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The Truth About Aids by Patrick Dixon

INTRODUCTION

Don't Tell People the Truth

Many people are scared of telling the truth about AIDS. They say it will cause panic. The trouble is, lack of trust in what is being said officially can cause near hysteria---as we have seen in reactions to infected surgeons or nurses recently.

My experience is that people respect you for being honest. No one believes you if you deliberately play down risks. You lose all credibility when you give the impression something is safe and someone dies after doing it. Common sense tells people that certain things must carry some risk.

It is stupid to say that if you follow guidelines you cannot become infected with the virus causing AIDS from looking after someone with the disease. Accidents happen. Guidelines may be hard to follow in all situations and they may have to be modified in the future in the light of experience. People know there are risks in nursing a person with AIDS, just as there are in being operated on by an infected surgeon. There must be. Anyone knows that. What is needed is to convince people that when you say these risks are very small you can really be trusted; that you are not giving people a false sense of security in order to persuade them to do something you know might be dangerous. When people really trust that you are telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth---then they see what the risks really are and feel secure in knowing what they are dealing with. Knowing the truth allows them to make intelligent decisions about what to do.

I'm going to tell the truth as best I can.

There is a lot of extra information in the endnotes. These are in a shorthand that any librarian can understand. Sufficient information is given to turn to the exact pages of scientific publications. For reasons of space, authors' names and titles of papers have usually been omitted. Newspapers are from the UK unless stated. Use the Index and cross-references.

Not everything is referenced. Sometimes a figure or comment has been jotted down and used later although I cannot remember the source. Sometimes the source has been a personal interview. Where I want to protect the person's identity the reference is `personal communication'. Many reference materials can be ordered from your local library or the librarian can advise you further. Student friends, doctors, or nurses will have access to much larger libraries.

This book is about people. Details of names, places, times and events have been altered where necessary to protect identity. If you think you are reading about someone or some place you know, you are probably mistaken. Some of the medical case reports in Chapter 3 are compiled from real events in a number of people's lives.

This book is written from the perspective of a doctor who is also a church leader.

Some Bible passages are written in the endnotes. These need to be read in context. Almost any argument can be constructed out of isolated Bible quotations. For three consecutive years recently I made it my business to read the Bible each year from start to finish---to catch its overall meaning and avoid `verse grabbing' pitfalls. I encourage you to do the same.

Some parts of this book are sexually explicit and some may find this offensive. As a doctor I deal with real people in the real world who need accurate information and practical help. I regret giving offence, but my goal is to save lives and to help those affected.

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 No. 393
 Posted on 9 June, 2006
 
 
 
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