Use of complementary and alternative medicines among a multistate, multisite cohort of people living with HIV/AIDS

Use of complementary and alternative medicines among a multistate, multisite cohort of people living with HIV/AIDS

Use of complementary and alternative medicines among a multistate, multisite cohort of people living with HIV/AIDS

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of and factors associated with use of complementary or alternative medicine (CAM) in a multistate, multisite cohort of HIV-infected patients.

METHODS:

During 2003, 951 adult patients from 14 sites participated in face-to-face interviews. Patients were asked if they received treatment from any alternative therapist or practitioner in the previous 6 months. Logistic regression was performed to examine associations between demographic and clinical variables and CAM use.

RESULTS:

The majority of the participants were male (68%) and African American (52%) with a median age of 45 years (range 20-85 years). Sixteen per cent used any CAM in the 6 months prior to the interview. Factors associated with use of CAM were the HIV risk factor injecting drug use [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 0.51] compared with men who have sex with men (MSM), former drug use (AOR=2.12) compared with never having used drugs, having a college education (AOR=2.43), and visiting a mental health provider (AOR=2.76).

CONCLUSIONS:

This study demonstrated similar rates of CAM use in the current highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) era compared with the pre-HAART era. Factors associated with CAM – such as education, use of mental health services, and MSM risk factor – suggest that CAM use may be associated with heightened awareness regarding the availability of such therapies. Given the potential detrimental interactions of certain types of CAM and HAART, all HIV-infected patients should be screened for use of CAM.

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