UK health officials are looking into the role of evangelical churches including the Synagogue Church of All Nations, with UK headquarters in Southwark, South London, for advising parishioners to abandon HIV drug treatments in favor of prayer according to a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) report.

Already several AIDS patients who stopped taking their medications on the advice of their pastors have died.

 At the website of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, headed by millionaire Pastor T.B. Joshua of Nigeria, photos appear of people the church claims to have been cured of HIV through prayer.

In one example, the church's website claims: "Mrs Badmus proudly displays her two different medical records confirming she is 100% free from HIV-Aids following the prayer of Pastor T B Joshua."

According to the website of the Synagogue Church (SCOAN), by using anointing water "you are positioned for healing." "HIV-Aids healing" is listed on the church's website among "miracles" it says it can perform.

 "Cancer healing" and "baby miracles" are also advertised.

The church's UK website promotes a monthly "prayer line" for which it says: "If you are having a medical condition, it is important you bring a medical report for record and testimony purposes."

Videos posted on the internet show its services in south London, in which participants who claim to have arthritis, asthma and schizophrenia say they have been healed after being sprayed with "anointing water" provided by the church.

Mary Buhari, 44 , from central London, told the BBC she had had a phone conversation with a representative of the church, in which she was told she could be cured of HIV.

"I was told they can cure any illness on Earth through prayer, including HIV," she said.

However, when asked by BBC London if it claimed its pastors can cure HIV, SCOAN responded: "We are not the healer. God is the healer. Never a sickness God cannot heal. Never a disease God cannot cure.

"We don't ask people to stop taking medication," the church added. "Doctors treat; God heals."

At least three people in London with HIV have died after they stopped taking life saving drugs on the advice of their Evangelical Christian pastors.

"We see patients quite often who will come having expressed the belief that if they pray frequently enough, their HIV will somehow be cured,"  said Prof Jane Anderson, director of the Centre for the Study of Sexual Health and HIV, in Hackney.

"We have seen people who choose not to take the tablets at all so sometimes die."

Conservative MP Norman Fowler condemned pastors giving this advice, saying: "It's dangerous to the public and dangerous in terms of public health."

"It's irresponsible," he said. “Pastors should instead "come off the air on it, look at things much more seriously, and not give this completely wrong advice to the public".
 

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