Five people died in Bulawayo in the period leading to the 2019 festive season after they reportedly discontinued talking Antiretroviral medications at their prophets’ orders.
National Aids Council Bulawayo Provincial Manager, Sinatra Nyathi urged people not to discontinue their medications for whatever reasons. She said:
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Remember, when someone is on ART, the ARVs are responsible for suppressing the viral load to levels where we don’t want it to be detectable in their bloodstream.
So if you don’t take your drugs, you are actually giving the virus the change to multiply and most of the time when the person’s virus has multiplied to those levels, most of them they will not make it.
That is why we have got a challenge to say people are going to the prophets and faith-based organisations and say prophet so and so prayed for me and I threw away the drugs.
Nyathi said that there is nothing wrong with prayer but encouraged patients to take their drugs until they are advised otherwise by the doctors who initiated them and not prophets or anyone.
There are concerns that withdrawal from taking ART will give birth to an even worse health situation such as HIV drug resistance among other health complications.