county-stream-near-water-supply/34205428
And for second time in two years the "brain-eating" amoeba has appeared in the water supplies of St. Bernard Parish in Louisiana.
The CDC declares on their website that the US has the safest water supplies in the world. But then they state that outbreaks of illness related to contamination of drinking water are reported every year.
Health care policies regarding infant feeding choices are predicated on the safety of our drinking water. It is presumed that in the US, our water supplies are safe. Therefore the choice to use infant formula is without risk. Yet from the varied articles over the last two years it appears that this safety may not be necessarily true in some communities in the US. And in fact it seems like more and more communities are experiencing various problems with their drinking water.
In the USA, hiv positive mothers are discouraged from breastfeeding because the presumption is that it is far safer to use infant formula than breastfeed. Yet it is interesting that my water bill has stated for many years that immune deficient people such as those with hiv should use caution drinking the water because of Cryptosporidium (a parasite that causes diarrhea and can be deadly for those who are immune deficient). The problem is that this parasite is very resistant to chlorine-based disinfectants and so it will survive the chlorination process. Cryptosporidium is a problem that is world-wide and every community in the US has this problem. (Boiling the water for 3 minutes is the recommendation). Is the public well-informed about this possibility? And while breastfeeding builds an immune system, infant formula cannot do that. The problem gets even more complex because the longer one boils water, the more concentrated contaminates like lead become in the water. So you may eliminate the risk of cryptosporidium but if you have old lead pipes you increase the amount of lead in your water. There are water filters that get lead out but that costs money and the filters have to be replaced. Of course you can buy bottled water but often that bottled water is nothing more than tap water. So being poor often means that such problems become too costly to correct.
If we continue down this path with more and more communities struggling to have clean drinking water, should infant feeding in the USA continue to be thought of as a balanced choice? Or shouldn't we be concerned about the expense and risk involved in choosing infant formula when drinking water is contaminated?
Copyright 2016 Valerie W. McClain
Monday, February 1, 2016
"It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine." --Dr. Marcia Angell
President Ronald Reagan's Secretary of Health and Human Services, Margaret Heckler announcing the probable cause of AIDS and introduces Robert C. Gallo, NIH scientist to the press on April 23, 1984. On that very same day, April 23, 1984, at the US Patent & Trademark Office the United States of America as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services (assignee/owner to these patents) filed for 2 patents. One patent #4647773 entitled "Method of continuous production of retroviruses (HTLV-III) from patients with AIDS and pre-AIDS," with inventors Robert C. Gallo and Mikulas Popovic. And the second patent #4520113 entitled, "Serological detection of antibodies to HTLV-III in sera of patients with AIDS and pre-AIDS conditions," with inventors Robert C. Gallo, Mikulas Popovic and Mangalasseril G. Sarngadharan.
These inventions were about the creation of test kits for the detection of antibodies in the blood of AIDS and pre-AIDS patients. This announcement coupled with the filing of these patents is an example of the haste to solve a crisis health situation. And more importantly a haste to make money through ownership of an invention and a monopolization of that invention. Should we be surprised that the US Government owns patents and licenses these inventions out, thus making money. I had always believed that a government was a separate entity from a business. Governments make laws that define and control a society and businesses make money and/or profits. Yet here is situation where a government is invested in their own research and researchers-Gallo, Popovic, Sarrngadharan. Ethically, the situation is somewhat disturbing if one believes that the US is a democracy. It is government policies/laws that have determined that people, particularly pregnant mothers must be tested for this disease. And the more people tested, the more money the government makes. Thus the government is no longer a disinterested party in determining law or health care policies because it has an investment.
Believe it or not this situation gets even more ethically disturbing. Prior to Gallo's discovery, he borrowed some cultures from the lab of Luc Montagnier. Those cultures somehow got mixed in with his research cultures. Either accidentally or deliberately Gallo's lab had contaminated their own samples with the French samples. Those samples were considered the proof of Gallo's discovery of the probably cause of AIDs.
