Traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine (TCAM) has been used by some people living with HIV (PLHIV) in an attempt to cure HIV. This article reviews the main factors influencing their decision to choose TCAM to cure HIV and discusses implications for HIV cure research. Those who decide to pursue traditional, complementary, and alternative medical cures may be influenced by the health system, cultural, and social dynamics, and their own individual beliefs and preferences. These same factors may impact participation in HIV cure research. People who search for traditional, complementary, and alternative medical cures may face special challenges as they are recruited, consented, and retained within HIV cure research studies. To address these potential challenges, we have suggested solutions focusing on culturally tailored communication and education, formative social science research, and community partnerships with key stakeholders. The social conditions that have promoted traditional, complementary and alternative medical cures will likely impact how PLHIV participate and experience HIV remission trials. Despite the potential challenges, it will be crucial to involve those who have previously sought out traditional cures for HIV in HIV cure research.
Keywords: HIV cure research; HIV/AIDS; complementary and alternative medicine; cure; traditional medicine.