HIV is one of the greatest challenges that humanity has ever faced. Since the first case in the 1970s, the HIV disease has been on the rise. At first, the disease was thought to be synonymous with death because there was no cure. The conversion of HIV into AIDS is a reality, thanks to the evolution of healthcare delivery systems and newer drugs. The problem is still huge, as there are new cases added every day, and treatment options are expensive. The cost of palliative treatment in hospitals is double that of daycare centers or home care, according to studies. HIV is not tolerant of any economic or social status due to its routes of infection. HIV is not just a physical illness; it also brings with it the taboo that causes social stigma and stress. The stigma and discrimination persist even though HIV symptoms are reduced and CD4 counts increase after ART treatment for one year. Patients suffer from depression (2). Families are in a state of despair. The quality of life for HIV patients in any country is poor.
HIV patients who are undergoing treatment experience a lower quality of life, both physically and mentally, than non-HIV patients. HIV patients with advanced disease, as defined by WHO and CD4 counts, have a lower quality of life than HIV patients at an earlier stage.
HIV infection is now a chronic disease due to the availability of powerful antiretroviral drugs. Many agents that manage HIV are associated with nausea and vomiting, which can make it difficult to adhere to treatment and maintain quality of life.
Some studies show the safety risks and possible drug interactions associated with ART are often ignored.
HIV/AIDS PATIENTS USE COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATE MEDICINE (CAM).
There is a growing trend of HIV AIDS patients using complementary and alternative medicine to improve their quality of life. Still, the decisions made about using this type of medicine with highly active antiretroviral treatment are often not well-informed. Patients should consult a healthcare professional prior to using CAM. This is especially true for CAM that uses drugs, herbal remedies, etc., as these may cause adverse drug reactions when used with an ART regimen. A review shows that Ayush systems are increasingly used in India to treat HIV, mainly Ayurveda. Although there is very little research to support this, the studies have reported positive results and even a “cure” and reversal of HIV infection. (M Fritts et al; AIDS Res Ther. 2008; 5: 25.)
NATUROPATHY: THE ROLE
Naturopathy is a drugless lifestyle-based intervention that can be used to improve the Quality of Life of HIV and AIDS patients. If the QoL of the patient is low, HIV can quickly turn into AIDS. A good QoL can help prevent or delay the conversion of HIV into active AIDS.
Simple treatments using the elements of Nature – Earth, Water, and Air – will aid in the process and build immunity. The use of mud packs on the abdomen can help improve the digestive system.
Dietary Measures: Their Role
The theory of toxemia and the theory of vitality are fundamental in naturopathy. When the blood is cleansed by therapeutic fasting or raw juices, the toxins in the system are removed, and no infection can flourish. Wheatgrass juice and other green drinks can purify blood. Eating natural foods and living in a natural, fresh environment will help to build your immunity. These foods help to keep the blood alkaline. Raw fruits, salads, and vegetables are rich in vitamins B, C, and K, which are essential for maintaining the immune system.
YOGA THERAPY: WHAT IS IT?
By working with the Mind Body Complex, Yoga is a great tool for boosting immunity. Also, it helps manage stress caused by illness. HIV and mental illness are closely related. Many HIV/AIDS patients feel hopeless, stigmatized, and marginalized. (6) Research also shows that HIV-positive men have more depression.
Yoga patients showed significant improvements in their psychological health, as measured by anxiety, depression, and distress.
HIV patients also have other health issues, such as Diabetes, hypertension, and cardiac disorders. Yoga techniques such as Asanas and Pranayama can be used to treat these disorders. According to a study, the resting diastolic and systolic blood tensions were lower in the yoga group than in those who did not practice Yoga. The same survey states that Yoga has no negative effect on the immune and viral status of patients.
HIV-positive individuals should exercise. Aerobic exercise has been shown to increase CD4 counts in scientific studies. However, intense exercise can be immunosuppressive and should be avoided. (10) Yoga, a moderate aerobic activity, can be used to improve the immune systems of HIV-infected patients.
This evidence shows that Naturopathy and Yoga can be used to improve and maintain the quality of HIV/AIDS patients’ lives. Holistic, lifestyle-based approaches will help patients overcome stress, comorbidities like depression and anxiety, and organic diseases such as Diabetes, Hypertension, and others.