Christian communication rights group commends church leaders and communicators fighting HIV stigma
...WACC Statement on World AIDS Day, 1 December 2008
| || The World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) commends faith leaders and communicators fighting HIV stigma. Many faith based communities are have shown leadership in understanding that stigmatisation and discrimination towards people living with HIV and AIDS increases the difficulties they experience, fuels the spread of HIV and increases the harm it causes. |
When HIV+ people are unaware of their status, or do not disclose it for fear of stigmatisation, they go untreated, the virus continues to spread and the rate of mortality increases.
WACC especially commends the leadership shown in 2008 by its project partners in implementing communication strategies to eliminate stigmatisation within Christian communities. The Christian Council of Ghana is using their close working ties with religious and community leaders to implement a rights-based participatory communication strategy to reduce HIV and AIDS-related stigma and discrimination in three districts close to the capital city, Accra. These three districts have high levels of infection, attributed among other factors to fear of getting tested for the virus stemming from rampant stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS. In Ghana, as in most African countries, many in the faith community fail to speak out, which has made the AIDS situation worse. The three year project will establish strong coordinated networks among religious leaders, community and opinion leaders, leaders of women’s groups and youth groups, teachers, health workers and media practitioners committed to challenging stigma and discrimination.
Faith based partners leading by example elsewhere include the Church of South India Diocese of Madurai and Ramnad; the Ecumenical Commission for Human Development in Pakistan; the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru in Kenya; the Training and Documentation Centre in Rwanda ; the Centro Intereclesial de Estudios Teológicos y Sociales in Nicaragua and the Rosa Blanca Parochial Ecumenical Centre in Peru.
When Christian communities make themselves a safe and welcoming place for HIV+ persons, they are reflecting the Gospel, “We are all part of the body of Christ, each one of us” (1 Cor. 12: 27).
WACC, a communication rights organisation, supports and advances anti-stigma communication strategies to change discriminatory behaviour that contributes to the spread of HIV and the harm it causes. WACC collaborates with faith-based leaders and communicators and civil society partners in many countries.
Further information about WACC’s HIV and AIDS Programme can be found at www.waccglobal.org or by contacting Sarah Macharia, Programme Manager for HIV and AIDS at
The Rev. Randy Naylor
See also a statement from YWCA