Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)

First Advisor

Michele Barry


The aim of this project was to examine the usage of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and its possible relation to adherence to HAART by HIV-infected Chinese male patients by answering the following questions: 1. How prevalent is TCM use among HIV-infected Chinese patients? 2. What types of TCM are used by this population? 3. What are the predictors of TCM use in this population? 4. Is there a relationship between TCM use and adherence to HAART? A total of 81 self-administered questionnaires were completed by ethnic Chinese patients who had been on HAART for at least one year at Integrated Treatment Centre, a public HIV clinic run by the Hong Kong Department of Health. Amongst study participants, 62% (n=50) reported having taken any form of TCM at least once. A total of thirty forms of TCM were used by the 50 TCM-using patients, of which, 26% (n=13) were Infrequent Users while 72% (n=36) were Regular Users. The most frequent forms were: prescriptions provided by TCM practitioners (56%, n=28), over-the-counter TCM preparations (52%, n=26), and used herbal teas (28%, n=14). During the month preceding the study, 67% of participants (n=54) had full HAART adherence and 33% patients (n=27) reported having missed one dose or more. Results did not suggest any definite relationship between TCM use and HAART adherence. However, we did find a wide range of forms of TCM used by this patient population. Further, our findings suggest that TCM use among participants was not used to treat HIV/AIDS or related complications. Further study is needed to understand the biological activity of these TCM remedies and any possible interactions with HAART.