HARARE – A charismatic preacher followed by millions around the world claimed he had found the elusive cure for HIV on Sunday.

Walter Magaya, known to followers as a prophet of God, told a congregation of his Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries that he had made the discovery two years ago – but had waited “because I wanted it to be chemically proven, scientifically proven”.

“God has given me a revelation, we tested it and it’s perfect. God showed me a certain tree and certain people. We have found the cure for HIV and Aids,” Magaya announced to an ecstatic church.

The service was watched by millions on TV and the internet.

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a lentivirus that over time causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It was first clinically observed in 1981 in the United States. The initial cases were a cluster of injection drug users and gay men with no known cause of impaired immunity who showed symptoms of pneumonia, a rare opportunistic infection that was known to occur in people with very compromised immune systems.

According to the World Health Organisation, 70 million people have been infected with the HIV virus and about 35 million people have died of HIV. Globally, 36.9 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2017.

A cure for HIV has never been found, although researchers have managed to manufacture medicines to keep the disease suppressed and stop it from developing into full-blown AIDS.

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