HIV and AIDS: The alternative treatments

Alternative treatments for HIV

Many patients of HIV or AIDS combine traditional medical treatments with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to boost their health and well-being. Studies have shown that using CAM treatments for HIV or AIDS can help relieve some of the symptoms associated with these diseases. However, CAM cannot completely treat or cure these conditions. Also, not much is known about the side effects of these treatments. The reader should understand that just because a form of treatment is natural does not imply that it is safe. Some of these treatments can interact negatively with some medications. Patients of HIV and AIDS should do well to inform their healthcare providers of their intention to use CAM for symptom management. This article will highlight some of the safe options that you can adopt and the ones you should avoid.

Alternative therapy for symptoms of HIV

Not much research has been done on the use of complementary and alternative medicine treatments for relieve of HIV and AIDS symptoms. Nevertheless, some of these treatments have proven effective in relieving the symptoms of other health conditions. In many cases, it would be worth trying these treatments on an HIV or AIDS patients.

Body therapies

Massage therapy and yoga may help minimize pain in some patients. Studies have shown that yoga reduces anxiety and improves the overall feeling of health. In fact, it has been proven to improve CD4 cell count. The CD4 cells are immune cells that are destroyed by the HIV.

Nausea and other side effects of treatments may also be relieved with acupuncture. Acupuncture is an ancient traditional medical practice credited to the Chinese. It involves the insertion of solid, and thin needles into the pressure point located at strategic positions on the body. This causes the release of chemicals into the body – such that are capable of pain relief.

Relaxation therapies

Relaxation therapies such as meditation can help in the relief of anxiety. It enhances the ability of one to cope with the stress associated with chronic ailments such as HIV.

Herbal medicine

The reader is strongly advised to apply caution while using herbal medicines. There is not much evidence backing the use of these medications for the treatment of HIV symptoms.

Nevertheless, a small dosage of some herbs may boost the immune system of HIV patients. Studies have cited milk thistle as an example. The herb, milk thistle, is very common and is used to boost liver functions. It has no adverse interactions with antivirals. However, you should note that other herbs may have adverse interactions with conventional HIV treatments.

HIV patients are advised to inform their healthcare providers before adopting any herbal treatment. This will give the healthcare provider the chance to watch out for adverse drug interactions or reactions.

Medical cannabis

Most HIV patients do suffer from a loss of appetite. Some of the antiviral medications used can cause stomach upsets, thus making it difficult to maintain the scheduled medication doses. Medical cannabis helps with control of nausea, pain reduction, and of course boosts the appetite. However, medical cannabis is not legalized in all states.  In additions, smoking cannabis has its own attendant health effects, just as it occurs when smoking other substances. You can get more information on this from your healthcare provider.

There is not much evidence to show that medical cannabis interacts adversely with modern HIV medications. That notwithstanding, HIV patients should consult their physicians prior to using cannabis for treatment. Your physician will check for the possible respiratory complications or drug interactions.

Interactions between supplements and HIV treatments

Caution should be applied when using supplements in HIV conditions. While some supplements are safe to use, others may trigger some disorders. HIV or AIDS patients should consult their healthcare provider on what minerals and vitamins to use to improve their health condition.

Supplements that should be avoided

Some supplements causes problems with HIV treatment. Some of these include garlic, St. John’s wort, Echinacea, and ginseng.

  • Garlic supplements reduces the efficacy of some HIV medications. It may either increase the concentration of the drug in the blood, or bring it down drastically. These problems are greater than the so-called benefits on the immune system. However, it should be noted that eating fresh garlic does not cause any problem.
  • St. John’s wort is used for the treatment of depression. However, it can also reduce the efficacy of HIV treatments. HIV patients are advised not to use this supplement.
  • Ginseng and Echinacea are known to boost immune function. However, they can also interact with some HIV medications. It may be okay to use these supplements depending on the HIV therapy. However, a healthcare provider should be consulted before doing so.

Supplements that you may find helpful

Supplements that may helpful to those suffering from HIV include:

  • Fish oil to bring down the level of cholesterol
  • Vitamin D and calcium for improvement of bone health
  • Selenium to slow HIV progression
  • Soy protein or whey to boost weight gain
  • Vitamin B12 to improve the health of pregnant women and their pregnancies.

PS: You can be of help. Your donation can help HIV/AIDS organizations to put a smile on the faces of the patients

HIV is an epidemic. Advances have been made in combating and arresting the epidemic with the development of Anti-retroviral therapy. However, the truth remains that HIV is still incurable. However, you can help to fight this epidemic in your own little way by donating credit card rewards to a number of HIV/AIDS organizations directly. This GUIDE will help you through that. This guide also provides readers with information about where their purchases can further support donation efforts. It provides a list of businesses where consumers can donate simply by making everyday purchases, like Amazon and Starbucks.

The summary

HIV and AIDS is associated with many symptoms. Relieve may be provided by a number of alternative treatments. However, it is important that patients first consult their physicians before adopting any alternative treatment. With this, it is possible to prevent potential drug interactions and also suggest other options that could help reduce symptoms.

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