Complementary medicine use by people living with HIV in Australia – a national survey

Lesley A Braun, Catherine A Forrester, Matthew DM Rawlins, Russell W Levy, Jonathan Penm, Marissa M Graham, Kathryn F Mackie, Sohileh Aran, Sylvia Bridle, Michael J Bailey, Alison J Duncan

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Little is known about the use of complementary medicines by people living with HIV in Australia since the advent of more effective combination antiretroviral therapy. We conducted an anonymous survey of 1211 adult patients receiving combination antiretroviral therapy from one of eight specialist HIV clinics across Australia, aiming to identify the current patterns of use of ingestible complementary medicines. Data collected included reasons for use, information sources and rates of disclosure of use of complementary medicines to medical practitioners and pharmacists. Ingestible complementary medicine was used by up to 53% of the 1037 patients returning a survey. Complementary medicine was commonly used for general health, to boost immune function and, to a lesser extent, to address co-morbidities. Disclosure of complementary medicines use to doctors was far higher than to pharmacists. Given the potential for interactions, pharmacists should be more aware of patients’ complementary medicines use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-38
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of STD and AIDS
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • AIDS
  • antiretroviral therapy
  • antiviral
  • Australia
  • complementary medicines
  • drug-drug interaction
  • HIV
  • treatment

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