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Need list all
Feb 2, 1998

I've been browsing through this site trying to figure out what Vitamins, Herbal Therapies and additional things I can do to make my self healthier.

It sounds like there is a lot of debate over the effectiveness of most of these add-on therapies. Can you list some of the "effective" vitamins, minerals, and herbs one can take to improve their over-all health and which ones have a negative effect on the disease. I am just looking for general guidelines.

Any new information on Crix Belly...I'm getting sick of mine :-), My levels have dropped to "undetectable" however, I am lactose intolerant, however, I don't want to give up on the winning formula: AZT, 3TC, Crixivan, and Zovirax.

Thanks. My apologies about asking so many questions, but i'm sure you understand where I'm coming from.

Response from Dr. Gallant

It's sort of impossible to give you what you ask for, because if we knew that "alternative therapies" worked, they wouldn't be "alternative" anymore. By that I mean that these therapies tend to be poorly studied, and so there isn't a lot of scientific evidence to support their use. That doesn't mean there isn't anything to them, it just means that it's hard to prove it.

There is an effort to correct that problem: NIH grant money is now available for studying alternative therapies, including therapies for HIV. Treatments like acupuncture are being taken increasingly seriously for a number of conditions, including peripheral neuropathy, and we're seeing controlled clinical trials involving herbs like St. John's Wort. But don't expect solid scientific proof of efficacy of the thousands of alternative remedies that are out there, it would be impossible and probably not the best use of research dollars.

My advice is to go with the therapies that are proven, to eat well and live a healthy life, to keep youself informed, and to mix healthy doses of hope and skepticism about all "new developments." If you do decide to augment your treatment with alternative therapies, let your doctor know about it and just make sure you're not being ripped off by PLOAs ("People Living Off AIDS") with snake-oil to sell.

As for Crix-belly, I really don't think that I could possibly find anything else to say about it that hasn't been said a thousand times already. Maybe after this week's Retrovirus conference there will be more.

JG



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