Pentecostal pastors tell hiv patients to rely on God

16 August 2013 Last updated at 19:38 Share this pageEmailPrint

HIV patients told by Pentecostal pastors ‘to rely on God’

By Alex Strangwayes-Booth

Some young HIV patients are giving up their medicine after being told by Pentecostal Church pastors to rely on faith in God instead, doctors warn.

Medical staff told the BBC a minority of pastors in England were endangering young church members by putting them under pressure to stop medication.

Healing is central to Pentecostalism, a radical belief in the power of prayer and miracles.

But one pastor denied people would ever be told to stop taking their medicine.

The Children’s HIV Association surveyed 19 doctors and health professionals working with babies and children in England; its members had reported hearing anecdotal evidence of HIV patients deciding to stop taking their anti-retroviral drugs because their pastors had told them to do so.

Among 10 doctors who said they had encountered the problem in the last five years, 29 of their patients had reported being put under pressure to stop taking medicine and at least 11 had done so.

The doctors and health professionals reported a variety of cases:

Some said they had dealt with parents who felt under pressure to stop giving their young children their HIV medicine – and some had actually done so

Others were breastfeeding mothers with HIV who refused the medicine that would stop the virus being passed onto their babies

Some were young people, making the decision for themselves
The healthcare workers also reported that some patients had been told by their pastors they would be healed by prayer or by drinking blessed water.

‘Miracle cure’

Sixteen-year-old Oliver (not his real name) said he was told by a pastor to swap his HIV medicine for a plastic bottle containing water that would heal him.

He said many others had come under the same pressure.

“I’ve been to other churches where… the pastor stands forth there, and he says ‘come take this water… if you drink it for this certain amount of days, you are going to be healed’,” he said.

Later, after his mother had experienced what he believed was a miracle cure, Oliver stopped taking his medication, and his condition quickly deteriorated.

He has since gone back on his medication and said he believed he needed to combine his drugs with his belief in faith healing.

Dr Toni Tan, a consultant paediatrician, said some Pentecostal pastors were endangering the lives of sick followers.

“It’s my view that it’s very wrong for faith leaders to actively encourage their congregations to stop taking their medication… it will lead to their deaths.”

Pentecostals and other Christians see healing, like speaking in tongues, as a sign of the presence of God.

Pentecostal pastor Stevo Atanasio, from the East London Christian Church, said that among his congregation, blind people had recovered sight, deaf people had heard again, and what were considered terminal illnesses had been cured.

“We don’t say to people ‘don’t take your medication don’t go to the doctor’. I mean we never say that,” he said.

“But we believe that the first healing comes from inside, it’s a spiritual healing. Some people are hurt, they have broken hearts. If you are healed from inside, then you are healed from outside as well.”

‘Avoid culture clash’

Pentecostalism is booming. The number of Pentecostal churches in London, for example, has doubled since 2005.

The overall number of incidents of HIV patients being told to give up medicine is thought to consist of a minority of churches and a small group of people.

But the Rev Israel Olofinjana, who is a former Pentecostal pastor and now a Baptist minister, said he had seen it happening.

“I’ve heard languages like that – ‘put your trust in God, don’t put your trust in medicine’.”

He said many of these churches served migrants with an exalted view of the authority of pastors.

“Within the context of African churches, if you’re coming from a culture where the pastor is like your fathers or mothers, like your community keepers, the word of your pastor becomes very important,” he explained.

“It becomes very significant… there is a minority who say ‘because God can heal absolutely… what’s the need for medicine?’.”

Dr Steve Welch, who is chairman of the Children’s HIV Association, said it found it difficult to engage with the faith leaders of churches where healing was an integral part of the worship.

“We need to stay engaged with the families and understand that… their faith is an important part of the support they get in their condition, and engage positively with them and not make it a clash of cultures.

“I think it’s about engaging with the pastors and faith leaders who are giving this advice because that’s how we will actually address the root of the problem.”


  • theunhivedmind

    I do not know if these Pentecostal churches are aware of the scam called hiv, what they are doing though is a good thing since there is no such thing as a virus called hiv in existence. The illnesses associated with AIDS arise from the Anti-Retro Viral poison treatments like Azidothymidine and certain pollutants like alkyl nitrites. Of course these churches will say it was God’s healing which saved the being, but the healing was just the fact the being stopped the poisons from the quacks who call themselves doctors. Some might argue that God led them to this path and well I guess they could have a point in a way with that too.

