Monday, May 23, 2005

Virgin Coconut Oil and AIDS

I read this story yesterday from the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The story is posted on their website (now archived) here. The article tells the story of Tom (no last name given), who contracted AIDS when he was gang raped in the middle east while working as an overseas contract worker.

He returned to the Philippines in 2002 where he found out that conventional medicine "could not help alleviate at least his pains" so according to the story "Given up for dying, Tom knew he had to look elsewhere-beyond drugs-to win his battle."

He turned, to virgin coconut oil as prescribed by Dr. Conrado Dayrit, the father of the recently resigned Health Secretary of the Philippines. Through, the application of virgin coconut oil in his skin twice a day and ingestion of 6 tablespoonfuls daily, Tom, in nine months, was able to have "restored enough (life energy) to become an eloquent testimony to how something so natural as virgin coconut oil had halted his free fall (from AIDS). His sores are now just scars and,
"Each time Tom went to have his periodic hospital tests, his viral load decreased progressively. Tom said that when he told hospital doctors what he was taking, they could not believe that an inexpensive natural food oil was killing the viruses better than all the expensive drugs science could churn out."
The rest of the story tells of what Filipino and some foreign researchers are doing to research and promote the curative power of the coconut.

This story of Tom disturbs me because it is long on personal details, how Tom got AIDS from being gangraped, but short on medicinal details. Some questions that springs to mind are:

One, was Tom, using conventional AIDS medicine at the same time that he was using virgin coconut oil? If he was, maybe some of the credit should be given to them.

Two, if Tom was not using conventional AIDS medicine simultaneously with virgin coconut oil, is he then the only one who has gone through this regimen? As the article states, virgin coconut oil is relatively inexpensive, surely the researchers could afford to give virgin coconut oil to at least 9 other HIV/AIDS positive Filipinos to test their hypothesis. If there are others, what has happened to them?

Three, if Tom was the only one who has gone through this regimen, then what is the medicinal value of his testimony? Conventional medicines are approved only after clinical trials. They test the curative properties of the medicine on more than one person to be sure that it's curative powers was not due to chance.

Fourth, can there be other explanation to why his sores healed and his viral load decreased progressively? Like maybe a healthier lifestyle?

This story bothers me because the Philippines has been relatively unscathed from the AIDS epidemic. But we are in a precarious situation, according to this inquirer story , "majority of Filipinos are still at a loss on how the deadly disease (HIV/AIDS) is acquired". Furthermore "The Department of Health (DoH) has described the AIDS cases in the country as "hidden and growing" in terms of number."

Other relevant statistics from the story are "at least 23 percent of Filipinos aged between 15 and 24 believe they are "invincible" against the virus." and "About 60 percent more believe there's now a cure for HIV/AIDS so they have somehow become complacent in their sexual activities"

The story warns that "What we're seeing for AIDs is an ebb tide before the tsunami where the tide recedes and people are complacent, just looking at the coastline, playing, unmindful of the danger,"

A story about how wonderful are the healing powers of virgin coconut oil, while pleasing to Filipino pride and the manufacturers of virgin coconut oil is dangerous to Filipino's health, especally since the healing powers remains unproven.

I can readily envision Filipinos opting out of conventional treatment to try virgin coconut oil. I can also readily imagine that more people will become more complacent in their sexual acivities and practices because of this story.

The Philippines is teetering on the edge of a full blown HIV/AIDS epidemic, this story is just irresponsible.


Abe said...

You are right: one case doesn't prove anything. There's probably no harm in the "treatment" unless it makes people reckless or drop therapy that might be effective.

I also answered your comment at my place. Of course you are welcome to use code from my template. I started from Minima originally, but there are quite a few differences now. There are lots of things in it now that are specific to me, so those won't be interesting to you. Let me know if you want a zipped copy of the template. View Source doesn't show quite the same stuff. (All the Blogger tags get substituted, for example).

Abe said...

Oh. If you want use the post translation code, please download the file with it from Online Business Journal (link on my site).