Tag Archives: Jane Anderson

Prayer is good, prayer and medication is better!

Pastor Elizabeth was told that prayer was all she needed to fight HIV, she stopped taking her medication after faith leaders insisted she cease taking anti-HIV and life saving drugs.  She wrestled with the decision and is now an advocate for taking medication.  She says “If you are sick, and someone tells you not to take medication, they are misleading you.  Pastor Elizabeth realises this and wishes to share that HIV is simply an illness which requires medication.

At the beginning of the HIV epidemic in the early eighties, some faith leaders preached that only ‘sinners’ contracted the virus, advising that the only solution for those living with HIV was to pray hard for forgiveness. While many faith leaders have since realised that HIV is simply a virus that can affect anyone, unfortunately some haven’t. In fact, a few have gone even further, telling those in their congregations who are living with HIV to stop taking their Antiretroviral treatment (ARVs) and instead concentrate on praying because that’s the only way they will experience emotional and physical healing.

Whether praying to be healed from HIV is being preached in select churches, or some church-goers living with HIV are misinterpreting what their faith leaders are telling them, a number of HIV positive people have died as a result of stopping their HIV medication. What remains unclear is how many people are being converted to this way of thinking. Is this a big problem warranting a global intervention, or are we making a mountain out of a molehill? I personally don’t know the definitive answers to these questions, but what I can say is that where prayer and HIV healing are concerned, I have witnessed and have heard of some pretty bizarre behaviour among people living with HIV, particularly within African communities in the UK and in some parts of Africa.

It was reported in October 2011 that blind faith in prayer claimed the lives of three people who were HIV positive.  At least three people in London with HIV died after they stopped taking life saving drugs on the advice of their Evangelical Christian pastors.

The women died after attending churches in London where they were encouraged to stop taking the antiretroviral drugs in the belief that God would heal them, their friends and a leading HIV doctor said.

HIV prevention charity African Health Policy Network (AHPN) says a growing number of London churches have been telling people the power of prayer will “cure” their infections.

“This is happening through a number of churches. We’re hearing about more cases of this,” AHPN chief Francis Kaikumba said.

Whether you believe in religion or not, there is absolutely nothing wrong with prayer to help you with HIV, however there is everything wrong with discontinuing medication in favour of prayer.  Take time to consider the different mechanises to combat HIV.  Prayer may help the soul and medication will help the body.  There are a lot of people of all faiths in within research and development who would hope you look after your body too.

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Doctors are ‘missing HIV signs’

Many doctors are missing the signs that patients could be infected with HIV, researchers said after they found that one in four people with the disease could have been diagnosed at an earlier stage.

The British HIV Association (BHIVA), the body that represents HIV care professionals, said that patients with HIV are being denied longer life expectancies because they are being diagnosed too late.

A quarter of patients missed an opportunity for their HIV infection to be detected earlier because they were not offered a HIV test, according to BHIVA’s audit of HIV testing and diagnosis in the UK.

Researchers said late diagnosis of the condition is a growing problem.

People who are diagnosed with more advanced HIV have a tenfold increased risk of death in the first year compared to those diagnosed with earlier stages of infection, they said.

The author of the report, Dr Ed Ong said: “Our data shows one in four people living with HIV could have had their condition diagnosed earlier.

“This is a serious wake-up call, and shows we need a pro-active and widespread testing programme which is tailored to those people who are most at risk.”

BHIVA chair Professor Jane Anderson added: “Late diagnosis is the single biggest cause of death from HIV in the UK. It increases the risk of HIV related ill-health, of HIV being acquired by others, and significantly increases the costs of treatment.

“HIV is treatable, and if diagnosed in time, people with HIV can expect to have long and healthy lives. Sadly, opportunities for longer life expectancy for people with HIV are being thrown away by late diagnosis.”

The research, which examined the records of more than 1,000 patients at HIV treatment centres in the UK, was published today in the Clinical Medicine Journal.

Original Article via the Telegraph

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Free HIV treatment for asylum seekers and non-UK citizens

Asylum seekers and other non-British citizens are set to be given free HIV treatment after the government indicated it was willing to accept an amendment from Lord Fowler to the health bill.

Doctors working with people who have HIV have long argued that refusing free HIV drugs on the NHS to overseas visitors, including asylum seekers, is morally wrong and risks spreading the virus. Fowler, who chaired a House of Lords inquiry into the state of the HIV epidemic in Britain, nearly 25 years after he launched, as a Tory health secretary, the first major campaign warning of the the dangers of Aids, agreed with them.

His amendment to the bill will allow overseas visitors to be treated for HIV on the NHS if they have been here for six months. This brings England into line with Scotland and Wales. Experts believe the cost of providing drugs from a clinic will be far less than the possible costs of treating someone in hospital for Aids. The drugs also prevent new infections.

Ministers have indicated they will accept the amendment without a vote later this week. Anne Milton, the public health minister, said: “This measure will protect the public and brings HIV treatment into line with all other infectious diseases. Treating people with HIV means they are very unlikely to pass the infection on to others.” Perhaps anticipating possible criticism from some sections of the press, she added: “Tough guidance will ensure this measure is not abused.”

Professor Jane Anderson, chair of the British HIV Association – which represents doctors who have been placed in a dilemma by the current rules – said: “This is good news, both for people living with HIV and for public health in general. For too long access to treatment and care for some of the most vulnerable people has been compromised by the English charging arrangements.

“There is no ethical or economic reason to leave people living with HIV without appropriate treatment. Recent research shows that proper treatment can also reduce infectiousness and so stop other people becoming infected.

“I am delighted that Lord Fowler has finally won the argument on this point. It’s a decision that will certainly save lives and improve the quality of life of many who were previously shut out from appropriate treatment.”

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Original Article by Sarah Boseley at The Guardian

Blind Faith: HIV Prayer Cure Claims Three Deaths

At least three people in London with HIV have died after they stopped taking life saving drugs on the advice of their Evangelical Christian pastors.

The women died after attending churches in London where they were encouraged to stop taking the antiretroviral drugs in the belief that God would heal them, their friends and a leading HIV doctor said.

Responding to the BBC London investigation, Lord Fowler, the former health minister responsible for the famous Aids awareness campaign of the 1980s, condemned the practice.

“It’s just wrong, bad advice that should be confronted,” said the Tory peer, who chaired last month’s House of Lords committee into HIV.

Jane Iwu, 48, from Newham, east London, described one case, saying: “I know of a friend who had been to a pastor. She told her to stop taking her medication – that God is a healer and has healed her.”

“This lady believed it. She stopped taking her medication. She passed away,” said Ms Iwu, who has HIV herself.  Meanwhile, the director of a leading HIV research centre in east London said she had dealt with a separate case in which a person with HIV died as a result of advice from a pastor.

“I’ve only seen that once, but it has happened,” said Prof Jane Anderson, director of the Centre for the Study of Sexual Health and HIV, in Hackney.

“We see patients quite often who will come having expressed the belief that if they pray frequently enough, their HIV will somehow be cured,” she added.  “We have seen people who choose not to take the tablets at all so sometimes die.”

Lord Fowler condemned pastors giving this advice, saying: “It’s dangerous to the public and dangerous in terms of public health.”   “It’s irresponsible,” he said, suggesting pastors should instead “come off the air on it, look at things much more seriously, and not give this completely wrong advice to the public”.

HIV prevention charity African Health Policy Network (AHPN) says a growing number of London churches have been telling people the power of prayer will “cure” their infections.

“This is happening through a number of churches. We’re hearing about more cases of this,” AHPN chief Francis Kaikumba said.

AHPN said it believed the Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN), which has UK headquarters in Southwark, south London, may be involved in such practices.

The church is headed by Pastor T B Joshua, Nigeria’s third richest clergyman, according to a recent Forbes richlist.

The church’s website, which was set up in Lagos, Nigeria, shows photos of people the church claims have been “cured” of HIV through prayer.

In one example, the church’s website claims: “Mrs Badmus proudly displays her two different medical records confirming she is 100% free from HIV-Aids following the prayer of Pastor T B Joshua.”

“HIV-Aids healing” is listed on the church’s website among “miracles” it says it can perform.

“Cancer healing” and “baby miracles” are also advertised.

The church’s UK website promotes a monthly “prayer line” for which it says: “If you are having a medical condition, it is important you bring a medical report for record and testimony purposes.”

It has posted videos on the internet showing its services in south London, in which participants who claim to have arthritis, asthma and schizophrenia say they have been healed after being sprayed with “anointing water” provided by the church.

Mary Buhari, 44 , from central London, told the BBC she had had a phone conversation with a representative of the church, in which she was told she could be cured of HIV.

“I was told they can cure any illness on Earth through prayer, including HIV,” she said.

However, when asked by BBC London if it claimed its pastors can cure HIV, SCOAN responded: “We are not the healer. God is the healer. Never a sickness God cannot heal. Never a disease God cannot cure.

“We don’t ask people to stop taking medication,” the church added. “Doctors treat; God heals.”

The recent House of Lords committee report into HIV awareness said faith groups’ approaches to supporting people with HIV had improved but more needed to be done.

“It is essential that faith leaders engage with HIV as an issue and provide effective and truthful support and communication around the subject,” it said.

A Department of Health spokesman responded to the report saying: “Over 60 recommendations were made and we will be responding to Parliament in the next few months.”

Jane Iwu and Mary Buhari had their identities changed in this article, at their request.

Original Article by By Andy Dangerfield at BBC News

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