Lyme is the new AIDS.
I’m not the first one to say it. But I would like to take the time to repeat it. On May 26, 2008 Robert Buelteman shared his neurological Lyme experience with San Francisco’s online news platform SFGATE. He wrote:
I have Neuroborreliosis, also known as Lyme disease. Since October, my physical and mental health declined to the point where I was no longer able to work, drive, cook, think, maintain a social life, read, write, stand with my feet together, sleep without chemical aid, and most important, make the art that is my calling and the sole source of income for my family of four.
Buelteman goes on to explain that Lyme diagnoses are rising at four times the rate of AIDS and is becoming America’s most misdiagnosed disease.
Five years later, a 2013 literature review entitled Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment: Lessons from the AIDS epidemic found in the medical journal Minerva Medica, outlined the need for Lyme to be researched in the same way HIV was in order to improve testing and find innovative forms of treatment. The article states: Currently, diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease is hindered by the lack of a uniform case definition that adequately reflects the clinical presentation of the disease, poor laboratory test sensitivity, and high treatment failure rates using short-term monotherapy.
On May 25th 2016, Writer David Michael Conner posted a thoughtful piece on the Huffington Post site LIFE entitled And the Band Plays On: A New Plague Met With Silence, Denial. Again Conner writes: May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Unlike World AIDS Day, which even Google has indexed on its calendar, and likewise unlike Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Lyme disease awareness activities don't get much publicity.
I don’t have to drag out charts and statistics from the CDC that state an estimated 300,000 people per year will contract Lyme disease. Conner has already shown that. I don’t have to point out that ZIKA, which impacted 544 Americans at the time of Conner’s article received $184 million, while Lyme disease funding is nowhere near that. Conner also made that clear in his article.
Conner also wrote a very thoughtful article on someone who would be best to confirm this idea that Lyme and HIV have more in common than most people are aware. In Conner’s June 2016 article for Huff Post, Award-Winning HIV Activist Shines Light On Lyme Disease Devastation, Conner interviewed HIV and Lyme activist, Fred Verdult. Fred has dedicated his life to shining light on the overlap between HIV and Lyme because he has both. Of the two conditions Verdult stated that in many ways the battle for healthcare equality and respect were much more difficult to find in dealing with Lyme.
I don’t really have any groundbreaking, new information on Lyme disease besides the fact that it continues to grow across world on a pandemic scale. I can only repeat what the other writers in this brief blog have said before, which is that like AIDS, Lyme is being ignored by the medical community and is a national emergency among us today.
This Blog Is A Call To Action
It is a call to the same level of understanding, compassion and resources that it took the AIDS community years to receive as well. If you know someone with Lyme, call them and tell them you are trying to understand their experience. If you are called to give of your time and resources, focus on reputable, community focused organizations such as Global Lyme Alliance. If you are a healthcare provider and want to learn more, check out this training.
If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health or stress related issues associated with Lyme, schedule a time to speak with us today.. You are not alone.