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Some HIV-Positive People in Zambia Abandoning Antiretroviral Regimens for Ineffective Cures, Group Says

March 22, 2007

Some people living with HIV/AIDS in Zambia are abandoning their antiretroviral drug regimens for ineffective drugs that in recent weeks have been promoted in the media as cures for the disease, the Network of Zambian People Living with HIV and AIDS said on Monday, AFP/Independent Online reports. According to the AFP/Independent Online, one of Zambia's weekly newspapers recently published a story saying that a cure for AIDS had been discovered in the U.S. and that the newspaper's editor was the authorized dealer of the therapy in Zambia. In addition, a traditional herbalist appeared on a live radio program and said that she had discovered a cure for AIDS. She added that all of the people who took her treatment stopped taking their antiretroviral drugs, the AFP/Independent Online reports. "We want to express serious concerns about this situation," NZP+ Chair Mirian Banda said. According to Banda, 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 added, "As people living with HIV and AIDS, we request government to provide the public with proper information and guidance around the supposed cures." She said that of the 1.2 million HIV-positive people in Zambia, 75,000 have access to antiretrovirals. Last month, the Zambian government announced that three herbal HIV/AIDS remedies had been proven ineffective in clinical trials (AFP/Independent Online, 3/19).

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