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Alternative Medical Care Outcomes in AIDS (AMCOA)
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.
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:
- established a network of cooperating alternative medicine clinics
- recruited over 1,500 HIV-positive individuals across the U.S. who are using alternative medicine to participate in the study
- collected clinical, laboratory and quality-of-life data for every six months on patients
- 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:
- What are the differences in outcome variables associated with particular alternative therapies or combinations of therapies?
- 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:
- progression through CDC classes
- changes in CD4+ lymphocyte counts
- changes in health status
- weight changes
- changes in HIV RNA viral load
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.