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Complementary Therapies and HIV
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HIV and Complementary therapies

Initially, there were no drugs available to treat HIV/AIDS, but substantial numbers of infected individuals collaborated, shared experiences and found an alternative way. Without medications, people incorporated proper nutrition, exercise and complementary therapies into their lives. People could be successful at staying healthy and/or having wellness restored time after time using complementary therapies, with or without HIV/AIDS medications. Many people with HIV have made contributions. They are the same people who raised funds and started AIDS organizations, thereby providing and developing treatment libraries, which contained files on all the alternative treatments used by people living with HIV/AIDS. When HIV/AIDS drugs did become available, HIV/AIDS research and drug treatment information was included in these libraries.

Researchers, pharmaceutical companies and the medical profession have learned valuable information from infected individuals. Those affected were responsible for instituting what is referred to as treatment holidays, or structured treatment interruptions. A daily regimen while confined to a lifestyle of taking medications and the fact that many were unable to handle the side effects of the HIV/AIDS medications, prompted individuals to stop taking their medications, for months or years. The knowledge gained from these people opened the eyes of researchers and the medical profession. This facilitated change and stopped the HIV/AIDS treatment protocol referred to as 'Hit them hard, hit them early'! It is because of the information gained from people living with HIV that we have moved on and recognition is now given to the importance of individualized treatments. People who have been infected have brought about the understanding of which drugs work and which do not. In this way, they have voiced the need for more effective and affordable drug treatments and more!

However, there is an abundance of information, which is not being provided by infected individuals and obviously; this can be attributed to the stigma attached to HIV. Because of the fear, there are people who are not reporting how they are managing their illness. Their status is not known, so they cannot be counted. The numbers of individuals who have chosen natural methods is substantial. Without all the voices of those people heard, this has allowed pharmaceutical companies and the medical profession to have a monopoly over the direction of treatment and treatment information. It is time for affected people to have their voices heard. The use of HIV/AIDS medications is one direction of treatment and natural healing with the benefits of complementary therapies is another. Both must be recognized equally. Time, energy and money must be given to both if we were to save millions of lives.

It is time for complementary therapies to be brought to the forefront and on an equal level with pharmaceuticals. It would be in best interest for everyone to recognize the importance of using every available means when it comes to fighting HIV/AIDS and all disease.

While dealing with HIV or AIDS, dedicated people have worked tirelessly, creating awareness in the many areas related to HIV and AIDS. Individuals spoke out; ignored the HIV stigma and broke down the barriers of fear and discrimination in their own lives as well as for the sake of others. Among the varied issues, many pioneered the importance of complementary therapies and their uses in treating HIV/AIDS. For some, the benefits from their efforts were not always realized while they were alive. Where some left off striving, others are going onward. This challenging work will continue until everybody combines all resources to promote the usage of complementary therapies as an integral part of the methods for treatment of illnesses.

By Bradford McIntyre
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Complementary Therapies and HIV

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