Integrating biomedical and CAM approaches: The experiences of people living with HIV/AIDS

Thorpe, Rachel D.
December 2008
Health Sociology Review;Dec2008, Vol. 17 Issue 4, p410
Academic Journal
This paper discusses the perspectives of 18 people who were living with HIV/AIDS in Melbourne, Australia, and who were using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) alongside biomedicine. I argue that although people may perceive the holistic focus of CAM to be more desirable than the more pathogenic focus of biomedicine, a holistic approach is also associated with limitations. In this study, participants were motivated to use CAM because of the perceived limitations of biomedicine and also because of a desire to have control over how their illness was managed. However the majority of participants were not interested in the philosophical principles of CAM, rather in whether these therapies were effective and manageable. These findings suggest that although people may hold different beliefs about CAM as compared with biomedicine, an approach to healthcare that has a practical focus on both clinical outcomes and patient wellbeing may be acceptable to most people.


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