Ugandan teens trust religion over HIV medicine

It’s bad enough to be gay in Uganda. Now I learn that teens there are abandoning their antiretroviral treatments because someone’s told them church can cure them.

Ssuna cited the case of a 17-year-old girl who has lived with her aunt and uncle since her parents’ deaths several years ago. The girl, who spends all her free time watching gospel programs on television, reading the Bible or praying in church, said she was cured by God six months ago, said Ssuna. She has stopped her ARV treatment and regularly gives testimonies about her “healing.”

Ssuna said the practice is more common among Pentecostal churches, noting that while teens often make the decision to stop treatment on their own, peer pressure typically is involved, too.

By the time the youths return to treatment, it may be too late.

The televangelists are pretty popular but they’re all liars. Most of the kids restart their meds, and some of those wind up needing even more expensive treatments to make up for stopping in the first place.

Promotion of antiquated religious beliefs keeps getting in the way of modernized health care. It will always get in the way. I don’t know why people would rather believe these charlatans and hucksters over their doctors. Although I guess looking to the sky for a miracle feels better than facing reality and mortality in the mirror every day…

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