White House Office of National AIDS Policy
To Numedx Readers:
As Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, I have always been impressed by the initiative taken by people living with HIV disease to stay completely informed on issues of treatment, advocacy and health maintenance. It is my pleasure to welcome you, in this inaugural issue of Numedx.
For all its devastation, HIV disease has created important changes in our healthcare system. Evidence can be found in more trusting partnerships between patients and their providers, in an accelerated drug approval process and in the emergence of complementary therapies as tools to fight disease and sustain good health. This holistic approach has demonstrated that overall wellness plays an important role in the body’s ability to fight HIV/AIDS.
In this movement to recognize the importance of the entire person, people with HIV/AIDS and their caregivers have been at the forefront. Proper nutrition, emotional support, physical exercise and spirituality have come to be recognized as vital components to wellness, a move supported by those people living with HIV/AIDS who sought answers to an illness that baffled the medical establishment of the early 1980s. Even today, as science produces new and promising drug therapies to combat HIV and AIDS, the importance of complementary therapies remains the legacy of the earliest AIDS warriors.
This focus must continue. The lessons learned from an emphasis on wellness have been incredibly valuable, and no strategy to deal with HIV exposure can be complete without assessing all aspects of a patient’s well-being—medical, emotional, spiritual and otherwise.
AIDS has taught us that all the answers to our health problems are not found in a prescription bottle. Medicine plays a crucial role, of course, but other factors can be greatly impacted through one’s own efforts and life’s treasures—the care of our bodies, practicing our faith, enjoying our friends.
That, I believe, is a good prescription for any disease, and indeed for life itself.