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Home > Research > HIV / AIDS

Proposed Model of a Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment and Research Program for HIV/AIDS

By Young, Michael G.*, Sinclair, Thomas M.*  


Issue: Increasingly Americans are seeking alternative /complimentary forms of healthcare. This trend has been especially prevalent in the HIV/AIDS community. One of the most commonly used therapies is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), yet to date few clinical trials have been conducted on the use of TCM in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. The high cost of conducting research often precludes such therapies from studies. We designed a treatment program that offered both treatment and an opportunity to collect data.

Project: Persons with HIV infection were recruited into a 12 week program that utilized acupuncture as well as a standardized TCM formula. Patients were surveyed prior to TCM treatment and at conclusion of study. Two funding sources were developed, Federal Ryan White CARE Title 1 and an established fee schedule. Patients were given a questionnaire at weeks 1 and 12, surveying symptomatic areas, western medical diagnoses, weight, current pharmaceuticals and supplements, and quality of life.

Results: Of 391 patients 286 completed the study. There was a total of 172 HIV+, 39 AIDS related complex, and 75 AIDS patients. Concurrent nucleoside use was noted in a subgroup of 135. According to Chi square tests and t-tests there were statistically significant decreases in the average number of symptoms in the groups between week 1 compared with week 12. Average weight gain was 1.5 pounds per person. Statistically significant improvements were found with infectious processes, gastrointestinal symptoms and psychological factors.

Lessons Learned: We have developed a public healthcare model of TCM that has gained a wide acceptance in the local HIV/AIDS community. Patients pursuing TCM create an alliance with their practitioner working towards reducing their symptoms and maintaining health. Further studies are needed to investigate the role TCM plays in disease prevention and progression. TCM is beneficial for reducing the intensity and severity of infections as well as improving digestive function.

Thomas M. Sinclair, Immune Enhancement Project, 3450 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94114 USA.
Tel.: (415) 252-8711
Fax: (415) 252-8710,


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