Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hogfish With Lipstick

I saw a news story the other day on yet another boat that is being intentionally sunk in the ocean to create an artificial reef.  It sounds like a great idea and brings up wonderful images of fish and coral and tropical beauty.  However, reality can be quite different.  The phrase "artificial reef" is simply a nice way to say "disguised trash".  We use this nonsense all the time to justify dumping trash into our oceans.

Here in South Florida some years ago, someone had the bright idea to dispose of old tires by depositing them into the ocean and creating an artificial reef.  Can you guess what happened?  Here is a USA Today story showing just how bad of  an idea that was - and still is.  Thousands of old tires tossed around in the ocean current as nothing more than the trash they are.

And yet we are still doing it.  Every time we come up with a heap of trash that nobody wants to deal with, someone decides that the ocean is a perfect place to dump it.  We send broken up concrete from buildings and bridges, old boats and ships, and lots of other things that don't belong in the ocean.

I have a better idea.  Let's let the Earth create it's own reefs and find a way to recycle our trash.  Humanity depends on our oceans for everything - without them we are dead.  There is abundant life in our oceans - or at least there used to be.  But as with all of nature - our oceans rely on a delicate balance that is easily destroyed making them unsuitable for life.  It is careless and selfish to simply dump our trash there for any reason.  Speak up against artificial reef projects - your life - our life depends on it.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Rx For Life (and possibly an early death)

I've written many articles in the past accusing the pharmaceutical companies of suppressing a cure for HIV / AIDS because there is more profit in treatment than there is for a cure.  The same goes for the common cold - billions of dollars in profits would be lost if the common cold could be cured.  Well I truly believe that there already is a cure for both of these viruses and many more ailments .  But simply put - for big pharma - cures are bad for business.

The modern day focus of big-pharma is not only in perpetual treatment - but also in prevention through subscriptions.  One might also call it subscription by fear.  The more scary the ailment is - the easier it is to "sell" a subscription by fear.  HIV/AIDS is a perfect example.  PrEP using the drug Truvada is supposed to be the answer to all your fears.  But you should be more afraid of PrEP.

A little background for those who might not know what PrEP or Truvada are.  PrEP is defined by Wikipedia as "any medical or public health procedure used before exposure to the disease causing agent, it's purpose is to prevent, rather than treat or cure a disease".  Truvada is a medication that has been historically used to treat those already infected with HIV.  Now it is being marketed as a PrEP or pre-exposure treatment option.  The target group are those people who are in relationships where one person is HIV- and one is HIV+ as a way to prevent the other from becoming infected.  It sounds like a good thing - and in some cases it is - but there is a very dark side to Truvada.

First off - Truvada has a very long list of LIKELY side effects - the biggest of which is extreme liver damage.   Other serious side effects are too much lactic acid in your blood which can cause a whole list of potentially life threatening conditions.   Let me stress the word LIKELY here - MOST people being treated for HIV infections are already experiencing these serious side effects.  And now they are wanting otherwise healthy people to go on a lifetime prescription of this dangerous drug in order to have unprotected sex with an HIV positive person(s).  In my opinion - that's bad.  Very bad.

Next - Truvada needs to be taken every day without failure to be effective.  Some studies show that a skipped dose here and there might be OK but in reality - every day is the requirement.  After all - if you skip too many doses and do get HIV - you will likely be treated with Truvada.  This means that if the pharmaceutical company can convince otherwise healthy people to start this drug - they have a life long "client".  Truvada is also an insanely expensive drug but it can be covered by insurance.  In my opinion - that's also bad.   Very bad.  Those costs will affect all of our health care costs.

Here is where the really terrible part shows up.  The makers of  Truvada are also marketing this expensive lifetime prescription to otherwise healthy people who are sexually active as an ALTERNATIVE to condoms.  That's huge.  I get tested for HIV regularly and within the last couple of years - I've always been given a speech by the technician about the "option" of using Truvada.  They are required to give this speech because the makers of Truvada are sponsoring the free HIV testing!  Even my primary care physician has given me the speech because the foundation they work for are  sponsored by the makers of Truvada.

So here we have a situation where health conscious people who are simply trying to get a free or low cost HIV test, are being marketed by their own fear of HIV into a life long subscription to a potentially deadly drug.  Healthy people subscribing to a drug that will likely make them sick.   And all it takes is fear.  In my opinion - this is criminal behavior.  But of course it is perfectly legal - no matter how wrong it is.  This is proof positive in my opinion that big-pharma do not care about lives - they only care about profits. Can't say I didn't warn you.

Oh, and one more thing.  Once you are convinced you can toss away those condoms that have proven to be very effective, very easy, and very affordable - you are now susceptible to all sorts of other STDs like gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, HPV and many many more.  Not to worry though - there are treatments for all of those provided by - you guessed it - big pharma.  Cha-ching!

America and the world need to start fighting back against big pharma.  We need to keep our own fear in check and let these companies know that we will NOT be a lifetime "client".  We must DEMAND cures - not just treatments.  This is the age of scientific discovery where we can produce human life in a test tube - surly we can find a cure for a few bad bugs.  Next time you are getting an HIV test, grab some free condoms and tell the technician you will not be a pawn in this big money game.  Say No to PrEP - say No to Truvada.