( dpa ) - Battling to stem the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Zimbabwe has started a register of traditional healers who claim to cure the condition, reports said Monday.
The crisis-riddled country recently registered an astounding drop in HIV/AIDS rates, down to 1 in 7 from 1 in 4 at the beginning of the century.
But efforts to contain the pandemic may be threatened by Zimbabwe's economic meltdown, which has seen many patients unable to afford doctors and drug fees.
Scores of traditional healers began gathering Friday at the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers' Association (ZINATHA) headquarters in Harare to have themselves registered as genuine practitioners.
The healers will be monitored by conventional doctors to see if the traditional remedies they prescribe really do improve CD4 counts - a measure of white blood cells in HIV-infected people - as mainstream anti-retroviral medicines do.
"We want to settle the issue once and for all," said ZINATHA secretary for information and publicity Tapera Dzviti.
"Many traditional healers are claiming that they can cure the infection and are taking money from people," he said in quotes carried by the official Herald daily.
People living with HIV and AIDS are invited to come forward to take part in the trial.