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Research Funding:

This project was supported by grant number F31AT004553 from the National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine.


  • African-American
  • Complementary and alternative medicine

Prevalence and predictors of complementary and alternative medicine use in African-Americans with acquired immune deficiency syndrome


Journal Title:

Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies


Volume 17, Number 1


, Pages 33-42

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Background The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-positive individuals is becoming increasingly widespread. Unfortunately, some CAM therapies may jeopardize the efficacy of conventional HIV medication, making it critical to understand CAM use among this population. Objective To investigate the prevalence and predictors of CAM use in a theory-driven, multidimensional manner. Methods African-American individuals who had received a diagnosis of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) were recruited. The computer-administered survey asked questions about participants’ CAM use and various psychosocial and socio-demographic characteristics. Participants’ most recent CD4+ cell counts and HIV RNA levels were abstracted from medical records. Linear regression analyses, adjusted for potential confounders, were conducted to assess the independent contribution of various factors in explaining frequency of CAM use. Results One hundred and eighty two subjects participated in the survey. Results indicate that most (94%) participants used at least one type of CAM therapy. The majority of participants (79.7%) used CAM therapies as a complement (rather than an alternative) to their HIV medications though half had not discussed these therapies with their healthcare providers. Female sex, high yearly income, high health literacy and high HIV RNA levels were associated with a greater frequency of CAM use, while stronger emotional well-being was associated with a lower frequency of CAM use. Conclusions The implications of these findings are discussed and suggestions for future research are provided.

Copyright information:

© 2012 The Authors. FACT © 2012 Royal Pharmaceutical Society

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