Accra, The Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) in partnership with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has issued a warning to individuals parading false claims of possessing a cure for HIV.
The partners also warned the staff of both institutions who condone such claims by allowing these drugs to be sold to patients who visited their health facilities, to desist from such unprofessional and unethical acts or face strict sanctions or prosecution if found out.
The Commission said the only approved prescriptions for the treatment of HIV were the antiretroviral drugs, which could be taken for the effective management and suppression of the viral load of Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV).
They therefore encouraged PLHIV to strictly adhere to the intake of these medications and not to be deceived by anyone who possess any other preparations whether herbal or orthodox, as a cure for the disease.
Ambassador Dr Mokowa Blay Adu-Gyamfi, the newly appointed Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, who addressed a joint press conference with the GHS in Accra on Tuesday, said the warnings were based on the persistent reports reaching both institutions on claims of a cure for HIV.
We deemed it our mandate to appropriately address these issues, and also brief the media on the status of the GAC with regards to past, present and future activities, she said.
She said although such reports had occasionally come to their notice over the years, and the GAC had always come out to caution the public about the fact that currently there was no cure for HIV, the present one was disturbing as it had the tendency of reverting the gains made so far in saving the lives of PLHIV, who were now abandoning their antiretroviral drugs for these preparations resulting in relapses and deaths.
Dr Adu-Gyamfi said the Commission recently received yet another of such reports on the Centre of Awareness’s Food Supplement known as the COA FS, which was being promoted by some vendors as a cure for HIV.
She discredited the claims, placing on record that although the COA FS had been certified as a Food Supplement by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), it was never a cure for HIV, as had been confirmed by Dr Samuel Ato Duncan, the Executive President of the Centre of Awareness, an NGO, at an earlier press conference in Accra.
She said the GAC, GHS and stakeholders were not by these condemning the efforts of the traditional herbal practitioners, but were worried about the negative implications of such unsubstantiated claims.
She said Food supplements can be utilised by the general public and not specifically PLHIV. It is important that persons living with HIV focus on taking their antiretroviral drugs as prescribed. Failure to adhere to the antiretroviral drugs has negative consequences such as ill-health, retrogression, resistance to treatment and even death,.
She also spoke about claims by some pastors, prophets and other spiritualists who claimed to have cured PLHIV through fasting and prayers, saying that although good to be highly religious, proving one’s HIV status through an authentic test was the only way of determining whether one was cured or not.
Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, said his outfit was very displeased with the constant misleading claims of HIV cure by persons who would want to prey on the suffering of others to enrich themselves.
He said the GHS had supported PLHIV throughout, and would not relent on such efforts, or hesitate to make public any information on a cure for HIV, giving the assurance that research was still ongoing to find a cure for the disease.
He said the GHS had developed strict monitoring strategies to expose and punish any of its staff found as a culprit.
Source: Ghana News Agency