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TV evangelist
criticized for suggesting HIV can be cured through prayer

TV evangelist
criticized for suggesting HIV can be cured through prayer

Guyanese health officials have criticized an American television evangelist for a series of advertisements they say suggest people can be cured of HIV/AIDS by attending the preacher's services in this South American nation.

The ministry of the Reverend Ernest Angley, a Pentecostal preacher who exhorts illness-causing demons to leave a person's body at ''crusade services,'' was involved in an ''obscene exploitation of people's vulnerability'' by claiming that people with HIV/AIDS could possibly be cured, Guyana's Health Ministry said in a Saturday statement.

''We are unaware of the existence to date of any cure anywhere in the world for HIV infection,'' the statement said.

Ray Spangler, a spokesman for the Ernest Angley Ministries, which is hosting several services in Guyana and neighboring Suriname this week, said the ads indicated that prayer and faith can be the remedy for many afflictions. He said Angley is ''well aware'' there is no medical cure for HIV/AIDS.

''If a person comes to the crusade and gets help through prayer, then that's wonderful. If nothing happens, continue taking your medicine,'' Spangler said. ''It does not hurt to have prayer if you are sick.''

Angley is an evangelist known for his televised services at the Grace Cathedral in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, where believers appear onstage to receive a prayer and a healing touch from the preacher.

His services are regularly aired on Guyanese television, and the events in the former British colony were expected to draw thousands. (AP)

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