Leader of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) Bishop Dr Barnabas Lekganyane has called on the government of Botswana to adopt a tough stance against “conmen and women” who claim to have a cure for HIV/AIDS. The ZCC leader was speaking at the launch of the Faith Based Organisations (FBOs)’s HIV and AIDS Response Strategy 2011-2016.
Lekganyane said he had noted that some people in and outside various church groups abuse the name of God to rob people of their money claiming that they can cure the virus.
“We all know that there is no cure for HIV/AIDS as yet,” he said adding that “…and we also know that with good and continued adherence to antiretroviral treatment, people living with HIV can remain well and productive for a long time.”
He warned Batswana to be vigilant of such “crooks”. The ZCC leader also implored Batswana to address the myth about other alleged cures for HIV citing an example people who rape babies because they believe it can cure them of the virus.
“You must work hard to change those people’s minds,” he advised. Lekganyane cautioned men against the “misconception” that circumcision prevents HIV infection.
“According to the World Health Organisation, male circumcision only reduces the risk of female-to-male sexual transmission of HIV by around sixty percent,” he said. “This clearly shows that circumcision does not necessarily prevent HIV infection.”
He also advised against using unauthorised circumcision schools where, he said, boys are dying from illnesses and septic wounds. He said it is advisable to consult a medical facility which will not put any life at risk. “Don’t fool each other with fiction and lies.”
The ZCC leader warned against using cultural traditions of Batswana to perpetuate tendencies that will undermine the efforts to lower new HIV infections.
“I want to echo the words of former President Festus Mogae when he said ‘prevention of two and new infections should be our priority number three’,” Lekganyane concluded.