Gambian President Says Able to Cure Aids

The Gambian President Yahya Jammeh can be considered an eccentric person.  He claims that he could cure asthma, but only on certain days of the week.  He also claimed in January 2007 that he created an herbal treatment said to be a cure for HIV and AIDS. 

However, instead of having HIV-positive people draw towards the herbal cure, it has increased the use of antiretroviral drugs and even reduced the stigma associated with the disease.

News reports indicated that not only the individuals who switched to the president’s herbal treatment return to antiretrovirals, but also that Jammeh has recently started to "modify" the language he uses to describe the treatment. 

A source said that Jammeh "no longer says people have been ‘cured’ through it, but instead that ‘no virus has been found’" in the immune system of participants once they finish the treatment. 

Although there is an increase in scrutiny against the president’s treatment and it impact among HIV/ AIDS experts and people with HIV/ AIDS in The Gambia, the issue remains a highly sensitive subject.

Jammeh’s treatment consists of applying a green paste on the skin, as well as the splashing of a gray-colored solution over the skin, and drinking a yellowish tea-like liquid.  The president also tells people taking the treatment that they should refrain from drinking alcohol, tea and coffee, eating kola nuts, and having sex. 

The treatment as a whole has been largely condemned by the international community, especially because public health workers worry that Jammeh also tell HIV-positive people to stop taking antiretroviral drugs, which could weaken their immune systems and make them more prone to infections.

However, news reports said that the president is now a supporter of the National AIDS Secretariat, which coordinates clinics, non-profit organizations, and other groups in providing antiretroviral treatments throughout

The Gambia.  NAS Director Alieu Jammeh said he considers the president’s treatment as "complementary" to antiretrovirals. 

The treatment has worked to reduce the stigma related to HIV and AIDS in the country, but Alieu Jammeh said more work needs to be done to stop discrimination especially among at-risk groups. 

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