Thursday, March 4, 2021

Faith organisations silent on condom use

Despite launching the ‘HIV and AIDS Response Strategy 2011-2016′ on Sunday at the National Stadium, the Faith Based Organisations (FBO’s) reluctance to promote the use of condoms as one of the core HIV/AIDS preventative measures remains evident.

Of all the HIV/AIDs prevention strategies incorporated in the ‘Response Strategy 2011-2016′ book, the use of condoms is conspicuously absent.

In an interview with The Telegraph the Director of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care at the Ministry of Health Dr Kefeletswe Lebelonyane insists that although they may not be vocal about the use of a condom, the FBOs may not necessarily be against using it as a last resort. “We cannot interfere with their (FBOs) beliefs,” she says.

“If they can promote prevention strategies that are in line with their respective sets of beliefs and principles, we can both combine its part in promoting the use of condoms as one way of preventing the spread of HIV.

“When it comes to prevention, there is no one strategy that works,” she says.

Speaking at the launch Minister of Health Dr John Seakgosing said the launch symbolizes true community and government partnerships which both parties have been looking at and advocating for.
“It is critical that as we look towards accomplishing our coveted prize of an HIV Free generation by 2016, we also acknowledge the fact that responding to HIV and AIDS requires collaboration.”

Seakgosing says with the strategies, the ministry hopes, together with the FBOs, to sensitize families, communities and congregations on the negative impact of HIV and assist to modify attitudes as well as providing beneficiaries with better health related behavior skills.

For his part leader of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) Bishop Dr Barnabas Lekganyane said HIV/AIDS needs a coordinated multifaceted approach hence the need for a set of strategies to comprehensibly address all needs.

“Faith Based Communities are well positioned to drive prevention, treatment, care and support programs in communities,” Lekganyane says. He says with the involvement of the faith sector in the national prevention strategies, Botswana can reach the Vision 2016 goal of Zero New Infections, Zero Discrimination, and Zero AIDS related deaths in the near future. Lekganyane says discrimination is based on the wrong thinking about HIV. “Together we can change the stigma about HIV and AIDS.
Motswana “a re fifing go tshwaranwa ka dikobo’” he said adding that “We also believe that ‘bojang ga bo ipofe’.”

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