FIAR in South India: GANDEEPAM

Please click on the topics below for information on our project in Tamil Nadu, South India. This area will be updated periodically as reports are written. If you have any questions, suggestions or other thoughts about these reports, please do not hesitate to contact FIAR. For information on other projects, click on Conference Reports.

FIAR is delighted to have the opportunity to work with a group of Siddha practitioners in South India where they are developing treatments in their tradition to address the HIV epidemic in region, where poverty and a long drought have made life very difficult. So far, few HIV+ people have access to antiretroviral therapy. As a result, the treatments they receive cannot be considered "alternative" or "complementary" as they are often the ONLY treatment they are able to access.

The grant is a 2-year Planning Grant we received from the National Institutes of Health, specificaly the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. We have run into a technical snag that has, as of November, 2004, restricted our efforts. We are still waiting for the Indian Council of Medical Research to approve our grant. This means we are unable to disburse funds to our partners in India until that approval is received. The recent change this past year in the government, however, gives us hope that this approval will happen soon.

Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, NY, our partner in this NIH supported Planning Grant, sent three students and Nils Hennig, MD, PhD to our collaborators at Gandeepam in the summer of 2004. The students, Kaylan Baban, Deeangelee Pooran and Scott Ikeda, spent three weeks at Gandeepam, working on evaluating the programs Gandeepam undertakes as well as providing input into methods and means for improving their capacity to conduct human clinical studies. The group presented a series of posters with their findings at a recent event at Mount Sinai. The posters are found below in Powerpoint.

Kaylan Baban poster: Culture, Community Networks, and HIV/AIDS Outreach Opportunities in a South Indian Siddha Organization

Deeangelee Pooran's poster: Needs Assessment Study Establishing A Scientific Study of Siddha Medicine Treatments of HIV/AIDS

Scott Ikeda's poster: Assessment and Review of HIV Positive Patient Medical Records from a Traditional Siddha Medicine Hospital in Tamil Nadu, India

A site visit to India was undertaken in March, 2003 by FIAR's Director, George Carter. The first week was spent visiting the site of Citta's hospital, schools and women's center in Orissa, a very poor state in Northeastern India. We hope to undertake collaborative efforts with Citta. The second week was our second site visit to Gandeepam, where Mr. Carter was accompanied by Dr. Indyk from Mt. Sinai. (The first site visit was held in during a conference on HIV/AIDS and Siddha medicine held in December, 2003.) Finally, a community meeting was held in the third week at the Blue Diamond Society in Kathmandu, Nepal to further strengthen the proposal to conduct clinical research of Ayurvedic and/or Tibetan medicine in the management of HIV. Please click on the highlighted text in this paragraph to link to the relevant reports/websites.

First International Conference on Siddha Medicine. Report on this international conference held in India, May 2002. Siddha medicine is a tradition that possibly predates the Ayurvedic system. It may have significant advances to offer in the treatment of HIV and hepatitis.

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