HomeOpinion & AnalysisDon’t take herbs if you are taking ARVs

Don’t take herbs if you are taking ARVs

The 2018/2019 World Aids campaign theme is Know Your Status.

Yes, a commendable number of people have been tested and now know their status, but some have fallen prey to network marketers and street doctors and are not following advice given to them by health personnel.

It has come to the National Aids Council’s attention that there are drugs and herbs being sold in the country as cures for HIV and Aids.

Some of these drugs are being smuggled into the country and others are locally made. These have not been tested and approved by experts.

It is not advisable to take them.

We do not encourage the use of herbs or traditional medicines together with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs).

ARVs on their own are very effective in the treatment of HIV infections and they do not need any assistance from herbs or other medicine provided they are taken correctly as per advice from the health workers. Most of these herbs are toxic.

They have not been studied in the laboratory to assess efficacy, proper dosages and safety.

At the moment there are patients who are suffering from organ damage due to these herbs.

The organs commonly affected are the liver and kidneys and deaths have occurred due to failure of these vital organs. Most of these herbs are not registered with the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ).

Most patients are confused and attracted by the way some of these
herbs are packaged and marketed, so they think they are registered and approved for use by regulatory authorities — please do not be

Some of the manufacturers of these drugs may have submitted samples for testing, but it is premature to start selling the product before the assessments are completed.

Drug interactions can cause resistance and this complicates an otherwise successful intervention that would have saved lives. Please note that it is illegal to distribute drugs which are not registered with MCAZ.

Get your medicines only from registered public and private health institutions.

Those who have not yet started anti-retroviral therapy should get expert advice from health personnel before they start taking any medicine. Do not be fleeced of your hard-earned cash. Safeguard your health.

The proper way to take HIV treatment is as follows:

Get tested for HIV.
If you test positive, you are referred to a health institution where your medical history is recorded. You will also go through a series of tests, then you are initiated on anti-retroviral therapy.
You must then take good care of yourself by exercising regularly and eating healthy foods.
ARVs are given for free in the country’s public health institutions.

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