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herbal vs western treatment
Jan 28, 2006

hi... i live in Soth Africa. i am concerned about the western meds given to our hiv pos people. they are given ARV treatment by the state and it seems to make most users more ill. now, there are more alternative herbal meds doing the rounds in our country and they seem to be helping a lot. i want to know exactly if you use ARV treatment in USA. if yes how bad are the side effects, plus please tell me what is being used that side. i honestly feel our people are being fed highly toxic meds. as for our health minister...she is loathed for telling hiv pos people to eat garlic and herbs to build their immune systems. there is so much controversy going on. please give me your insight on western meds vs herbal/alternative treatment.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Yes, ARV (antiretroviral) medications are used here and around the world. HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy), a combination of several antiretroviral medications, came into wide use in mid-1996. Since that time, scientific studies have amassed an impressive and irrefutable amount of information unequivocally showing these medications are highly effective in decreasing HIV replication and stimulating immune reconstitution. HIV/AIDS morbidity and mortality have declined dramatically with their use. There is no longer any controversy about that fact. True, like many medications, ARVs can have significant side effects as well as short- and long-term toxicities. However, when used properly, there is no doubt they are life sustaining, remarkably effective, and their benefits far outweigh their risks.

Alternative (often called complimentary) therapies for HIV/AIDS have been with us since the early days of the epidemic, long before the first AIDS drug (AZT) was approved for use. I should point out that the distinction between medications (that some folks consider to be man-made toxins) and alternative "natural" herbal remedies (often considered benign because of their "natural" label), is a false distinction! All herbs and natural remedies, like approved medications, are drugs! They all have the potential for benefit and harm as well as drug-drug (or drug-herb) interactions. Many approved medications are derived from plants and other natural sources (penicillin, quinine, digitalis, etc.). Hemlock, a natural herb, can kill you.

For the most part, herbal remedies have shown no significant effects in combating HIV/AIDS. Garlic and herbs do not build or boost immune systems, although they can really spice up a nice marinara sauce.

I suggest you spend some time reviewing the wealth of information on this and related HIV/AIDS information sites. I also suggest that if you have HIV/AIDS, HAART is what you should be taking.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob


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