Thursday, February 28, 2008

Homeopathy - Letter to Mmegi

I was appalled to see the article entitled "People living with HIV turn to homeopathy" in Mmegi on Thursday 28th February. Appalled because I don't think we should allow charlatans to sell their ludicrous products and, in so doing, exploit the desperate, the sick and the naïve.

Let's be clear. Homeopathy is based on nonsense. The article states that it is based on the idea of treating patients with a minute dose of the substance that causes the symptoms the patient is experiencing, but this is rubbish. What you actually get from a homeopath is water. Homeopathic "remedies" are so diluted that not a single atom of any original substance remains. If you push a homeopath on this subject you’ll eventually get them to confess that they believe the water somehow "remembers" a substance that it once contained. This is utter gibberish.

Every controlled test of homeopathic remedies has failed to show any real effect. The homeo-pathetic movement has consistently failed to help anyone other than themselves. Help themselves to fat bank balances that is. What the charlatans in Maun are really doing is breaking the law. Section 15 (1) (c) of the Consumer Protection Regulations forbids people from promising "outcomes where those outcomes have no safe scientific, medical or performance basis". If they take a single thebe for their water treatment they are breaking the law.

The most ridiculous aspects of what they say are almost unbelievable. The homeopath covered in the article confesses that she prescribed a "grief remedy" as well as something for liver toxicity. This is just scandalous.

So what about the wonderful effects the victims are supposedly seeing in Maun? They are nothing more than the placebo effect. Doctors around the world know that giving patients a totally ineffective medicine will make them a feel a little bit better for a short while. But that's more to do with getting a bit of attention and sympathy than any real effect.

What homeopaths pretend to offer people with HIV is hope. Hope is a great thing but only when it is based on a genuine hope, a real hope of improvement. What in fact homeopaths offer is false hope, based on a mixture of ignorance and lies. I have contempt for people who exploit the desperate. Utter contempt. I genuinely hope that nobody falls for this nonsense. If just one person does and stops taking their ARVs, the drugs that DO work, then the homeopaths who have come here thinking they can fool us will have blood on their hands.

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