Use of Alternative Therapists Among People in Care for HIV in the United States

Published in: American Journal of Public Health, v. 93, no. 6, June 2003, p. 980-987

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2003

by Andrew S London, Carrie E Foote-Ardah, John Fleishman, Martin F. Shapiro

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OBJECTIVES: This study examined the influence of sociodemographic, clinical, and attitudinal variables on the use of alternative therapists by people in care for HIV. METHODS: Bivariate and multivariate analyses of baseline data from the nationally representative HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study were conducted. RESULTS: Overall, 15.4% had used an alternative therapist, and among users, 53.9% had fewer than 5 visits in the past 6 months. Use was higher for people who were gay/lesbian, had incomes above $40 000, lived in the Northeast and West, were depressed, and wanted more information about and more decisionmaking involvement in their care. Among users, number of visits was associated with age, education, sexual orientation, insurance status, and CD4 count. CONCLUSIONS: Among people receiving medical care for HIV, use of complementary care provided by alternative therapists is associated with several sociodemographic, clinical, and attitudinal variables. Evaluation of the coordination of provider-based alternative and standard medical care is needed.

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