Tuesday, 10 June 2008
KENYA: Church Leaders Study How to Fight HIV/AIDS Stigma LIMURU,
April 22, 2008 (CISA) -Some 60 Church leaders began a national workshop here today to address the issue of stigma and discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS.The workshop at Jumuia Conference and Country Home is organised by the National Council of Churches (NCCK) and the global charity Christian Aid. It ends Friday.Canon Gideon Byamugisha, a Ugandan pastor who was the first African clergyman to publicly declare his HIV-positive status, is facilitating the workshop.“The national workshop aims at building the capacity of the executive church leaders to change their attitudes towards HIV and AIDS, and thereafter give leadership to campaigns against stigma and discrimination. They will also be enabled to upgrade and where necessary, initiate HIV and AIDS response initiatives,” NCCK Deputy General Secretary, Oliver Kisaka, said in a statement.Other than church leaders drawn from the NCCK membership, other participants in the workshop are representatives from Kenerela (Kenya Network of Religious Leaders Living With or Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS).Kenya has a prevalence rate of 5.1 percent, with over a million Kenyans living with HIV/AIDS. More than 55,000 persons are newly infected every year. It is estimated that more than 10 million people are directly or indirectly affected by the epidemic.Stigma kills when it prevents people from identifying the illness and freely seeking treatment, NCCK noted. Within the Church, the impression remains that HIV/AIDS is an affliction for the sexually immoral.