Gambia’s President: Herbs can Cure HIV Victims
The president of the West African country of Gambia claims that several patients suffering from HIV and AIDS have been cured of the deadly disease by using his secret recipe of herbs, Reuters reports.
In 2007, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh said that he first discovered a natural way to cure AIDS, which sparked criticism from Western health experts who said he was giving false hope to those infected with the disease.
Gambia is a thin sliver of a country in Northwest Africa and is surrounded by Senegal. It is the smallest country on mainland Africa.
The president is comparing himself to the prophet Mohammed, founder of Islam, for his HIV cure.
"Who am I to expect that everybody would praise me?" Jammeh asked in a state television broadcast last weekend. He went on to claim that 68 patients had been cured and released from a treatment center thanks to his herbal remedy.
"Just as the Prophet Mohammed prevailed and established Islam," he told the nation, "I also prevailed to cure HIV/AIDS to the point that 68 are being discharged today."
The World Health Organization and the United Nations have taken issue with Jammeh's cure because HIV and AIDS patients are instructed to stop their anti-retroviral drug treatment, which can put them at higher risk for infection.
The country's leader, however, maintains that the latest group of patients is the seventh batch successfully to undergo the herbal treatment since 2007. He announced plans on administer his medicine to all of Gambia's hospitals in addition to Western medical treatments.
Jammeh became the president of Gambia in 1994 and in 2008 announced that he would introduce a measure against the country's LGBT community that would be "stricter than those in Iran" and that he would "cut off the head" of any gay man or lesbian in Gambia.
Currently, all same-sex activity is illegal in the country and same-sex couples have no legal recognition.
In April Jammeh made headlines when he said, "If you are to give us aid for men and men or for women and women to marry, leave it; we don't need your aid because, as long as I am the President of The Gambia, you will never see that happen in this country."
Since then, U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron have threatened to allow Jammeh to place his country's heavy dependence on foreign aid in jeopardy thanks to his stated homophobic policies.