PMCC PMCC

Search tips
Search criteria

Advanced
Results 1-25 (1131278)

Clipboard (0)
None

Related Articles

1.  Attitudes Toward Antiretroviral Therapy and Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Chinese HIV-Infected Patients 
HIV has become a significant health issue in China, and an increasing number of HIV-infected individuals are in need of care. Current reports confirm more than 230,000 cases of HIV infection and estimate that approximately 700,000 people are now infected with HIV, although approximately 70% of these individuals do not realize they are infected (Gill & Okie, 2007).
China's national antiretroviral therapy (ART) program, Four Frees and One Care, began in 2003, and ART treatment is now widely available in China (Zhang et al., 2007). Under this program, the following services are available to eligible citizens: (a) free ART for all AIDS patients in financial difficulty, (b) free schooling for AIDS orphans and children of AIDS patients, (c) free counseling and prevention measures to prevent mother-to-child-transmission for HIV-infected pregnant women, and (d) free HIV antibody testing and counseling, provided by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC). “One Care” means providing care to AIDS patients and their families (Zhang, Pan, Yu, Wen, & Zhao, 2005). Prior to 2003, only a few people in China had access to ART, and clinical expertise in HIV medicine was limited to the major centers in a few eastern cities (Zhang et al., 2007). When ART is the dominant method of treatment, however, its use is complicated by the presence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), which has remained a substitute and supplement for conventional HIV therapy (Hsiao et al., 2003), even after ART became available (Josephs, Fleishman, Gaist, & Gebo, 2007).
CAM is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine (National Institutes of Health, 2008). Commonly, CAM includes a wide range of practices that do not fit within the dominant allopathic model of health care (Bishop, Yardley, & Lewith, 2007), including but not limited to herbalism, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture, and diet-based therapies (Bratman & Steven, 1997). TCM has been used in Chinese society for more than 5,000 years. In the TCM approach, the body is recognized and treated as a whole entity, and diseases are identified as conditions caused by internal imbalances. The role of doctors is to identify imbalances and then correct them; the body is then expected to be able to heal itself (Tsao, Dobalian, Myers, & Zeltzer, 2005). The balancing factors of the yin and yang, or of the cold and hot forces, govern health and modulate some Chinese eating and pain management practices (Wong-Kim & Merighi, 2007). The integration of ART and CAM therefore has important implications in health outcomes, especially in China where the use of CAM is widespread.
Three types of treatment systems are practiced in Chinese society: (a) allopathic Western medicine offered by health care professionals in clinics and hospitals; (b) Buyao, which is over-the-counter popular medicine and includes teas, soups, tablets, herbal preparations, and tonics, which are similar to herb supplements used in some Western countries; and (c) TCM or Zhongyi, provided by trained Chinese herbalists, which incorporates a wide range of theories, therapies, and practices, some of which are medicinal, some physical, and some supernatural (Ma et al., 2008). Many Chinese people use all three types of treatment simultaneously.
In the West, the use of CAM is widespread among HIV-infected individuals. From 1980 to 1996, 27% to 100% of HIV-infected patients used CAM (Ernst, 1997), and the rates of CAM remained steady when compared with the era before highly active ART (Josephs et al., 2007). Some people living with HIV (PLWH) used CAM to replace the prescribed ART treatment regimen (Owen-Smith, Diclemente, & Wingood, 2007), while others used it as a complement to conventional HIV therapy (Hsiao et al., 2003).
A variety of factors influence an individual's decision to use CAM. In Western countries, women who were more educated and who had lived longer with HIV were more likely to use CAM (Owen-Smith et al., 2007). Pain was a strong predictor of CAM use, and increased pain over time was associated with the use of unlicensed or illicit underground drugs that held a potential for harm (Tsao et al., 2005). Overall, the most common source of information about CAM was from patients' friends (Wiwanitkit, 2003). Generally, CAM users perceived complementary therapies as useful, although there is no evidence to suggest that these treatments are particularly effective. CAM is generally perceived as “safe,” despite evidence of harmful interactions between some herbal medicines and medical treatments and the evidence of associated risks (Ma et al., 2007). Specifically, recent studies have shown that herbal medicines can interact with ART in such a way as to contribute to treatment failure (Ma et al., 2007). Physicians around the world, however, do not routinely discuss CAM therapies with PLWH, despite knowing that CAM therapies are widely used (Ma et al., 2008; Hsiao et al., 2003).
Studies have examined PLWH attitudes toward ART and CAM in different countries (Littlewood & Vanable, 2008). One study described nurses in Uganda using a traditional, nurse-prepared ointment on PLWH as an alternative medication for skin problems because they “know it works” (Hardon et al., 2008). CAM has also been used to treat the psychological and physical effects of illness and the side effects of ART (Kaufman & Gregory, 2007). Studies show, however, that many PLWH do not report CAM use to their medical providers (Hsiao et al., 2003). To date, there has been little research on CAM use in the Chinese PLWH population.
This qualitative study explored issues related to positive and negative attitudes toward both ART and CAM in Chinese PLWH in Beijing, China. The study was part of a larger project examining behavioral interventions meant to enhance ART adherence in PLWH in China (Chen et al., 2007; Starks et al., 2008). Semi-structured, in-depth, interviews were used to explore PLWHA attitudes, experiences, and perceptions about ART and CAM.
doi:10.1016/j.jana.2008.12.004
PMCID: PMC2684986  PMID: 19427598
2.  Disclosure of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use to Health Care Providers among HIV-Infected Women 
AIDS patient care and STDs  2009;23(11):965-971.
To determine prevalence and predictors of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use disclosure to health care providers and whether CAM use disclosure is associated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) adherence among HIV-infected women, we analyzed longitudinal data collected between October 1994 and March 2002 from HIV-infected CAM-using women enrolled in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. Repeated measures Poisson regression models were constructed to evaluate associations of selected predictors with CAM use disclosure and association between CAM use disclosure and HAART adherence. A total of 1377 HIV-infected women reported CAM use during study follow-up and contributed a total of 4689 CAM-using person visits. The overall prevalence of CAM use disclosure to health care providers was 36% across study visits. Women over 45 years old, with a college education, or with health insurance coverage were more likely to disclose their CAM use to health care providers, whereas women identified as non-Hispanic Black or other ethnicities were less likely to communicate their CAM usage. More health care provider visits, more CAM domains used, and higher health care satisfaction scores had significant relationships with increased levels of CAM use disclosure. Restricting analysis to use of herbal or nonherbal medications only, similar results were obtained. Compared to other CAM domains, mind–body practice had the lowest prevalence of CAM use disclosure. Additionally, CAM use disclosure was significantly associated with higher HAART adherence. From this study, we showed that a high percentage of HIV-infected women did not discuss their CAM use with health care providers. Interventions targeted towards both physicians and patients may enhance communication of CAM use, avoid potential adverse events and drug interactions, and enhance HAART adherence.
doi:10.1089/apc.2009.0134
PMCID: PMC2801553  PMID: 19821723
3.  Disclosure of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use to Health Care Providers among HIV-Infected Women 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2009;23(11):965-971.
Abstract
To determine prevalence and predictors of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use disclosure to health care providers and whether CAM use disclosure is associated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) adherence among HIV-infected women, we analyzed longitudinal data collected between October 1994 and March 2002 from HIV-infected CAM-using women enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIV Study. Repeated measures Poisson regression models were constructed to evaluate associations of selected predictors with CAM use disclosure and association between CAM use disclosure and HAART adherence. A total of 1377 HIV-infected women reported CAM use during study follow-up and contributed a total of 4689 CAM-using person visits. The overall prevalence of CAM use disclosure to health care providers was 36% across study visits. Women over 45 years old, with a college education, or with health insurance coverage were more likely to disclose their CAM use to health care providers, whereas women identified as non-Hispanic Black or other ethnicities were less likely to communicate their CAM usage. More health care provider visits, more CAM domains used, and higher health care satisfaction scores had significant relationships with increased levels of CAM use disclosure. Restricting analysis to use of herbal or nonherbal medications only, similar results were obtained. Compared to other CAM domains, mind–body practice had the lowest prevalence of CAM use disclosure. Additionally, CAM use disclosure was significantly associated with higher HAART adherence. From this study, we showed that a high percentage of HIV-infected women did not discuss their CAM use with health care providers. Interventions targeted towards both physicians and patients may enhance communication of CAM use, avoid potential adverse events and drug interactions, and enhance HAART adherence.
doi:10.1089/apc.2009.0134
PMCID: PMC2801553  PMID: 19821723
4.  Prevalence and Correlates of Postdiagnosis Initiation of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Among Patients at a Comprehensive Cancer Center 
Journal of Oncology Practice  2012;9(1):34-41.
