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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 908538, 6 pages
Research Article

Acupuncture to Reduce HIV-Associated Inflammation

1Rush University College of Nursing, 600 South Paulina, Suite 1080, Chicago, IL 60612, USA
2Cancer Integrative Medicine Program, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612, USA
3CORE Center, Cook County Bureau of Health, Chicago, IL 60612, USA
4Section of Infectious Diseases, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612, USA
5Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612, USA

Received 12 February 2015; Accepted 25 March 2015

Academic Editor: Lixing Lao

Copyright © 2015 Barbara Swanson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. HIV infection is associated with systemic inflammation that can increase risk for cardiovascular events. Acupuncture has been shown to have immunomodulatory effects and to improve symptoms in persons with inflammatory conditions. Objective. To test the anti-inflammatory effects of an acupuncture protocol that targets the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway (CAIP), a neural mechanism whose activation has been shown to reduce the release of proinflammatory cytokines, in persons with HIV-associated inflammation. Design, Setting, Participants, and Interventions. Double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted in an outpatient clinic located in a medically underserved urban neighborhood. Twenty-five clinically-stable HIV-infected persons on antiretroviral therapy were randomized to receive once weekly CAIP-based acupuncture or sham acupuncture. Main Outcome Measures. Outcomes included plasma concentrations of high sensitivity C-reactive protein and D-dimer and fasting lipids. Results. Twenty-five participants completed the protocol (treatment group , control group ). No adverse events related to the acupuncture protocol were observed. Compared to baseline values, the two groups did not significantly differ in any outcome measures at the end of the acupuncture protocol. Conclusions. CAIP-based acupuncture did not favorably modulate inflammatory or lipid parameters. Additional studies are warranted of CAIP-based protocols of different frequencies/durations.