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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

The Use of Unconventional Remedies among HIV-Positive Men


Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (01/95-

Using a multiple-choice questionnaire, Dwyer et al. compared the use of and attitudes toward unconventional remedies among two groups of HIV-positive men in Northern California. The first group was enrolled in clinical trial protocols for various National Institutes of Health-approved treatments for HIV infection at an AIDS Clinical Trials Unit (ACTU), while the comparison group consisted of a self-help group of patients at a community healthcare clinic in San Francisco. Eighty-five percent of the study participants attending the community health center had used unconventional therapies, compared to 58 percent enrolled in the ACTU's clinical trial. Altogether, 70 percent of all participants had used unconventional remedies at least once. While 54 percent of the respondents said that AZT was the most useful treatment for their health problem, other remedies include diet and nutrition counseling, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and hypnosis. The men enrolled in the clinical trial protocols for investigational drugs used unconventional remedies significantly less than the community health center participants, who were enrolled in an open trial of hypericin, an unproven treatment.


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Information in this article was accurate in March 3, 1995. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.