Pakistan Uses Muslim Clerics, Islamic Teachings To Fight Spread of HIV/AIDS, Reduce Stigma
Pakistan will include Muslim leaders and clerics and Islamic teachings in its new HIV/AIDS campaign to raise awareness of the disease and reduce stigma, Reuters reports. According to Reuters, there are 3,297 reported HIV cases in Pakistan, however, health officials believe the number could be more than 80,000. "The reported [cases] are just the tip of the iceberg," Qamar-ul-Islam Siddiqi, coordinator for the national AIDS control program, said, adding, "We have enlisted the help of religious leaders and clerics and printed specific material of [Islamic] teachings in order to reach the majority of Pakistan's 160 million people." The program has created posters and a book that contain verses from the Koran about compassion and caring and that reiterate Islamic teachings against sex outside marriage, Reuters reports. According to Reuters, many people in Pakistan associate HIV/AIDS with sex outside marriage, which is prohibited in Islam, and are not aware of other transmission routes. Indonesia and Egypt also have used material from Pakistan's AIDS control program, which was launched in 1995, in their national programs to fight HIV/AIDS, Reuters reports (Reuters, 7/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.