Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks white blood cells in the body known as CD4 cells, which help your body fight off infections. This reduces your immune system strength and causes you to be more susceptible to other infections and diseases.
HIV is spread through bodily fluids and, if left untreated, can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). This is the late stage of HIV infection that occurs when the body’s immune system is badly damaged by the virus.
Unfortunately, there’s no known cure for HIV. However, conventional therapies can help you live a long and healthy life, while alternative therapies can help ease symptoms of HIV and improve the common side effects of conventional therapies.
In fact, over 70% of people with HIV in the United States have tried alternative treatments, while many use them regularly.
Symptoms and Side Effects of HIV Treatments
While traditional HIV therapy can improve the longevity and quality of life when living with HIV, staying on these antiviral drugs can be difficult due to side effects.
Common side effects include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Kidney and liver damage
- High blood sugar
- Abnormal cholesterol levels
- Heart disease
- Bone loss
- Cognitive problems
- Emotional problems
- Sleep problems
Natural Treatments and Remedies for HIV/AIDS
HIV treatments have progressed significantly in the last few decades. However, they’re still far from perfect. While there’s no evidence that natural treatments for HIV can cure or stop the progression of HIV, using them alongside antiviral therapy may help reduce symptoms and side effects.
1. Medical Cannabis
HIV/AIDS is commonly considered a qualifying medical condition for medical cannabis. Studies show it can be used to reduce nausea, increase appetite, and reduce pain in people taking antiviral medications, which are known to upset the stomach. Medical cannabis may also help relax the mind and body to reduce emotional problems and sleep problems.
If you’re interested in medical cannabis for the natural treatment of HIV treatment side effects, book an appointment with Heally. We will connect you with a licensed cannabis-friendly doctor in your state to begin the application process for a medical marijuana card.
While some supplements can offer natural relief of symptoms and side effects, others are not recommended for people living with HIV/AIDS due to an interaction with antiviral medications. Always talk to your doctor before taking supplements.
Supplements that may be useful include:
- Calcium and vitamin D reduce bone weakening and bone loss
- Fish oil to maintain stable cholesterol levels
- Selenium may slow the progression of HIV
- Whey protein can help you gain weight and reduce diarrhea
Supplements to avoid include garlic, ginseng, echinacea, and St. John’s Wort as they can make your HIV treatments less effective.
3. Mind/Body Practices
Living with HIV can be stressful and tough on the mind and body. It can make you more susceptible to mental health issues like anxiety and depression. That’s why mind-body practices are recommended alternative therapies to reduce stress and anxiety, improve health, and improve quality of life.
- Tai Chi
4. Healthy Foods
The upset stomach and other side effects that come from taking antiviral medications can make it difficult for you to get the nutrients you need and gain weight. Eating healthy foods is therefore critical to supporting your physical health. Eating a healthy diet can also help support your immune system and give you more energy.
Healthy foods to eat include:
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Lean proteins
It’s also a good idea to reduce your risk of foodborne illnesses since they can be more severe in people with HIV. To reduce your risk, avoid unpasteurized dairy products, as well as raw meat, seafood, and eggs.
5. Telehealth Therapy
Coping with the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness can be devastating. It can be difficult to face the emotional and social consequences of HIV/AIDS.
Telehealth therapy can help you work through your thoughts and emotions to better cope with your new reality. Telehealth therapy is available to enable you to receive the therapy you need from the comfort of your own home.
Whether you’re interested in getting a medical marijuana card, learning more about natural remedies for HIV/AIDS, or booking an appointment for telehealth therapy, contact Heally today. Our online doctors are here to help.