Chiefs and religious leaders in Mangochi have challenged the Malawi Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Affected by HIV and Aids (Manarela+) to embark on awareness campaign to reduce the stigma attached to Aids.
The advice came after the organisation raised a concern that the disease among gays, lesbians and commercial sex workers in the district is around 20.5 percent, surpassing the national prevalence rate at 10.3 percent.
“Yes, you are asking us to help disseminate information on HIV and Aids to the people in this district. This is fine and good, but do you know that prostitution is also happening in the villages?” queried group village head Mapira Mwenyama in an interview.
He said for the project to yield results, there is need to focus on all aspects, particularly in rural areas.
Mwenyama observed that the district will remain with a high prevalence rate of HIV and Aids among the minority groups if a holistic approach to combat the scourge is not devised.
In her remarks, Manerela+ project officer Carol Kassam accepted to work on the leaders’ proposal, saying this is what her organisation wanted by inviting such leaders to the meeting. nr