AIDS TREATMENT NEWS #224, JUNE 2, 1995
In San Francisco, where Chinese medical treatment has been
funded for three years by the Ryan White CARE Act, the
American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine has treated
over 300 symptomatic HIV-positive patients in long-term care.
A study of the medical records of these patients, and of
quarterly health surveys, has identified seven HIV-related
conditions which appear to be most responsive to Chinese
These seven conditions are: weight loss; diarrhea/loose
stools; abdominal pain; nausea; headaches; enlarged lymph
nodes; and neuropathy.
Note: The American College of Traditional and Chinese
Medicine can be reached at 415/282-9603.
After many years of refusing to pay for "alternative" care
such as traditional Chinese medicine, the trend today is
toward coverage by insurers and other third-party payers. The
reason is that alternative care usually costs much less than
Western medicine, and companies can save money by paying for
In San Francisco, acupuncture was covered under the health
plan for city employees for several years, but was
discontinued last year due to a budget shortage. It has now
been restored effective July 1. But the San Francisco plan
has only covered acupuncture; other parts of traditional
Chinese medicine, such as herbal treatment, have had to be
paid by the individual. There is now a movement to expand
coverage for San Francisco employees, and for others; San
Francisco supervisor Angela Alioto has been very supportive.
The state of California has licensed acupuncturists for many
years. (The law also allows medical doctors to practice
acupuncture, regardless of whether they have been licensed or
trained to do so.) California law requires health insurance
companies which have their home office in California, and
which are not HMOs or PPOs, to cover acupuncture treatment.
Many of these companies, however, have ignored the law and
refused to do so.
For information on how you can help to expand health-care
coverage for traditional Chinese medicine in San Francisco
and in California, call George Wedemeyer at 415/661-2080.