KENYA: 'Fidelity' is key to stopping HIV spread, vice president tells Anglican leaders

September 2, 2009

Kenya's vice president has told leaders of Africa's Anglican churches that fidelity holds the key to halting the spread of the HIV virus on the continent.

UNAIDS, the United Nations program on HIV and AIDS, projects the number of infections of the disease in Africa will double by 2015.

"That means returning to the basics by strict observance of our values as Christians," Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said in Nairobi at the start of a September 1-2 HIV/AIDS consultation of Anglican archbishops, former heads of state, members of civil society and experts on the pandemic.

"I am confident we can stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, if we keep the promise of fidelity," said Musyoka. The consultation was organized by the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa.

"The conference comes at an opportune time, when the continent is in dire need of fresh ideas on how to contain the disease," said the vice president, asserting that the complex nature of HIV demands the use of bolder approaches.

Musyoka said firm leadership is needed to tackle poverty, inequalities and poor governance, which, he noted, are all intertwined with the spread of HIV.

Archbishop Ian Ernest of the Anglican Province of the Indian Ocean and CAPA chairperson said that since the church is influential in Africa, it is crucial for its leaders to offer informed leadership based on reality, and not on moral judgment.

"We are aware pastoral care is being offered, but it is also important to offer any help that would prevent the spread of AIDS," said Ernest. "For example, the use of condoms can help to check the spread of AIDS. So preventive measures have to be courageously presented, and this should be accompanied by appropriate teaching on human sexuality and reproductive health."

Ernest urged Anglican leaders to challenge false ideas about HIV, such as AIDS not being caused by HIV, or the idea that the disease can be cured by traditional healers.

Related Topics: