Quitting ARVs in Ethiopia

According to a recent Kaiser Network article, “More than one-quarter of HIV-positive people in Ethiopia who have been prescribed antiretroviral drug regimens have stopped taking the medications in part because of logistical issues and religious beliefs, Ygeremu Abebe, director of the Clinton Foundation in Ethiopia, said on Tuesday, Reuters Health reports.”

The article goes on to state, “More than 40,000 of the 156,360 people prescribed antiretrovirals have stopped treatment because of ‘problems of transportation to hospitals,’ Abebe said, adding that some people have stopped taking the drugs based on comments from religious leaders in the country to stop the medication in favor of ‘holy water.’ ”  Lack of awareness about the serious consequences of stopping ARV treatment may also be a factor, according to Abebe.

This is obviously a tragic development.  I’m especially startled and saddened by the fact that some clerics are discouraging people from using HIV medicines.  The Church – in Ethiopia and everywhere else – should be supporting people living with HIV in their efforts to receive treatment and stay healthy, not hindering them.  How very sad!

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~ by h.e.g. on June 30, 2008.

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