HIV/AIDS education in traditional Indian systems of medicine: faculty perspectives

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Journal of Traditional Medicine and and Clinical Naturopathy

In India, HIV-infected individuals face numerous challenges in their search for treatments. Currently, western allopathic medicine (hereinafter ‘biomedicine’) offers antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV/AIDS and associated co-morbidities that have prolonged survival and improved quality of life. Estimates of ART coverage are between 39%-54% and significant numbers of HIV-infected individuals continue to explore alternative treatment options due to ART toxicities, resistance and associated expenditures arise. The Indian System of Medicine and Homeopathy includes multiple medical systems as Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy (AYUSH) and has existed for centuries before the rise of biomedicine. While there is a dearth of current data available, it is estimated that almost 65% of India’s rural population uses AYUSH for primary health care and 70%–80% of the general population uses AYUSH at some point. In recent years the numbers of registered AYUSH practitioners have begun to decline (after experiencing a peak in 2010) but are still roughly equal to the number of biomedical doctors at over 600,000 for the country.


In areas of medical innovation and expertise, it is generally accepted that academic institutions are most likely to have consolidated, reviewed and tested the most effective approaches to healing. Institutes of higher learning for AYUSH are well established throughout India, with over 254 Ayurvedic medical colleges, 185 Homeopathic colleges, nearly 40 Unani colleges and 7 Siddha colleges. The objective of this paper is to document the role of AYUSH for HIV/AIDS in India from the perspectives of faculty and students within a sample of institutions of higher learning.

Sastry J, Deshmukh V, Dhoiphode V, Wele A, Solanki M, Rizwan F, Gupta A, Shankar A. HIV/AIDS education in traditional Indian systems of medicine: faculty perspectives. J Homeop Ayurv Med. 2013 Oct 24;2:136.
  • Shrimati Kashibai Navale Medical College and General Hospital, Pune, India
  • Bharatiya Sanskriti Darshan Trust’s Ayurved Hospital and Research Center, Pune, India
  • Tilak Ayurved Mahavidyalaya, Pune, India
  • Bharati Vidyapeeth College of Ayurved, Pune, India
  • Dhondumama Sathe Homeopathic Medical College, Pune, India
  • ZVM Unani Medical College, Azam Campus, Pune, India
  • Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD