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Alternative Medicines?
Jul 21, 2003

Please quote, Is it possible for OI's like candidiasis,anemia,loss of apetite,dry cough and skin itching could occur just 2-3 months of infection? Before strating treatment what should I do? What should I do if I cannot afford Expensive HAART medicines? I have seen in internet that one herbal medicine from India(nupalremedies.com) can do some thing in palliative treatment of HIV. Do you think it can be an alternative to Haart and all? please advise.

Response from Dr. Young

Yes, it is possible to have symptomatic HIV shortly after initial infection.

Indeed, some persons can even progress to AIDS very quickly-- all of the timelines that are frequently quoted on this site refer to the average person-- there are some persons who progress more rapidly than average, and others that progress more slowly (this is why we talk about "average").

Before starting treatment, you should locate a qualified and experienced care provider-- someone who knows how to care for persons with HIV infection; work on improving your mental health, diet, exercise and (if appropriate) substance abuse-- all of these can indirectly influence your health and quality of life. Locate good social support and social workers to assist you with what appears to be financial issues surrounding your access to care. It is highly unusual for North American patients to have to shoulder the entire cost of medications. If you are under this impression, I'd strongly ask you to contact your local AIDS service organization for counsel and assistance.

Lastly, our frequent readers know that I'm not a big fan of the assertions that herbal medications make a significant impact on the complications of HIV-- there is very little well controlled or scientifically validated data to support this and I worry considerably for the potential for false claims (remember snake oil sold well in the past). The only medical approaches that reproducibly appear to improve immune functional status and prevent AIDS complications and death remain HAART, despite years of trying just about everything else (from herbs to rectal ozone) to improve health status for the HIV infected. BY



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