The Pasteur Institute in France sued the US Department of Health over this "borrowing." The Pasteur Institute had applied for a patent on their cultures for a test kit for AIDs at the US Patent & Trademark Office a year prior to the US Department of Health's application for a patent. For some reason the US Department of Health's patent application went through the process faster than the Pasteur Institute's patent application. The US Department of Health's patent application became a patent while the Pasteur Institute's patent application just languished on a patent examiner's table. Not surprisingly the Pasteur Institute in 1985 sued the US Department of Health over this situation.
This dispute went on for 2 years when a compromise was agreed to in which their would be a 50/50 split of credit for discovery of the virus and monies from the testing kits. A few years later after further investigation, credit for discovery was given to Luc Montagnier and Francoise Barre-Sinoussi rather than Gallo and Popovic. The 50/50 split became the 60/40 split in favor of the Pasteur Institute. The Federal Office of Research Integrity found that Robert Gallo committed scientific misconduct.
Gallo left his government research position at the NIH to form his own company. Luc Montagnier and Francoise Barre-Sinoussi won the Nobel Prize for their discovery of hiv and Gallo was left out. These series of events in the discovery of hiv should be considered a theme. If hiv history was a Hollywood movie this would be the ominous cloud that would shroud the continuing events of hiv/aids research and discovery. The use of AZT and its toxic nature and the thousands that died due to its toxicity should be engraved into the stone-cold history books of medical disasters.
There are more tales of misconduct regarding hiv/aids research and let us begin with the drug trial of Nevirapine (manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim) called HIVNET 012. This drug trial is listed in a paper regarding unethical drug trials. The problems with this drug trial were: "failure to get consent for changes in the experiment and administering wrong doses, poor record keeping, under-reporting of fatal and life threatening reactions, 12 deaths not reported."
HIVNET 012 was the first clinical trial to show that a single dose of nevirapine to mother and child would prevent hiv transmission. Brooks Jackson was the clinical investigator in charge of this drug trial in Uganda. John Hopkins had an article published about him prior to concerns about the ethics of this drug trial. The rather fitting title is "The Pathologist Who Struck Gold."
The HIVNET 012 trial was published in the Lancet in 1999 with many researchers involved besides Jackson. Some of the researchers are well-known to those who follow the studies done on Mother to Child Transmission of hiv: LA Guay who is now VP of research at Elizabeth Glaser Foundation (which gets funding from Boehringer Ingelheim as well as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), L Mofenson who led hiv pediatric research at the NIH and is now employed by the Elizabeth Glaser Foundation, MG Fowler who is a professor of pathology at John Hopkins
The HIVNET 012 trial collected breast milk samples and sent them back (frozen) to John Hopkins because they at that time did not have a PCR lab to test the breast milk. Funny how John Hopkins is one of the co-owners of 2 human milk fat globule patents (to treat hiv/aids patients for diarrhea and/or rotavirus) patent #5505955 and #5667797 filed in 1995 and 1996. Yes, just a coincidence.
HIVNET 012 drug trial became entangled in a Whistleblowing case involving Dr. Jonathon Fishbein, employed by the NIH, who alleged that there were well-known safety problems with NIH AIDS research in USA and Africa. He was fired for his whistle blowing activity (much later reinstated).
An article in The Body entitled, "Internal Review says "Division of AIDS" A Troubled Organization..." states that Fishbein told a panel at the Institute of Medicine that "the Uganda study [HIVNET 012] was so poorly conducted that it potentially put the lives of hundreds of participants and infants at risk."
