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Alternative Medical Care Outcomes in AIDS (AMCOA)

Study area
Chronic Disease

Principal investigator

L J Standish
Project period
May 8, 2000 - March 31, 2003
Funded by

A collaboration with Johns Hopkins University.

Purpose of Research
This study is an observational, longitudinal study of HIV-positive patients using alternative therapies and a comparison of health outcomes in alternative medicine users vs. non-users among HIV-positive men from the MACS database.

Research Procedures
The database is based on an extensive, patient-completed questionnaire supported by laboratory records. AMCOA is intended to provide preliminary information with which to guide future research. AMCOA has:

  1. established a network of cooperating alternative medicine clinics
  2. recruited over 1,500 HIV-positive individuals across the U.S. who are using alternative medicine to participate in the study
  3. collected clinical, laboratory and quality-of-life data for every six months on patients
  4. developed a centralized database which allows for comparison of outcomes among a variety of therapies

Subjects were recruited either via their alternative providers or by self-volunteering. Subject recruitment closed in September 1997.

Focus of Research
The research is focused upon:

  1. What are the differences in outcome variables associated with particular alternative therapies or combinations of therapies?
  2. Are there differences in outcome variables for patients using only alternative medicine vs. those using both alternative and conventional medicine?

There are six primary measures of outcome:

  1. progression through CDC classes
  2. changes in CD4+ lymphocyte counts
  3. changes in health status
  4. weight changes
  5. changes in HIV RNA viral load
  6. mortality

Baseline questionnaires have been returned by 1,689 subjects. Almost all subjects were followed for a one-year period, with a portion of them completing two years. Remaining follow-up data is currently being analyzed.