HIV patients die on church advice

Herald Sun

AT least six people have died in Britain after being told by evangelical churches they were healed of HIV.

According to a Sky News investigation, there is evidence that evangelical churches in London, Manchester in northern England, Birmingham in central England, and Scotland’s Glasgow are claiming to cure HIV through God.

Three undercover reporters were sent to the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), which is based in Southwark, south London. All of them told the pastors they were HIV positive – and all were told they could be healed.

Once a month the church has a prayer line, where people from across Europe come to be cured of all kinds of illness. At registration they have to hand over a doctor’s letter as evidence of their condition

They are filmed giving before and after testimonies, which are put on SCOAN’s website. The healing process involves the pastor shouting over the person being healed for the devil to come out of their body, while spraying water in their face.

One of the pastors, Rachel Holmes, told a reporter, who is a genuine HIV sufferer, they had a 100 per cent success rate. “We have many people that contract HIV. All are healed,” Ms Holmes said.

She said if symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea persist, it is actually a sign of the virus leaving the body.

“We’ve had people come back before saying, ‘Oh I’m not healed. The diarrhea I had when I had HIV, I’ve got it again’,” Ms Holmes said. “I have to stop them and say, ‘No, please, you are free’.”

The church said patients would be able to discard their medication after their healing and that they would be free to start a family.

Medical professionals said at least six patients who have died after being told by various churches to stop taking their HIV medication.

The church has branches across the globe and its own TV channel. It is also a registered UK charity. In a statement, it said God was the healer, not its pastors.

“We are not the Healer; God is the Healer. Never a sickness God cannot heal. Never a disease God cannot cure. Never a burden God cannot bear. Never a problem God cannot solve. To His power, nothing is impossible. We have not done anything to bring about healing, deliverance or prosperity. If somebody is healed, it is God who heals,” the church said.

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