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Vitamin advocate places ad in The New York Times calling anti-HIV drugs toxic

Vitamin advocate places ad in The New York Times calling anti-HIV drugs toxic

Matthias Rath, an advocate of using vitamins and proper nutrition to fight illness, including HIV infection, placed a full-page ad in Tuesday's edition of The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune, an international newspaper headquartered in Paris, calling HIV antiretroviral drugs toxic. In the ad, Rath says micronutrients are "an effective, safe, and affordable" approach to treating HIV disease. Rath, who in the past has accused the United States, the World Bank, and other Western institutions of promoting the use of anti-HIV drugs to boost sales for pharmaceutical companies, says the claims in his ad are supported by a Harvard University study that showed that HIV-positive women in Africa who received a multivitamin with high doses of vitamin E, vitamin C, and vitamin B-complex, as well as other key minerals, remained healthier than women who received a placebo. But Harvard researchers Wafaie Fawzi and David Hunter said in a statement that Rath is "deliberately misinterpreting" their research to support his ongoing campaign against anti-HIV drug use. "We condemn these irresponsible and misleading statements as in our view they deliberately misinterpret findings from our studies to advocate against the scale-up of antiretroviral therapy," the researchers say. "It is important to underscore that the multivitamin supplements should not be considered as an alternative to [antiretroviral therapy] but as a complementary intervention that is part of a comprehensive care package. Antiretroviral therapy saves lives, and its scale-up should be vigorously pursued in all countries." The World Health Organization, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, and UNICEF also released statements calling Roth's claims misleading and dangerous and reiterating their support for antiretroviral treatment programs around the world.

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