    Now the establishment will attack this with ease since worshipping God today is seen as idiotic thanks to the Devil’s Messiah agenda of the Jesuit Order. It just makes it so much easier for the establishment to gatekeeper its massive lie and try to claim all those not taking medications are idiots following a non-existent God. This will also be an attempt to eventually attack all those exposing this massive and highly dangerous non-existent hiv virus. The hiv-AIDS industry is worth billions and The Worshipful Company of Apothecaries do not take lightly to their income, control and population reduction agendas being hindered.

    -= The Unhived Mind

    • seekingtruth

      would you say every single case of hiv or aids is bc of the two treatments you mentioned, or is there different chemicals that can give you this so called virus also? And is it a way that a person can be diagnosed by a faulty test and start taking the medicines which causes them to contract it or the medicines breaks down the immune system which makes it appear as though the person has the virus?

      • theunhivedmind

        Would you say every single case of hiv or aids is because of the two treatments you mentioned, or is there different chemicals that can give you this so called virus also? And is it a way that a person can be diagnosed by a faulty test and start taking the medicines which causes them to contract it or the medicines breaks down the immune system which makes it appear as though the person has the virus?[/quote]

        There has never been a single true case of hiv, it is a complete farce and hiv not even exist so how can there ever be a true-case of something that does not exist? It is impossible! AIDS is collection of old illnesses and some modern ones from various pollutants we do know of like Poppers. Along the way more chemicals will start to break down the body like these we know of and they will then have to be added to the list. Also lifestyle can break down the immunity by hindering the spleen and kidney functioning. Lifestyle as in staying up all sorts of hours of the night, partying hard and then having way too much sex. Sex itself is a bad thing if it is not practised properly where you at least keep your kidney essence rather than lose it. In order to do this you need to understand Taoism and it is not easy to practice, therefore we lose our life-force when we have sex and ejaculate. Homosexual men for instance have a lot of hot sex for long periods of time and regular so this is a small part of the larger puzzle as well as the chemical and drug cosh ingested. AIDS is not a gay or heterosexual thing it is neutral, it is the lifestyle and chemical intakes which cause the majority of the problem. It was not hiv that killed haemophiliacs with Factor 8, it was pollutants within the Factor 8 which caused the problem. People can get AIDS symptoms from being treated with corticosteroids for other illness these get prescribed for.

        A being can easily have a false-positive on a hiv test, well in truth there is no true positive on a hiv test simply because there is no hiv. In fact the inventor of the polymerase chain reaction test, Kary Mullis highlighted this test system should never be used to search for or claim someone has hiv. Once the victim has been told they are hiv then they are forced onto medicines by both the doctor and the fear from the lies programmed by the predictive programming through the media systems. A being cannot contract hiv from taking the drugs, there is no hiv to contract. The drugs then break down the body and eventually kill the victim. The anti-retroviral therapy known as AZT was a banned chemotherapy agent but now they decided it was okay to make a little pills and kill the herd off in order to meet the desires of the Club of Rome and it’s population reduction agenda. Same as how now it is acceptable again to use x-amount of the once banned Persistent organic pollutants.

        Stop worrying about viruses, the establishment use scaremongering on the subject in order to create paranoia. What is a virus? It is a protein solvent designed by God to rid the biosphere of pollutions and filth. If you have a virus it means your body has filth and localized constipations for it to feed upon. So what is the answer to removing viruses, bacteria and fungi? Remove the filth, by exercising, eating real foods close to their natural states and a little detoxification now and then.

        -= The Unhived Mind

  • theunhivedmind

    House of Numbers
    What is HIV? What is AIDS? What is being done to cure it? These questions sent Canadian filmmaker Brent Leung on a worldwide journey, from the highest echelons of the medical research establishment to the slums of South Africa, where death and disease are the order of the day. In this up-to-the-minute documentary, he observes that although AIDS has been front-page news for over 29 years, it is barely understood. Despite the great effort, time, and money spent, no cure is in sight.

    Born in 1980 (on the cusp of the epidemic), Leung reveals a research establishment in disarray, and health policy gone tragically off course. Gaining access to a remarkable array of the most prominent and influential figures in the field — among them the co-discoverers of HIV, presidential advisors, Nobel laureates, and the Executive Director of UNAIDS, as well as survivors and activists — his restrained approach yields surprising revelations and stunning contradictions.

    The HIV/AIDS story is being rewritten, and this is the first film to present the uncensored POVs of virtually all the major players — in their own settings, in their own words. It rocks the foundation upon which all conventional wisdom regarding HIV/AIDS is based. If, as South African health advocate Pephsile Maseko remarks, “this is the beginning of a war…a war to reclaim our health,” then House of Numbers could well be the opening salvo in the battle to bring sanity and clarity to an epidemic clearly gone away.

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