Forum Plans To Address HIV/AIDS Issues Among Artists

Armen Hareyan's picture

TheSouthern African Development Community recently launched a forum thatplans to address HIV/AIDS issues affecting artists in member nations, the Herald/ reports. According to the Herald/, the SADC ArtistsAgainst HIV and AIDS was established following a declaration made by artistsfrom Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland,Zambia and Zimbabwe duringa workshop that was held before the inaugural SADC Artists AIDS Festival, whichtook place during the last week of November 2007.

The forum, which will be divided into regional and national chapters, willconduct research on HIV/AIDS and provide data on artists living with thedisease. The forum also aims to network with other HIV/AIDS organizations andindividual regional member states, as well as to provide support and servicesto artists living with the disease. In addition, the forum will encourageartists to seek voluntary HIV testing and counseling and will provideinformation and support services. The forum plans to approach SADC nationalgovernments, the international community and individual donors for funding, theHerald/ reports.

Stephen Chifunyise, a forum contact person, said, "Artists have not beenable to get help from existing organizations that deal with HIV and AIDSalready have started working on the program. According to theHerald/, national committees will pass information to the regionalinterim committee, which currently is headed by Virginia Phiri of . As aresult, many artists have died [from AIDS-related complications] in silence andisolation with no support from fellow artists, arts organizations, and HIV andAIDS organizations." Chifunyise added that national committees incountries such as Zambia andZimbabweZimbabwe(Guchu, Herald/, 1/9).

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