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Abstract

Background: Ethnobotanical surveys were carried out to document herbal remedies used in the management of HIV/AIDS opportunistic infections in Bukoba Rural district, Tanzania. The district is currently an epicenter of HIV/AIDS and although over 90% of the population in the district relies on traditional medicines to manage the disease, this knowledge is impressionistic and not well documented. The HIV/AIDS opportunistic conditions considered during the study were Tuberculosis (TB), Herpes zoster (Shingles), Herpes simplex (Genital herpes), Oral candidiasis and Cryptococcal meningitis. Other symptomatic but undefined conditions considered were skin rashes and chronic diarrhea. Methods: An open-ended semi-structured questionnaire was used in collecting field information. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the ethnobotanical data collected. Factor of informant consensus (Fic) was used to analyze the ethnobotanical importance of the plants. Results: In the present study, 75 plant species belonging to 66 genera and 41 families were found to be used to treat one or more HIV/AIDS related infections in the district. The study revealed that TB and oral candidiasis were the most common manifestations of HIV/AIDS opportunistic infections affecting most of the population in the area. It unveils the first detailed account of ethnomedical documentation of plants focusing the management of HIV/AIDS related infections in the district. Conclusion: It is concluded that the ethnopharmacological information reported forms a basis for further research to identify and isolate bioactive constituents that can be developed to drugs for the management of the HIV/AIDS opportunistic infections.

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