Former Zambian President Encourages Condom Use To Prevent Spread of HIV
Former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda on Saturday at the World Bank development marketplace awards ceremony in Lusaka, Zambia, encouraged people to use condoms to prevent the spread of HIV and said that many members of the clergy who have died of AIDS-related causes might be alive if they had used condoms, Zambia's Post/AllAfrica.com reports. Kaunda said that sexual abstinence is the "best remedy" for preventing HIV infection but that condom use should be encouraged for those who cannot abstain, according to the Post/AllAfrica.com. Kaunda noted that many church leaders have said his campaign to encourage condom use has been "preaching evil to society," according to the Post/AllAfrica.com. "My message was and still is the same," Kaunda said, adding, "Let us look at society, the number of people that have perished -- among them pastors, fathers (priests), sisters, reverends from the church. If we had allowed the leaders in spiritual world to use condoms, they could still be alive today." Kaunda stressed the need to reduce the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS and encouraged leaders to undergo HIV testing, according to the Post/AllAfrica.com. In addition, Kaunda said that all African governments need to work together to fight the disease. Kaunda recently attended the first U.N. Commission on HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa meeting in Morocco. Kaunda said that the commission soon would be delivering a report to the U.N. secretary general. Hartwig Scharfer, the World Bank's country director for Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe, said that disabled people need to be included in the fight against HIV/AIDS and that "money alone" cannot make a difference in fighting the disease, according to the Post/AllAfrica.com. "It's the people that know what it takes that need to put money to good use in the fight," Scharfer said (Lombe, Post/AllAfrica.com, 5/2).
Clergy Should Drop Stand Against Condom Use, Editorial Says
It is "unfair" for clergy in Zambia to discourage people who cannot maintain sexual abstinence from using condoms to prevent HIV infection, an editorial in Zambia's Post says. The clergy's approach to the country's HIV/AIDS epidemic is "unrealistic" and cannot be maintained in Zambia, where one million people already have died of AIDS-related causes, 100,000 more die of the disease annually and there are more than 600,000 AIDS orphans, the editorial says. The church's "moral stand" could "eclipse the urgent need to advance basic measures which would protect people from HIV/AIDS," according to the editorial. The church instead should take a "realistic, rational, reasonable position on this problem that has so many political, economic, social and even moral implications," the editorial says. Any religion that "cares more for the supposed sacredness of its objects but turns its back on [the] lives of those who are the real temples of the Spirit is worthless," the editorial says (Post, 5/2).