4. Issues of Ethnopharmacology in HIV Management
Issues of Ethnopharmacology in HIV Management
Welcome to the National Multicultural Center’s “Issues of Ethnopharmacology in HIV Management” curriculum. This curriculum is one in a series of curricula covering a wide range of topics concerning the provision of culturally competent healthcare services to all individuals belonging to a diversity of ethnic, racial, and cultural groups.
The “Issues of Ethnopharmacology in HIV Management” curriculum contains 4 modules, designed to increase readers’ understanding of:
Before reading each module, you will be offered a short pretraining assessment to give a baseline view of your knowledge of the topics covered in that module. Then, at the end of the module, you will be able to take a post-training assessment to determine whether you have achieved the module’s learning objectives.
The modules contained in this curriculum are:
Pharmacogenomics and Ethnopharmacology
Pharmacogenomics is the study of the genetic variants among individuals that can influence how a person responds to a drug; this is particularly relevant for the treatment of racially and ethnically diverse patient populations. Ethnopharmacology, on the other hand, deals with the study of the medicinal use of herbs and other botanical substances among different ethnic or cultural groups. Because of the variable tropism of HIV and the different strains of the virus, as well as the genetic differences that can affect how individual patients respond to antiretroviral therapy, optimal management of HIV-positive patients requires an understanding of the role of pharmacogenomics in designing and monitoring treatment regimens. Current and future research in pharmacogenomic-related diagnosis and treatment is leading the way to a time when HIV treatment approaches can be tailored even more specifically to the needs of individual patients.
Cultural Competence Implications
The optimal development and implementation of culturally competent care for HIV-positive patients will need to consider not only the divergent subtypes and groups of HIV and the patterns of their geographic and ethnic distribution but also the varying genetic characteristics of individuals and racial/ethnic populations. Each of these factors will play an important part in the selection of HAART regimens and the management of clinical outcomes. Moreover, the cultural beliefs and practices of diverse ethnicities and cultural groups regarding health, illness, and health-seeking behaviors—including the use of complementary and alternative medicine—represent key factors that practitioners should become familiar with and consider when designing management approaches for HIV-positive patients of any racial, ethnic, and cultural background.