At least six people in Britain have died after an evangelical church told them they were cured of HIV and no longer needed medication, Sky News recently reported. The London-based Synagogue Church of All Nations holds a monthly prayer meeting in which people from across Europe seek religious healing from illnesses, the news agency reported.
"We have many people that contract HIV. All are healed," said Pastor Rachel Holmes. After a healing ritual, pastors allegedly tell supplicants that they are healed by God, no longer require medication, and can start a family. To date, at least six people told to stop taking HIV medication have died.
"It is foolish advice and it is tragic advice because the consequences of this kind of advice can only be that people pass on HIV and can only be seriously bad for the individual concerned, including death," said former Health Secretary Lord Fowler.
The church claims that those people who were not healed did not fully accept that God would heal them; however, "only God can determine this," it says.
"Our advice is clear, that faith and prayer are not a substitute for any form of treatment, especially for HIV treatment," the Department of Health said.