Patients with cancer increasingly use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in conjunction with conventional oncology treatments. This study looks at the prevalence and correlates of individual CAM modalities initiated after cancer diagnosis.
Purpose:
Patients with cancer increasingly use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in conjunction with conventional oncology treatments. Previous studies have not investigated postdiagnosis initiation of CAM therapies or independent correlates of use of individual CAM modalities. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence and correlates of individual CAM modalities initiated after cancer diagnosis.
Methods:
A cross-sectional survey was conducted of a random sample of adults with a cancer diagnosis (N = 1,228) seeking care at a National Cancer Institute–designated comprehensive cancer center within a 12-month period.
Results:
The majority of patients were female (64.7%), white (86.9%), and married (72.8%).Three-quarters (75.2%) used at least one CAM modality, and 57.6% of those using CAM initiated use after cancer diagnosis. For all CAM therapies combined, women were 1.7 times more likely than men to initiate any CAM therapy after cancer diagnosis. However, when CAM modalities were differentiated by type, men and women were equally likely to initiate all therapies except for psychotherapy and mind-body approaches. Postdiagnosis initiation of every CAM modality, except mind-body therapies, differed by cancer type.
Conclusion:
A significant proportion of patients initiated CAM use after diagnosis. However, specific type of CAM initiated varied by demographics and cancer type, suggesting there is not a “typology” of CAM user. Optimal comprehensive cancer treatment, palliation, and survivorship care will require patient and provider education regarding CAM use by modality type; improved provider-patient communication regarding potential benefits, limitations, and risks; and institutional policies to support integrated conventional and CAM treatment.
doi:10.1200/JOP.2012.000634
PMCID: PMC3545661  PMID: 23633969
5.  The Effect of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy on the Survival of HIV-Infected Children in a Resource-Deprived Setting: A Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(6):e1001044.
This observational cohort study by Andrew Edmonds and colleagues reports that treatment with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) markedly improves the survival of HIV-infected children in Kinshasa, DRC, a resource-deprived setting.
Background
The effect of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) on the survival of HIV-infected children has not been well quantified. Because most pediatric HIV occurs in low- and middle-income countries, our objective was to provide a first estimate of this effect among children living in a resource-deprived setting.
Methods and Findings
Observational data from HAART-naïve children enrolled into an HIV care and treatment program in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, between December 2004 and May 2010 were analyzed. We used marginal structural models to estimate the effect of HAART on survival while accounting for time-dependent confounders affected by exposure. At the start of follow-up, the median age of the 790 children was 5.9 y, 528 (66.8%) had advanced or severe immunodeficiency, and 405 (51.3%) were in HIV clinical stage 3 or 4. The children were observed for a median of 31.2 mo and contributed a total of 2,089.8 person-years. Eighty children (10.1%) died, 619 (78.4%) initiated HAART, six (0.8%) transferred to a different care provider, and 76 (9.6%) were lost to follow-up. The mortality rate was 3.2 deaths per 100 person-years (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.4–4.2) during receipt of HAART and 6.0 deaths per 100 person-years (95% CI 4.1–8.6) during receipt of primary HIV care only. The mortality hazard ratio comparing HAART with no HAART from a marginal structural model was 0.25 (95% CI 0.06–0.95).
Conclusions
HAART reduced the hazard of mortality in HIV-infected children in Kinshasa by 75%, an estimate that is similar in magnitude but with lower precision than the reported effect of HAART on survival among children in the United States.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
In 2009, an estimated 2.5 million children were living with HIV, the majority of whom (2.3 million) were in sub-Saharan Africa. Most (90%) of these children acquired HIV from their HIV-infected mothers during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding, highlighting the importance of giving effective drugs for the prevention of mother to child transmission. As such interventions are still not widely accessible or available in most resource-limited countries, where the burden of HIV is highest, every day an estimated 1,000 children were newly infected with HIV in 2009, but only 360,000 children were receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
Although HAART improves the survival of adults living with HIV, less is known about the degree to which HAART affects the survival of HIV-infected children—although response to antiretroviral treatment is known to differ across age groups. Furthermore, as the course of HIV disease in children is different from that in adults (partly because of the impact of the virus on the immature thymus, which can lead to high HIV RNA viremia and rapid death), it is inappropriate to extrapolate results from studies of adults to pediatric populations. Therefore, it is imperative that the effect of HAART on survival be quantified specifically in children.
Why Was This Study Done?
Most observational studies of the effects of treatment on child survival have been undertaken in high-income countries, such as Italy and the United States. As most children with HIV live in low-resource areas, where multiple factors, such as delayed presentation to care and a higher incidence of co-occurring conditions, might adversely affect treatment outcomes, there is a specific need for information on the effects of HAART in children with HIV living in low-income countries. Although some investigations have taken place in pediatric cohorts from such countries (for example, Côte d'Ivoire, Haiti, Lesotho, Thailand, and Zambia), the effect of HAART on mortality has not been accurately quantified among children in a resource-deprived setting. Therefore, in this observational clinical cohort study, the researchers investigated the effect of HAART on mortality in HIV-infected children in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed data from 790 children enrolled into an HIV program in Kinshasa, DRC, between December 2004 and May 2010 and used a statistical model (marginal structural models) to adjust for time-dependent confounding factors, such as the fact that HAART is typically initiated in sicker patients, for example, those with lower CD4 cell percentages. Assuming that all children starting HAART received it uninterruptedly throughout follow-up, using this statistical model, the researchers were able to compare the hazard ratio of death had all children initiated HAART to that had no children initiated HAART during follow-up.
In the study, 619 out of the 790 children (78.4%) initiated HAART during follow-up and were followed for a median of 31.2 months, with a median of 30 HIV care visits. Of those who started treatment, 110 (17.8%) switched to an alternative regimen because of an adverse event or treatment failure. During the 2,089.8 accrued person-years of follow-up, 80 children (10.1%) died, giving an overall mortality rate of 3.8 deaths per 100 person-years. The unadjusted mortality rate ratio comparing HAART to no HAART was 0.54. Using a marginal structural model, the researchers estimated that compared to no HAART, HAART reduced the hazard (rate) of mortality during follow-up by 75%.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that treatment with HAART markedly improved the survival of children infected with HIV in Kinshasa, DRC, and suggest that HAART is as effective in improving the survival of HIV-infected children in a severely resource-deprived country (still recovering from civil war) as in more resource-privileged settings—an important finding given that the vast majority of children receiving HAART live in resource-poor areas. This study provides additional evidence that accelerating rollout of antiretroviral therapy to children with HIV in resource-poor countries is lifesaving and effective. Future research needs to address how effective HAART is in understudied populations in resource-poor countries, such as undernourished children or those with co-infections such as tuberculosis.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001044.
The World Health Organization's Web site has more information about the treatment of children living with HIV
Médecins Sans Frontières's Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines Web site has more information on pediatric HAART
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001044
PMCID: PMC3114869  PMID: 21695087
6.  Longitudinal Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine among Older Adults with Radiographic Knee Osteoarthritis 
Clinical therapeutics  2013;35(11):10.1016/j.clinthera.2013.09.022.
Background
Osteoarthritis (OA) accounts for more mobility issues in older adults than any other disease. OA is a chronic and often painful disease for which there is no cure. Cross-sectional studies have shown that older adults frequently use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and arthritis is the most common reason for CAM use. While previous research has profiled the sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of CAM users, few have provided information on variation in CAM use over time and most only considered use of any CAM, which was often a mixture of heterogeneous therapies.
