Traditional medicine for HIV infected patients in antiretroviral therapy in a tertiary hospital in Kano, Northwest Nigeria

Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2011 Feb;4(2):152-5. doi: 10.1016/S1995-7645(11)60058-8.


Objective: To investigate the prevalence of use of traditional medicines amongst patients with HIV infection receiving therapies of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH), Kano, Northwest Nigeria, and to assess the attitude of these patients to their ARV therapy.

Methods: A cross sectional prospective study using pretested structured questionnaires administered on 430 patients with antiretroviral therapy attending the AKTH between April and June 2009. Data was collected on socio-demographic characteristics, use of traditional medicine and attitude to antiretroviral therapy.

Results: A mean age of (33.6#20381;8.4) years old was found with 67.2% females and 32.8% males. A total of 29% had no formal education while 10.5% had postgraduate education; 12% earned above 35,000 naira (230 USD) per month; 63.8% were married; 39.8% had at least 2 sexual partners; 27.5% used traditional medicine before commencement of antiretroviral therapy (ART), but only 4.25% of patients used ARV and traditional medicine concurrently. There was no significant difference in most of the socio-demographic indices between the concurrent users and other patients (P>0.05). A total of 28.8% HIV patients, 14.6% patients used traditional medicine before ART and 29.4% concurrent users had missed at least a dose of their ARVs since commencement of therapy. 148 (37%) of the patients had their drug regimen changed at least once while 23 (20.90%) patients receiving traditional medicine before ART and 5 (29.41%) patients having two treatments had their drug regimen changed.

Conclusions: A total of 4.25% patients used ARV and traditional medicine concurrently. In conclusion, the widespread use of traditional medicine by patients living with HIV/AIDS should be of concern to clinicians and policy makers.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active / methods*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine, Traditional / methods*
  • Nigeria
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-HIV Agents