Namibia: Prayer Does Not Cure HIV – Doctor

The Namibian – A doctor based in northern Namibia, whose patient is claiming that she is now negative, said that it’s not true that 45-year-old Erica Abisai from Ondangwa has been cured of the disease through prayer but that her body is responding well to treatment.

Abisai, a mother of four from Uupopo informal settlement, was diagnosed HIV positive about 18 years ago. She started her anti-retroviral therapy six years ago. Still today, Abisai is on anti-retroviral therapy although she claims that prayer has stamped out the disease.

“Even though I have been on medication ever since I tested positive, my viral load was very high at some stage and my body started to get weak. I developed a lung infection,” she said. In 2011, she joined a church in Ondangwa and has been a member ever since.

Abisai further said that one day she told the church members about her status and they started praying for her healing. On 2 August, Abisai said she went back to the hospital for another viral load re-test. The results, she claimed, which came on 6 September showed that her status was negative.

“When the doctor told me that I had tested HIV negative, I could not believe it. It was like a miracle happening to me but the doctor told me to continue taking my medications until he would perform another test to find the right medications for me,” Abisai expressed her excitement.

Although Abisai claims to have been cured, she urged people on ARV treatment to continue taking their medication and follow their doctors’ instructions.

The doctor, Chiwira Munashe, who tested Abisai for her viral load denied she was declared her HIV negative. However her viral load is now so low that the machine cannot detect it.

“I did not say that she is now free of HIV because of her viral load that is low. I have never seen a person who was cured of HIV through prayers. I do not think that it can happen. I have never told anyone something like that in my life,” the doctor said.

According to Munashe, when a person’s viral load is undetectable, it means that the person is now responding well to the ARV medications but the person should take another test after six months to monitor the viral load.

“Undetectable viral load does not mean that a person has been cured of HIV, but the combination of the drugs a person is taking, has been reduced to HIV’s ability to reproduce, so it can no longer be detected in the blood,” Munashe further explained, adding that the ARV medication does not kill the virus but only decreases the multiplication of the viral load.

Studies have also found that having a low viral load does not guarantee that you won’t transmit HIV to someone else. Even when the viral load in your blood is undetectable, HIV can still exist in semen, vaginal and rectal fluids, breast milk, and other parts of your body.

Medical experts say HIV positive people should continue using condoms consistently and correctly for all sexual contact.

Categories: Africa

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