In 2003 a US pregnant mom named Joyce Ann Hatford (diagnosed as hiv positive, although had no known risk factors) was enrolled in a study that was an outgrowth of the Uganda drug trial (yes, HIVNET 012). She died 72 hours after a c-section from liver failure. NIH researchers believed it was the drug that killed her. An email from one of the NIH researchers stated that not much we [researchers at NIH] can do about dumb docs. NIH researchers believed that Joyce Hartford's impending liver failure could have been picked up through testing and supposedly prevented. Liver failure is a known side effect of nevirapine.
In 2004 investigative reporter, Liam Scheff wrote about hiv positive foster children and orphans in Incarnation Care Center, New York City being used in experimental hiv drug and vaccine trials. It was called, "The House That Aids Built." The story was picked up by the NY Times and later by the BBC.
Liam Scheff's article, The House That AIDS Built.
The BBC video on Incarnation Care Center and the experiments done to foster/orphan children.
These experimental drug and vaccine trials on foster and orphaned children were sponsored by the NIH and various drug companies. These trials provided many research papers which are often used as references in the NIH Recommendations for drugs prescribed for hiv positive infants and children.
In an article written in 2005 by the Alliance for Human Research and Protection regarding the situation at Incarnation Children's Center, they state,
"The nature and level of risk involved in these Phase I and II experimental trials dictated that the agencies responsible for the care of these foster children – such as the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) – were required to provide the mandated federal protection of an independent advocate for each child. After a year of denial by ACS, an investigation by the Associated Press uncovered evidence revealing that 465 NYC foster children were subjects in these trials and less than one third (142) of those children were provided with an advocate. ACS failed to provide the minimum protections afforded by law."
No advocates for these foster children for two-thirds of the foster children in these experimental drug and vaccine trials. Ethical? And again the history of hiv/aids research and recommendations seems to stand on the shifting sands of scientific behavior. Misconduct, lies, cheating to hold patents and make money. Foster children used as guinea pigs (many adults used as guinea pigs as well) and we are suppose to believe that what these researchers proclaim as truth is truth? Is it just an ethical problem? It appears to me to be one massive ethical problem with many people turning a blind eye to the obvious inconsistencies of current hiv/aids science. Strangely recent news on the discovery that a certain mosquito bite will cause microcephaly in the fetus of pregnant women reminds me of the similar crazy predictions made in the early 1980's regarding hiv/aids. The media writes its propaganda and people act as if media stories are truth. It seems that scientists are looking for a virus that causes microcephaly. Although science has shown that pesticides, herbicides-including glyphosate, radiation, lead, can cause microcephaly. So instead of looking at the obvious known reasons for microcephaly, we all must do the fear-laden dance of microbes out to get us humans. I found myself laughing when some newspaper stated that it is believed that this is sexually transmitted disease. Get bit by a mosquito, get the Zika virus and never have sex again. Kinda like hiv/aids. Get hiv and become a pariah in society. The only acceptable answer to hiv/aids is taking toxic drugs.
We will kill the Zika virus by spraying more toxic pesticides. Win-win for the pesticide/herbicide manufacturers, don't let anyone really look at what damage is done to our genes, our reproductive cells. While everyone is looking at mosquitoes as the cause, our toxic environment continues to destroy the health and well-being of life on earth. Immune deficiency has everything to do with our toxic environment, the ingestion of toxic drugs and food/infant formulas that destroy the gut. It is the gut with its beneficial microbes that maintains our immune system, our health. We seem hell-bent on destroying not only our internal environment, our immune system, but also our external environment. I feel like I am living a Greek tragedy in which I already know the ending.
