P03.13. A Standardized Acupuncture Protocol for the Treatment of Wasting Syndrome in HIV+ Males: A Case Study
Focus Areas: Integrative Approaches to Care
Wasting syndrome, the extreme loss of lean muscle mass, is one symptom associated with HIV/AIDS commonly treated with testosterone, which has undesirable side effects such as gynecomastia, testicular atrophy, hair loss, and various allergic reactions.
Studies report disproportionately frequent cases of erectile dysfunction (ED) in HIV males on antiretrovirals, particularly protease inhibitors. Low testosterone levels were reported in those with ED, and testosterone is used in treatment. Since lab tests are beyond the acupuncture scope of practice in Illinois, we used the diagnosis of ED as an indicator of low testosterone.
Since both wasting and ED impact HIV men and low testosterone is a common symptom, stimulating natural production of testosterone with acupuncture should treat both without side effects. We used a standardized 5-needle acupuncture treatment, which appears robust to combination with other acupuncture treatments and various clinicians. The case is a study of a 54-year-old male diagnosed with AIDS, wasting, and ED, with an antiretroviral regimen including 2 protease inhibitors. His viral load is undetectable and his T-cell count is over 500. The patient has had ED for 5 years, wasting for 11, and uses appetite stimulation rather than testosterone for treatment. There were 6 bi-weekly treatments using the ED/wasting protocol and a 6-month follow-up assessment. There was immediate and dramatic relief from ED, lasting for a week after the initial treatment, increasing to 3 by the 6th. We intend to seek support to incorporate lab tests, extend the term of the investigation, and increase the number of participants to better assess the impact on wasting.