Objectives
This study sought to describe the longitudinal patterns of CAM use among older adults with knee OA, and to identify correlates/predictors of different commonly-used CAM therapies.
Methods
The Osteoarthritis Initiative included 1,121 adults aged 65 years and above with radiographic tibiofemoral OA in one or both knees at baseline. Annual surveys captured current use of conventional therapies and 25 CAM modalities (grouped into 6 categories) for joint pain or arthritis at baseline and during the 4-year follow-up. We assessed longitudinal use of CAM modalities by summing the number of visits with participants reporting use of each modality. Correlates of CAM use under consideration included sociodemographic indicators, body mass index, overall measures of mental and physical wellbeing, and clinical indices of knee OA. Generalized estimation equations provided adjusted odds ratio estimates and 95% confidence intervals.
Results
Nearly one third of older adults reported using ≥ one CAM modality for treating OA at all assessments. With the exception of glucosamine and chondroitin (18%), few were persistent users of other CAM modalities. One in five of those using NSAIDs or glucosamine/chondroitin were using them concurrently. Adjusted models showed: 1) adults aged ≥75 years were less likely to use dietary supplements than those aged between 65 and 75 years; 2) persons with more severe knee pain or stiffness reported more CAM use; 3) better knee-related physical function was correlated with more use of chiropractic/massage; 4) older adults with more comorbidities were less likely to report use of dietary supplements.
Conclusion
Patterns of CAM use are, to some extent, inconsistent with current guidelines for OA treatment. Evaluating the potential risks and benefits in older adults from commonly-used CAM modalities, with or without combination use of conventional analgesics, is warranted.
doi:10.1016/j.clinthera.2013.09.022
PMCID: PMC3880574  PMID: 24145044
complementary and alternative medicine; osteoarthritis; pain; older adults
7.  Emergence of Drug Resistance Is Associated with an Increased Risk of Death among Patients First Starting HAART 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(9):e356.
Background
The impact of the emergence of drug-resistance mutations on mortality is not well characterized in antiretroviral-naïve patients first starting highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Patients may be able to sustain immunologic function with resistant virus, and there is limited evidence that reduced sensitivity to antiretrovirals leads to rapid disease progression or death. We undertook the present analysis to characterize the determinants of mortality in a prospective cohort study with a median of nearly 5 y of follow-up. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of the emergence of drug-resistance mutations on survival among persons initiating HAART.
Methods and Findings
Participants were antiretroviral therapy naïve at entry and initiated triple combination antiretroviral therapy between August 1, 1996, and September 30, 1999. Marginal structural modeling was used to address potential confounding between time-dependent variables in the Cox proportional hazard regression models. In this analysis resistance to any class of drug was considered as a binary time-dependent exposure to the risk of death, controlling for the effect of other time-dependent confounders. We also considered each separate class of mutation as a binary time-dependent exposure, while controlling for the presence/absence of other mutations. A total of 207 deaths were identified among 1,138 participants over the follow-up period, with an all cause mortality rate of 18.2%. Among the 679 patients with HIV-drug-resistance genotyping done before initiating HAART, HIV-drug resistance to any class was observed in 53 (7.8%) of the patients. During follow-up, HIV-drug resistance to any class was observed in 302 (26.5%) participants. Emergence of any resistance was associated with mortality (hazard ratio: 1.75 [95% confidence interval: 1.27, 2.43]). When we considered each class of resistance separately, persons who exhibited resistance to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors had the highest risk: mortality rates were 3.02 times higher (95% confidence interval: 1.99, 4.57) for these patients than for those who did not exhibit this type of resistance.
Conclusions
We demonstrated that emergence of resistance to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors was associated with a greater risk of subsequent death than was emergence of protease inhibitor resistance. Future research is needed to identify the particular subpopulations of men and women at greatest risk and to elucidate the impact of resistance over a longer follow-up period.
Emergence of resistance to both non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and protease inhibitors was associated with a higher risk of subsequent death, but the risk was greater in patients with NNRTI-resistant HIV.
Editors' Summary
Background.
In the 1980s, infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was effectively a death sentence. HIV causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) by replicating inside immune system cells and destroying them, which leaves infected individuals unable to fight off other viruses and bacteria. The first antiretroviral drugs were developed quickly, but it soon became clear that single antiretrovirals only transiently suppress HIV infection. HIV mutates (accumulates random changes to its genetic material) very rapidly and, although most of these changes (or mutations) are bad for the virus, by chance some make it drug resistant. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which was introduced in the mid-1990s, combines three or four antiretroviral drugs that act at different stages of the viral life cycle. For example, they inhibit the reverse transcriptase that the virus uses to replicate its genetic material, or the protease that is necessary to assemble new viruses. With HAART, the replication of any virus that develops resistance to one drug is inhibited by the other drugs in the mix. As a consequence, for many individuals with access to HAART, AIDS has become a chronic rather than a fatal disease. However, being on HAART requires patients to take several pills a day at specific times. In addition, the drugs in the HAART regimens often have side effects.
Why Was This Study Done?
Drug resistance still develops even with HAART, often because patients don't stick to the complicated regimens. The detection of resistance to one drug is usually the prompt to change a patient's drug regimen to head off possible treatment failure. Although most patients treated with HAART live for many years, some still die from AIDS. We don't know much about how the emergence of drug-resistance mutations affects mortality in patients who are starting antiretroviral therapy for the first time. In this study, the researchers looked at how the emergence of drug resistance affected survival in a group of HIV/AIDS patients in British Columbia, Canada. Here, everyone with HIV/AIDS has access to free medical attention, HAART, and laboratory monitoring, and full details of all HAART recipients are entered into a central reporting system.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers enrolled people who started antiretroviral therapy for the first time between August 1996 and September 1999 into the HAART Observational Medical Evaluation and Research (HOMER) cohort. They then excluded anyone who was infected with already drug-resistant HIV strains (based on the presence of drug-resistance mutations in viruses isolated from the patients) at the start of therapy. The remaining 1,138 patients were followed for an average of five years. All the patients received either two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and a protease inhibitor, or two nucleoside and one non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI). Nearly a fifth of the study participants died during the follow-up period. Most of these patients actually had drug-sensitive viruses, possibly because they had neglected taking their drugs to such an extent that there had been insufficient drug exposure to select for drug-resistant viruses. In a quarter of the patients, however, HIV strains resistant to one or more antiretroviral drugs emerged during the study (again judged by looking for mutations). Detailed statistical analyses indicated that the emergence of any drug resistance nearly doubled the risk of patients dying, and that people carrying viruses resistant to NNRTIs were three times as likely to die as those without resistance to this class of antiretroviral drug.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results provide new information about the emergence of drug-resistant HIV during HAART and possible effects on the long-term survival of patients. In particular, they suggest that clinicians should watch carefully for the emergence of resistance to NNRTIs in their patients. Because this type of resistance is often due to poor adherence to drug regimens, these results also suggest that increased efforts should be made to ensure that patients comply with the prescribed HAART regimens, especially those whose antiretroviral therapy includes NNRTIs. As with all studies in which a group of individuals who share a common characteristic are studied over time, it is possible that some other, unmeasured difference between the patients who died and those who didn't—rather than emerging drug resistance—is responsible for the observed differences in survival. Additional studies are needed to confirm the findings here, and to investigate whether specific subpopulations of patients are at particular risk of developing drug resistance and/or dying during HAART.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030356.
US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases fact sheet on HIV infection and AIDS
US Department of Health and Human Services information on AIDS, including details of approved drugs for the treatment of HIV infection
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information on HIV/AIDS
Aidsmap, information on HIV and AIDS provided by the charity NAM, which includes details on antiretroviral drugs
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030356
PMCID: PMC1569883  PMID: 16984218
8.  The use of complementary and alternative medicine by women experiencing menopausal symptoms in Bologna 
BMC Women's Health  2010;10:7.
Background
The present study describes Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) use amongst Italian women transitioning through menopause. Popularity and perceived effectiveness of CAM treatments, use of pharmaceutical medications, characteristics of CAM users, the extent of communication between medical practitioners and women about their use of CAM, and variables associated with CAM use were also investigated.
