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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Doctor called again to answer AIDs adverts

Doctor called again to answer AIDs adverts

PHNOM Penh doctor Top Dany, who claims miracles in his treatment of AIDS and HIV-positive

people, will soon be called before a second Ministry of Health committee to try to

stop his extravagant advertising.

Dany, who imports medicines used overseas and charges his patients hundreds of dollars

for them, has advertised since January that he can "guarantee" to cure

AIDS.

He first appeared before a ministry committee last month and was asked to make a

declaration on television that he could not cure AIDS, but has not done so.

"We will ask him to come back in front of the committee," said the ministry's

national AIDS/HIV progam manager Hor Bun Leng.

Legally, the ministry is limited in what action it can take against the doctor, except

to prosecute him for importing medicine without official authorization.

There are no rules against this kind of advertising.

Bun Leng said that the first time Dany was questioned by the minsistry, he acknowledged

he could not cure AIDS but said he could prolong the lives of sufferers.

Dany promotes his Phnom Penh clinic in advertisements on television and in newspapers.

"I am just using medicine and methods used in France and United States,"

Dany told the Post, saying he prescribed well-known drugs such as AZT and Didranosine.

"I am not a charlatan and I am the only Khmer doctor to have graduated from

three different countries: France, USA and Cambodia," he said.

Dany's office walls are decorated with all kinds of certificates and diplomas, along

with colorful graphs depicting AIDS and the HIV virus and their treatment.

"I am following the evolution in the treatment of the disease by reading medical

reviews and watching television," he said, adding he was treating 40 patients.

"I only treat people in the first phase...when they are infected but have not

yet developed [full-blown AIDS]."

He said he charges $350-$600 for boxes of 100 pills, which he maintained his family

in the United States mail to him as "gifts."

However, ministry officials say he is charging about $1000 per box, and there are

few guarantees that he is prescribing the drugs properly.

Annie Macarry from the World Health Organization said that, if used improperly, patients

could develop resistance to the same types of drugs which one day might be improved

to become really effective.

Dany claimed that HIV could be transmitted by sexual intercourse, blood and by kissing

- the third way is not accepted by most foreign health authorities as a recognized

method of infection.

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