African Health Sciences
Makerere University Medical School
Vol. 16, No. 4, 2016, pp. 1118-1130
Bioline Code: hs16144
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge
African Health Sciences, Vol. 16, No. 4, 2016, pp. 1118-1130
© Copyright 2016 - African Health Sciences
Concurrent use of Antiretroviral and African traditional medicines amongst people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWA) in the eThekwini Metropolitan area of KwaZulu Natal|
Sibanda, Mncengeli; Nlooto, Manimbulu M. & Panjasaram, Naidoo
Background: People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWA) often use African Traditional Medicines (ATM) either alone or in combination
with Western medicines including Antiretrovirals (ARV).
Objective: To explore the prevalence of concurrent Antiretrovirals (ARV) and African Traditional medicines (ATM) use and
determine the effects of any concurrent use on the CD4+ Lymphocyte count and Viral Load (VL) of PLWA in the eThekwini
Methods: A descriptive and exploratory study was carried out on 360 patients. Information was gathered on patients socioeconomic
characteristics, ATM usage, outcome measures of HIV disease progression (CD4+ Count, VL). The data was analysed
using descriptive statistics, univariate and multivariate analyses.
Results: 4.98% (14/281) of the patients used ATM and ARV concurrently during the study period. Over 65% (185/281) reported
ATM use before diagnosis with HIV whilst 77.6% (218/281) reported previous ATM use after their HIV diagnosis but
before initiation with ARV. Place of residence (p=0.004), age (p<0.001) and education level (P=0.041) were found to be significantly
and positively correlated with ATM use. There were no statistically significant changes in mean plasma CD4+ Count and
inconclusive effects on VL during the period of the study in the group taking ARV alone when compared with the group using
ARV and ATM concomitantly.
Conclusion: Concurrent ARV and ATM use is quite low (4.98%) when compared to ATM use before HIV diagnosis and after
HIV diagnosis but before initiation with ARV. This may point to efficient pre-counselling efforts before ARV initiation by health
care professionals. This study also demonstrated that there were no significant differences in the CD4+ and inconclusive effects
on VL, between patients taking both ARV and ATM concomitantly and those using ARV alone.
African traditional medicines; AIDS; ARV; complimentary medicines; Drug-Herb interactions; Herbal medicine; HIV; Indigenous medicine; Medical Pluralism; South Africa.