In India, majority of the people with HIV infection cannot afford or have access to the allopathic medicines recommended for treatment of HIV infection. A large number of people therefore seek treatment from practitioners of Indian systems of medicine or traditional healers. There have been several reports of successful treatment of HIV infection by a few practitioners of the Indian systems of medicine such as Ayurveda and Siddha.
Although most of these claims have not yet been proven, the Government of India has been supporting studies to test some 114 of these medicines. There have been some initial success with some Ayurvedic and Siddha medicines (for example Immu-21) but further research is needed for definite indication on their effectiveness.
It is important that people with HIV infection do not seek treatment from unverified sources or traditional practitioners who promise them a definite cure. If specific treatment from Indian systems of medicine is preferred, it should be taken from a major government hospital where they are being studied scientifically. Also, seeking treatment from a major hospital will help detect opportunistic infections at the earliest and start appropriate treatment.
The key to effective treatment for HIV infection is early detection and intervention. This is because early treatment helps strengthen the immune system, reduces stress and allows lifestyle changes such as eating a well-balanced nutritious diet.
Complimentary systems such as Ayurveda, Homoeopathy, Unani, Nature Cure and Yoga can help reduce stress and maintain health. Several medicines recommended in these systems are believed to strengthen the immune system. Thus, even if the HIV infection cannot be cured, it can be controlled by making the immune system stronger and preventing opportunistic infections.

Before treatment is started from a practitioner of Indian systems of medicine, it is desirable that objective information about the therapy is obtained.
In addition to talking to the medical practitioner promoting the treatment, it is important to talk to people who have been treated by the same practitioner in the past, especially a few months or years before. Information on the advantages, disadvantages, side-effects and associated risks should be collected from all the available sources.
Extracts of some herbs used in Ayurveda and Nature Cure that are known to strengthen the body’s natural defence mechanism are available as capsules or tablets. These include among others, aloe vera, liquorice, ginseng, St. Johnswort, etc. While the effectiveness of these herbs on the HIV infection is not yet known, they can help improve general health.
Severe stress is common among people with HIV infection. They are often isolated from the family and community and are not given the necessary care. Regular exercises in  consultation  with  the   medical practitioner, yoga, meditation, etc. can reduce stress levels and improve the quality of life. The exercise routine needs to be started in consultation with a medical practitioner.

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