The Chronicle (Lilongwe)

5 May 2003

Malawi: Peace Corps Can Help Combat Aids - US Ambassador

Lilongwe — The United States says Peace Corps Volunteers in Malawi can greatlly contribute to the fight against HIV/AIDS by helping to dispel misconceptions about the scourge.

The US ambassador to Malawi, Roger Meece said this at Capital Hotel on Friday last week during the swearing-in ceremony of 15 Peace Corps trainees who completed their nine-week training in the field of environmental management.

'To control HIV/AIDS, it is important for people to overcome stigma, to understand how the disease is spread, the critical importance of abstinence and faithfulness in a relationship and the use of condoms.' He encouraged the new Peace Corps adding: 'As role models in your communities, you can do much to dispel misconceptions about HIV ..... your influence on your friends to practice safe behaviour can help keep them HIV negative and that's a very important role for you all to play,' said Meece.

Meece said the fight against HIV/AIDS can be successful if all sectors of society are involved.

'HIV/AIDS is killing too many Malawians .... it is critical to bring down the infection rate and get this problem under control. It can be done,' remarked Meece.

The Peace Corps programme began in Malawi in 1963. The volunteers work in the areas of health, education, environment and in helping organizations during crisis situations.

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