Dr. Henry Heimlich seems to think the way to help sick people, is to infect them with another disease. Heimlich, inventor of the anti-choking maneuver, believes that infecting HIV sufferers with a curable form of malaria which induces high fevers can stimulate the immune system and fight off HIV.
This practice is unjustified and unethical. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agreed in 1993 when it issued a memorandum stating malarial therapy could not be justified because it may well do more harm than good.
Heimlich thinks this method would be effective because in the early 1990s, some African children with malaria and AIDS survived more frequently than children with AIDS alone.
It sounds like Heimlich has an idea he wants to try out on poor, helpless people who feel they have no other option. He says he has arrangements with four African countries to test his theory.
By targeting the poor, he is sending a message that their lives are less important.
Mark Harrington, executive director of an AIDS research advocacy organization called Treatment Action Group, said, “If Heimlich is really doing this, he should be put in jail.” He also said, “There seems to be evidence that malaria worsens HIV.”
Why Heimlich thinks he has reason to infect people with a disease is left unexplained. Because he is an American, he should abide by the CDC’s warning and refrain from testing his proposed treatment regime.
It’s ridiculous to think that adding a disease to an already deteriorating immune system would in turn help the body fight disease.
Heimlich also belittles the objections raised by others in the medical field, saying, “If all of your peers understand what you’ve done, you haven’t been creative.” Medicine is not the field to be different, since lives can easily be lost.
Heimlich’s time would be better spent finding a drug that has no harmful effects and instead, only has positive results.