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Treatment of AIDS Through TCM

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AIDS (acquired immunity deficiency syndrome) is caused by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infecting the human body. Forty million people in the whole world have been infected by HIV (More than twenty-three million people have died.) Ninety per cent of the infected people are in the developing countries. In Africa, especially in regions south of Sahara, as many as twenty-nine million people have been infected by the virus. There, the work of prevention and treatment of AIDS is most serious and is in a critical situation.

The continent second to Africa in the appalling number of persons infected by HIV is Asia. In Asia, China occupies the 4th place on a scale that measures the degree of seriousness of the AIDS epidemic, and it is there the epidemic is in the stage of rapid increase in vehemence. Owing to the widespread use of effective testing and determination techniques, more and more people have newly been discovered to be victims of the virus and put in the ranks of AIDS patients. To fight the disease AIDS has become an important task of the country. It is necessary to point out here that the treatment of AIDS has made revolutionary progress on the globe in the past twenty years through the joint efforts of all nations of the world, but there are still a number of problems far from being solved. Therefore, the traditional Chinese medical science and traditional Chinese medicines, being unique in the world, are faced with new opportunities and challenges.

Advantages of traditional Chinese medicines in fighting AIDS:
1.There are abundant sources of the medicines. They need only seeking for.
2.The medicines are low in price. They are affordable to the great majority of patients.
3.The effectiveness of the medicines are not blunted by long use, and they have few toxic side effects.
4.The medicines have definite and precise therapeutic effects in clinical work, and these effects are shown in many respects.
5.The medicines are effectual in protecting and improving a patient's immunity, in prolonging his/her life, and in enabling the patient to live for a long time in almost perfect compatibility with the virus.
6.The dialectical theory of traditional Chinese medicine makes it possible for the medical scholars to cope successfully with the complicated peculiarities of clinical work in the case of AIDS treatment.
7.The traditional Chinese medicines can be applied as soon as AIDS is ascertained by testing, unlike Western medicines, which generally should be employed only when the appropriate therapeutic conditions are present, because, if they are employed too early, their efficacy may have become blunted and they will no longer be effective on the patient. That is to say when the proper time comes for them to show their power, they will already have pitiably been "worn out". Therefore, the traditional Chinese medicines are more promising in the eyes of the AIDS patients.

How is the efficacy of traditional Chinese medical science in treating AIDS to be properly evaluated? At present, there is no uniform standard for evaluating the result of treatment of AIDS in clinical work of traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine. As a rule, Western medicine takes the change in the patient's virus load as an indicator of efficacy of treatment, ignoring to a large extent the improvement of the patient's immunological function and his/her overall physical condition, and taking no account of the elevation of his/her quality of existence. If this method should be mechanically copied for evaluating the efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine, it would obviously fail to conform to the clinical realities.

There are great differences in concepts and methods between traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine in doing clinical work. In the treatment of AIDS, Western medicine lays special emphasis on the virus and pays relatively less attention to immunity and the patient's overall physical condition. The favorable result of treatment is reflected, in the Western view, as the destruction of the virus and the lowering of the virus load. In contrast, traditional Chinese medicine stresses immunity and the improvement of the functions of the patient's entire body. The patient's resistance to disease is to be fostered, while the pathogenic influences are to be dispelled. The former (the patient's resistance to disease) is deemed positive, healthy and righteous; the latter (the pathogenic force) is regarded as negative, vicious and evil.

The righteous may conquer the evil, or the two may stay in a draw. In treating AIDS in Tanzania, the scholars of traditional Chinese medicine strove to triumph on the righteous side and make the patients recover completely, or at least, if there had to be a draw, to prevent their condition from deteriorating and to enable them to go on living for a long time in compatibility with the virus. They discovered that the Chinese medicinal herbs are very effective in heightening the patients' immunity, lessening the clinical symptoms and improving the quality of the patients' existence. Many patients were able to live on with the virus in their bodies for a long time, though there were undulations and perhaps no obvious sign of a lowering of the virus load. Therefore, the current Western method of evaluating the results of treatment of AIDS, which takes the virus load as the main criterion, cannot truthfully reflect the efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of AIDS. That object can be attained only by making a multi-layer, many-sided appraisal of the work of traditional Chinese medicine in treating AIDS patients. The indicators to be chosen should include: clinical symptoms, pathological bodily signs, the quality of existence, the up-to-up length of time of survival, the rate of deaths, the dates of occurrence of the disease, the patients physical and psychological conditions, immunological functions, virus loads, etc.

Greater achievements hopefully will thus be made by scholars of traditional Chinese medicine in developing anti-AIDS drugs of high efficacy and low toxicity to be added to the realm of China's intellectual property rights.

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