ARV default blamed on false prophecies

HARARE - Government should formulate a tough law to punish churches as thousands of HIV/Aids patients defaulted on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment after receiving false healing prophecies, HIV activists have said.

Sebastian Chinhaire, national chairman of the Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV (ZNNP+), said Aids-related mortality is increasing due to false prophecies, and reiterated that there was still no cure for HIV.

“The issue of healing in churches is a serious concern for us at a time we thought we were moving towards zero Aids-related deaths,” he said. “Many people are dying.

“They are told you can go get tested to prove healing. The truth is ARVs can suppress the HIV virus to a level where it cannot be detected but it does not mean it is not there and once you start defaulting, it multiplies again.

“Government should come up with a statutory instrument which can then be used to hold such prophets to account.”

Official data shows that about 80 percent of Zimbabwe’s 13 million people are Christians, with at least 1,2 million people living positively with HIV. At least half are on treatment.

Although national statistics on defaulters are scarce, Health and Child Care Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) coordinator, Angela Mushavi, recently said religious beliefs have become a barrier to ART adherence.

She said government has already started engaging religious leaders over the issue.

Chinhaire said church leaders should find other ways of attracting audiences than putting people’s lives at risk.

“The danger is when you want to revert to treatment; you then have to be on second line drugs which are expensive and difficult to access,” he said.

“Most of such people are dying anyway. Religion is powerful and defaulting patients become so adamant.”

Zimbabwe HIV and Aids Activists Union (Zhaau) secretary-general, Stanley Takaona, said such incidences are a direct intrusion into HIV therapy guidelines and the medical profession, which deserves the attention of lawmakers.

“People are desperate and the faith healers are abusing desperate people to market their churches, which is wrong,” he said. “They should stop to interfering with other trades and global guidelines.”

Emmanuel Gasa, the Aids and Arts Foundation (Taaf) director, said such practices are happening across religions.

“Such over dependency on the doctrine is there everywhere, both in Pentecostal and Apostolic churches,” Gasa said. “Such leaders should be able to be taken to a court of law.”

Comments (14)

If government could enact a law that makes it a crime to claim to have healed someone of HIV, not only HIV but all other diseases like Cancer, Diabetes e.t.c, then a lot of people's lives will be saved. These so called prophets take advantage of desperate people seeking help by the fact is once you are infected, you need medical treatment. God would only help those who helps themselves not to expect miracles. I support this idea. FALSE PROPHETS TO JAIL. MEDICAL DRUGS TO THE SICK.

Positive Thinking - 6 October 2014

the devil is saying this because he brought this disease. our Lord Jesus will win over it anywhere. arv are not the solution to this but to bind people and give more side effects, so that we are kept bound. me and Lord are still looking at how this will be dealt with. sorry for those who say the doctors have a final say on this. not at all, no matter what the devil is trying to say this one is about to be hit. check most people who are prayed for who are hiv positive do manifest. why? the devil at work.

see - 6 October 2014

@ positive thinking, at one point Jesus said there will send you to jail saying they are doing God a service. We should be careful how we judge spiritual things. sometimes we say there are a lie when we real have not judge them correctly, becoz spiritaulity is higher than the physical/material world.

see - 6 October 2014

Its a pity that some people are very quick to judge without having made any efforts to see the truth for themselves.Its very true that faith healing is a reality and its happening.Im not denying the fact that out there foxes are present ready to pounce on desperate sick people but the truth is trhat we have prophets amongst us who are making changes in peoples lives including those who are suffering from hiv.A case that clearly comes to mind is that of DJ Fresh a very well known club DJ who had a fracture of neck of femur and didn't have enough resources to have his leg fixed by pvt Doctors.He was attended to by Prohet Magaya for no charge at all and as of now he is walking.This case is well documented and evidence is their in the press even on camera for all to see what God can do.Not only this health condition but many which are well documented.So I believe the area of spiritual healing must be taken seriously since life is spiritual.To take this fact lightly will prove a big mistake mark my words.

Johso wekuMbare - 7 October 2014

faith healing is bullshit, lets have a law to ban all these vana makandiwas, magaya, engels and ect matsotsi aya. these are cults not churches, 30% of zimbos are Christians and not 80% musanyepere vanhu.

mabhunu muchapera - 7 October 2014

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codzo - 7 October 2014

mabhunu muchapera yu dnt know wat yu r sain.....yu need help

ntaa - 7 October 2014

@Mabhunu Muchapera I feel so much pity for you.You spiritual eyes are closed and you are in bondage you need Jesus in your life.If in this our and day still feel that faith healing is a dream its very sad indeed.How on earth do you explain broken bones (big ones ) getting healed instantly with evidence of xrays available ?The crippled walking ?The blind seeing ?If all this is a lie to you even when Jesus comes it will still be a lie to you.Wakatosara ende ucharamba wakasara nepfungwa dzako dzakapeyama.

Johnso wekuMbare - 7 October 2014

Its amazing a lot of these patients taking A RVs have suffered serious side effect who has been sued and yet we do have confirmed faith healed people tested by doctors before healing and after healing and you hear someone claiming there is no such a thing. Pple dont think what you can not do everyone can not do.to hell with your mentality .Its like failing to solve 1+1 and start to believe that everyone cant.no wonder why Prophet E M akandiwa said if the devil wants to finish you he attacks your minds.I would like to believe that those who want to sue prohets are even in serious mental illness than the HIV patient themselves

GIVY - 7 October 2014

Thank you Givvy,even the man of God prophet Magaya said it 2.The devil only came to kill.steal and destroy.It is written in the book of Isaaih that God can heal all diseases and all means all

ome - 7 October 2014

The problem with claims to have healed s/body of HIV/AIDS is that it can NOT be proved at all!! Scientifically speaking, the viral load can get so low that it becomes undetectable, at which point some people will claim to have been healed because of a negative test when, in actual fact, the virus is still lurking in one's body. Unfortunately, the mind is so powerful that one can easily believe that the body has been healed when this is not so. This is one reason why in testing the effectiveness of drugs, the PLACEBO EFFECT has to be ruled out i.e. to ascertain that the healing is due to the drug and not due to the mind. Therefore "men of God" who instruct people to throw away their tablets need to be extra careful coz nowhere in the Bible does it actually say it's a sin to take pills for a medical condition. Unfortunately if a person relapses the religious charlatans will always use the defence that he/she didn't have enough faith!!

ZVOKWADI - 7 October 2014

Don't mislead people. Viral Load is established by one test and HIV status by another test, So even if your viral load is undetectable the HIV antibodies can still be seen by the HIV test if you are still positive.

Grace - 9 October 2014

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