Copyright 2016 Valerie W. McClain
Saturday, January 9, 2016
"The door to the doctor's office ought to bear a surgeon general's warning that routine physical examinations are dangerous to your health. Why? Because doctors do not see themselves as guardians of health, and they have learned precious little about how to assure it. Instead they are latter-day Don Quixotes, battling sometimes real but often imaginary diseases." --Dr. Robert Mendelsohn
Dr. Robert Mendelsohn died in 1988 but his words still have relevancy in the 21st century. I remember years ago that the only reason I could be dragged to a doctor's office was to see if I was going to die of bronchitis (gee, it couldn't be because I smoked cigarettes?). Somehow I thought the doctor would know this. Then I had this revelation, the doctor really had no idea about whether I was going to die or not. They can't even tell when a woman is going to have a baby unless they talk you into a planned c-section. I realized that the knowledge of birthing and dying are truly only understood by those experiencing it. Depending on someone else to tell you whether you are ill or well, dying or birthing is about surrendering your autonomy, your own body knowledge. The belief that some test created by scientists is infallible or that some medicine will absolutely cure you is faith that is often misplaced.
But it appears that in the US, if the doc tells ya that your going to die; many of us willing comply with the diagnosis and die. Some of us die from the very medicine that is suppose to cure us. And some of us die because we do what is expected of us. It's like the old Voodoo curse. We think we are so modern, so above the primitive and backward worlds. And instead we are cursed by our faith that our "health care" system is backed by truth. Yet our science is backed by a Corporate World in which its magical potions are based on profits. Money is the priority, truth becomes relative.
In our modern day world, mothers and babies are truly cursed, when diagnosed as hiv-positive. This disease is a crime in our society. Legislation in various states makes it a crime to knowingly transmit this disease to a sexual partner or to your baby. In Florida hiv legislation denies informed consent for pregnant mothers, criminals and prostitutes. I find it very strange that a pregnant woman in Florida is legally lumped together with people who have committed crimes. Civil liberties? Gone, if you are pregnant. Gone if you are hiv positive.
HIV laws in other states:
All pregnant mothers are to be hiv tested in Florida and pregnant women have the right to refuse the test. Refusal will probably mean that at the birth the newborn infant will be tested. That testing will supposedly only show whether the mother is hiv positive or not, since newborns carry their mother's antibodies until 18 months or longer. This commitment by the state of Florida that all pregnant mothers are to be tested is a huge monetary investment in testing and faith in the infallibility of testing. One of the 60 or so conditions that can cause a false positive on the hiv test is a mother's prior pregnancy.
According to a study done in 2010 the cost of rapid hiv testing in hospitals was $48.07 per negative test and $64.17 per positive test-counseling needed.
There are approximately 220,000 babies born in Florida (2014 data-Florida Charts). Assuming that the testing kits are approximately $55, that would mean that about $12,100,000 is spent on testing. This does not include pregnancies that ended by miscarriage or abortion. Recent news releases by Florida Health Department is that in 2014 there was only 6 cases of infants born with hiv.
The State of Florida is spending approximately $12 million per year for approximately 6 new cases of hiv in infants. Florida is ranked 3rd in the nation for new hiv diagnoses. We will spend $12 million on hiv testing and yet infant mortality statistics in various counties in Florida are getting worse. Provisional data for 2015 shows a dramatic upward count of infant deaths from 2014 to 2015. In my county-Volusia, shows that in 2014 there were 21 deaths and in 2015 (provisional) there was 40 infant deaths. Likewise, in neighboring counties Orange there was 84 infant deaths in 2014 and in 2015 there was 106 deaths and in Brevard there was 24 deaths in 2014 and 2015 there was 33 infant deaths. While provisional data cannot be relied upon, it appears to me that there is some kind of upward trend appearing. Infants in Volusia County aren't dying from hiv or aids. They are dying from congenital malformations, SIDS, diarrhea, pneumonia, flu and gastrointestinal diseases.
