by Jill Filipovic //Foreign Policy
In addition to stoking fears about witchcraft, Pentecostals, as well as other independent and charismatic churches, have undermined efforts to contain HIV by claiming to have healed congregants and encouraging them to go off of their anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs). Frances Mwale, a medical assistant and clinician at a rural HIV/AIDS clinic in the Chikwawa district of Malawi, says three of his patients stopped taking their ARVs this year after receiving healing prayers at Pentecostal churches. At Mwale's urging, two of the three restarted their medication, but one won't respond to his inquiries. Just over 10 percent of the adult population of Malawi is HIV-positive. "One way to bring in new followers is to claim to perform miracles," says Henry Chimbali, spokesman for Malawi's Ministry of Health. "Pentecostal pastors pray for people and tell them they have performed a miracle. This has really affected the adherence to ARVs in this country. Some of those who think they have been cured stay off [their ARVs] so long that when they finally go back on them, it cannot be reversed. These people end up dying."- See more at: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/12/20/Angels_and_Demons_Africa_Malawi_witches_HIV?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Flashpoints%20Complete%2010%2F7&utm_campaign=Flashpoints%2012-27-13#sthash.kZ668Ctd.dpuf
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