Church leaders from different denominations have applauded the improved HIV and AIDS knowledge levels in the church, which has been demonstrated by the increase in the number of people disclosing their status and participating in HIV activities.
Although the country is going through a lean spell in terms of donor funding for HIV and AIDS programmes, various faith based organisations in conjunction with an organization called Africare, have been scaling up their involvement in HIV and AIDS mitigation, prevention and care programmes.
Speaking on the sidelines of an inter-denominational meeting held at a local hotel in Harare, Africare Country Director, Dr Paul Chimedza said church members have managed to overcome the challenges of stigma and discrimination, adding that most are now working towards adopting a proactive stance through establishing networks with HIV and AIDS service providers.
One of the church leaders who attended the meeting, Pastor Henry Zihove from the Apostolic Church of Pentecost, said church members are not immune to HIV infection and pastors are now being trained to include HIV and AIDS issues in their sermons.Â Â Â
Participants to the meeting drawn from across the country were in agreement that, if equipped with the relevant support and knowledge, the church has the capacity to implement viable and sustainable HIV and AIDS programmes.
To achieve this, it has been noted that religious leaders must take a leading role with calls being made for the subject of HIV and AIDS to be included in the syllabus at all theological colleges.