Methods
Women, aged 45-65 years attending Family Planning and Women's Health clinics or Menopause Centres in Bologna were invited to complete a voluntary, anonymous, self administered questionnaire, which was used in a previous study in Sydney. The questionnaire was translated and adapted for use amongst Italian women. Data on general demographic and health characteristics, menopause related symptoms and the use of CAM and pharmaceutical treatments during the previous 12 months were collected.
Results
In total, 1,203 women completed the survey, of which 1,106 were included in the final sample. Of women who had symptoms linked with menopause and/or used remedies to alleviate symptoms, 33.5% reported to have used CAM. Among these, 23.5% had consulted one or more practitioners and 24% had used at least one CAM product.
Approximately nine out of ten respondents reported medical practitioners did not seek information about their use of CAM; while one third of CAM users did not disclose the use of CAM to their physician. Nevertheless, medical practitioners were the most popular source of information. From the multivariate analysis, variables associated with CAM use were: professional employment, time since the last natural menses, use of CAM for conditions other than menopause, and presence of some severe symptoms.
Conclusions
The relatively high prevalence of CAM use by women transitioning through menopause should encourage research initiatives into determining which CAM treatments are the safest and effective. The increasing and likely concomitant use of CAM with HRT and other pharmaceuticals underlines the need for the implementation of a surveillance system to report and monitor possible drug-herb adverse events. The discrepancy between women preferring to seek information about CAM from their medical doctor and the difficulties noted in communication between doctor and patient should encourage educational initiatives on CAM by health-care agencies and institutions.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-10-7
PMCID: PMC2846842  PMID: 20187964
9.  The prevalence, patterns of usage and people's attitude towards complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among the Indian community in Chatsworth, South Africa 
Background
The purpose of this study was to determine, among the Indian community of Chatsworth, South Africa, the prevalence and utilisation patterns of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), attitudes associated with CAM use and communication patterns of CAM users with their primary care doctors.
Methods
Face-to-face structured interviews were conducted in Chatsworth, a suburb of Durban in which South Africans of Indian origin predominantly reside. Participants were 200 randomly selected adult English-speaking Indian residents.
Results
The prevalence of CAM usage for period 2000/2001 was 38.5% (95% confidence interval 31.7% to 45.6%). Spiritual healing and herbal/natural medicines, including vitamins were the most common types of CAM used, accounting for 42.8% and 48.1% respectively of overall CAM usage. People used CAM to treat conditions including diabetes mellitus, headaches, arthritis and joint pains, stress, skin disorders, backaches, hypertension and nasal disorders. Half of the CAM users used allopathic medicines concurrently. The cost of CAM utilization over this 1-year period, incurred by 80.5% of users for the duration of therapy for their most troublesome condition was below R500 (approximately US$50). Age, sex, marital status, religion, level of education and income were shown not to influence the use of CAM. Greater than half (51.9%) of CAM users did so either upon the advice of someone they knew, or after noticing a CAM advertisement in the local press. Seventy-nine percent of CAM users indicated that they had positive outcomes with their treatments. Fifty four percent of CAM users (excluding those using spiritual healing only) failed to inform their doctors that they used CAM. The main reason given by half of this group was that informing their doctors did not seem necessary.
Conclusion
The prevalence of CAM in Chatsworth is similar to findings in other parts of the world. Although CAM was used to treat many different ailments, this practice could not be attributed to any particular demographic profile. The majority of CAM users were satisfied with the effects of CAM. Findings support a need for greater integration of allopathic medicine and CAM, as well as improved communication between patients and caregivers regarding CAM usage.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-4-3
PMCID: PMC356921  PMID: 15018622
10.  The use of complementary and alternative medicines among patients with locally advanced breast cancer – a descriptive study 
BMC Cancer  2006;6:39.
Background
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use is common among cancer patients. This paper reviews the use of CAM in a series of patients with locally advanced breast cancer (LABC).
Methods
Women with LABC attending a specialist clinic at a single Canadian cancer centre were identified and approached. Participants completed a self-administered survey regarding CAM usage, beliefs associated with CAM usage, views of their risks of developing recurrent cancer and of dying of breast cancer. Responses were scored and compared between CAM users and non-users.
Results
Thirty-six patients were approached, 32 completed the questionnaire (response rate 89%). Forty-seven percent of LABC patients were identified as CAM users. CAM users were more likely to be younger, married, in a higher socioeconomic class and of Asian ethnicity than non-users. CAM users were likely to use multiple modalities simultaneously (median 4) with vitamins being the most popular (60%). Motivation for CAM therapy was described as, "assisting their body to heal" (75%), to 'boost the immune system' (56%) and to "give a feeling of control with respect to their treatment" (56%). CAM therapy was used concurrently with conventional treatment in 88% of cases, however, 12% of patients felt that CAM could replace their conventional therapy. Psychological evaluation suggests CAM users perceived their risk of dying of breast cancer was similar to that of the non-Cam group (33% vs. 35%), however the CAM group had less severe anxiety and depression.
Conclusion
The motivation, objectives and benefits of CAM therapy in a selected population of women with LABC are similar to those reported for women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. CAM users display less anxiety and depression and are less likely to believe they will die of their breast cancer. However the actual benefit to overall and disease free survival has yet to be demonstrated, as well as the possible interactions with conventional therapy. Consequently more research is needed in this ever-growing field.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-39
PMCID: PMC1475605  PMID: 16504038
11.  Use of complementary and alternative medicine by cancer patients at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria 
Background
The use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) by cancer patients is very common and varies between populations. The referenced English literature has no local study from Africa on this subject. This study was conducted to define the prevalence, pattern of use, and factors influencing the use of CAM by cancer patients at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu (UNTH-E), Nigeria
Method
Face-to-face interviews using semi-structured questionnaire were used to determine the use of CAM by cancer patients. All consenting cancer patients were interviewed as they presented at the core surgical units of the UNTH- E, from June 2003 to September 2005.
Results
160 patients were interviewed; 68 (42.5%) were males and 94 (57.5%) were females. Ages ranged from 13–86 years. Breast, urogenital system, gastrointestinal system, and soft tissue cancers predominated. One hundred and four patients (65.0%) have used CAM at some time during their current cancer illness; 56 (35.0%) patients have not used any form of CAM. There were more females than males among the non-CAM users. The use of CAM was not affected by age, marital status, level of education, religious affiliation, or socioeconomic status. The most frequently used CAMs were herbs (51.9%), faith/prayer healing (49.4%), aloe vera (23.1%), Forever Living Products (16.3%), medicinal tea (14.4%), and Blackstone (12.5%). Over 23% of those who used CAM were satisfied, but 68.3% were disappointed. Most users (67.3%) did not see any benefit from the CAM, but 25% could describe some specific benefits. More than 21% of users reported various unwanted effects. While 86.5% of CAM users will use orthodox medicine instead of CAM in the future, 9.6% will use the two together to help each other. Most users (79.8%) will not repeat CAM or recommend its use for cancer. The majority of patients (55.8%) did not mention their use of CAM to their doctors – mostly because the doctor did not ask.
Conclusion
CAM use is common among cancer patients in Nigeria. Most users do not obtain the expected benefits, and adverse events are not uncommon. Every clinician in the field of oncology should ask his/her patients about the use of CAM; this knowledge will enable them to better counsel the patients.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-7-28
PMCID: PMC2034592  PMID: 17850665
12.  Classification of CAM Use and its Correlates in Early Stage Breast Cancer Patients 
Integrative cancer therapies  2011;10(2):138-147.
Hypothesis
Self-reported use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has been shown to increase following a cancer diagnosis, and breast cancer survivors are the heaviest users among cancer survivors. The aim of this study was to determine whether the prevalence estimate of CAM use varied according to classification of CAM. We used a comprehensive system to classify CAM users and test differences in demographic, lifestyle, quality of life, and cancer characteristics among them.
Study Design and Methods
Participants were 2562 breast cancer survivors participating in the Women's Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) Study, aged 28-74 years. A structured telephone interview assessed CAM use, questioning about specific CAM practices, and whether use was related to cancer. We examined CAM use in relation to demographics, health behaviors, and quality of life.
