Not by Meds Alone Alternative methods can help us keep a positive health profile. Are they right for you?

Click to view as PDF

Click to read online



Without alternative therapies,” says Peter Marcoe, “I’d be dead. It’s that simple.” When Marcoe was diagnosed with HIV, in 1989, there were no effective drug regimens to control the virus, so alternative therapies were the only option for those trying to keep body and spirit going strong. Today, with dozens of HIV meds available, Marcoe is among the many positive people who team their HIV combos with complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs). These include herbal remedies, nutritional supplements, homeopathy, acupuncture, massage and meditation—which can help boost the immune system and soften the side effects of antiviral drugs. “Traditional medicine doesn’t have all the answers,” says Marcoe, 54. “Your health is in your own hands.”

With or without their physicians’ support, some 60 to 70 percent of people with HIV employ CAM therapies, according to studies. None of these therapies has been shown to suppress HIV reproduction or block the virus from entering cells, so most people team the alternatives with HIV combo therapy. “The meds sustain us,” Marcoe says, “but my alternatives—including herbs, meditation, super oxygenation and homeopathic remedies—make me feel better and give me energy.”

Another HIV long-timer agrees. “Acupuncture tided me over until there was an HIV combo I could take,” says Scott Alan of Laguna Beach, California, also diagnosed in 1989. Now, he says, regular acupuncture treatments “elevate my mood and [allow me to feel] in control. I don’t have to leave everything to my doctor and my meds.”

Many folks with HIV say their bodies provide all the evidence they need of CAMs’ effectiveness. But without data, how do you decipher which alternative remedies work and are safe, and which are a waste of money (or may interact with your HIV meds and endanger your health)? Follow these steps:

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes