Concord Times (Freetown)

Sierra Leone: Christian Aid Wants Religious Leaders in HIV Campaign

Freetown — Christian Aid and Promotion of Sexual Health and HIV Education (POSHE) Wednesday called upon religious leaders to take the lead in propagating HIV messages.

Christian Aid's Valerie Tucker said faith leaders are very powerful in Sierra Leone.

"If we were to cut down on the spread of HIV epidemic, it is necessary that religious leaders take the lead," she said.

Tucker said her organization would be hosting a two-day conference with a guest appearance from Uganda on the 21 and 22 at Miatta Conference Hall.

"The guests are Reverend Canon Gideon Byamugisha and Sheik Muhamad Kibudde," she said adding that both Religious leaders are ordained ministers in the Anglican Church and Mosque.

"These religious leaders openly disclosed their HIV positive status and they have an organization named African Network of Religious Leaders Living with or personally affected by HIV and AIDS (ANERELA)," she said.

Charlotte Walker said Christian Aid aims to highlight the importance of continued and non-stigmatizing response to HIV by faith leaders in the country.

She said the visiting religious leaders would talk about the impact of the virus on their lives and encourage colleagues to join the response against stigma and discrimination.

Walker noted that some faith leaders feel comfortable preaching about HIV.

"But many still equate HIV to immorality and sin which fuels stigma and discrimination," she said.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2008 Concord Times. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.