MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

The ‘best homeopathy doctor in Delhi‘  is so ‘marvellous’ that he and his colleagues offer homeopathic treatment for HIV/AIDS:

START OF QUOTE

Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) is recommended for each and every case of AIDS where CD4 count goes less than 350.  Aura Homeopathy does not offer cure for AIDS. However, several research and clinical studies done by various Research centre including few from CCRH (Central Council for Research in Homeopathy, Govt. of India), have prove the supportive role of homeopathic medicines. Homeopathy medicine only relief symptoms but also reduced frequency of opportunistic infections, increase appetite, weight, and sense of well being, etc. At Aura Homeopathy, we apply classical homeopathy protocols on HIV/AIDS patients, as a part of our Clinical trial and Research projects. The results were very encouraging.

At Aura Homeopathy, we have seen an increase in the CD4 count in number of patients, after using Aura homeopathy medicines. Dr.Abhishek recommend’s Homeopathy as supporting line of therapy for all HIV patients.

END OF QUOTE

When I read this I wanted to be sick; but instead I did something a little more sensible: I conducted a quick Medline search for ‘homeopathy, AIDS’.

It returned 30 articles. Of these, there were just 4 that presented anything remotely resembling data. Here are their abstracts:

1st paper

Allopathic practitioners in India are outnumbered by practitioners of traditional Indian medicine and homeopathy (TIMH), which is used by up to two-thirds of its population to help meet primary health care needs, particularly in rural areas. India has an estimated 2.5 million HIV infected persons. However, little is known about TIMH use, safety or efficacy in HIV/AIDS management in India, which has one of the largest indigenous medical systems in the world. The purpose of this review was to assess the quality of peer-reviewed, published literature on TIMH for HIV/AIDS care and treatment.

Of 206 original articles reviewed, 21 laboratory studies, 17 clinical studies, and 6 previous reviews of the literature were identified that covered at least one system of TIMH, which includes Ayurveda, Unani medicine, Siddha medicine, homeopathy, yoga and naturopathy. Most studies examined either Ayurvedic or homeopathic treatments. Only 4 of these studies were randomized controlled trials, and only 10 were published in MEDLINE-indexed journals. Overall, the studies reported positive effects and even “cure” and reversal of HIV infection, but frequent methodological flaws call into question their internal and external validity. Common reasons for poor quality included small sample sizes, high drop-out rates, design flaws such as selection of inappropriate or weak outcome measures, flaws in statistical analysis, and reporting flaws such as lack of details on products and their standardization, poor or no description of randomization, and incomplete reporting of study results.

This review exposes a broad gap between the widespread use of TIMH therapies for HIV/AIDS, and the dearth of high-quality data supporting their effectiveness and safety. In light of the suboptimal effectiveness of vaccines, barrier methods and behavior change strategies for prevention of HIV infection and the cost and side effects of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for its treatment, it is both important and urgent to develop and implement a rigorous research agenda to investigate the potential risks and benefits of TIMH and to identify its role in the management of HIV/AIDS and associated illnesses in India.

2nd paper (I am a co-author of this one)

The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widespread. Yet, little is known about the evidence supporting its use in HIV/AIDS. We conducted a systematic review of randomized clinical trials assessing the effectiveness of complementary therapies for HIV and HIV-related symptoms. Comprehensive literature searches were performed of seven electronic databases. Data were abstracted independently by two reviewers. Thirty trials met our predefined inclusion/exclusion criteria: 18 trials were of stress management; five of Natural Health Products; four of massage/therapeutic touch; one of acupuncture; two of homeopathy. The trials were published between 1989 and 2003. Most trials were small and of limited methodological rigour. The results suggest that stress management may prove to be an effective way to increase the quality of life. For all other treatments, data are insufficient for demonstrating effectiveness. Despite the widespread use of CAM by people living with HIV/AIDS, the effectiveness of these therapies has not been established. Vis à vis CAM’s popularity, the paucity of clinical trials and their low methodological quality are concerning.

3rd paper (author is our old friend Dana Ullman!)

Homeopathic medicine developed significant popularity in the nineteenth century in the United States and Europe as a result of its successes treating the infectious disease epidemics during that era. Homeopathic medicine is a medical system that is specifically oriented to using nanopharmacologic and ultramolecular doses of medicines to strengthen a person’s immune and defense system rather than directly attacking the microbial agents.

To review the literature referenced in MEDLINE and in nonindexed homeopathic journals for placebo-controlled clinical trials using homeopathic medicines to treat people with AIDS or who are human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive and to consider a different theoretical and methodological approach to treating people with the viral infection.

A total of five controlled clinical trials were identified. A double-blinded, placebo-controlled study was conducted on 50 asymptomatic HIV-positive subjects (stage II) and 50 subjects with persistent generalized lymphadenopathy (stage III) in whom individualized single-remedy homeopathic treatment was provided. A separate body of preliminary research was conducted using homeopathic doses of growth factors. Two randomized double-blinded, placebo-controlled studies were conducted with a total of 77 people with AIDS who used only natural therapies over a 8-16-week period. Two other studies were conducted over a 2.5-year period with 27 subjects in an open-label format.

The first study was conducted by the Regional Research Institute for Homeopathy in Mumbai, India, under the Central Council for Research in Homeopathy, with the approval of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. The second body of studies was conducted in clinic settings in California, Oregon, Arizona, Hawaii, New York, and Washington.

The first study found no statistically significant improvement in CD4 T-lymphocytes, but did find statistically significant pretest and post-test results in subjects with stage III AIDS, in CD4 (p = 0.008) and in CD8 (p = 0.04) counts. The second group of studies found specific physical, immunologic, neurologic, metabolic, and quality-of-life benefits, including improvements in lymphocyte counts and functions and reductions in HIV viral loads.

