Published: Thursday, Aug 19, 2010, 0:34 IST
By Jyoti Shelar | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Advocates and practitioners of Ayurveda may be claiming that the centuries-old system has a solution for the dreaded AIDS, but the National Aids Control Organisation (Naco) is not prepared to buy any of it. It has asked all medical colleges to stop experimenting with Ayurvedic treatment on HIV patients.
The organsation feels that the alternate treatment is destroying the importance of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and other therapeutic drugs for HIV. Acting on its order, the Mumbai District Aids Control Society (MDACS) has already stalled all such ongoing studies by students and doctors at various medical colleges in the city.
“Ayurvedic treatment or any other kind of immune boosters is not the mandate of Naco,” said Dr SS Kudalkar, project director, MDACS, adding that Naco’s letter clearly stated that the HIV patients underestimate the importance of ART and other prescribed drugs when they are put on alternate treatments.
According to Kudalkar, Naco has specified that any HIV patient, whether under the ART or not, should not be included in any such research papers.
“Very often the patients start thinking that Ayurvedic treatment is curing them but they suddenly find that they have reached an advanced stage of the disease. This is mainly because they start ignoring ART while taking the other line of treatment,” said Kudalkar.
This is the reason why a student from Nair Hospital, who had recently applied for a research paper on ‘Ayurvedic treatment as an immune booster’ for HIV patients, was discouraged from proceeding with her work. The ethical committee set up by the college asked her to switch to another topic.
“The student’s research was on neem, tulsi, haldi, cloves and other such harmless items as immune boosters for HIV patients. If the life span of an HIV patient can be increased through such easy techniques, then such studies should be promoted by Naco instead of discontinuing them,” said a senior professor from the hospital, who refused to be named.
Another study by consultant physician and professor of medicine, Dr AR Pazare, from KEM was discontinued after Naco’s order. The study which had completed one year, used an Ayurvedic drug as an immune booster for HIV patients. It had yielded positive results in increasing the CD4 count in the patients. The CD4 cells indicate the health of a person. The researchers are now seeking permission from the Centre to re-start the study.