Results
Approximately 80% of the women used CAM for general purposes but only 50% reported CAM use for cancer purposes. Visual imagery, spiritual healing, and meditation were the most frequently used practices for cancer purposes. CAM use, defined as consulting a CAM practitioner and regular use, was significantly related to younger age, higher education, increased fruit & vegetable intake, and lower body mass index (p < .05). CAM users who had seen a practitioner were also more likely to report poor physical and mental health than non-CAM users (p < .05). CAM use was not associated with changes in physical and mental health between study baseline and 1-year follow-up.
Conclusion
This study addressed important differences in the classification of CAM use among breast cancer survivors. Future studies need to further test the potential benefits and risks associated with CAM use.
doi:10.1177/1534735410392578
PMCID: PMC3126886  PMID: 21382963
13.  Injection drug use and patterns of highly active antiretroviral therapy use: an analysis of ALIVE, WIHS, and MACS cohorts 
Background
Sustained use of antiretroviral therapy has been consistently shown to be one of the primary predictors of long-term effectiveness. Switching and discontinuation reflect patient and provider decisions that may limit future treatment options. In this study, we utilize data reported at semi-annual study visits from three prospective cohort studies, the AIDS Link to IntraVenous Exposure (ALIVE), the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), and the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS), to investigate determinants of HAART modification with a particular focus on reported injection drug use (IDU).
Methods
Longitudinal data collected between 1996 and 2004 contributed from 2,266 participants (37% with a reported history of IDU) who reported initiating their first HAART regimen during follow-up were utilized. Separate proportional-hazards models were used to identify factors measured prior to HAART-initiation associated with the time to first HAART discontinuation and first switch of components of HAART among continuous HAART users.
Results
The use of PI- vs. NNRTI-based regimens among HAART users with and without any history of IDU was similar over follow-up. The median time to a first report of discontinuation of HAART was 1.1 years for individuals with a history of IDU but 2.5 years for those without a history of IDU and multivariate analyses confirmed overall that individuals with a history of IDU were at greater risk for HAART discontinuation (adj RH = 1.24, 95% CI: 1.03–1.48). However, when restricting to data contributed after 1999, there was no longer any significant increased risk (adj RH = 1.05, 95% CI: 0.81–1.36). After adjusting for pre-HAART health status and prior ARV exposure, individuals who were ethnic/racial minorities, reported an annual income < $10,000/year, and were not employed were at significantly greater risk for HAART discontinuation. The median time to a first change in HAART regimen was approximately 1.5 years after first HAART report and was not elevated among those with a history of IDU (adj RH = 1.09, 95% CI: 0.89–1.34).
Conclusion
Our analyses demonstrate that injection drug use by itself does not appear to be an independent risk factor for HAART switching or discontinuation in more recent years. However, as continued HAART use is of paramount importance for long-term control of HIV infection, efforts to improve maintenance to therapy among disadvantaged and minority populations remain greatly needed.
doi:10.1186/1742-6405-4-12
PMCID: PMC1892565  PMID: 17553140
14.  Antiretroviral Treatment and Prevention of Peripartum and Postnatal HIV Transmission in West Africa: Evaluation of a Two-Tiered Approach 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(8):e257.
Background
Highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) has only been recently recommended for HIV-infected pregnant women requiring treatment for their own health in resource-limited settings. However, there are few documented experiences from African countries. We evaluated the short-term (4 wk) and long-term (12 mo) effectiveness of a two-tiered strategy of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) in Africa: women meeting the eligibility criteria of the World Health Organization (WHO) received HAART, and women with less advanced HIV disease received short-course antiretroviral (scARV) PMTCT regimens.
Methods and Findings
The MTCT-Plus Initiative is a multi-country, family-centred HIV care and treatment program for pregnant and postpartum women and their families. Pregnant women enrolled in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire received either HAART for their own health or short-course antiretroviral (scARV) PMTCT regimens according to their clinical and immunological status. Plasma HIV-RNA viral load (VL) was measured to diagnose peripartum infection when infants were 4 wk of age, and HIV final status was documented either by rapid antibody testing when infants were aged ≥ 12 mo or by plasma VL earlier. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to estimate the rate of HIV transmission and HIV-free survival. Between August 2003 and June 2005, 107 women began HAART at a median of 30 wk of gestation, 102 of them with zidovudine (ZDV), lamivudine (3TC), and nevirapine (NVP) and they continued treatment postpartum; 143 other women received scARV for PMTCT, 103 of them with sc(ZDV+3TC) with single-dose NVP during labour. Most (75%) of the infants were breast-fed for a median of 5 mo. Overall, the rate of peripartum HIV transmission was 2.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.3%–4.2%) and the cumulative rate at 12 mo was 5.7% (95% CI 2.5%–9.0%). The overall probability of infant death or infection with HIV was 4.3% (95% CI 1.7%–7.0%) at age week 4 wk and 11.7% (95% CI 7.5%–15.9%) at 12 mo.
Conclusions
This two-tiered strategy appears to be safe and highly effective for short- and long-term PMTCT in resource-constrained settings. These results indicate a further benefit of access to HAART for pregnant women who need treatment for their own health.
In an observational cohort study from Côte d'Ivoire, François Dabis and colleagues report on prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission among women receiving antiretroviral therapy according to World Health Organization recommendations.
Editors' Summary
Background
Effective treatments are available to prevent AIDS in people who are infected with HIV, but not everyone with HIV needs to take medication. Usually, anti-HIV medication is recommended only for those whose immune systems have been significantly affected by the virus, as evidenced by symptoms or by the results of a blood test, the CD4 lymphocyte (“T cell”) count. Treating HIV usually requires a combination of three or more medications. These combinations (called HAART) must be taken every day, can cause complications, and can be expensive.
Worldwide, more than half a million children became infected with HIV each year. Most of these children acquire HIV from their mothers during pregnancy or around the time of birth. If a pregnant woman with HIV takes HAART, her chances of passing HIV to the baby are greatly reduced, but the possible side effects of HAART on the baby are not known. Also, most transmission of HIV from mothers to babies occurs in poor countries where supplies of HAART are limited. For these reasons, World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend that every pregnant woman receive HAART to prevent HIV transmission to the baby, unless the woman needs HAART for her own health (for example if her T cells are low or she has severe symptoms of HIV infection). For pregnant women with HIV who do not need to take HAART for their own health, less complicated treatments, involving a short course of one or two HIV drugs, can be used to reduce the risk of passing HIV to the baby.
Why Was This Study Done?
The WHO recommendations for HAART in pregnancy are based on the best available evidence, but it is important to know how well they work in actual practice. The authors of this study were providing HIV treatment to pregnant women with HIV in West Africa through an established clinic program in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, and wanted to see how well the WHO recommendations for HAART or short-course treatments, depending on the mother's condition, were working to protect babies from HIV infection.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers studied 250 HIV-infected pregnant women who received HIV medications in the Abidjan program between mid-2003 and mid-2005. In accordance with WHO guidelines, 107 women began HAART for their own health during pregnancy, and 143 women did not qualify for HAART but received other short course treatments (scARV) to prevent HIV transmission to their babies. The authors monitored mothers and babies for treatment side effects and tested the babies for HIV infection up to age 1 y.
They found that HAART was relatively safe during pregnancy, although babies born to women on HAART were more likely (26.3%) to have low birth weight than babies born to women who received scARV (12.4%). Also, 7.5% of women on HAART developed side effects requiring a change in their medications. Combining the results from HAART and scART groups, the chance of HIV transmission around the time of birth was 2.2%, increasing to 5.7% at age 1 y. (Three-quarters of the infants were breast-fed; safe water for mixing formula was not reliably available.) The study found no difference in risk of HIV infection between babies whose mothers received HAART and those whose mothers received scARV according to guidelines.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results support the safety and effectiveness of the WHO two-tiered approach for preventing mother-to-child transmission. This study was not designed to compare HAART to scART directly, because the women who received HAART were the ones with more advanced HIV infection, which might have affected their babies in many ways.
Compared to earlier pregnancy studies of HAART in rich countries, this study of the WHO approach in West Africa showed similar success in protecting infants from HIV infection around the time of birth. Unfortunately, because formula feeding was not generally available in resource-limited settings, protection declined over the first year of life with breast-feeding, but some protection remained.
