Some vendors in Malawi are reportedly selling anti-retroviral drugs to satisfy a growing market that uses the drugs to ferment a local gin and fatten poultry.
The farmers are not alone in their observations and beliefs about the drugs.
Brewers of kachasu – a traditional gin – use the drugs to accelerate the fermentation of maize husks in the brewing process of the beverage. Some brewers even believe that this yields a more potent and well-matured version of the drink.
A bottle of 30 tablets can go for K3500 ($8) and the industry is reportedly booming in the southern districts of Thyolo and Mulanje.
It is estimated that over a million people are infected with HIV in the southern African country where the government is battling to supply ARVs to all infected people due to a shortage of funds.
Malawi’s economy is heavily reliant on aid but corruption within government has caused foreign donors to withhold most of the money given in aid.
Source: Malawi Nation