Saturday, July 28, 2007

Malawi: Catholic Group Okays HIV Initiative, But Rejects Condoms

A Catholic organisation has commended a government drive to boost voluntary counseling and testing for HIV/AIDS, but questioned the promotion of condom use.

Reports say about 14 percent of Malawi's 12 million people are HIV-positive, making AIDS one of the biggest challenges to the nation.

The director of Human Life International Malawi, Brother Harris Kachaso MJ, noted that for the second year, the ministry of health had dedicated a week (July 16 to 22) to urge Malawians to be aware of their HIV status.

Last year the government had a targeted 90,000 people in the drive, and this year the number expected is 130,000.

"The idea is good, but HIV/AIDS can not decrease if the authorities concerned and other groups continue to promote condoms," Br. Kachaso told CISA. "The concerned authorities should stop promoting condoms because this is no different from promoting genocide in a country."

He said not even discordant couples should be advised to use condoms. They instead "should learn to live a sacrificial love where they think of caring for the sick partner and of raising children, if any."

In May, the World Health Organization issued new guidance, saying that anyone seeking medical treatment in countries where HIV was rife should be tested, unless they "opted out".

However, no test should be done against a person's wishes or without their knowledge, the guidelines stress.

The WHO said that 80 percent of people with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa did not know they had the virus.

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