The diagnosis of hiv in pregnancy means that drugs will be prescribed for the duration of pregnancy, birth and beyond. The baby will also be treated with drugs. The most common drug used is AZT for mother and baby. AZT is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for the treatment of hiv and prevention of mother-to-child transmission. The package insert for this drug includes many warnings and precautions and listing of adverse reactions. The warning states that there is a risk of hematological toxicity/Bone marrow suppression, myopathy, and lactic acidosis/severe hepatomegaly with steatosis (cirrhosis of the liver and/or fatty liver), Immune Reconstitution Syndrome-an inflammatory response to opportunistic infections such as cytomegalovirus, PCP or TB, and Fat Redistribution. The most common adverse reactions in adults were headache, malaise, nausea, anorexia and vomiting. In infants the common reaction is anemia and neutropenia. In children the most common reactions were fever, cough and digestive disorders. Nursing mothers are advised not to breastfeed because of risk of postnatal transmission of hiv and the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants. Pregnant women are advised that the use of AZT does not necessarily stop transmission of hiv and that the long-term consequences for the fetus and infant exposure are unknown. But the possibilities include the risk of cancer--research showed vaginal neoplasms in mice.
For further information on the history of AZT I recommend an article by Celia Farber called the, "Sins of Omission: The AZT Scandal."
For studies on AZT, I recommend David Crowe's, "AZT: Unsafe at any Dose?"
AZT sold in laboratories for research purposes has the skull and crossbones on its label. The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) on AZT has not only the skull and crossbones, but AZT is considered a flammable liquid and vapor which can cause skin irritation and serious eye irritation and respiratory irritation. If swallowed the safety sheet, says wash out the mouth with water if person conscious. http://synthonix.com/media/wysiwyg/MSDS/2698.pdf
Why is this a reasonable drug for women living in resource poor or developing countries? This kind of drug requires careful medical monitoring. How is this possible in areas of extreme poverty?
The other drug often used for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of hiv is Nevirapine also called Viramune. The medication guide from the FDA states, "Viramune can cause serious side effects. These include severe liver and skin problems that can cause death." Women having a higher risk of liver problems than men. "Rashes and skin reactions may be severe, life-threatening and in some people, may lead to death."
One woman, Joyce Hafford was part of a government drug trial of nevirapine and died due to liver failure. Celia Farber wrote about what happened to this young mother who died and left two sons.
I am continually surprised at the cavalier attitude displayed by medical people who warn pregnant women about drinking alcohol or illegal drugs but have no concerns regarding the use of these toxic meds in pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Originally hiv was the retrovirus that some scientists proclaimed was the cause of AIDS, a syndrome. These same scientists made enormous amounts of money through hiv test kits and drugs. Hiv, itself, was not considered to be a disease. AIDS was the disease or syndrome. Over the years researchers now write about hiv infection or hiv disease. Yet originally hiv was considered the antibody to AIDS, not the infection, just a marker for a disease/syndrome they named AIDS.
Dr Peter Duesberg interview in House of Numbers.
Not much makes sense to me regarding the policies and practices of hiv testing and drugs. Where once we believed that antibodies to a disease meant protection from that disease now the medical profession believes it means disease. Where once we believed that pregnant women should avoid drugs, alcohol, etc., now we believe its okay for pregnant women who test positive for hiv to take drugs that are considered chemo agents and highly toxic. Where once chemo drugs were taken for a brief time because eventually they will kill the patient, now its okay to take chemo for life. Hiv/aids science is making a lot of money for the drug and testing companies. In testing kits alone for pregnant mothers our healthcare system is shelling out millions despite the fact that there are very few infants being born with hiv. Can our society really afford this investment, when more infants are dying from other health care issues?
Copyright 2016 Valerie W. McClain
Monday, December 7, 2015
"Modern Medicine can't survive without our faith, because Modern Medicine is neither an art nor a science. It's a religion." Dr. Robert Mendelson, "Confessions of a Medical Heretic"
Is medicine science or science fiction? I certainly don't view it as art. Medicine appears to me to be a war against the human body. We have our wars, the war against cancer. And we haven't won that war. War against drugs, but that war is only against people who take street drugs not prescribed drugs. Violence is part of our social system. Violence is a part of our medicine. The cure often worse than the disease. Kinda like the cure for witchcraft back in the 1500's, torture, burning at the stake, prolonged agony and eventually death. Our medicines either cure you or maim and kill ya. In the future will people look back at this time in human medical history and shake their heads in disbelief?
