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Alternative treatments
Aug 30, 2003

Dr. Young stated in an answer to another question that "the only medical approaches that reproducibly appear to improve immune functional status and prevent AIDS complications and death remain HAART." The individual who asked about alternative meds was seeking advice because he was not able to afford them. The doctor adviced him of where to find help. Well, my problem is similar. My cousin whom has been diagnosed with HIV for 3 years now doesn't live in this country. He is not fortunate to have the aid and wonderful resources that America provides. Therefore, I would like to know if there are some vitamin and/or mineral regimens, and/or other advice that could help him? Any information would be helpful. Thanks for taking the time to answer me.

Response from Dr. Pierone

Here is some general health advice that pertains to everyone, HIV infected or not. Don't smoke, eat a well-balanced diet, get adequate rest, and exercise regularly. Consider a multivitamin supplement that contains folic acid.

With specific regard to HIV infection, there are some measures that are more generally available than HIV medications. If your cousin can get a CD4 count and it is below 200 he should start trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra) one double-strength tablet 3 times per week. He should be screened for TB, and if positive treated on a prophylactic basis if these medications are available to him.

Beyond this, it really depends on his specific situation to make recommendations. There are no potions or alternative remedies that have proven benefit for HIV infection (although no shortage of companies that sell them). The HIV meds are priced beyond the budget of most HIV infected people worldwide at this point. More generic manufacturing facilities and treatment programs are being developed, but coverage is quite limited. Where does your cousin live and what resources does he have available?



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