This study confirms that close monitoring of pregnant women on HAART is necessary, so that drugs can be changed if side effects develop. The study does not tell us whether using scARV in pregnancy might change the virus in ways that would make it more difficult to treat the same women with HAART later if they needed it. The reason for low birth weight in some babies born to mothers on HAART is unclear. It may be because the women who needed HAART had more severe health problems from their HIV, or it may be a result of the HAART itself.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040257.
World Health Organization has a page on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV
“Women, Children, and HIV” is a resource site from the François Xavier Bagnoud Center and UCSF
The MTCT-Plus initiative at Columbia University supports the programs in Abidjan
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040257
PMCID: PMC1949842  PMID: 17713983
15.  Public-Health and Individual Approaches to Antiretroviral Therapy: Township South Africa and Switzerland Compared 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(7):e148.
Background
The provision of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in resource-limited settings follows a public health approach, which is characterised by a limited number of regimens and the standardisation of clinical and laboratory monitoring. In industrialized countries doctors prescribe from the full range of available antiretroviral drugs, supported by resistance testing and frequent laboratory monitoring. We compared virologic response, changes to first-line regimens, and mortality in HIV-infected patients starting HAART in South Africa and Switzerland.
Methods and Findings
We analysed data from the Swiss HIV Cohort Study and two HAART programmes in townships of Cape Town, South Africa. We included treatment-naïve patients aged 16 y or older who had started treatment with at least three drugs since 2001, and excluded intravenous drug users. Data from a total of 2,348 patients from South Africa and 1,016 patients from the Swiss HIV Cohort Study were analysed. Median baseline CD4+ T cell counts were 80 cells/μl in South Africa and 204 cells/μl in Switzerland. In South Africa, patients started with one of four first-line regimens, which was subsequently changed in 514 patients (22%). In Switzerland, 36 first-line regimens were used initially, and these were changed in 539 patients (53%). In most patients HIV-1 RNA was suppressed to 500 copies/ml or less within one year: 96% (95% confidence interval [CI] 95%–97%) in South Africa and 96% (94%–97%) in Switzerland, and 26% (22%–29%) and 27% (24%–31%), respectively, developed viral rebound within two years. Mortality was higher in South Africa than in Switzerland during the first months of HAART: adjusted hazard ratios were 5.90 (95% CI 1.81–19.2) during months 1–3 and 1.77 (0.90–3.50) during months 4–24.
Conclusions
Compared to the highly individualised approach in Switzerland, programmatic HAART in South Africa resulted in similar virologic outcomes, with relatively few changes to initial regimens. Further innovation and resources are required in South Africa to both achieve more timely access to HAART and improve the prognosis of patients who start HAART with advanced disease.
Comparing HIV treatment in Switzerland, where drug selection is individualized, and South Africa, where a programmatic approach is used, Matthias Egger and colleagues find similar virologic outcomes over two years.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) has killed more than 25 million people since the first reported case in 1981, and more than 30 million people are now infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. HIV destroys immune system cells (including CD4 cells, a type of lymphocyte), leaving infected individuals susceptible to other infections. Early in the AIDS epidemic, most HIV-infected people died within 10 years of becoming infected. Then, in 1996, highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)—a combination of several antiretroviral drugs—was developed. Now, in resource-rich countries, clinicians provide individually tailored care for HIV-infected people by prescribing combinations of antiretroviral drugs chosen from more than 20 approved medicines. The approach to treatment of HIV in developed countries typically also includes frequent monitoring of the amount of virus in patients' blood (viral load), viral resistance testing (to see whether any viruses are resistant to specific antiretroviral drugs), and regular CD4 cell counts (an indication of immune-system health). Since the implementation of these interventions, the health and life expectancy of people with HIV has improved dramatically in these countries.
Why Was This Study Done?
The history of HIV care in resource-poor countries has been very different. Initially, these countries could not afford to provide HAART for their populations. In 2003, however, governments, international agencies, and funding bodies began to implement plans to increase HAART coverage in developing countries. By December 2006, more than a quarter of the HIV-infected people in low- and middle-income countries who urgently needed treatment were receiving HAART. However, instead of individualized treatment, HAART programs in developing countries follow a public-health approach developed by the World Health Organization. That is, drug regimens, clinical decision-making, and clinical and laboratory monitoring are all standardized. This public-health approach takes into account the realities of under-resourced health systems, but is it as effective as the individualized approach? The researchers addressed this question by comparing virologic responses (the effect of treatment on the viral load), changes to first-line (initial) therapy, and deaths in patients receiving HAART in South Africa (public-health approach) and in Switzerland (individualized approach).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed data collected since 2001 from more than 2,000 patients enrolled in HAART programs in two townships (Gugulethu and Khayelitsha) in Cape Town, South Africa, and from more than 1,000 patients enrolled in the Swiss HIV Cohort Study, a nationwide study of HIV-infected people. The patients in South Africa, who had a lower starting CD4 cell count and were more likely to have advanced AIDS than the patients in Switzerland, started their treatment for HIV infection with one of four first-line therapies, and about a quarter changed to a second-line therapy during the study. By contrast, 36 first-line regimens were used in Switzerland and half the patients changed to a different regimen. Despite these differences, the viral load was greatly reduced within a year in virtually all the patients and viral rebound (an increased viral load after a low measurement) developed within 2 years in a quarter of the patients in both countries. However, more patients died in South Africa than in Switzerland, particularly during the first 3 months of therapy.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the public-health approach to HAART practiced in South Africa is as effective in terms of virologic outcomes as the individualized approach practiced in Switzerland. This is reassuring because it suggests that “antiretroviral anarchy” (the unregulated use of antiretroviral drugs, interruptions in drug supplies, and the lack of treatment monitoring), which is likely to lead to the emergence of viral resistance, is not happening in South Africa as some experts feared it might. Thus, these findings support the continued rollout of the public-health approach to HAART in resource-poor countries. Conversely, they also suggest that a more standardized approach to HAART could be taken in Switzerland (and in other industrialized countries) without compromising its effectiveness. Finally, the higher mortality in South Africa than in Switzerland, which partly reflects the many patients in South Africa in desperate need of HAART and their more advanced disease at the start of therapy, suggests that HIV-infected patients in South Africa and in other resource-limited countries would benefit from earlier initiation of therapy.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050148.
The World Health Organization provides information about universal access to HIV treatment (in several languages) and on its recommendations for a public-health approach to antiretroviral therapy for HIV infection
More details on the Swiss HIV Cohort Study and on the studies in Gugulethu and Khayelitsha are available
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS, including detailed information about antiretroviral therapy and links to treatment guidelines for various countries
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on HIV and AIDS around the world and on providing AIDS drug treatment for millions
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050148
PMCID: PMC2443185  PMID: 18613745
16.  Adult vaccination coverage levels among users of complementary/alternative medicine – results from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) 
Background
While many Complementary/Alternative Medicine (CAM) practitioners do not object to immunization, some discourage or even actively oppose vaccination among their patients. However, previous studies in this area have focused on childhood immunizations, and it is unknown whether and to what extent CAM practitioners may influence the vaccination behavior of their adult patients. The purpose of this study was to describe vaccination coverage levels of adults aged ≥ 18 years according to their CAM use status and determine if there is an association between CAM use and adult vaccination coverage.
Methods
Data from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey, limited to 30,617 adults that provided at least one valid answer to the CAM supplement, were analyzed. Receipt of influenza vaccine during the past 12 months, pneumococcal vaccine (ever), and ≥ 1 dose of hepatitis B vaccine was self-reported. Coverage levels for each vaccine by CAM use status were determined for adults who were considered high priority for vaccination because of the presence of a high risk condition and for non-priority adults. Multivariable analyses were conducted to evaluate the association between CAM users and vaccination status, adjusting for demographic and healthcare utilization characteristics.