As a result of the growing number of people with drug-resistant HIV infection taking structured treatment interruptions, homeopathic medicine may play a useful role as an adjunctive and/or alternative therapy.

4th paper

In 1996, [name removed] was convicted on charges of conspiracy and introducing an unapproved drug into interstate commerce and the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction. [Name removed]’s company, Writers and Researchers Inc. sold a drug called 714X to individuals and physicians, promoting it as a nontoxic therapy for AIDS, cancer, and other chronic diseases. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned [name removed] that his marketing was illegal because the product had not been proven safe and effective for use in treating disease. [Name removed] argued that the product was a homeopathic drug, revealed by FDA tests to contain 94 percent water, and a mixture of nitrate, ammonium, camphor, chloride, ethanol, and sodium. The courts found that 714X was subject to FDA scrutiny because it was touted as a cure for cancer and AIDS.

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So, what does this collective evidence tell us?

I think it makes it abundantly clear that there is no good reason to suggest that HIV/AIDS patients can be helped in any way by homeopathy. On the contrary, homeopathy might distract them from essential conventional care and it would needlessly harm their bank balance. It follows that claims to the contrary are bogus, unethical, reckless, and possibly even criminal.

7 Responses to ‘Best homeopathy doctor in Delhi’ offers treatment for HIV/AIDS

  • As a new follower of this blog (not knowing Dana Ullman), I was surprised quite a bit when I read the conclusion of paper 3. Well, things were put into perspective when I followed the respective link.
    I wish that journals publishing this dangerous “studies” like J. Altern. Complement. Med. could be held liable for the damage they cause – or at least be forced to retract such articles.

    • Dear new follower, welcome to wonderland! You can never know enough about Dana Ullman. He is swimming in a sea of endless results of bogus research and random coincidental positives and produces wildly wishful commentary based on that. In fact, he does not use research to produce his commentary, he is a true believer. He simply sees what he wants to see and fits the pieces to his preconceived ideas.

      If you think you had seen it all, I suggest you actually read through part of the paper, or any pseudoscientific exposition of the same author. It will take you to a whole new world of incredible imagination. The fundamental axiom is fairly simple:

      Implausible claims require implausible evidence!

      • Thanks James, but it was enough for me to skim through one of his Huffington Post articles…. really mind-blowing.
        Why does the HuffPo offer him a platform to spread his beliefs?! There certainly is no hope for him, I just wonder how it must feel to build your life on 200-year old ideas, that are so irrational and actually can harm people who are really sick. The only positive aspect is that history will not be kind to him.

        • Indeed, it is an alternative experience of the most special kind to read through his articles. There are few people that can reach these levels of grandiose delusion.

          Your wondering is premised on a real-life perspective. If you want to see the world “through his eyes”, keep in mind that these people do not think these are 200-old ideas. In an effort to relieve their cognitive dissonance, they “see” indications and evidence even where there isn’t any. They misinterpret just about anything in a “post hoc – ergo propter hoc” type of fallacious reasoning

          So, they don’t care about the rationality of their beliefs, they just feel “blessed” to have access to special knowledge that most other people don’t and they are happy for that. This is too good a feeling to let anyone take it from you, if you are a true believer. Now, HuffPo is probably primarily interested in hits and popularity. If Dana Ullman can produce hits and get lots of reads for them, they are happy, I guess. Freedom of speech is, sometimes, as much of a curse, as it is a blessing.

  • First of all, advertising of homeopathy to treat HIV/AIDS is prohibited in India under Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954. I wrote about the Act here – https://ukhomeopathyregulation.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/regulation-in-india-3.html

    As you will note it contains a list of diseases/conditions for which advertising is forbidden.

    The homeopath’s website has this page https://www.aurahomeopathy.com/cyber.php advertising treatment for a number of diseases/conditions on that list.

    I don’t doubt for a minute that the quality of published Indian research into homeopathy is poor. But will surprise many readers is the amount of money that the Indian Government (via the Ministry of AYUSH) throws at it. The MOAYUSH takes the line that AYUSH works. It even charged the Central Council for Homoeopathy Research with the task of “deunking” those who say that there is no compelling evidence. Indeed, it described criticism of MOAYUSH and homeopathy defamatory.

    Of course, as they say, India is India. But the Indian homeopaths and homeopathic manufacturers are trying to expand into the rest of the world. It used to be that the targeted the Indian ex-pat community but no longer.

  • From the BBC web site:
    ” About 80% of the Indian population regard themselves as Hindu. Hinduism originated around the Indus Valley near the River Indus in modern day Pakistan. Most Hindus believe in a Supreme God, whose qualities and forms are represented by the multitude of deities which emanate from him.
    Hindus believe that existence is a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, governed by Karma.”

    With a mind set like that so prevalent, little wonder that so many in the Indian population have come to believe Hahnemann’s ideas. And with so much money to be made from fooling folk into spending on remedies which have no effect, no wonder the industry is burgeoning. And little wonder the government is getting in on the act – as the Chinese government supports TCM preparations.

    Expansion beyond India’s borders is to be deprecated and is unethical. ‘Twas ever thus. Press on.

    • @Richard Rawlins

      > a mind set like that so prevalent, little wonder that so many in the Indian population have come to believe Hahnemann’s ideas.

      I am an Indian. I am not sure why you think Hinduism has anything to do with Hahnemann’s ideas. Homeopathy is also popular in Pakistan and Iran. This has to do with developing countries still having a lot of ground to cover with respect to teaching science. It has nothing to do with old religious myths. Personally, I consider our fundies to be relatively tame compared to fundies in Abrahamic religions.

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