Christians meet to develop strategy for HIV/AIDS fight
Guyana Chronicle
August 24, 2002

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MEMBERS of the Christian community in Guyana have undertaken to help in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Representatives of several Christian organisations in Guyana met for an evening conference hosted by the visiting Logos 11 Ship for intensive discussions on how the Christian community in Guyana can start responding to HIV/AIDS.

The conference included a workshop component, which was facilitated by facilitators from Volunteer Youth Corps (VYC), a press release from VYC said.

The workshop was preceded by presentations from Dr. Michael Ali, Director of the Genito-Urinary Medicine Clinic of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and Mr. Saji Abraham, a representative from Youth With A Mission (Guyana).

VYC said Dr. Ali noted that Guyana is the country with the second highest incidence of HIV/AIDS in Latin America and the Caribbean and that young people are the most affected.

Mr. Abraham talked about the importance of the Christian community's response to the epidemic so as to reduce the suffering being faced by people living with HIV/AIDS.

According to the release, he said that volunteers from his organisation who are Christian themselves, visit HIV positive patients at the GPHC taking the message of Christ's love and providing valuable care and support to these patients.

The audience included many pastors and youth from churches all around Guyana.

Peer Educators from the VYC engaged each group in intensive discussions on how churches can help in responding to HIV/AIDS, the release said.

Chairman of VYC, Mr. Kenroy Roach explained that there was a general consensus by all present that there is a need for churches to play a more active and even proactive role in leading the fight against HIV/AIDS in Guyana.

He added that there is an equally important role for the message on "Abstinence and Being Faithful" as part of the current HIV/AIDS campaign and that churches are strategically poised to communicate those messages.

Among the recommendations coming out of the workshops are for Christians to form a coalition on HIV/AIDS, and the development of a Christian public awareness campaign on abstinence, being faithful and other preventative messages on HIV/AIDS.