Alternative treatments for HIV

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the body's immune system. If HIV is not treated, it can lead to AIDS.

Chapter 1

HIV Treament

Many people with HIV or AIDS, in tandem with conventional medical therapies, use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to improve their health and wellbeing. There is some evidence that some symptoms of HIV infection or AIDS may be treated by CAM treatments. There is no evidence, however, that such therapies will stabilize or cure certain conditions. And there is no knowledge on the side effects of such treatments as well.


And just because a natural remedy does not mean it's healthy. Both of these may interfere with other medications. If people with HIV or AIDS are interested in using CAM to better control their symptoms, they should inform their health care provider. Read on to find out which choices can be secure and which ones should be avoided.


Alternative therapy for HIV symptoms


Research on the use of CAM treatments for relieving HIV or AIDS symptoms is relatively small. However, it has been shown that certain common CAM treatments improve the symptoms of certain illnesses. In certain cases, for anyone with HIV infection or AIDS these therapies may be worth a try.


Body therapies


For certain patients, yoga and physical therapy may help to relieve pain. Research has shown that yoga can also enhance overall health experiences and minimize anxiety and depression. Even levels of CD4 cells, which are immune cells damaged by HIV, have been shown to be increasing.


Acupuncture can aid in side effects of nausea and other treatment. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine practice which involves placing small, solid needles on the body at different pressure points. This will release hormones which can help alleviate pain in the body.


Relaxation therapies


Meditation and other types of treatment for relaxation may help to relieve anxiety. They can enhance the ability to cope with the stress of a chronic condition like HIV.


Herbal medicine


We will use herbal medicinal products with caution. There is insufficient evidence to support the use of such medications to alleviate symptoms of HIV.


However, a brief course of some herbs in humans with HIV-help immunity. Work has shown one example to be the milk thistle. Milk thistle is a natural herb that is used in humans to enhance liver function and does not significantly interfere with antivirals. But note that other herbs will interfere with traditional HIV treatments.


HIV patients should notify their health care provider before any herbal remedies are used. This helps their doctor to track any reactions or side effects with the medications.


Medical marijuana


Appetite loss is common among HIV sufferers. And certain antiviral drugs can disrupt the stomach and make it more difficult to keep up with the scheduled doses of medication. Marijuana can aid in reducing pain, managing nausea and increasing appetite. Yet medical marijuana is only legal in some states. Furthermore, smoking marijuana is associated with many of the same threats to health as consuming any drug. Further information can be received by a health care provider.


There is no evidence to suggest medical marijuana can interfere with conventional drugs to treat HIV. Even, people with HIV should check with their healthcare provider to treat their symptoms before consuming marijuana. The provider should monitor potential reactions with the drug or respiratory problems. Also, Tenvir Tablet is used to treat HIV infection and chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in combination with other anti-HIV medicines.


Interactions between supplements and HIV treatment


People living with HIV or AIDS should use the supplements with caution. Some additives may be safe to use while others may cause problems. People with HIV or AIDS should explore what vitamins and minerals they should be taking to boost their health with their health care provider.


Supplements to avoid


Some additives are known to cause problems with HIV treatment efficacy. Four of these are the ginger, the wort of St. John, the echinacea and the ginseng.


Garlic supplements can make some HIV treatments considerably less effective. It may result in too much or too little of the drug in the blood if the garlic is taken with other drugs. This question outweighs any potential immune-system benefits from these supplements. That said, it's not known to cause problems consuming fresh garlic.


A common supplement used to treat depression is St. John's wort. It can, however, render HIV treatment less successful. HIV-positive people should not use the supplement.


Echinacea and ginseng are believed to improve immune function. But both can interfere with other medicines for HIV. Depending on the HIV treatment it might be all right to use such supplements. We should contact a healthcare provider.


Supplements which may be helpful


Supplements that can be useful in HIV-patients include:


  • Vitamin D and calcium to improve bone health
  • Cholesterol-lowering fish oil
  • selenium to slow the progression of HIV
  • Vitamin B-12 for improving pregnant women 's health and their pregnancies
  • Whey protein or soy protein to help gain weight


HIV and AIDS may cause a variety of symptoms, and some alternative therapies may help to alleviate them. Yet people with these conditions should also speak to their healthcare provider first before exploring potential treatment options. A health care professional may help avoid unintended drug reactions, and can recommend other treatments that may help to alleviate symptoms.


Acting with a health care provider is the best way to discuss solutions for people living with HIV or AIDS to help support their health and wellbeing.



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safehealths
28, Female
Chicago, IL, US

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