HIV can be treated, but never cured or eliminated from the body. Standard treatment for HIV is the use of antiretroviral treatments (called ART), and this has proven to be the most effective in controlling HIV. There are complementary or alternative therapies as well. Researching the best options for your health, beliefs and lifestyle is important. Committing to a routine may mean taking it for the rest of your life.
Complementary therapies can be used at the same time you are on HIV antiretrovirals. They could affect how ART works, so always check with your doctor. If you are not in a position to take antiretrovirals (for any number of reasons), you may be interested in alternative therapies. They cannot control HIV like ART, but they could help you feel a little better. No matter what the type of therapy you’re exploring, here a few things to keep in mind:
General categories of complementary and alternative therapies include:
Finding the best therapy can take a few trials and errors. Many women use these tools:
All of these practices can help you feel better. Making changes in your life to include time or money for these things can be hard, but even one step at a time can help.
For detailed information about different kinds of complementary therapies, CATIE has some great guides.