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now enters Church
2004-03-28 12:18:15 By Simon
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.
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 (ARVs).
"Discussions with ANERELA+ headquarters to facilitate the move is at
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
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
United Against HIV/AIDS in Eastern and Southern Africa (CUAHA)
in collaboration with the Association of Journalists Against AIDS in
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.
follow suit according to information availed to the Sunday Observer
later came from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and, of course, Tanzania.
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.
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.
denounced the notions that are used is some congregations
that....It is not our problem,...we have nobody living with HIV in
congregation, and the like. "With the current statistics what messages
are you giving to keep them out?," he asked
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 God."
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.
supports all religious leaders living with or personally affected
by HIV and AIDS without judgement, Rev. Heath concluded.
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.
were: Religions in the Frontline, How HIV/AIDS has affected media
work so far and others.