Recently CNN dispatched a reporter to the West African country of Gambia to do a story on Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, who announced in January that he has discovered a cure to AIDS. President Jammeh has come up with a recipe consisting of seven herbs and spices that is administered to an HIV-positive patient once a day. According to the charming and kooky president (a former army sergeant risen to the rank of colonel — what else?), this treatment was revealed to him by his ancestors in a dream.
The reporter, Jeff Koinange, interviewed many people who are on the new treatment and seem to be genuinely feeling much better, though he is suspicious of the true efficacy of the treatment and worries that these patients will ultimately get much sicker now that they are no longer taking their regular medicines. Let's look at one of the interviews and see if we can glean anything useful from it.
Mr. Koinange spoke to one Ousman Sow, who is 54 years old. Mr. Sow, according to his own testimony, has been HIV-positive since 1996 and had been taking antiretrovirals for the past fours years until he volunteered to try President Yahya Jammeh's new treatment. After only four weeks, he gained 30 pounds and felt like a new person. He feels cured, and has no more "HIV symptoms." Mr. Koinange is skeptical, though, not so much about the witness's honesty (in fact, he interviewed a lot of patients who made similar statements), but of the scientific basis of the treatment, as the government refuses to provide any medical records that might back the patients' claims.
But the patient, if one will listen carefully, may have provided a full explanation of the efficacy of the dictator's dream-potion. He has been HIV-positive since 1996. What a strange virus this is, that threatened to ravage North America so many years ago, as once a healthy person caught it (which could happen quite easily through normal sexual contact, we were told), the incurable and unstoppable disease AIDS always set in, inevitably killing the patient. Today in North America, the only people who are killed by AIDS are the same people who have always been killed by it, i.e., severe drug abusers and/or homosexual men engaging in a certain sexual practice (usually both). So the AIDS "disease" has moved on to a new market, Africa, where millions of people are supposedly infected with the HIV virus and are going to start dying any day now. Yet, Ousman Sow had the virus from 1996 until 2003, seven years, before he started taking the antiretrovirals to "save" his life. It was then, I would be willing to bet, he started really experiencing his "HIV symptoms." Within only four weeks of ceasing the antiretrovirals, he regained lost weight and felt well again.
The cure that our witch doctor has inadvertently found may be nothing more getting "HIV positive" patients off their antiretrovirals.
If you think this is an implausible explanation, I suggest you head over to the VirusMyth site and start reading about HIV tests and the so-called AIDS epidemic in Africa. What you will find is that the very existence of the HIV virus is debated by some very knowledgeable people. Others accept that it exists but believe it cannot possibly be responsible for AIDS, which is nothing more than bundling almost 30 ancient and well-understood diseases that affect people with damaged immune systems. The virus may not the cause of the damage to the immune system at all, but rather a symptom, i.e., it appears in people with compromised immune systems, which could happen due to severe drug abuse and certain sexual practices (common to pockets of urban populations in North America), or bad water, sanitation, and nutrition (all rampant in sub-Sahara Africa).
African governments have a huge incentive to discover that a large part of their population is infected with HIV and need antiretrovirals that are made by western pharmaceutical companies and paid for by western taxpayers. It's just part of the giant foreign aid scam, and it's an easy game to play, due to the variety of standards regarding the HIV test, and perhaps abetted by Mother Nature herself (because of the conditions I mention above, and others). And Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, by getting people off their antiretrovirals, risks being cut off by unforgiving western sponsors.
And now we see just how kooky he really is.
April 7, 2007