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

J. S. Josephs, J. A. Fleishman, P. Gaist, Kelly A. Gebo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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 (525) 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-305
Number of pages6
JournalHIV Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Alternative therapy
  • Complementary therapy
  • HIV Research Network
  • Highly active antiretroviral therapy
  • Illicit drug use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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