Autoimmune Women Are Supposed to Pay Doctors to Give Them AIDS. Are You Fucking Kidding Me.

Remember when “they” were saying that getting AIDS was like the worst thing ever?  I do — I am a child of the 80s afterall, and I was in 4th or 5th grade when the AIDS crisis hit and everyone was terrified of getting AIDS, children (children!) were being told to never have “unprotected” sex because of the AIDS, early on we were being told not to use public drinking fountains and to ostracize children with AIDS so as not to get AIDS ourselves.  Remember Ryan White?  I do!  I didn’t even have to Google to find his name, 40 years later I still remember his name and his story by heart, he was from my state and a few years older than I was.  He scared the shit out of everyone because he wasn’t doing anything “wrong” when he contracted AIDS like having the unprotected (or gay) sex.  That poor soul got it from a medical procedure, in his case, a blood transfusion for hemophilia.  Tragic.

Soon it became passé for anyone to trouble themselves with “how” anyone contracted AIDS — AIDS patients deserved our compassion, our respect, our acceptance of their physical and mental decline and resulting disability, regardless of how they got it.  Remember Ali Gertz?  I do.  She was a straight, affluent, white female and she got HIV and developed AIDS from a single sexual encounter with a man.  Of course, the man was bisexual and almost certainly got it from another man but by then it ostensibly didn’t matter…unless a woman gave her baby AIDS, then of course the woman was the Devil.  AIDS didn’t discriminate, AIDS was a horrible, painful, untreatable disease, a death sentence that no one deserved…except mothers who gave their babies AIDS, they deserved everything they got and more.  But deserved or not, no one was disputing that AIDS was serious, painfully serious, brutally final.

At some point “they” started saying no it’s not the AIDS specifically that’s the problem, it’s the HIV you don’t want, and that’s a virus so just use Universal Precautions and you should be fine!  Fairly recently they started saying it’s possible to “live with” HIV and never develop full-blown AIDS at all.  The message there appears to be that AIDS is actually what you don’t want afterall.  AIDS — Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome — where your immune system becomes weakened, decimated and destroyed and you develop life-threatening opportunistic infections from bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, you get cancer (or more than one) and then need to be treated for the cancer(s), your quality of life plummets to zero and you can no longer work or play effectively, your friends and family have to care for you, even though there’s nothing long-term they can do for you, and you die painfully, skeletally, covered in sores and rashes, beyond spent, half out of your mind.  That’s the effects of the AIDS mind you — the HIV in and of itself appears to be relatively harmless except that it causes AIDS, and AIDS is still bad, very very bad, something unequivocally to be avoided.  Are we clear on that?  Good.

Enter “biologics,” the class of “treatment” — read Big Pharma poison — approved for managing autoimmune diseases like Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Crohn’s disease and more.  The so-called “side effect” of biologics — read iatrogenic illness and injury, meaning additional illness and injury caused by medical attention and treatment itself — is that biologics “change how your immune system works.”  That obfuscating bit of Big Pharma propaganda brought to you by the literal pricks at Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center.  Of course, “change” here means “destroy” and going from having a functioning immune system to not having an immune system at all is certainly a change so they aren’t technically lying but WOW, just wow.

Of course, the cascading bodily “changes” emanating from that initial change are identical to the bodily “changes” of an AIDS patient including opportunistic infections, cancer, disability and death and the similarity is not a coincidence because biologics, by destroying your immune system, in essence, give you AIDS.  Don’t they?  And for autoimmune patients who choose to go the Big Pharma route, we are more or less required to let our doctors do this to us or risk being fired for noncompliance, and then losing (or never being eligible for) disability-based benefits.  This is emotional blackmail and economic coercion in the extreme, but let’s go further.

Since most autoimmune patients are women, and since most doctors are men (and all doctors hold up the values of Medicine, a patriarchal institution that mirrors and propagates male values) this means that women (well, Good Women) are expected to submit to men giving us AIDS.  And to top it off, we are supposed to be grateful for and to feel positively about this.  Has everyone gotten the memo?  AIDS is actually good now!  AIDS is good now, because “they” say it is.  Women are supposed to covet AIDS, we are supposed to seek out AIDS, we are expected to let men penetrate us (with needles and infusions in this case) and give us fucking AIDS.

Not only that, but in this context, AIDS is supposed to improve our lives, to make us less disabled, to allow us to do more than we did before.  Exsqueeze me?  Far from being a body-and soul-sucking death sentence that causes disability, disease and untimely and gruesome death, here, a destroyed immune system is supposed to give autoimmune patients — women, essentially — our lives back, which under capitalism and patriarchy means that we have no excuse to not work, including taking care of our families and working full time for our 70 cents to men’s dollar; we are not allowed to complain or to expect sympathy or understanding from anyone; and we are expected to suck it all up gracefully and gratefully — every bit of this man-made suffering, every bit of this woman-hatred — and then go back for more.  Biologic infusions are scheduled every few weeks or months and are continued forever, or until they stop working to manage the symptoms of autoimmune disease (or until the rather inevitable iatrogenic illness and injury become imminently life-threatening) upon which we are switched over to a different biologic.  As far as I can tell, we are never taken off them completely.  When we develop infections and cancers, we are then aggressively “treated” for those as well.

