People with conditions such as HIV, TB and malaria should not rely on homeopathic treatments, the World Health Organization has warned.
It was responding to calls from young researchers who fear the promotion of homeopathy in the developing world could put people's lives at risk. The group Voice of Young Science Network has written to health ministers to set out the WHO view.However practitioners said there were areas where homeopathy could help . In a letter to the WHO in June, the medics from the UK and Africa said: "We are calling on the WHO to condemn the promotion of homeopathy for treating TB, infant diarrhoea, influenza, malaria and HIV. Homeopathy does not protect people from, or treat, these diseases. Those of us working with the most rural and impoverished people of the world already struggle to deliver the medical help that is needed. When homeopathy stands in place of effective treatment, lives are lost."
Dr Robert Hagan is a researcher in biomolecular science at the University of St Andrews and a member of Voice of Young Science Network, which is part of the charity Sense About Science campaigning for "evidence-based" care.
He said: "We need governments around the world to recognise the dangers of promoting homeopathy for life-threatening illnesses. We hope that by raising awareness of the WHO's position on homeopathy we will be supporting those people who are taking a stand against these potentially disastrous practices."