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Aims to Lessen Pain in HIV Patients

At the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS (SWHIV) Clinic, naturopathic doctors and student physicians are
helping HIV-positive individuals alleviate the pain associated with a life-changing virus.

Dr. Jason Allen, NMD, staff physician at the SWHIV Clinic, works with medical students from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM) to treat patients through acupuncture, deep tissue work, physical manipulation and other physical medicine modalities.

Typically, about nine patients receive treatments during each four-hour shift at the SWHIV Clinic, one of eight community clinics funded by SCNM’s Sage Foundation. The staff works on a tight schedule with limited resources, but the experience helps medical students grow quickly as professionals in the field.

“Many of the patients come in weekly for treatment of chronic issues,” Dr. Allen explained. “The trust that patients give us inspires hard work and dedication. I see many students spending time outside of clinic researching conditions and ways that we may improve our treatments.”

“Many patients who enter the SWHIV Clinic in pain can happily walk out without it,” Dr. Allen added.

Recently, a patient came in feeling depressed and achy, fighting off a sinus infection and struggling with low energy levels. He received acupuncture treatments and deep tissue work, and after just four treatments, Dr. Allen said he was shocked at the new person standing in front of him. “The patient was almost glowing,” he described. “I know that we do great work, but the rapid progress and total turn around was really great to see.”

Long-term, Dr. Allen hopes to see more shifts available at the clinic. He and the students do incredible work with limited resources, and they’d like to expand their impact to even more patients in need. He would also like to see the SWHIV Clinic gain access to some physiotherapy equipment to better help patients suffering from back, neck and neuropathy pain.

“I am really grateful for the opportunity to work with this group of patients,” Dr. Allen said. “We are needed, appreciated and doing great things.”

Learn more about the SWHIV’s benefits to both patients and students.