Aids patients in Zambia lured by fake cures

Lusaka - Aids patients in Zambia are abandoning their life-prolonging drugs in exchange for bogus cures that have hit the market in recent weeks, a leading Aids advocacy group said on Monday.

The Network of Zambian People Living with HIV and Aids (NZP+) said it has received reports that some of its members were stopping the use of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) for fake cures being promoted in the media.

"We want to express serious concerns about this situation," said Mirian Banda, chairperson of NZP+.

"As people living with HIV and Aids, we request government to provide the public with proper information and guidance around the supposed cures," Banda said.

One of Zambia's weekly newspapers published a story indicating that a drug that cures Aids had been discovered in the United States, and saying the newspaper's editor was the authorised dealer of the 'cure' in Zambia.

Another traditional herbalist appeared on a live radio programme claiming that she had found the cure for Aids and all her patients abandoned their ARVs after taking her medicines.

"Zambia has already seen numerous examples of claims to cure HIV, all of which have proven to be untrue, confusing, and regrettably lethal, since they draw HIV positive people away from proper ways of dealing with their status," Banda said.

She said Zambia had 75 000 HIV positive people taking ARVs while 1,2 million others are carriers of the HI virus.

Last month, government announced that three herbs initially thought to cure Aids had proved ineffective after undergoing a thorough six-month clinical trial.

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