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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”



Aids war now enters Church

2004-03-28 12:18:15
By Simon Kivamwo

The initiative to encourage priests or religious leaders living with
HIV/AIDS in the country to come up and declare their sero-positive
status are at an advanced stages with the "think-tankers" of the idea
saying the results may be out early January or February, next year.

The initiative being jointly spearheaded by the Christian Council of
Tanzania (CCT) and the African Network of religious Leaders Living
with or Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS (ANERELA+), among others,
aims at enabling the priests benefit from anti-retroviral treatment

"Discussions with ANERELA+ headquarters to facilitate the move is at
an advanced stage, and there may be some religious leaders who are
HIV positive coming out soon. Probably early January or February next
year," Rev Jacob Kahemele of the CCT, HIV Desk declared in Dar es
salaam Friday.

For sure, we expect a retreat by religious leaders, coming up to
declare the status, added Rev Kahemele, during a two day
media/religious leaders training workshop that was organised by the
Churches United Against HIV/AIDS in Eastern and Southern Africa
(CUAHA) in collaboration with the Association of Journalists Against
AIDS in Tanzania (AJAAT).

Elsewhere in Africa, some 70 religious leaders have already retreated
(declared their HIV status) under the umbrella of ANERELA+ newtork.
They come from Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, South Africa, Malawi.

Others to follow suit according to information availed to the Sunday
Observer later came from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and, of course,


Giving his experience to the audience under the title: Stigma—
Powerful tool for growing HIV and AIDS— Fr. Jape Heath from Namibia
and the ANERELA+ Coordinator said the network was there to continue
breaking silence, demonstrate positive living and bring realization
that the church has AIDS.

Rev. Heath, an Anglican Priest since 1994 and who became a father in
1995 and tested HIV+ in 2000 discouraged religious leaders who still
clung to the old myths in the churches that AIDS was God's punishment
for sin.

He denounced the notions that are used is some congregations
that....It is not our problem,...we have nobody living with HIV in
our congregation, and the like. "With the current statistics what
messages are you giving to keep them out?," he asked

He stated: " In 10 years of ministry I have never found a person who
has not sinned. All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of

A well determined Anglican Church leader, Rev.Heath further said, the
vision of his organisation was an African Region where religious
leaders living positively with and affected by HIV and AIDS are
empowered to live openly as witnesses to hope and be forces for
change in their congregations and communities.

ANERELA supports all religious leaders living with or personally
affected by HIV and AIDS without judgement, Rev. Heath concluded.

The two-day workshop that attracted some 30-plus journalists and
religious leaders dwelt on several issues such as Living with
HIV:HIV/AIDS as common challenge in the world, Experiences about
HIV/AIDS issues related to different church denominations and
religions and Churches and the ethical points of view.

Others were: Religions in the Frontline, How HIV/AIDS has affected
media work so far and others.

SOURCE: Sunday Observer