Results
Overall, 36% were recent CAM users. Among priority adults, adjusted vaccination coverage levels were significantly different between recent and non-CAM users for influenza (44% vs 38%; p-value < 0.001) and pneumococcal (40% vs 33%; p-value < 0.001) vaccines but were not significantly different for hepatitis B (60% vs 56%; p-value = 0.36). Among non-priority adults, recent CAM users had significantly higher unadjusted and adjusted vaccination coverage levels compared to non-CAM users for all three vaccines (p-values < 0.001).
Conclusion
Vaccination coverage levels among recent CAM users were found to be higher than non-CAM users. Because CAM use has been increasing over time in the U.S., it is important to continue monitoring CAM use and its possible influence on receipt of immunizations among adults. Since adult vaccination coverage levels remain below Healthy People 2010 goals, it may be beneficial to work with CAM practitioners to promote adult vaccines as preventive services in keeping with their commitment to maintaining good health.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-8-6
PMCID: PMC2266896  PMID: 18294382
17.  Prayer-for-health and complementary alternative medicine use among Malaysian breast cancer patients during chemotherapy 
Background
The inclusion of prayer-for-health (PFH) in the definition of complementary alternative medicine (CAM) has resulted in higher levels of CAM use. The objective of this study was to assess PFH and CAM use among breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Methods
A cross-sectional study was performed at two chemotherapy providers. Patients were questioned about use of three categories of CAM, mind-body practices (MBPs), natural products (NPs) and traditional medicine (TM). PFH was also examined separately from CAM to better characterise the patterns of CAM and PFH used during chemotherapy.
Results
A total of 546 eligible patients participated in the study; 70.7% (n = 386) reported using some form of CAM, and 29.3% (n = 160) were non-CAM users. When PFH was excluded as a CAM, fewer patients reported the use of CAM (66.1%; n = 361). The total number of patients who used MBPs decreased from 342 to 183. The most common CAM use category was NPs (82.8%), followed by MBPs (50.7%), and TM (35.7%). CAM users were more likely to have a tertiary education (OR 2.11, 95% CI 1.15–3.89 vs. primary/lower), have household incomes > RM 3,000 (≈944 USD) per month (OR 2.32, 95% CI 1.40–3.84 vs. ≤RM 3,000 (≈944 USD)), and have advanced cancer (OR 1.75, 95% CI 1.18–2.59 vs. early stage cancer), compared with non-CAM users. The CAM users were less likely to have their chemotherapy on schedule (OR 0.24, 95% CI 0.10–0.58 vs. chemotherapy postponed) than non-CAM users. Most MBPs were perceived to be more helpful by their users, compared with the users of NPs and TM.
Conclusion
CAM use was prevalent among breast cancer patients. Excluding PFH from the definition of CAM reduced the prevalence of overall CAM use. Overall, CAM use was associated with higher education levels and household incomes, advanced cancer and lower chemotherapy schedule compliance. Many patients perceived MBP to be beneficial for improving overall well-being during chemotherapy. These findings, while preliminary, clearly indicate the differences in CAM use when PFH is included in, and excluded from, the definition of CAM.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-425) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-425
PMCID: PMC4230750  PMID: 25358688
Complementary alternative therapy; Prayer for health; Breast cancer; Chemotherapy
18.  Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among HIV+ People: Research Synthesis and Implications for HIV Care 
AIDS care  2008;20(8):1002-1018.
Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is prevalent among HIV+ individuals despite the success of antiretroviral treatments and limited evidence of CAM's safety and efficacy. To characterize the potential impact of CAM use on HIV care, we conducted a systematic review of 40 studies of CAM use among HIV+ people. The goals of this review are to: (a) describe the demographic, biomedical, psychosocial, and health behavior correlates of CAM use; (b) characterize patient-reported reasons for CAM use; and (c) identify methodological and conceptual limitations of the reviewed studies. Findings confirm that a high proportion of HIV+ individuals report CAM use (M = 60%). Overall, CAM use is more common among HIV+ individuals who are men who have sex with men (MSM), non-minority, better educated, and less impoverished. CAM use is also associated with greater HIV symptom severity and longer disease duration. HIV+ CAM users commonly report that they use CAM to prevent or alleviate HIV-related symptoms, reduce treatment side-effects, and improve quality of life. Findings regarding the association between CAM use, psychosocial adjustment, and adherence to conventional HIV medications are mixed. While the reviewed studies are instrumental in describing the characteristics of HIV+ CAM users, this literature lacks a conceptual framework to identify causal factors involved in the decision to use CAM or explain implications of CAM use for conventional HIV care. To address this concern, we propose the use of health behavior theory and discuss implications of review findings for HIV care providers.
doi:10.1080/09540120701767216
PMCID: PMC2570227  PMID: 18608078
19.  A Comparative Study of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Heterosexually and Lesbian Identified Women: Data from the ESTHER Project (Pittsburgh, PA, 2003–2006) 
Abstract
Objectives
The prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among women in the United States is high. Little is known about how CAM use may differ based on sexual orientation. Study aims were to measure the prevalence of CAM use in a community sample of women, explore differences in CAM use patterns by sexual orientation, and identify correlates of CAM use.
Design/subjects
Analyses were based on women (Total N = 879; n = 479 lesbians) enrolled in the Epidemiologic STudy of HEalth Risk in Women (ESTHER) Project, a cross-sectional heart-disease risk-factor study.
Settings/location
Data were collected through convenience sampling of adult females in Pittsburgh, PA (2003–2006).
Outcome measures
Main outcome measures included lifetime and past 12-month CAM use, and types of CAM modalities used in the past 12 months.
Results
The prevalence of having ever used CAM was 49.8%, with 42% having reported CAM use within the past 12 months. Lesbians had greater odds of having ever used CAM (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.68 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.23, 2.28]) and of having used CAM in the past 12 months (AOR = 1.44 [CI: 1.06, 1.97]) than heterosexuals. In multivariate analyses, correlates of lifetime and past 12-month CAM use included being lesbian, white, higher educated, and a large-city resident; experiencing perceived discrimination in a health care setting; and having a greater spirituality rating and a history of a diagnosed mental health disorder. Past 12-month CAM use was also associated with having a provider of usual health care. Among women who used CAM within the past 12 months, heterosexuals had significantly higher yoga participation rates than lesbians.
Conclusions
Sexual orientation is important in understanding lifetime and past 12-month CAM use. Because of the high prevalence of CAM use found in this study, medical practitioners should inquire about the CAM practices of female patients, particularly lesbians.
doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0444
PMCID: PMC3111143  PMID: 21058883
20.  Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Rheumatoid Arthritis: No Longer the Last Resort! 
HSS Journal  2009;6(1):108-111.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has become popular with consumers worldwide and accounts for significant private and public health expenditures. According to earlier reports, the prevalence of CAM use by rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients in the United States is anywhere between 28% and 90%. Extensive use among RA patients and the limited knowledge among physicians had confirmed the need to evaluate the increasing prevalence of various CAM modalities. The primary aim of this study was to identify the incidence of CAM usage among our RA patients. Additionally, we aimed to correlate patient demographics and disease characteristics with the use of specific CAM modalities. An analysis of data extracted from our institution’s RA longitudinal registry was performed. The patients were asked to select from a list the modalities they were currently using and/or had used in the past. Of patients, 75.9% reported current or past use of CAM with >10% using 12 different modalities. Nutritional supplements and touch therapies were the most widely used overall, with mind–body therapies more prevalent among younger patients. CAM users were found to have more extra-articular manifestations and fewer comorbidities than non-CAM users. The use of CAM among RA patients is widespread with a broad spectrum of CAM modalities being used in early stages of the disease, frequently in conjunction with mainstream conventional treatments. Therefore, CAM may no longer be considered the rheumatoid patients’ last resort.
doi:10.1007/s11420-009-9133-8
PMCID: PMC2821492  PMID: 19784703
complementary and alternative medicine; CAM; alternative therapy; rheumatoid arthritis
21.  The use of complementary and alternative medicine products in preceding two days among Finnish parents - a population survey 
Background
The use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) has been extensively studied globally among adult and paediatric populations. Parents, as a group, had not been studied to assess their knowledge and attitude to CAM and general medicine use. This study is necessary since parents' attitude to medicine use is known to influence their child's attitude to medicine use later in life. We therefore aim to assess the extent and types of CAM use among Finnish parents, and to determine the factors that promote the CAM use. Also, we aim to determine parents' attitude to general medicine use.
