Thursday, April 14, 2011

Traditional Leaders challenged to actively participate in the fight against HIV

Traditional leaders from southern Africa have been challenged to play an active role in the fight against HIV for the region to achieve zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS related deaths.

This was said by the Executive Director of SAfAIDS, Mrs Lois Chingandu at the Regional Traditional Leadership Rock Indaba-50 x 15 Prevention Movement being held in Johannesburg from 12-14 April 2011.

Mrs Chingandu challenged traditional leaders to move from being actors where they are often invited to officially open HIV events and be actively involved in the fight against the epidemic.

“As chiefs, you must tell yourself that I want zero new infections in my village. This can only happen if you know the epidemic, start to openly talk about sex and encourage your community members to go for HIV tests. This should start with you.....We found that the African epidemic had something to do with our culture. As much as we love our culture, it is important for our culture to protect us. We found some practices that were not protecting us but putting us at risk, for example wife inheritance. We are therefore working with traditional leaders to find ways of how we can practice our culture, without exposing ourselves to HIV infection”.
She stressed the importance for traditional leaders to model the behaviours they are promoting as they can’t encourage others to change their behaviour whilst they are having multiple partners.

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[If an item is not written by an IRMA member, it should not be construed that IRMA has taken a position on the article's content, whether in support or in opposition.]

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