A Lilongwe based non-governmental organisation has accused some religious leaders in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Chimutu in the district of perpetrating tendencies that fuel the spread of HIV and Aids.
Executive director of Centre for Youth Development and Social Empowerment (CYDSE), Nephtale Chizongo, said in an interview on Sunday that some religious leaders in the area are discouraging their people from using condoms, saying it is only Jesus who can protect them.
“We have been embarking on condom distribution among young people and we discovered that only a few were turning up to access them and some of them confessed that they were advised not to be using them by their churches,” he said.
Chizongo said that others who were on anti-retroviral treatment (ART) have stopped taking their drugs on advice from their church leaders.
One of the youths benefitting from the NGO’s services, who did not want to be named, said in an interview on Friday that some religious leaders were telling them that they would not suffer from any ailments if they put their faith in prayer.
Cases of religious leaders stopping their faithful from using medication have been reported widely nationwide and such practices have continued even when authorities have tried to convince them not to believe what the leaders say. n