I started questioning in 1999 policies regarding hiv and breastfeeding. And the more studies I read on hiv and breastfeeding, the more I found the science questionable. In 1985 the CDC recommended that hiv positive mothers avoid breastfeeding. This recommendation has morphed into no breastfeeding in the USA for hiv-positive mothers. The cited evidence by the CDC and subsequent studies is to Ziegler et al, Postnatal transmission of AIDS-associated retrovirus from mother to infant. Lancet. 1985;i:896-898. Ziegler et al was "a" case study in which a healthy mother was transfused due to blood loss during delivery of her 3rd child. One unit of that blood was from a male who developed AIDS 13 months later. The transfusion was after delivery and therefore it was presumed that transmission occurred through breastfeeding. The mother breastfed for 6 weeks only and baby at 3 months showed "antibodies to AIDS virus." Mother developed lymphadenopathy (enlarged lymph nodes). Blood transfusions can cause lymphadenopathy but also is considered an early symptom of hiv "infection." Testing of infants for hiv is through PCR testing (HIV-1 DNA) because it is considered more reliable than ELISA or Western Blot. PCR was invented in 1983 by Karl Mullis (who won a Nobel prize in chemistry for this invention). But it wasn't until 1986 that the Cetus company (John Sninsky inventor/scientist) announced that they had a test for hiv and publication of this invention was not until 1987. Since PCR diagnosis was not invented when this case study was reported, then one most suppose that some kind of antibody test was done on this infant. And we know that antibody tests like the ELISA and Western Blot are not considered reliable in infants because infants carry maternal antibodies for up to 18 months or longer. The Ziegler case study shows what exactly? Transmission by blood transfusion to the mother. Transfusions are known to cause immune suppression that may last as long as years. http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/567848 Was the mother infected with the AIDS virus through the blood transfusions she had or was her immune system suppressed and her lymphadenopathy caused by the blood transfusions she needed after her c-section? We know that hiv antibody tests can have false positives (over 60 known medical reasons for a false positive reading-one of those medical reasons is blood transfusions).
Later studies that supposedly showed that hiv was transmitted through breastfeeding, were studies that did not define breastfeeding and most women were doing mixed feeding. Some researchers of these studies were funded by the infant formula industry. How does mixed feeding prove that transmission was through breastfeeding? How do we prove transmission, when infants carry their mother's antibodies up to and beyond 18 months of age. Thus infants of hiv positive mothers could test positive for hiv for a year and a half and then naturally lose those antibodies. Strange how antibodies to a disease used to mean that someone was protected from a disease. But nowadays if you have antibodies to hiv, that means you are infected. Breastfeeding is all about the production of antibodies to protect infants from bacterium, viruses, parasites and fungi. So finding antibodies to hiv is infection or protection? Science has been turned upside-down. If having antibodies to a disease is protection then formula-fed infants lack the antibodies to protect them from hiv/aids. There is a saying that breastfeeding is nature's vaccine. Why does hiv antibodies, unlike other diseases, prove infection, particularly when the person with the antibodies is not sick? These questions have continued to bother me over the years. We have a disease that does not follow the normal rules of an infectious disease. In fact the spread of this disease does not follow epidemiological views of how infections spread through a population. This is a disease that is concentrated in the gay community and African American communities in the US--mostly concentrated in males (90%) not females. And in Africa it appears in both males and females equally. An infectious disease that changes its character from one continent to another? Does measles or chicken pox act like this? I know it's a retrovirus. Yet there is controversy over this particular retrovirus, since retroviruses don't usually infect people with disease.
Karl Mullis, inventor of PCR, questioning the statements that hiv causes aids.
