Debunking HIV/AIDS DenialismDebunking New Age Woo

Spell Casting Does Not Cure HIV


I almost never bother to interact with spammers on this blog. Their verbal torrents of incoherent blathering about Michael Kors shoes, Xanax or Viagra are promptly destroyed after being sucked into nothingness by the click of a button. However, some spammers post stuff that are so mind-numbingly stupid that I see it as a civil service to refute it. These spam comments are typically very generic and can be found all over the Internet, especially on blogs or websites that do not use an efficient spam filter. Someone who finds themselves being drawn into this nonsense will hopefully perform a Google search and reach this post.

Spellcasting does not cure HIV

Let us go over this message, point-by-point./p>

“I am here to testify on how […]”

This is perhaps the most obvious sign of an ideologue whose main goal is to spread his nonsense, rather than inform or discuss. Although typically a feature of religious evangelism, it frequently occurs when listening to ingrained proponents of pseudoscience.

“[…] I was healed from my HIV/AIDS disease by Dr. Ariba the great spell caster […]”

Really? You think that a HIV/AIDS, an infectious disease, can be successfully treated by a spell caster? Current treatment consists of antiretrovirals that suppress viral replication and viral load. The average life-expectancy of individuals with HIV/AIDS are approaching the life-expectancy of the general population. People who are pushing quack treatments for HIV/AIDS, such as alternative medicine or “magic spell casting”, are scamming vulnerable people for money. Individuals with HIV/AIDS deserve the best available treatment. The phone number given has a +234 area code, meaning it is from Nigeria. So this sounds like a classic Nigeria scam.

“[…] I was having serious headache thought I take treatments the headaches never goes off, I was told to go for check-up, I did the result was that I am having the HIV […]”

Primary HIV infection typically presents with flu-like symptoms, which can include headaches. This was the only part of the spam message that even came remotely close to making sense. Presumably, the person had additional symptoms.

“[…] I was not myself ever since that day, everything went worse day by day. I was hoping for death. I was told about a great spell caster who can heal any disease in this life. […]”

This sounds like the revelation that he had been infected by HIV triggered a depressive episode and that someone took advantage of his desperation and recommended this alleged “great spell caster”. Although a lot of people would recognize the absurdity in the claim that a “spell caster” can “heal any disease”, this is not as simple when you are vulnerable, desperate and ill. Wishful thinking may be difficult for some people to resist in these circumstances.

“[…] I believed him based on testimonies I had seen on the Internet […]”

Never trust testimonies, especially on the Internet, when it comes to medical treatments.

“[…] he asked me to buy some items which I bought […]”

This is another warning sign: the person with this secret and magical treatment wants you to buy “some items”. Although the items are not mentioned in the comment, I suspect they are pretty extreme since it involves “spell casting”.

“[…] he cast the spell and told me that there is holy water that will be sent to me. I paid for the courier service […]”

Another red flag, where the quack wants you to pay even more.

“[…] My parcel arrived, I took the cure as prescribed by him […]”

Drinking stuff sent to you from a quack who claims to be able to cast spells with the held of obscure items is an enormous leap of faith and should not be done. He had no idea what was in it. It could have been very dangerous.

“[…] I started feeling normal, I thank Dr. Ariba […]”

Either this is the result of placebo effects, especially since I suspect that he paid a lot of money for this quack treatment, or it is the result of taking antiretroviral medication. It is ironic that, when some people take both science-based medicine and quack treatments, they attribute improvement to the quack treatment and not the effective one.


Debunker of pseudoscience.

14 thoughts on “Spell Casting Does Not Cure HIV

  • Emil Karlsson,

    The worst thing about this, is if this guy actually has HIV/AIDs he’s likely to be dead soon since he took this charlatan seriously.

    • Probably, although it is not certain that he is not on antiretrovirals as well.

    • Emil Karlsson,

      Unfortunately even if he was, he might have stopped taking his antiretrovirals since he convinced himself that he was “cured”

  • It occurs to me that this person probably lives in a world where spell casters are often reputed to be able to cure things. So to him if a man claims to have a magic spell that can cure AIDS it may not sound unreasonable. It may even be less unreasonable than a man there claiming to own a car.

  • It now seems to be the case that the Facebook profile of the comment author is entirely fictional, as all of the pictures of him are actually pictures of Woody Allen. Probably a fake profile created by the scammer.

    • I hadn’t read this before my other comment, but yea. This kind of thing is very common in the alt-med / anti-med world. Some are “true believers” with no sense, but the rest (and I still suspect most) are greedy liars out for an easy buck.

  • The extremely rapid worldwide development of the internet has resulted in some strange and
    fascinating cultural juxtapositions.

    Only 20 or 30 years ago, your average sorcerer or shaman was basically restricted to plying his
    trade within a small village or tribal group – who were largely illiterate and dependent on traditional
    lore for solving the problems of everyday life. But in the 21 st century just about everyone who
    wants to is now able to gain access to a worldwide web of communication, and many traditional
    village magic men and women have not been slow to recognise the economic opportunities of the
    new technologies .

    My favorite example was one of these spellcaster/spammers who posted on Seth Kalichman’s
    biog, promising spells for the usual human concems – lots of babies, sexual potency, a bigger
    dick, curing cancer, drought relief, blocking the evil eye, etc, but who also listed “Penis Reduction
    Spells” as one of their specialities.

    I thought, what a brilliant and completely novel web-marketing idea, meeting an entirely untapped
    and neglected market! But I was wrong – someone had already got there first.


  • Ugh I’ve just started seeing this and they are posting tens or hundreds of these (or similar – like “I’ve had a break up because I could not satisfy by husbands every whim or need” on completely irrelevant sites….

  • My other comment – just after this article was published – seems to have been lost.

    I just wanted to point out that the vast majority of “spammers” aren’t actually human at all. They are bot-nets of infected, internet-connected, or “zombie”, computers that auto-generate the content based on the operator’s configuration. The operators are usually loosely organized groups of criminals who have little or no connection or interest in the actual topic of the spam. Their motives and methods by which they profit are difficult to pin down, but it’s safe to say that they don’t care about the content, nor what anyone thinks about it – except for that tiny percentage of us who STILL fall for it and buy the BS, which is still plenty enough to make the endeavor extremely profitable.

    What I mean is that trying to understand what their “deal” is, is futile in the extreme. It’s not a person with aids at all; it’s (n) layers of (n) groups of (n) people with a malware-controlled bot-net at their disposal, beating the bushes to make a quick buck – nothing more. There is frequently no logic or reasoning that can be derived from the content, as it may not make any sense or even have any references to products that can be bought. To assume it’s a real human speaking on their own experience is naive – OMHO.

    • Lots of important food for thought!

      My other comment – just after this article was published – seems to have been lost.

      My Akismet spam filter has been messed up ever since I got a huge influx of Holocaust deniers / race realists earlier this year. Now I usually try to go through each comment in the spam filter, but there are hundreds and hundreds every week, so some genuine comments are lost forever. Sorry about that.

  • It’s very tragic that this happens quite often here in South Africa. So-called sangomas / traditional doctors / natural healers sell useless crap to people with HIV and tell them to leave their ARV treatment. They are nothing more than swindlers, preying on uninformed and/or superstitious people.

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