Perceptions of the use of complementary therapy and Siddha medicine among rural patients with HIV/AIDS: a case study from India


Correspondence to: M. C. Torri, Department of Sociology, University of New Brunswick, Canada. E-mail:


Allopathic practitioners in India are outnumbered by practitioners of traditional Indian medicine, such as Ayurveda and Siddha. These forms of traditional medicine are currently used by up to two-thirds of its population to help meet primary healthcare needs, particularly in rural areas. Gandeepam is one of the pioneering Siddha clinics in rural Tamil Nadu that is specialized in providing palliative care to HIV/AIDS patients with effective treatment. This article examines and critically discusses the perceptions of patients regarding the efficacy of Siddha treatment and their motivation in using this form of treatment. The issues of gender equality in the access of HIV/AIDS treatment as well as the possible challenges in complementing allopathic and traditional/complementary health sectors in research and policy are also discussed. The article concludes by emphasizing the importance of complementing allopathic treatment with traditional medicine for short-term symptoms and some opportunistic diseases present among HIV/AIDS patients. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.