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Religious Leaders Should Discuss HIV Prevention

Armen Hareyan's picture

Zimbabwe's health and child welfare minister, David Parirenyatwa,recently called on religious leaders to discuss HIV prevention duringchurch services in an effort to promote the country's goal oferadicating the virus, Zimbabwe's The Herald reports.

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Parirenyatwaat an HIV/AIDS conference held last week in Seke, Zimbabwe, said thatreligious gatherings are effective in spreading HIV prevention messagesbecause they attract large numbers of people. "We are aware that everySunday, the number of people who attend church services is much biggerthan any political gathering," Parirenyatwa said, adding, "Therefore,church leaders should take time from normal biblical teachings to teachon HIV and AIDS."

He added that influential people should publicly discuss HIV prevention to help eradicate the disease. Zimbabwe recently released reduced HIV prevalence estimates, and Parirenyatwa said that thedecrease primarily is because of the country's focus on preventionmessages. He also criticized some cultural practices, such as wifeinheritance, that he said are fueling the spread of HIV in the country.

The conference was organized by Southern African HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Serviceand the Seke Rural Home-Based Care Project with the goal ofincorporating culture and gender into HIV/AIDS programs. Twelvenongovernmental organizations that provide HIV/AIDS servicesparticipated in the conference. According to SafAIDS Executive DirectorLois Chingandu, the conference was part of an ongoing effort to educatevillage residents about HIV prevention (The Herald, 11/20).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyHIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report ispublished for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser FamilyFoundation.