And how long is any AIDS patient expected to survive with no inherent ability to protect themselves from pathogens in our internal or external environments?  It’s difficult to say: my research indicates that HIV patients who develop full-blown AIDS are treated with medications to repress the virus and to boost their immune systems so they hopefully never have to know.  Autoimmune patients of course are never allowed to boost their immune systems for any reason since it’s supposedly the over-active or misfiring immune system causing all the autoimmune-related havoc.  HIV patients living with and dying from full-blown AIDS seem to be a rarity now, that outcome having been rendered unnecessary where HIV — because it is a virus — is amenable to treatment with anti-viral medications and this is the spin all news and government reporting on AIDS is currently given.  Try Googling “life expectancy of full-blown untreated AIDS” and see how far that gets you.  Even in so-called undeveloped countries, this now-unneccessary outcome is not addressed and treatment and outcomes with standard antiretroviral therapy (ART) are stressed.  No one has to live with a destroyed immune system anymore so who cares right?  No one important anyway — no otherwise healthy people, and in particular, no otherwise healthy men.  Sick women are expected to volunteer for complete immunity destruction and then go back to fucking work like nothing happened.

And in my own and many women’s case, as children of the 80s who came of age under essentially a prophylactic terror campaign, we are supposed to just forget what we’ve been told our entire cognizant lives about AIDS and the importance of our immune systems and the dangers of opportunistic infections and disease?  We specifically — women in our 40s who are in our peak years of being diagnosed with various autoimmune diseases — are just supposed to easily and consensually submit to contracting AIDS and getting it specifically from male doctors, in other words, from men and being penetrated by men?  Are you fucking kidding me?  Is this one of the most long-term, ingeniously conniving mindfucks ever?  Or is it just another day in patriarchy?  It’s hard to say, but what does it mean that so many women are doing exactly that, despite what they know and have literally always been told about the importance of immunity and the deleterious effects of AIDS?  And interestingly, what is the significance, if any, of tiny pockets of resistance or specifically female resistance to “treatment” with biologics?

As far as I can tell, the significance of this resistance, where it does exist and if it is in fact significant, is not political: no one recognizes any potential political effect of a contemporary medical protocol that says (essentially) that AIDS and opportunistic infections and disease is no big deal and not disabling.  And no one recognizes that it is primarily women that are being told and treated as if their immune systems not only do not matter and should be dispatched without consideration or thought, but that their immune systems are actually bad and are causing them significant harm, rather than that they are good and even when allegedly “misfiring” as in the case of autoimmune disease their immune systems are still protecting them from pathogenic illness and disease.  These modern immunity-related revelations and assertions, if they were actually true, should be taking the bite out of anti-AIDS activism, treatment and research (shouldn’t they?) but as far as I can tell they are not.

What you might find, as evidence of apolitical resistance, are autoimmune patients refusing to take medication that makes them worse and/or causes other diseases, but since that includes literally all Big Pharma and it’s “known side effects” this demonstrates resistance to iatrogenic illness and disease generally, not to AIDS specifically, although it includes it.  Of course, resisting the iatrogenic facet of Big Pharma and Big Medicine can be done in a political rather than an apolitical overly personalized way but it usually isn’t and is instead framed as a consumerist lifestyle or “alternative treatment” choice with no political message intended or received.

And caretakers and other concerned parties report that autoimmune patients they know and/or physically care for who have treated with biologics are still significantly ill or have now come down with cancer, including those who have died from it (or from cancer-related treatment with chemo and radiation) but no conversation is being had comparing the experiences of caretakers of full-blown AIDS patients to caretakers of people with autoimmune disease and how similar these experiences may be, for example, of having to care for exceptionally ill, depleted and disabled patients who never recover and only get worse.  And although I have seen autoimmune patients report that even they do not understand why they are so sick (and where I have even wondered that about myself) and that their friends and family do not understand or accept how serious and seriously disabling their diseases are, I have yet to see an AIDS patient or anyone report that AIDS is not serious, or that it is not disabling.

