HIV in East Africa
HIV is one of the leading causes of death in East Africa. With a lack of medical doctors and hospitals, especially in rural areas, many people visit their local Traditional Healer for help.
Million Tanzanians are living with HIV
Of people with HIV are not taking anti retro-viral therapy (ART)
Tanzanians die from an AIDS related illness annually
Children are orphaned due to parents or caregivers dying of AIDS
AIDS is one of the leading causes of death in Tanzania and Western medicine is often unavailable or too expensive. The World Health Organization recommends incorporating traditional medicine into the health care system in order to reach everyone. However, it is important to test the traditional medicine to ensure that it is safe for people to take and effective at treating the illness. We believe in finding culturally accepted and locally influenced solutions. Using treatments sourced from traditional medicine addresses the main issues surrounding the lack of adherence to ART. Plant based treatments are locally sourced and sustainable, more affordable and accessible, and can be dispensed outside of the hospital system which allows patients to be seen and treated while maintaining the privacy of their HIV status.
An estimated 80% of people in Africa use traditional medicine as their first line of defense against illness and disease. Traditional medicine is often sought out because traditional healers far outnumber biomedical workers, the treatment costs are considerably lower, pharmaceutical drugs are not always available, and people believe that herbal medicine produces fewer side effects.
Using locally grown plants as a basis for medicines and supplements ensures that practitioners always have an available option for treating life threatening diseases. By working together with the community members in Tanzania, we deliver service that is needed, requested, and has a great impact. Our HIV treatment allows people to work and take care of their children. This allows children to stay in school instead of working or caring for their sick elders. Parents with HIV being treated and staying alive, means fewer children being orphaned. We are testing traditional medicines for efficacy and safety.
We offer safe, effective medication derived from traditional medicine so that people can treat their disease. Our method is convenient, discreet and sustainable. The treatment is locally produced, ensuring availability and decreasing dependency on foreign countries for medication. We work with health care workers to get the medication to where it is needed and the treatment is available outside of the hospital system. This allows patients to be seen and treated while respecting the privacy of their HIV status. Our treatment does not replace antiretroviral therapy. It bridges the gaps in adherence by giving people an alternative when they cannot access Western medication. Having an alternative treatment gives people hope that they can control the disease and maintain their health. Asili Research Alliance works with research facilities and hospitals to ensure the treatment is safe and effective. We partner with the HIV community in Tanzania to deliver service that is needed, requested, and has a great impact.
Workers preparing the roots for the HIV formula.
Calibrating the powdered roots to ensure consistency
Distributing the treatment
The plant-based treatment we distribute has been used for decades by traditional healers to treat the symptoms of AIDS. Many people living in Africa will supplement western drugs with medicine they get from their local healer. Clinicians working at a hospital in Tanga Tanzania noticed that some patients with HIV were improving faster than others and discovered they were supplementing with a particular herbal tea. The herbal medicine caught the interest of physicians in Bombo Regional Hospital in Tanga, and they worked with traditional healers to incorporate the herbal supplement into the treatment plan of HIV patients. Over 2,000 patients have been treated using this traditional medicine and for some people living in rural areas, this was the only HIV medication accessible.
Plants have been identified by Tanzanian and US botanists and pre-clinical safety trials have been conducted. In vitro biological analysis showed potent anti-HIV activity with an IC50 of 0.05Hg/ml, and antibacterial activity against S. aureus with an MIC of 14.0