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Acupuncture Helps Manage HIV Medication Side Effects

Acupuncture Helps Manage HIV Medication Side Effects


If you are living with HIV, making acupuncture part of your treatment can help to reduce the side effects of medication and enhance your daily life. Acupuncture involves the placing of thin needles in various locations on the body to help alleviate specific symptoms.

“People living with HIV often have side effects from their medications as well as trouble sleeping and anxiety. Acupuncture can alleviate many of these symptoms,” says Beth Sommers, PhD, MPH, Lic.Ac., lead HIV acupuncturist at Boston Medical Center.

You can receive acupuncture in one of two ways at BMC: privately or in a group setting. Individual sessions allow for more privacy and are necessary if you need to lie down for treatment. Group acupuncture is conducted in a quiet room filled with reclining chairs. People receive their treatment while socializing with one another, allowing them to connect with others also living with HIV.

“HIV is now a chronic disease, not unlike diabetes or high blood pressure in that you live with it and manage it for the rest of your life,” says Katherine Gergen Barnett, MD, vice chair of Primary Care Innovation and Transformation in the Department of Family Medicine at BMC. “As we think about keeping people with HIV healthy, acupuncture is an important tool because in addition to managing side effects, it helps create a feeling of relaxation and balance in one’s life.”

Providing acupuncture is just one of many ways Boston Medical Center is thinking about wellness care, and not just illness care. If you are living with HIV and interested in acupuncture, simply ask your provider for a referral. With that, we will set up a first session which includes an initial intake and a first session of acupuncture. For more information, call (617) 414-7036.

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