BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Asia-Pacific
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 



Dr. Weewat Rojana-pithaya-korn, UN Aids worker
"We have no evidence at all that the product can really treat HIV"
 real 28k

Saturday, 9 June, 2001, 12:03 GMT 13:03 UK
Thais queue for HIV 'cure'
pills
The drug has not been independently tested
By Gina Wilkinson in Bangkok

More than 4,000 HIV-positive people gathered in the Thai capital, Bangkok, on Saturday to obtain free samples of a controversial pill which its makers claim can cure Aids.

Many of them gravely ill, they flocked to a stadium where samples of the controversial VI Immunitor tablet were being handed out.

An HIV-infected man is carried into the stadium
An HIV-infected man is carried into the stadium
The purported miracle cure has not been independently tested.

Critics say there is no proof it works and have accused the manufacturers of giving false hope to Thailand's estimated one million HIV-positive people.

The manufacturers defied calls to cancel the mass distribution, after two HIV sufferers reportedly died at a similar event last weekend.

Scores of nursing staff were on hand to provide emergency care for sufferers, many of whom had travelled hundreds of kilometers to obtain a week's worth of pills.

'Guinea pigs'

Thai pharmacologist Vichai Jirotthi-tikal, who invented the VI tablet, says the treatment eliminated the virus in two patients and that symptoms have been eased in others.

But critics say innocent people are being used as guinea pigs to test the drug, which contains calcium, magnesium and traces of the virus itself.

United Nations Aids experts says medical records supplied by the manufacturer show no evidence the treatment works.

Dr Wiwat Rojanapithayakorn, head of the UN Aids office in Bangkok, said: "When I looked at the laboratory data of the patients claimed to be improving from this drug, I found that the figures were even much worse than before treatment.

"I think some psychological belief makes infected people feel better, but it's not some miracle drug. There is no drug to cure the disease."

The Thai government says it does not support claims that the drug cures Aids.

But, wary of angering HIV sufferers who see the pill as a miracle cure, health authorities have agreed to launch a study of the controversial treatment.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

05 Jun 01 | Health
Thai Aids 'cure' disputed
02 Jul 99 | Aids
What is Aids?
04 Jun 01 | Health
Aids: 20 years on
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories