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HIV test a must for widows, says church

Posted on: September 6, 2000 5:01 PM
Related Categories: Kenya

By George Olwenya

The Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) will allow widows in Nyanza Province to remarry in the church after establishing the HIV/Aids status of the their late husbands.

The Maseno West Diocese Bishop, Otieno Wasonga, and the Reverend Charltone Otola of NCCK headquarters, said the move was aimed at discouraging wife inheritance and curb the spread of the lethal virus among members of the community. He said widows and widowers will be required to produce certificates from health institutions where their late spouses were treated before death indicating their HIV/Aids status.

Meanwhile, sixty per cent of beds at health institutions in Homa Bay District are occupied by HIV/Aids patients. The Nyanza Provincial Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ambrose Misore, said the percentage might increase next year if the residents do not change their moral behavioural patterns. He said Aids awareness is almost 100 per cent in the area while there are zero rate behavioural changes.

Wasonga, who is also the immediate former chairman of the NCCK, further said the church would ensure widows and widowers married spouses within their age brackets.He took issue with men whom he accused of rushing for school girls after their wives' deaths.He was speaking at St Peter's Cathedral, in Siaya town, during the ordination ceremony for two deacons. Four students from St Phillips Theological College in Maseno were also ordained as deacons during the ceremony. The bishop directed all priests to spearhead the anti-Aids campaign saying it is their cardinal role to mould morals in the society.

Item from: East Africa Standard