Seeking refuge in herbalists, three women with HIV/AIDs abandoned anti-retroviral treatment only to watch their bodies expose the lies, by destroying their health.

After watching ‘Dr. Boadi’s advertised cure of the disease on TV, Jane, 34yrs, paid ₵4,500 to receive ground herbs with onions, garlic and ginger, as his solution to fight the virus inside her bloodstream.

She had been diagnosed with HIV positive, months into her pregnancy in a marriage that had only begun. Jane ruled out her husband as the cause.

“For me, I knew who gave me HIV.  I wasn’t sleeping around. Many people can’t identify who gave it to them but for me, I know. There are people going round intentionally spreading it,” he told Luv FM’s Prince Appiah in Hotline Documentary, Pills and Herbs.

She knew it was a man, a benefactor whose care for her sick mother and herself, made her give off sex as a token of her gratitude.

The token, however, came with a condom always until he removed it one day, midway much to her consternation, she said.

“So I questioned him, he didn’t like it and that ended our relationship,” she added.

HIV/AIDs facts

But she never understood why this man would always laugh at her whenever she saw him. The man is dead and the laughter has been decoded. It was the laughter of HIV/AIDs patient who had passed on the virus.

Jane’s husband left her after pressure from her family and she has been pre-occupied with how to get the virus out of her system.

From Dr. Boadi, she moved to another televised healer ‘Dr.’ Mensah.

“…I went there every Thursday for my drugs. For his drugs, you will cook some and others he had already prepared. He charged ₵2,800 and pay any amount as upfront so I paid ₵500 at the spot. And anytime you go for your drugs, you pay something.”

She got poorer in health and in finances but it did not stop her from trying COA FS, another advertised solution with a South African woman testifying to the drug’s healing power.

“The drug was ₵100 and I bought two on the spot. Every week I went to buy. But after two months I stopped because I got weak and had this strange reaction in my mouth and skin. 

“He also said with the injection after one month, the virus will leave the bloodstream. So he told me the injection is ₵10,000 so I was scouting for money to buy the injection.” Ripped off, she returned to antiretroviral treatment in much more poorer health. 

HIV kills immune system cells that help the body fight infections and diseases. The immune system becomes weak when it cannot make enough cluster of differentiation 4 [CD4] cells to fight HIV. CD4 is the cell-surface protein structurally related to the immunoglobulins, which is associated especially with helper T lymphocytes. It is the main cellular receptor for the HIV; chiefly attributive.

Without antiretroviral treatment, the virus replicates in the body and causes more and more damage to the immune system. 

The treatment does not cure but it does prevent patients from fitting into the stereotyped image of sickly, emaciated HIV/AIDs patients. 

It is free but fearing that accessing the treatment will expose their status and attract stigma, patients go for herbal treatment with its expensive promise of a cure – only to deliver disappointment and death, as was the case of Dapaah, another HIV/AIDS patient.

Watch the story of desperation in the case HIV/AIDs patients, Dapaah and Kate, in LUV FM-produced Hotline Documentary by Prince Appiah.