HIV Project Helps Churches in Africa Fight Sexuality 'Fears'

(Photo Credit: Paul Jeffrey/Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance)AIDS/HIV activists take part in a "Keep the Promise" march during the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C.

An ecumenical project led by the Geneva-based World Council of Churches to help churches in Africa deal with HIV/AIDS has reduced fears linked to sexuality, the coordinator of the program says.

Rev. Dr. Nyabura Njoroge, coordinator for the World Council of Churches' Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiative in Africa project spoke on the subject at a conference ahead of the recently concluded 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington D.C.

Rev. Njoroge addressed aspects related to stigma attached to HIV and AIDS.

He says through the EHAIA initiatives, churches "have broken the silence and dissipated fears surrounding issues related to sexuality in all its diversity," reported the World Council of Churches, which also operates the project.

Dr. Susan Parry, a regional coordinator for southern Africa, with EHAIA, says HIV and AIDS "have challenged our conventional theologies and have made us face our own prejudices in the light of the Lord's transforming love."

The WCC says the project conducts workshops and training programs, responds to individual requests for advice from churches on HIV policy development, pastoral training or project planning support; and distributes information and resource materials in the regions via a website and electronic newsletter.

In his pre-conference presentation, Rev. Njoroge added that "promoting critical awareness against sexual and gender-based violence, promoting gender justice, transformative masculinities and femininities and pastoral accompaniment of people living with HIV" are crucial for the churches.

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