The government has warned churches against deceiving people taking HIV drugs that they can cure the disease if they follow them.
The warning comes awake of the sprouting of churches lead by ‘prophets’ who are using some free to air Television channels preaching that they can heal HIV.
The TV channels broadcast people bearing testimonies that they had been healed by the said churches.
These churches s associate the deadly disease with bad spirits which they claim that they can exorcise.
As a result desperate people flock these churches lose out on their hard earned cash on ‘healing prayer’ conducted on them by the so called prophets.
President Robert Mugabe recently blasted these churches and described their leaders as ‘fly by night prophets’.
Head of HIV and TB unit in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Owen Mugurungi said there is not cure for AIDS.
“I hope that churches do not get an excuse to say, yes, because people are on treatment and have achieved maximum viral suppression they are cured, no. There is no cure for HIV as yet. We know we can reduce viral load to undetectable or zero viral circulating in your body but that does not necessarily mean that the virus is gone. The virus will go and hide in the lymph nodes (Mwambabvu) where there is no blood circulation .It will go there and rest there and can rest in the brain and at every opportunity it will come out,” Dr Mugurungi explained.
“It does not necessarily mean that when it is raining when you look at the streets of Harare you say there are no people. People are indoors and they are waiting for the rains to stop and they come out and start walking .That is exactly what happens with HIV”.
Dr Mugurungi said the church should pray for the sick and encourages them to adhere to their treatment as opposed to discouraging them from taking their medication.
“The good thing is that when the virus is hiding you do not infect anybody .So you will not crush or kill anybody in the street when it is raining and there are people walking, but when they are people you will have accidents .So that is the analogy I can use. I hope churches are not using this because this suppression requires you to take your medicines every day”, he said.
Defaulting in taking ARVs according to Dr Mugurungi is one of the major causes of death among the people living with HIV.