Methods
Children less than 12 years old, as of spring 2007, were identified from the database of the Finnish Population Register Centre and were selected by random sampling. The parents of these children were identified and a questionnaire was sent to them. Only the parent who regularly takes care of the child's medicine was requested to fill the questionnaire. Cross-tabulations and Chi-square test were used to determine the associations between categorical variables. CAMs were defined as natural products that are not registered as medicines, such as homeopathic preparations, dietary food supplements, and traditional medicinal products.
Results
The response rate of the survey was 67% (n = 4032). The use of CAM was 31% in the preceding two days. The most commonly used CAM products were vitamins and minerals, followed by fish oils and fatty acids. Prescription and OTC medicines were used concomitantly with CAM by one-third of the parents. CAM was frequently used by parents over 30 years (33%), female parents (32%), highly educated parents (35%), and parents with high monthly net income (3000-3999 euros, 34%). The users of CAM had more negative attitudes towards medicines than non-users of CAM.
Conclusions
Our findings are in accordance with those of previous studies that women over 30 years of age with a high education and income typically use CAMs. Finnish parents seem to use CAMs as complementary rather than alternative to medicines. Health care professionals should take into consideration both the concomitant use as well as the negative attitudes among CAM users in encounters with the parents.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-11-107
PMCID: PMC3234193  PMID: 22053865
22.  Health care utilization among complementary and alternative medicine users in a large military cohort 
Background
Complementary and Alternative Medicine use and how it impacts health care utilization in the United States Military is not well documented. Using data from the Millennium Cohort Study we describe the characteristics of CAM users in a large military population and document their health care needs over a 12-month period. The aim of this study was to determine if CAM users are requiring more physician-based medical services than users of conventional medicine.
Methods
Inpatient and outpatient medical services were documented over a 12-month period for 44,287 participants from the Millennium Cohort Study. Equal access to medical services was available to anyone needing medical care during this study period. The number and types of medical visits were compared between CAM and non-CAM users. Chi square test and multivariable logistic regression was applied for the analysis.
Results
Of the 44,287 participants, 39% reported using at least one CAM therapy, and 61% reported not using any CAM therapies. Those individuals reporting CAM use accounted for 45.1% of outpatient care and 44.8% of inpatient care. Individuals reporting one or more health conditions were 15% more likely to report CAM use than non-CAM users and 19% more likely to report CAM use if reporting one or more health symptoms compared to non-CAM users. The unadjusted odds ratio for hospitalizations in CAM users compared to non-CAM users was 1.29 (95% CI: 1.16-1.43). The mean number of days receiving outpatient care for CAM users was 7.0 days and 5.9 days for non-CAM users (p < 0.001).
Conclusions
Our study found those who report CAM use were requiring more physician-based medical services than users of conventional medicine. This appears to be primarily the result of an increase in the number of health conditions and symptoms reported by CAM users.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-11-27
PMCID: PMC3083384  PMID: 21481260
23.  Patient-Centered Research 
PURPOSE
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) can be defined as medical practices not taught widely at US medical schools or generally available at US hospitals. National studies suggest that between 30–40% of the general US population use CAM. These users tend to be more educated, have higher incomes, and are more likely to be between the ages of 30–49. However, to date, no study has documented the use of CAM among the homebound population, patients who are usually elderly, debilitated, and have less access to medical care. We studied the use of alternative therapies in homebound patients of the Mount Sinai Visiting Doctors Program serving the inner city of New York.
METHODS
Eligibility for the study was limited to patients who are in the Visiting Doctors Program, and whose mini-mental status exam score was greater than 20 or who were deemed competent to complete the survey by their primary care provider. Participant's CAM use was assessed by a survey administered by an interviewer at the patient's home.
RESULTS
Forty-nine consecutive, eligible patients were interviewed and a survey completed. Among the respondents, 84% were women, the mean age was 78.6 (STD = 14.1). Respondents were 51% Caucasian, 27% African-American, 14% Hispanic and 8% other. On rating their own health, 69% rated it as poor to fair, 22% rated it as good, and 8% rated it as very good to excellent. Sixty-nine percent of the respondents reported using one or more CAM in the past 12 months. Commonly used CAM included: vitamins/minerals (33%) [excluding MVI, calcium], spiritual healing (27%), and herbal remedies (20%). Spiritual healing included prayer and faith healing. The most common herbal remedies were garlic, ginger, and chamomile tea. Among CAM users, their main sources of information about CAM came from their own physicians (32%), family/friends/co-workers (18%), and newspaper/radio/TV (18%).
CONCLUSION
The use of CAM in this elderly, debilitated, homebound population was significantly higher than that of the general population. It is especially important for physicians who care for homebound patients to be aware of and discuss the use of CAM. Clinicians can then better understand any potential associated health consequences and help their patients make informed decisions about their CAM use.
doi:10.1046/j.1525-1497.2000.15200-11.x
PMCID: PMC1495736
24.  Mapping patterns of complementary and alternative medicine use in cancer: An explorative cross-sectional study of individuals with reported positive "exceptional" experiences 
Background
While the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among cancer patients is common and widespread, levels of commitment to CAM vary. "Committed" CAM use is important to investigate, as it may be associated with elevated risks and benefits, and may affect use of biomedically-oriented health care (BHC). Multiple methodological approaches were used to explore and map patterns of CAM use among individuals postulated to be committed users, voluntarily reporting exceptional experiences associated with CAM use after cancer diagnosis.
Method
The verbatim transcripts of thirty-eight unstructured interviews were analyzed in two steps. First, manifest content analysis was used to elucidate and map participants' use of CAM, based on the National Center for Complementary Medicine (NCCAM)'s classification system. Second, patterns of CAM use were explored statistically using principal component analysis.
Findings
The 38 participants reported using a total of 274 specific CAM (median = 4) consisting of 148 different therapeutic modalities. Most reported therapies could be categorized using the NCCAM taxonomy (n = 224). However, a significant number of CAM therapies were not consistent with this categorization (n = 50); consequently, we introduced two additional categories: Spiritual/health literature and Treatment centers. The two factors explaining the largest proportion of variation in CAM usage patterns were a) number of CAM modalities used and b) a category preference for Energy therapies over the categories Alternative Medical Systems and Treatment centers or vice versa.
Discussion
We found considerable heterogeneity in patterns of CAM use. By analyzing users' own descriptions of CAM in relation to the most commonly used predefined professional taxonomy, this study highlights discrepancies between user and professional conceptualizations of CAM not previously addressed. Beyond variations in users' reports of CAM, our findings indicate some patterns in CAM usage related to number of therapies used and preference for different CAM categories.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-8-48
PMCID: PMC2538498  PMID: 18691393
25.  Socioeconomic Factors and Women's Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Four Racial/Ethnic Groups 
Ethnicity & disease  2008;18(1):65-71.
Objective
Higher socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in national surveys. Less is known about how socioeconomic factors affect CAM use in US subpopulations. We examined whether the relationship between SES and CAM use differs by racial/ethnic groups.
Methods
Using national survey data, we assessed education and income effects on women's CAM use in four racial/ethnic groups (Whites, Blacks, Mexican Americans, and Chinese Americans), controlling for age, health status, and geographic region. CAM use was defined as using any of 11 domains in the prior year.
Results
Adjusted effects of SES on CAM use were similar among Mexican American and non-Hispanic White women—education had a distinct gradient effect, with each increasing level of education significantly more likely to use CAM; household income ≥$60,000 was associated with CAM use compared to income <$20,000. For Chinese American women, socioeconomic factors were not associated with CAM use when controlling for confounders. Although income was not associated with CAM use among African American women, college graduates were three times more likely to use CAM than those with less than a high school education, adjusting for confounders.
Conclusion
SES effects on CAM use are not uniform across racial/ethnic populations. Other factors, such as culture and social networks, may interact with SES to influence CAM use in minority populations.
PMCID: PMC4160874  PMID: 18447102
Alternative Medicines; Complementary Medicine; Race; Ethnicity; Socioeconomic Status

Results 1-25 (1131278)