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Anglicans challenged over HIV/AIDS

Posted on: February 21, 2003 6:49 PM
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by John Martin

Anglicans throughout the world have been challenged to "raise up a new generation of children free from the scourge of HIV/AIDS." The call came as part of a statement issued at the conclusion of the Anglican Communion Mission Organisations Conference, held in Cyprus 12-18 February.

Delegates were told that the Church is one of the greatest resources in the fight against HIV/AIDS but one of the weakest because of a reluctance to openly address issues of human sexuality.

They heard how Anglican Churches in some of the worst hit areas of the world are taking a lead in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The Council of the Anglican Provinces of Africa has issued a framework document containing all the key elements needed by the Churches in the fight against this pandemic.

Most Anglican Churches in Africa are in process of founding an HIV/AIDS desk to co-ordinate the campaign. In Rwanda, the Anglican Archbishop is chair of the National Committee on AIDS. In Ghana, the Council of Churches has joined with the Catholic Church and the Muslim community in a campaign that emphasises compassion for those infected as well as prevention.

A delegate from Uganda told how the pandemic was challenging existing approaches to issues such as confidentiality. "What I would call 'shared confidentiality' works better than 'strict confidentiality.' If I want to tell my wife I have tested positive I need my pastor to be there and the Mother's Union to be on hand to support her."

"This is an abnormal problem that calls for the Church to do and say things that are abnormal," he added.