National Association of People Living with HIV and AIDS (NAPHAM) in Malawi has warned people on Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) against quitting medication for some juices on the market purported to fight HIV.
NAPHAM’s Mzimba District Coordinator Saul Dion sounded the warning Friday during a media briefing in Mzuzu on the progress of the association’s Positive Action to Better Services Project being implemented in the district.
Dion bemoaned that following massive media advertising of various herbal juices purported to be effective in fighting HIV and boosting immunity, some people on ART were quitting medical drugs for the juices.
“What happens is that when one takes ARVs, the viral load becomes suppressed. The danger is that once one stops taking the ARVs, the virus resurfaces and eventually becomes more aggressive and immune to any drug,” Dion said.
“It doesn’t mean that when one takes the herbal juice then he or she will be cured. What people should know is that, as of now, there is still no medicine that can completely get rid of HIV,” he added.
Of late, there has been an influx of herbal juices on the market purported to fight different ailments including HIV and boost immunity. The juices come in different brands and quantities. Adverts about the juices are flouted in print, electronic and online media.
Dion then asked the media to assist in spreading right messages that such juices or herbs are not an alternative to ARV drugs hence the need for those living with the virus to adhere to medical treatment.
“Some people just want to make money out of people living with HIV. They think those living with the virus are desperate for a cure and, therefore, ready to accept and buy anything purported to fight HIV,” he said.