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HIV/AIDS Alternative Treatments

Alternative Treatments for HIV/AIDS

Many people with HIV
and AIDS
use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in combination with
traditional medical treatments to improve their health and wellbeing. There is
some evidence that CAM treatments can relieve some symptoms of HIV. However,
there is no evidence that these treatments can treat or cure HIV.

Just
because a treatment is natural does not mean it’s safe. These treatments can
affect your medical care. Tell your doctor if you’re interested in using CAM to
help manage symptoms of HIV/AIDS.

Interactions Between Supplements & HIV
Treatment

Several
supplements are known to disrupt the efficacy of HIV treatment.

Garlic Supplements

Garlic
supplements can greatly reduce the efficacy of certain HIV treatments. This
outweighs any possible benefits of these supplements on the immune system.
However, occasionally eating garlic is not known to cause problems.

St. John’s Wort

St.
John’s Wort is a popular supplement used to treat depression. However, it can
also reduce the efficacy of HIV treatment. People with HIV should not use this
supplement.

Alternative Therapy for HIV Symptoms

There is
relatively little research on the use of CAM treatments for HIV symptoms and
treatment side effects. However, some common CAM treatments have been shown to
improve the symptoms of other illnesses.

Body Therapies

Yoga and
massage therapy may help reduce pain. They can also improve feelings of overall
health.

Acupuncture
may help with nausea and other treatment side effects. Acupuncture is an
ancient Chinese medical practice that involves placing thin, solid needles into
various pressure points on the body. This releases chemicals in the body that
can sometimes relieve pain.

Relaxation Therapies

Meditation and other forms of
relaxation treatment can help to reduce anxiety. They may improve your ability
to cope with the stress of an illness.

Herbal Medicine

Herbal
medications should be used with caution. There isn’t enough evidence to support the use of these drugs for treating HIV. However, certain herbs
may boost immunity in people with HIV. These include echinacea, ginseng, and bitter melon.
Other herbs may interact with conventional HIV treatments.

Tell your doctor if you’re using herbal
medications.
That way they
can monitor you for side effects and drug interactions.

Medical Marijuana

Loss of
appetite is common with AIDS/HIV. Some antiviral medications can upset the
stomach and make it harder for you to keep up with scheduled doses. Marijuana
can reduce pain, control nausea, and increase your appetite.

There’s no evidence to
suggest that
medical
marijuana will interact with medications. However, you should consult your
doctor before using marijuana to treat your symptoms. Your doctor will monitor you for possible drug
interactions or pulmonary complications.

Supplements

Use supplements with caution. Talk to your doctor about what vitamins
and minerals you should take to improve your health. Some supplements that may
be useful in people with HIV include:

  • calcium and vitamin D to improve bone health
  • fish oil to reduce cholesterol
  • selenium to slow the progression of HIV
  • vitamin B-12 to improve the health of pregnant women and their
    fetuses
  • whey or soy protein to help you gain weight 

Posted by: Dr.Health

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