And I have never, not once since AIDS entered the social discourse in the 80s, seen anyone claim that immunocompromised AIDS patients should go back to work as if nothing happened, subjecting themselves to exposure and infection from the environment as well as subjecting themselves to the physical and mental stresses of the workplace.  In fact, the medical evidence required to show that AIDS patients are too disabled to work and therefore qualify for disability-based benefits include opportunistic infections like toxoplasmosis or pneumocystis pneumonia, OR medication side-effects, which opportunistic infections are in fact shared with autoimmune patients treating with biologics and which medication side-effects mirror the normal symptoms of autoimmune disease that Crohn’s and other autoimmune patients deal with every fucking day of our lives with or without treatment:

Common side effects of HIV/AIDS medication include hypersensitivity, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, anemia, numbness, tingling, and burning sensations, dizziness, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, headaches, depression, anxiety, general weakness, and joint pain.  Some individuals may also suffer from more severe side effects, including a build up of acid, sugar, or fat in their blood, or liver damage.

Lack of concentration is the most common of mental impairments caused by HIV/AIDS medications. Headaches, fatigue, insomnia, and confusion can all contribute to difficulty with concentrating and being able to complete tasks.

It seems as if a virus is causing all of this havoc, even though the virus is treatable, the patient is disabled.  If an autoimmune disease or biologics used to treat autoimmune disease cause the same exact symptoms…well, I’ve already talked to lawyers about my potential eligibility for disability-based benefits and I couldn’t get a single one to take my case.  Not even as a professional courtesy, something lawyers and other professionals routinely do for other professionals regardless of the likely outcome, and that was even before I abandoned Western medicine and still had up to date Western medical evidence of my serious, incurable and progressive condition.  Before I left my home to travel across-country to treat legally with medical cannabis, I contacted a major Social Security Disability law firm whose attorneys were less than enthusiastic about my case and my own doctor didn’t think he could honestly document or testify that I was disabled.

Granted, that was *just* before I actually submitted to treatment with biologics and before the rather inevitable opportunistic infections set in, but my symptoms of *literally*

hypersensitivity, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, anemia, numbness, tingling, and burning sensations, dizziness, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, headaches, depression, anxiety, general weakness, joint pain, insomnia, and confusion

would’ve been enough to prove my disability if they were due to the side-effects of HIV medication.  At least that is what I am gleaning from the linked Social Security disability resource.  What kind of sense does that make?

Regarding my own disability and my eligibility for disability-based benefits, currently, I am riding the blissful wave of my own family’s ignorance of how this all works, as some of them are “cheering me on” from the sidelines as I apply for various benefits through my disability advocate; even as I barely have the energy to fold my own clothes I am wasting time and resources on blindly-optimistic benefits-seeking because the stark reality of my situation has become too horrific to sit with any longer.  I am not eligible for anything, and I never was, even though in another context my symptoms would be considered disabling whether I consented to being treated (harmed) with biologics or not.  This was never going to end up well for me and it’s not intended to.  That’s the practical implication of all of this.

Meanwhile, the political implications of any and all of this seem to exist unnoticed by anyone, or anyone that matters.  AIDS is no big y’all, it’s both disabling in itself but not disabling at all, and can actually make autoimmune patients feel better (even though autoimmune disease itself is not disabling either) and once autoimmune patients are given AIDS they can successfully go back to work, resume taking care of others, and should be grateful to men, doctors and and Big Pharma (and patriarchy in general) for being given their lives back.  Even though their quality of life was always fine.  Got it?  Good.

One thought on “Autoimmune Women Are Supposed to Pay Doctors to Give Them AIDS. Are You Fucking Kidding Me.

  1. One significance of women’s acceptance of treatment with biologics is that they are so desperate for relief they will literally try anything. It is evidence of how devastating and painful these diseases really are. In the case of Crohn’s it is so unimaginably painful and so unbelievably relentless you will do anything for pain and symptom relief, literally anything. I agreed to start biologics and was in the process of scheduling the infusions when Medicaid denied the medication I was already on and my doctors fired me because they didn’t take Medicaid. It doesn’t help that they lie and obfuscate what biologics really are. They tell you to your face that it causes the exact symptoms, problems and realities of AIDS but they never frame it like that (just like Johns Hopkins didn’t) and they also lie about the diseases themselves and how treatable they are and about how effective the treatments are. Basically they promise you your life back when this outcome is actually impossible, especially long term as these diseases are progressive and the treatments stop working if they work at all.

    I can imagine that women with dependents would do anything for relief as well and to slow down the progression of these diseases to the extent that they are progressively physically and/or mentally crippling and threaten to disallow them to take care of their kids for as long as they might need to do that. I can imagine how frightening it would be to have that future to look forward to, especially to single mothers and mothers of young children. It’s also probably part of the amnesia women are expected to display and do actually experience in patriarchy just to survive as well as a blind trust in men and male authority. It must be so nice, so comforting to believe that someone knows what they are doing, that someone has things under control, even when this isn’t true. Some of us know it’s not true and most of us learn more and more how out of control things really are every day of our lives.

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