Academic journal article China Perspectives

Management of the AIDS Epidemic and Local/Global Use of Chinese Medicine

Academic journal article China Perspectives

Management of the AIDS Epidemic and Local/Global Use of Chinese Medicine

Article excerpt

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM, zhongyi)(2) refers to the Chinese medicine promoted by the Chinese government since the 1950s, and does not include all the remedies referred to as Chinese medicine in the broadest sense.(3) It can be defined as neo-traditional medicine, since elements of biology and modern medicine play a significant part in its dissemination and practice. In the 1990s, the increasing biomedicalisation of "traditional" treatment was driven by two factors, that of the long-term state policy of integrating Chinese and Western medicine and modernising and normalising Chinese medicine,<4> and that of forces arising from cultural and economic globalisation, as manifested in the circulation of scientific as well as traditional ideas and practices around the world and in the economic stakes crystallising around international health in the context of a world market.

In the early twenty-first century, the traditional pharmacopoeia (zhongyao) in its buoyant, state policy-supported form, is tending toward becoming a pharmacotherapy (zhongyiyao), and even a pharmacology of traditional medicine (zhongyiyao xue).

Starting with the recognition that treatment and research in traditional Chinese medicine are an integral part of the public intervention plan for funding the treatment of HIV/AIDS gradually implemented since 2004, I have focused on the modalities of utilisation and integration of this body of knowledge and practice in the management of AIDS, which I have researched in the context of previous works on therapeutic plurality in China. My article is in two parts, the first of which seeks to contextualise the subject in the framework of the major realignment of health policies in 2004. The second part deals with the integration of TCM in therapies and research on HIV. This process, in its conceptual and operational modes, is concrete evidence of the "biomedicalisation" of TCM that accelerated in the 1990s. In the adaptation of existing and recommended treatments on an international level, combined treatments in biomedicine and TCM are the object of clinical research and practice. In biomedicine it is mainly a question of ARVs (anti1. retrovirals) applied to AIDS and of other medicines recommended in the treatment of the opportunist illnesses of AIDS, and in TCM it is a matter of treating opportunist illnesses or of developing complementary treatments that might reduce the side effects associated with ARVs, as well as stimulating the immune system, relieving pain, and working towards increased well-being and a better life for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). This research aims to adapt existing treatments and develop innovative treatments designed within the protocols as possible substitutes for ARVs. Based on analysis of a number of publications and observations, I will give examples of clinical tests aimed at the scientific certification of AIDS treatments in the wider context of R&D in TCM.

It should be pointed out that public policy measures taken by China and the long-term political intention to promote traditional medicine come up against the preoccupations of states and civil and economic players on an international level, as well as the WHO's recommendation to integrate traditional medicines in public health systems, promulgated at the International Conference on Primary Health Care in Alma-Ata back in 1978. At that time the Chinese system appeared to be a model to be followed by other states, particularly those with very limited medical resources, in view of the objective of "Health for All in 2000." The Beijing declaration adopted at the end of the WHO First World Conference on Traditional Medicine, held from 7-9 November 2008 in Beijing, <5) is a continuation that calls for wider application of the WHO public policy and strategy guidelines for traditional medicine (2002-2005) initiated in 1978: "Recognizing the progress of many governments to date in integrating traditional medicine into their national health systems, we call on those who have not yet done so to take action. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.