Complementary medicine use among people living with HIV/AIDS in Victoria, Australia: practices, attitudes and perceptions
There is limited evidence suggesting the underlying reasons for the use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) by people with HIV/AIDS, or individual attitudes and beliefs about the use of CAMs. Using focus groups and a survey with 151 individuals attending the HIV Clinics at The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, we aimed to provide insights into factors that influence the use of CAMs among people living with HIV/AIDS. Roughly half (49%) of the participants had used CAMs to manage their HIV/AIDs. Users of CAMs utilized a wide range of treatments in managing their condition, but costs of the CAMs meant that users were not necessarily able to use them as much as they might have liked. Use of CAMs was based on a desire to find something beneficial rather than on being dissatisfied with conventional medicine. Further research is needed into (a) the effects of CAMs and (b) the enhancement of communication and collaboration between patients, doctors and complementary medicine practitioners.