Questions to ask about any new complementary therapy

Here are 10 questions to guide your investigation into any new therapy, either complementary or conventional.

  • What am I hoping to get out of this therapy?
  • Is this therapy used by other people with HIV?
  • Can I talk to other people about their experiences?
  • Is there any research or additional information about this therapy?
  • What are the risks and/or side effects of this therapy, if any?
  • What sort of commitment do I have to make to use this therapy?
  • Where can I get this therapy, and will it be regularly available?
  • How much of this therapy is too much and what are the signs of taking too much?
  • Does this therapy interact with anything else I'm taking?
  • How much does it cost to pursue this therapy? Is it covered under the provincial or territorial medical plan or my extended health insurance plan? If not, does the practitioner offer a sliding fee scale based on income?

Unfortunately, it may be difficult for practitioners to answer some of these questions. It is often difficult to find information on interactions between various complementary therapies or between complementary therapies and prescription drugs. It is always wise to get information from more than one source. Do not rely solely on information provided by people who are profiting from your use of a treatment. You will have to decide when you have enough information to feel comfortable trying a treatment.