AIDS and Traditional Chinese Medicine

December 1st marks World AIDS Day. The impact of the epidemic hits close to home. According to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, 18,107 San Franciscans have died from AIDS since 1981, and 18,679 are currently living with HIV/AIDS in the city. While new drug therapies make living longer and healthier more feasible for people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, debilitating illness still causes a huge struggle for many.

Though there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) Community Clinic has been treating the symptoms of individuals with HIV/AIDS for almost two decades. In early 1990’s, ACTCM was granted Ryan White Funding by the city of San Francisco to treat the HIV/AIDS population with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. In addition to its on-site Community Clinic, ACTCM also provides services to individuals with HIV/AIDS at the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic several days per week.

Though acupuncture cannot cure HIV, it can offer relief from symptoms. Acupuncture has been cited by the World Health Organization to treat over 43 conditions, including such HIV symptoms as headache, fatigue, aching muscles, sore throat, swollen lymph glands, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

Traditional Chinese Medicine, which encompasses acupuncture and Chinese herbs, has been used to treat AIDS conditions since the beginning of the 1980’s. Acupuncture raises levels of endorphins, white blood cell levels and anti-body levels, thereby increasing the body’s level of immunity.

Chinese herbs that have antiviral and immuno-enhancing qualities can improve the quality of life for many patients by reducing the potency of virus, rebuilding the immune system, treating opportunistic infections, and compensating for the side effects of Western medication. Short-term improvements such as increased energy level, improved sense of well-being, weight gain, and decreased stress levels are also added benefits experienced by many who use this adjunct therapy. When compared to current treatments offered by Western medicine, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are reported to be less costly, less toxic and have fewer negative side effects.

For more information on how Chinese medicine can help improve the quality of life of individuals living with HIV/AIDS, please call (415) 355-1601 x12.

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About American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) has provided affordable, quality health care to the public and trained professionals in acupuncture, massage and Chinese medicine since 1980. In addition to its graduate curriculum, ACTCM offers continuing education, public education, community outreach and clinical services in acupuncture and herbal medicine. ACTCM has been the recipient of many awards for its curriculum, faculty and clinic, and has been voted “Best of the Bay” by both the San Francisco Weekly and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. ACTCM is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and is a private, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.