National AIDS Council has appealed to parliament to enact laws that criminalise religious acts which discourage people on AIDS treatment from taking their drugs.
NCA a government body which administers AIDS levy and implements AIDS programmes says there are thousands of people who are defaulting on treatment after approaching traditional and faith based healers.
The organisation’s Advocacy Coordinator Trust Govere told journalists recently in Harare that they have already engaging parliament over that issue after having failed to reach a consensus with traditional healers and the concerned faith based organisations.
“I do not have the number of people who are defaulting treatment off the cuff, but there are thousands who have since abandoned treatment after being told that they had been healed by either traditional healers or by some prophets,” said Govere.
“We have managed to pick the issue up after some of them are later coming back for treatment after realising that they were never cured and they become drug resistant and they put on second line”.
Goverere said more awareness campaigns on the management of HIV were needed by stakeholders.
“Specifically we have approached the Parliamentary committee on Health and Child Care, committee on Justice, thematic committee on HIV and AIDS so that they look at several other issues which we want them to address, issues to do with HIV funding, access to treatment and how the religion is determining the uptake of HIV services,” said Govere.
There are 1.5 million people who are living with HIV in and only 850 000 are on treatment.