There is a controversy raging in South Africa between the Rath foundation and the TAC (Treatment Action Campaign) which I believe deserves a few words to be said especially regarding the media hype it has been receiving.
According to the media, Dr Mathias Rath's foundation has been claiming that people in the Western Cape who take Anti-retroviral Therapy (ARV's) for HIV should stop using them due to the major risks of toxicitiy that these drugs have and rather use a nutritional supplement that the Rath Foundation is making available.
The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) who has lobbied the government into providing ARV's to HIV sufferers has reacted to the Rath Foundation's advice to the patients and is now taking Dr Mathias Rath and his foundation to court.
The aim of this article is definitely not to say who I think is right or wrong but to provide my readers with a short overview of the scientific literature regarding the treatment of HIV and most importantly to prevent the spread of the following idea: That nutritional supplements for HIV sufferers is the idea of foreign companies who just want to make money out of South Africans whilst confusing them about how to really treat HIV/AIDS.
My comments are simple and are based on sound science.
There are two groups of people living with HIV in Southern Africa:
A) People living with HIV with no access to ARV's:
-These people should definitely be taking a well-formulated nutritional supplement because the benefit of this in increasing life expectancy while decreasing mortality has CLEARLY been proven (Villamor et al 2005, Merchant et al 2005, Wafaie et al 2004, Jiamton et al 2003, Rayman 2002,Tolando et al. 2000, Rousseau et al. 2000, Baum 2000, Patrick 2000, Malorni et al. 1998, Hori et al. 1997, Look 1997, Tang et al. 1997, Rivas et al. 1997, Coodley et al.1993, Harakeh et al. 1991 and more)
(Take note that although the ARV roll out program is under way some HIV sufferers will have to wait months or even years before they have access to this medication).
B) People living with HIV with access to ARV's:
-This group of people should definitely be taking a well-formulated nutritional supplement to (1) assist the ARV's in the suppression of the virus and (2) protect the person's body against the side effects of the ARV's.
(de Souza Junior et al 2005, Wignot et al 2004, Bushen et al 2004, Lopez 2003, Demeo 2002, Bienvenu 2001, Rousseau et al. 2000)
The conclusion that we have to reach when reviewing the scientific literature is that the right nutritional supplements given at the right dosages DEFINITELY have a beneficial effect for people living with HIV.
If you would like to view some of the abstracts mentioned above go to 'Literature on HIV' under the HIV section on our website.
Go to HIV literature section now