Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) with control interventions of placebo, sham therapy, standard treatment or no treatment at all. Trials were excluded if they lacked a proper statistical analysis, if they related to trials of conventional therapeutic approaches, if they lacked clinical end points, or if they were not randomised.
Specific interventions included in the review
Herbal treatments, vitamin treatments and other supplements (selenium, beta-carotene, oral nutritional supplements, vitamin A, alphatocopherol and vitamin C), stress management, massage therapy and acupuncture in the intervention groups and placebo, sham treatment, standard treatment or no treatment in the control groups. Experimental new treatments e.g. extracorporeal whole body hyperthermia were excluded.
Participants included in the review
HIV-positive and AIDS adult patients, and children of HIV mothers (HIV exposed newborns).
Outcomes assessed in the review
Various objective (blood tests, body mass index, daily weight gain, infections, therapeutic failure, symptoms) and subjective (mood, anxiety mood self esteem management, dysphoria, profile of mood states (POMS), total mood disturbance (TMD), Mishel Uncertainty in Illness Scale (MUIS), Brazelton neonatal behaviour assessment scale, and changes in mean pain scores) outcome measures.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
Two authors read all papers in full. Disagreements were settled through discussion.