SOME churches in Namibia appear to be taking advantage of HIV positive people, whose viral loads would have drastically gone down to levels where they cannot be detected, by telling them that their disease has been cured by prayer.
I was originally going to make some thoughtless comment about how the persistence of superstition in places like Namibia allows for things like this to happen on a large scale, but the same shit happens in this country on a daily basis and we supposedly know better.
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.
This is due in part to a delayed response to the ARV therapy. Her condition had originally gotten worse to the point where she developed a lung infection for a time. After being treated, her condition gradually improved to the point where she currently shows no viral load.
Unfortunately, her improvement roughly coincided with her becoming a member of a church in Ondangwa back in 2011 … leading her to believe that it was her faith and the power of God that saved her, and not the medicine she’s been taking for the better part of six years. (For those in the logic biz, that’s “post hoc ergo propter hoc” …)
Even more unfortunately, Abisai is convinced she’s HIV negative, meaning that she apparently doesn’t understand her own condition to know that even though she may not be showing internal signs of the disease, it’s still possible that she can transmit it. Additionally, there is a chance that her church peers may convince her to stop taking her medication or do something else against her doctor’s wishes because it was their prayers that “cured” her.
Admittedly, I’m speculating about that last part … but I know the same sort of thing will happen over here, especially in an environment of like-minded people. So with all sincerity, Erica, congratulations. But if you want to stay that way, listen a little more to your doctor and a little less to your friends at church.