Prevalence of use of holy water as complementary treatment among PLWHA at Debrebrihan Referral Hospital and Health Centre, North East, Ethiopia: Cross-sectional study

Abush Kebede, Zewdu Shewangizaw



The study was intended to determine the level of use of holy water as antiretroviral (ARV) treatment among people living with human immune virus (HIV)/AIDS (PLWHA) at Debrebrihan Hospital and Health Centre, Northeast, Ethiopia.


Holy water use in the form of a drink and a shower is the main treatment used by the PLWHAs together with other spiritual practices. A growing number of PLWHA in Ethiopia today are relocating to holy water sites.

Materials and Methods:

A cross-sectional study design with systematic random sampling through a structured questionnaire by way of interview among 422 respondents in Debrebrihan Hospital and Health Centre from December 26 2011 to January 26, 2012 were conducted. Single proportion formula with P = 50% used to determine the sample size. Frequency and percentage were computed by the SPSS statically software.


A total of 422 respondents was included in the study with a median age of 35 years; most of them were females 262 (62.1%) and 168 (39.8%) were married. Among the respondents 282 (66.8%) had experience of using holy water. The result also shown that 73 (25.9%) of respondents reported that it is not convenient to take medication while using holy water with spiritual fear of using ARV drugs and holy water together 51 (69.9%).


The study concludes that the use of holy water as treatment of HIV/AIDS by patients and more than half of the study participants visit the holy water site b/c of most of them believe which is a result of sanity and punishment from God. The findings have also important implication in the use of mixed treatment for drug adherence through appropriate advocacy, education and cultural appropriate nearby treatment site depends on the study finding.


Adherence, alternative medicine, antiretroviral drugs, spiritual, traditional

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.