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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 93, Issue 4, pp 308–312 | Cite as

Complementary Therapy Use in HIV/AIDS

  • Andrea Mulkins
  • Janice M. MorseEmail author
  • Allan Best
Article

Abstract

Objective: To examine the social psychological aspects of complementary therapy use in HIV/AIDS health care and to identify what happens in a person’s illness management process when incorporated into their care for HIV-related symptoms.

Methods: Grounded theory research method guided sampling, data collection and analysis with 21 males at various AIDS service organizations.

Findings: A grounded theory model Finding a Way to Live was developed. Participants experienced a six-stage process whereby the HIV served as a precondition for a profound self-transformation; a commitment to and rediscovery of the meaning of life. Complementary therapies, referred to as ‘tools’ by the participants, were cited as an integral part of how people living with HIV found wellness within their illness. The type of therapy, meanings attached to them, intention for and frequency of use corresponded to where individuals were in the six-stage process. As participants began to experience personal growth, the nature of the therapies shifted from those being highly tangible and focusing on the physical self to those facilitating inner awareness, such as meditation.

Conclusions: The process of integration was a complex, ongoing process wherein complementary therapies were an integral part of facilitating learning, self-discovery and ultimately, healing.

Résumé

Objectif: Étudier les aspects psychosociologiques du recours aux thérapies complémentaires dans le traitement du VIH/sida et définir les étapes du processus de prise en charge individuelle de la maladie lorsque ces thérapies sont intégrées dans le traitement des symptômes du VIH.

Méthode: Une méthode de recherche à base empirique a guidé l’échantillonnage, la collecte et l’analyse des données de 21 clients masculins de divers organismes de services aux sidéens.

Constatations: Nous avons élaboré un modèle théorique à base empirique (« Finding a Way to Live », ou « trouver moyen de vivre »). Les participants sont passés par six étapes où le VIH devait déclencher une autotransformation en profondeur, un engagement envers la vie et une redécouverte du sens de la vie. Selon les participants, les thérapies complémentaires, appelées « outils », font partie intégrante d’une recherche du mieux-être pour les personnes vivant avec le VIH. Le genre de thérapie, le sens qu’on y rattachait, l’intention visée et la fréquence d’utilisation variaient d’une étape à l’autre. À mesure que les participants commençaient à vivre une croissance personnelle, la nature des thérapies évoluait, passant des traitements physiques tangibles aux traitements favorisant la conscience de soi, comme la méditation.

Conclusions: L’intégration s’est faite selon un processus complexe et continu où les thérapies complémentaires ont joué un rôle clé vers l’apprentissage, la découverte de soi et, en bout de ligne, la guérison.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tzu Chi Institute for Complementary and Alternative MedicineVancouverCanada
  2. 2.International Institute for Qualitative Methodology, 6-10 University Extension CentreUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Vancouver General HospitalVancouverCanada

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