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Zambia Government Finds 'AIDS Cure' to be Pesticide

Zambian officials say a drug allegedly being promoted by a local businessman as a cure for AIDS is actually a pesticide used to clean swimming pools.

The state-run Zambia Daily Mail Friday quotes a Ministry of Health AIDS specialist, Albert Mwango, as saying the chemical substance, known as tetrasil, has not been proven by any scientific means to cure AIDS. He said what has been proven is that the substance is a swimming pool disinfectant.

A local organization representing HIV/AIDS patients has complained to the government that businessman Edgar Ngoma is promoting tetrasil as an AIDS cure.

Zimbabwean Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr. Simon Miti told a parliamentary committee this week that many people claiming to have AIDS cures have been experimenting their concoctions on unsuspecting patients. He warned that people taking drugs not recommended by the health ministry are doing so at their own risk.

Earlier this week, the Zambian government introduced a law that will require all anti-AIDS medications to undergo clinical testing before going on the local market.

The government estimates that 1.6 million Zambians are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.