Much to consider and wonder about regarding hiv/aids. And a lot of confusing statements made by governmental officials and experts. Hiv and breastfeeding has what I consider the most confusing of policies. It has been for years a two-pronged policy. If you live in the developed countries you are actively discouraged from breastfeeding. If you live in a developing country you are encouraged to exclusively breastfeed. There is no real choice for hiv positive mothers, when dealing with health authorities. What we get from this two-pronged policy is some mothers in developed nations who wish to breastfeed because of its health benefits and some mothers in developing nations who wish to use infant formula because of its supposedly safety against transmitting the virus. When you have a two-pronged policy dependent on wealth, then some mothers wonder about the discriminatory nature of that policy based on wealth. The WHO organization in 2010 changed its policy on hiv and breastfeeding encouraging all mothers in all countries to exclusively breastfeed in combination with antiretroviral medication. http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/88/1/10-030110/en/
This WHO policy change is dependent upon each individual nation. In the US, policy on breastfeeding and hiv has not changed. Meaning if you are diagnosed as hiv positive, the CDC still does not recommend breastfeeding. (last updated June 2015)
The American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement in 2013 states the following, "Because the only intervention to completely prevent HIV transmission via human milk is not to breastfeed, in the United States, where clean water and affordable replacement feeding are available the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that HIV-infected mothers not breastfeed their infants, regardless of maternal viral load and antiretroviral therapy."
This appears to be a version of AFASS international policy that has been replaced, that if formula is acceptible, feasible, affordable, sustainable and safe, then hiv positive mothers should use infant formula. I would debate the belief by the AAP that there is consistent access to clean water everywhere in the US. Those living in poverty may rely on wells which are often contaminated. And there are newspaper articles of chemical spills and contamination in rivers that impact numerous communities water supplies. I would also debate the affordability of infant formula, a product that is one of the most stolen food items around the world. Infant formula is not environmentally sustainable and its safety could be debated.
In the state of Texas, the Department of Family and Protective Services under child safety issues, 4432 Mother with AIDS or HIV Is Breastfeeding states, "If a mother with AIDS or HIV is breastfeeding, the intake specialist completes a P1(Priority 1) intake with an allegation of neglectful supervision (NSUP)."
Thus a mother who is diagnosed with hiv or aids and breastfeeds in Texas will have Child Protective Services (CPS) at her door. I imagine that breastfeeding with a hiv diagnosis in the USA would trigger a CPS visit in most US states. International policy on hiv and breastfeeding does not supercede national policy. Is this a fair and just policy? Not to my way of thinking. US moms diagnosed with hiv need to understand what they are up against. One should never take a CPS visit lightly. IBCLCs and CLCs, LLL leaders and WIC Peer Counselors in the USA who work with moms need to be aware of this issue and although internationally women are being encouraged to exclusively breastfeed while taking antiretroviral meds, this is not the case in the USA.
I would like to close this blog post with a link to, "An Open Letter from Cheryl Nagel" in Celia Farber's website, The Truth Barrier. Cheryl Nagel is the mother of Lindsey Nagel, a beautiful young woman who was adopted as an infant by Cheryl and Steve Nagel in 1990 from Romania. She was diagnosed as hiv positive in the USA as an infant and put on AZT and various other drugs. Her parents took her off the meds as a young child because of their belief that the meds were making her very sick. (AZT is chemo, a poison and makes most people very sick, and why some people have difficulty with complying with the drug regimen) She survived and thrived into adulthood. She had a baby in December 2012, and the nightmare began for her and her family.
There are many questions regarding hiv and breastfeeding. Why has immunology in which antibodies mean protection been turned upside-down by AIDS establishment science? Who wins financially, when we believe this? Our fear of infectious disease appears to win out over rational thought and discourse. There is a need to investigate the hiv and breastfeeding studies and review whether these studies are more about the wishes of the drug and infant formula industries. Fear can create health care policies that are just plain wrong.
Copyright 2015 Valerie W. McClain