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Friday, 01 December 2023 16:11

Herbal HIV treatment kills four in Gombe

At least four persons have lost their lives in Gombe state after resorting to herbal treatment to remedy their HIV positive status.

The Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) in Gombe State, made this known on Thursday.

Speaking at an event in the north east state to commemorate the 2023 World AIDS Day, the programme officer of the association, Mr Muhammad Ibrahim, disclosed that the deceased died for allegedly using herbal HIV treatment.

Ibrahim said the growing resort to the use of herbal therapy for HIV treatment in the state was troubling due to the spate of patronage of such unorthodox medications by its members.

He underscored the need for the government and stakeholders to regulate and check the circulation of alternative HIV treatment in the state.

According to Ibrahim, a lot of HIV positive patients that are desperately searching for cure are opting for herbal remedy, adding that many have died as a result of wrong medication.

“A lot of our members are subscribing and using herbal medicine based on the information being spread by the hawkers of traditional medicine who are everywhere in Gombe.

“These people are openly advertising and claiming that they have discovered the treatment of HIV, and as a result, a lot of our people are buying the medicine.

“There is no scientific proof that the herbal treatments are real, so we want the government to look into this and do the needful.

“Anybody that claims to have found treatment for HIV should be identified and invited by the government to verify his claims and certify it before public sales and use,” Ibrahim said.

Also commenting, Dr Habu Dahiru, the state’s Commissioner for Health, said there was no scientific proof that herbs could cure the disease.

Dahiru advised NEPWHAN members and all those living with HIV to desist from using herbal medicines to treat the disease, adding that such concoctions damage vital organs.

“We do not have any scientific evidence that herbal medicines are working but anti retroviral drugs are working and when we do the viral load test, you see it reducing, it is scientific.

“Herbal medicines have side effects, especially damage the liver and kidney.

“We have always discouraged the use of a remedy that has not been certified. To use a drug or herbal in treating a certain illness it has to undergo various stages of test and certification before approval.

“We have not heard of any herbal that has been certified for HIV treatment,” he said.

On the fight against the menace, Dahiru said the state had achieved a lot in reducing disease burden.

He said the state achieved 95 per cent of suspected cases tested and placed on medication, adding that 95 per cent of those placed on medication have achieved viral suppression.

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