Alternative Medicines for HIV/AIDS in Resource-Poor Settings: Insight from Traditional Medicines Use in Sub- Saharan Africa
Purpose: To document the utilization of traditional medicines in managing human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) opportunistic infections in sub-Saharan Africa.
Methods: This study is based on a review of literature published in scientific journals, books, reports from national, regional and international organizations, theses and conference papers obtained from libraries and electronic search of Google Scholar, ISI Web of Science, MEDLINE, Pubmed, Scopus and Science Direct.
Results: A total of 79 medical conditions related to HIV/AIDS were treated using 74 plant species. The common diseases treated by herbal remedies were bacterial/fungal infections, boosting of appetite/immunity, cold/cough, cryptococcal meningitis, diarrhea, fever, herpes simplex/zoster, oral/oesopharyngeal candidiasis, skin infections/rash, tuberculosis and wounds. More than threequarters of the documented plant species (63 species, 85.1 %) have anti-HIV active compounds.
Conclusion: This study reveals that traditional medicines are often used as alternative sources of medicines for HIV/AIDS opportunistic infections in sub-Saharan Africa. Further investigations are needed to explore the bioactive compounds of these herbal medicines, aimed at exploring the bioactive compounds that can be developed into anti-HIV drugs.
Keywords: Antiretroviral, HIV/AIDS, Sub-Saharan Africa, Traditional medicines