BMC complementary and alternative medicine 2017 08 2317(1) 422 doi 10.1186/s12906-017-1928-4
Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widespread among different patient populations despite the availability of evidence-based conventional medicine and lack of supporting evidence for the claims of most CAM types. This study explored the prevalence, patterns, and perceived value of CAM among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients.
This quantitative descriptive study was conducted between November 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015 among a cross-sectional, convenience sample of attendees of the HIV clinic of a public tertiary health care institution. Face-to-face interviews using a 34-item questionnaire were conducted. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, chi-square tests, and binary logistic regression analysis.
CAM was used by 113 (32.8%) of a total of 343 HIV patients, but <1% informed their health care providers of CAM usage. Medicinal herbs were the most common type of CAM used (n = 110, 97.3%) followed by spiritual therapy (n = 56, 49.6%), including faith healing/prayer and meditation. The most used medicinal herbs were Aloe vera (n = 54, 49.1%), ginger (n = 33, 30.0%), and garlic (n = 23, 20.9%). The most used vitamins were complex B vitamins (n = 70, 61.9%), followed by vitamin A (n = 58, 51.3%), vitamin E (n = 51, 45.1%), and vitamin D (n = 42, 37.1%). Most CAM users continued using conventional medicine in addition to CAM and were willing to use CAM without supervision and without informing their health care provider. Patients were generally satisfied with CAM therapy (n = 91, 80.5%). The main reasons for CAM use were the desire to take control of their treatment (8.8%) or just trying anything that could help (18.8%). Main influences were the mass media (32.7%) and non-hospital health personnel (19.5%). Predictors of CAM use were being 30-50 years, married and having a secondary school education. CONCLUSION
About one-third of HIV patients used CAM, but virtually none informed their healthcare provider. Medicinal herbs were the most common type of CAM, followed by spiritual therapy and vitamins. A patient’s decision to use CAM was influenced for the most part by the mass media and non- hospital health care personnel.