South Africa
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Tanzania: Govt Reaches Out to Religious Leaders in Fight Against HIV

THE government has appealed for religious leaders' support in enhancing the fight against HIV/AIDS.

According to the Arusha regional commissioner John Mongella, religious leaders have great influence over members of their congregations.

Mr Mongella, who was speaking on World Aids Day here midweek, noted that religious leaders could use their pulpits and members to educate their faithful and offer life-changing counsel to their flock.

"Religious leaders are in a position to be strong champions in the fight and advocacy role in HIV/AIDS control, which is why the government continues to count on them" observe the regional commissioner.

The regional commissioner said churches and mosques were ideal places for advocating global response in the fight against AIDS and also perfect avenues to learn about the facts of HIV and AIDS.

"Religious leaders and those associated with faith-based organisations have the formidable task of speaking out truthfully and taking the necessary action to curb the spread of HIV and alleviate the suffering caused by HIV/AIDS," he said.

According to Mr Mongella, as trusted and respected members of the society, religious leaders are listened to, and their actions set an example.

He added: "Any messages on HIV/AIDS imparted by religious leaders are important in changing the attitudes and the behavioural patterns of their followers about the epidemic.

World AIDS Day is commemorated on December 1 to show support to those living with the disease and to remember those who have lost their lives.

It also provides a chance for people across the world to come together in the battle against the disease, show support to those living with it, and mourn those who have lost their lives.

According to statistics, over 36 million lives have been lost to HIV or AIDS-related diseases so far, and an estimated 37.7 million individuals were living with it at the end of 2020, making it one of the deadliest diseases in the world.