The Fundamentals

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). First discovered in 1981, the most common type is HIV-1, but in 1986, HIV-2 was found. HIV causes a loss of immune function and subsequent development of opportunistic infections. Approximately 70% of HIV-infected individuals develop AIDS within 10 years. While there is no evidence of a cure for AIDS, many of those infected have survived longer than anticipated, and many of those are asymptomatic. Infection results when the virus binds to CD4 receptors in lymph nodes and certain central and peripheral nerve cells. This causes their destruction and a progressive loss of immune function. The first signs of acute infection are rather vague and include fever, malaise, rash, and lymphadenopathy. For a period of 5-10 years, the individual may be asymptomatic--only a steady drop in CD4+T lymphocytes indicates the infection. Patients then become symptomatic, with low-grade fevers, night sweats, chronic diarrhea, and peripheral neuropathy. Common during this stage are vaginal and oral ulcers and shingles. This stage lasts around 3 years, until AIDS is diagnosed. It is marked by opportunistic infections that people with healthy immune systems would not be affected by.

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CDC: Divisions of
HIV/AIDS Prevention

hile no cure for HIV/AIDS is known at this time, there are certain herbs that have shown promise in battling this deadly disease. Echinacea is believed by some researchers to raise levels of properdin, a natural compound in our bodies. Properdin sends out infection-fighting white blood cells to block viruses and bacteria. Echinacea's root extract seems to act like the body's own antiviral compound, interferon. It has been shown to carry antiviral activity against herpes, influenza, and other viruses by stimulating the body to make more interferon.
Another herb that may assist in the fight against HIV/AIDS is Garlic, which has proven to be one of the best herbal antibiotics around. Garlic helps combat many kinds of infections including pneumonia, candidiasis, and herpes, and it acts as an immune stimulant, as well. Studies in 1988 showed that after consuming garlic, raw or as an aged extract, the body's natural killer cell activity in the blood doubled.
St. John's Wort contains the compound hypericum, which shows promise in fending off opportunistic infections caused by HIV/AIDS. Because it has antidepressant properties as well as antiviral, this particular herb may prove to be doubly effective for those suffering with AIDS due to depression that over half of AIDS sufferers experience. Andrographis paniculata seems to stop unregulated cell growth caused by viruses, which, with regular use has shown some improvement in HIV patients. The chief substance in Licorice Root is glycyrrhizin, which has been studied for its antiviral affects against HIV. The Japanese have conducted clinical trials on glycyrrhizin, and so far, it has been shown to inhibit cell infection and induce interferon activity. None of these herbs can be considered a cure for HIV or AIDS. They are simply healthy alternatives in a war against this deadly virus.
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Note: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the use of a qualified health care professional. We strongly recommend the use of a physician for the diagnostic phase of any treatment. With an accurate diagnosis in hand, we believe the consumer, at that point, has a basic, unalienable right to seek out factual information on all therapeutic approaches, both orthodox and alternative, and choose those approach(es) that are right for them. Nonetheless, a "good doctor" should be considered a requisite starting point.

To U.S. Users: None of the products mentioned on this page have been evaluated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration; therefore, they are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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