Comments on ‘I can coexist with HIV’: a complex situation (J Virus Erad 2016; 2: 170–174)

Virus Wiwanitkit, Visiting Professor, Hainan Medical University, China; Professor, Senior Expert, Surindra Rajabhat University, Thailand

The recent report on “‘I can coexist with HIV’: a complex situation” from China is very interesting [1]. In fact, living with an incurable disease can cause great suffering to the individual and requires a strong mind. Ma et al. reported that ‘many felt it is more important and realistic to have access to better ART medication and more education for the general public to decrease HIV stigma today rather than develop a cure for tomorrow’ [1]. How to live in the present day and hope for the future are important concerns for people living with HIV (PLHIV).

In Thailand, similarly to other countries, there are many HIV-infected individuals. The ways in which many of these people live peacefully in the community are very interesting. The role of good community health interventions are proving to be effective for management [2]. A particularly interesting approach is the use of Buddhist principles in spiritual care to help maintain PLHIV [3]. Using two main spiritual principles: (i) understanding and accepting that nothing is permanent; and (ii) living life with contentment, have been shown to give support to patients, their families as well as communities [3].



1.                 Ma Q, Wu F, Henderson G, Rennie S et al. 'I can coexist with HIV': a qualitative study of perceptions of HIV cure among people living with HIV in Guangzhou, China. J Virus Erad 2016; 2:170–174.

2.                 Abe M, Turale S, Klunklin A, Supamanee T. Community health nurses' HIV health promotion and education programmes: a qualitative study. Int Nurs Rev 2014; 61: 515–524.

3.                 Balthip Q, Petchruschatachart U, Piriyakoontorn S, Boddy J. Achieving peace and harmony in life: Thai Buddhists living with HIV/AIDS. Int J Nurs Pract 2013; 19 Suppl 2:7–14.

Reply from the authors:
Qingyan Ma, Senior Research Associate, Center for Medical Humanities, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen Univeristy, Guangzhou, China

Thank you for the thoughtful comment. We totally agree that integrating religious aspects into interventions could improve the quality of life among people living with HIV (PLHIV). In addition to Buddhism [1], Christianity has also been integrated into interventions for improving ART adherence and psychosocial well being of PLHIV [2,3].

With respect to HIV cure research, what we can learn from these previous interventions and how they can help medical researchers to improve clinical trial processes warrant further research. As HIV cure research expands into more locations around the globe, integrating local cultural and religious aspects into the study design, consent form and participant recruitment process will remain important.


1.                 Rongkavilit C, Naar-King S, Kalhee LM et al. Applying the information-motivation-behavioral skills model in medication adherence among Thai youth living with HIV: a qualitative study. AIDS Patient Care STDS 2010; 24: 787–794.

2.                 Montoya JL Georges S, Poquette A et al. Refining a personalized mHealth intervention to promote medication adherence among HIV plus methamphetamine users. AIDS Care 2014; 26: 1477–1481.

3.                 Root R, Whiteside A. A qualitative study of community home-based care and antiretroviral adherence in Swaziland. J Int AIDS Soc 2013; 16: 17978.

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