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Naturopathy at Sassoon a cheaper option for the HIV+

Doctors say, by effective use of the therapy they are saving around Rs 30 L per month for the state and patients

The Antiretroviral Therapy Centre (ATC) at Sassoon Hospital,which caters to more than 7,000 HIV positive persons, has come up with a new naturopathy treatment that would save around Rs 30 lakh per month of the government and patients. Dr Vaibhav Lunkad, senior medical officer at ATC, started this therapy about six months ago in a bid to provide an alternative for the costly medicines, which are not affordable for people below the poverty line.

Dr Vaibhav Lunkad, senior medical officer at Antiretroviral Therapy Centre (ATC) in Sassoon Hospital
Dr Vaibhav Lunkad (Inside), senior medical officer at Antiretroviral Therapy Centre (ATC) in Sassoon Hospital. File Pic

“We regularly study and research about new treatments, which are effective as well as economical, that can be given to our patients. Most of the HIV patients suffer from different types of infections and severe ailments like cancer and tuberculosis. Such opportunistic infections increase morbidity and mortality by 70 to 80 per cent,” said Dr Lunkad. “Of these many can be prevented in the nascent stages, if the patient daily drinks three glasses of lemon juice, which comes under naturopathy treatment. Lemon juice reduces infections in throat, as it is alkaline. Daily intake of this juice can counter many other infections, such as common cold, sinusitis, oral candida (fungus), esophageal candidiasis, etc,” he added.

Currently, more than 300 patients come here for treatment and medicines every day. Previously, 50 per cent of them complained of tuberculosis along with HIV positive infection, and they had to take costly medicines for it. After starting this naturopathy treatment, the figure has come down to 10 per cent.
“Another important and simple treatment we tell our patients about is regarding the rashes they get on their bodies. For this we have asked them to apply coconut oil on the wounds; it is an alternative for the medicines and gels generally prescribed,” revealed Dr Lunkad.

Talking about the economic factor, and how money is saved, he told MiD DAY, “For medicines on infections and rashes, which are generally seen in HIV positive patients, the medicine costs around Rs 300 per day. Whereas when things reach the extreme stages, we have to admit the patients and give them saline and costly medicines. If people follow this naturopathy, there infections remain in check and all this money is saved. In the last six months, we have been able to save around Rs 30 lakh per month by effective use of this naturopathy treatment.”  

Economical and effective
Usha Patil (name changed), a widow and HIV positive person receiving this treatment, said, “I repeatedly had cough and throat infection, and was taking heavy doses of costly medicines for this. The situation was becoming untenable, as I could not go to work either. After starting naturopathy, the infections have almost gone away, and now only my regular treatment is going on.” Another young HIV positive person, Sachin Chowdhary (name changed), said, “When I started treatment at ATC Pune, I was asked to simultaneously to keep check on infections. In my case, I used to have bad breath and I was afraid that people would come to know about my disease due to this. When I started intake of lemon juice, within a month the infection subsided and the therapy is also very economical.”

Economical and effective

Usha Patil (name changed), a widow and HIV positive person receiving this treatment, said, “I repeatedly had cough and throat infection, and was taking heavy doses of costly medicines for this. The situation was becoming untenable, as I could not go to work either. After starting naturopathy, the infections have almost gone away, and now only my regular treatment is going on.” Another young HIV positive person, Sachin Chowdhary (name changed), said, “When I started treatment at ATC Pune, I was asked to simultaneously to keep check on infections. In my case, I used to have bad breath and I was afraid that people would come to know about my disease due to this. When I started intake of lemon juice, within a month the infection subsided and the therapy is also very economical.”

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