Determinants, Prevalence and Trend of Use of Medicinal Plants Among People Living with HIV: A Cross-Sectional Survey in Dschang, Cameroon

  • Alex Mabou TagneEmail author
  • Prosper Cabral Biapa Nya
  • Armand Tiotsia Tsapi
  • Annick Kevin Edingue Essoh
  • Gynette Pembouong
  • Michael Alliance Ngouadjeu Ngnintedem
  • Franca Marino
  • Marco Cosentino
Original Paper


People living with HIV (PLHIV) in Cameroon often seek care from traditional health practitioners (THPs) and use medicinal plants (MP). Most MP, however, still lacks evidence for their efficacy and safety, and their use, often undisclosed to referring physicians, may interfere with standard therapies. Therefore, we conducted a survey of 247 PLHIV in Dschang to assess the determinants, prevalence and trend of MP use. Besides, we surveyed 16 THPs about the use of MP in PLHIV and HIV-related knowledge. 54.9% PLHIV declared using in total 70 plants, 91.3% users were satisfied with MP, and unwanted effects were reported in 2 cases. MP users were less educated than nonusers, had longer disease duration and were more often unemployed. Only 3 THPs used MP in PLHIV, and most of them had insufficient knowledge of HIV. Results may be useful for education on HIV and integration of traditional medicines with conventional therapeutics.


Medicinal plants Ethnobotanical survey Prevalence HIV/AIDS Dschang Cameroon 



We would like to express our gratefulness to all study participants for their cooperation, clinical staff for their support, and local authorities for permission to conduct our research. In addition, the authors would like to acknowledge the contribution of Maurice Kenzo, chairperson of SOCOPMO, who run the interviews with traditional practitioners. AMT holds a PhD fellowship and is enrolled in the PhD program in Clinical and Experimental Medicine and Medical Humanities at the University of Insubria in Varese (I).

Author Contributions

Conception and design of the survey: FM MC AMT PCBN ATT GP. Data collection: ATT PCBN AKEE GP MANN. Data analysis: MC AMT FM. Interpretation of results: MC FM AMT ATT MANN. Drafting of the manuscript: MC AMT FM. All authors were involved in revising it critically for important intellectual content, and all authors approved the final version to be published. All authors agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved and declare to have confidence in the integrity of the contributions of their co-authors.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10461_2018_2388_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.8 mb)
Supplementary data S1 (DOCX 1804 kb)
10461_2018_2388_MOESM2_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Supplementary data S2 (DOCX 19 kb)
10461_2018_2388_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (364 kb)
Supplementary data S3 (PDF 365 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alex Mabou Tagne
    • 1
    Email author return OK on get
  • Prosper Cabral Biapa Nya
    • 2
  • Armand Tiotsia Tsapi
    • 3
  • Annick Kevin Edingue Essoh
    • 4
  • Gynette Pembouong
    • 4
  • Michael Alliance Ngouadjeu Ngnintedem
    • 5
  • Franca Marino
    • 1
  • Marco Cosentino
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Research in Medical PharmacologyUniversity of InsubriaVareseItaly
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry, Laboratory of PhytochemistryUniversity of DschangDschangCameroon
  3. 3.Faculty of Sciences and TechnologyEvangelical University of CameroonBandjounCameroon
  4. 4.Faculty of Medicine and Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of DschangDschangCameroon
  5. 5.School of PharmacyUniversity of CamerinoCamerinoItaly

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