[ACNS source: Tulleken and Associates, CPSA] A network of Religious Leaders from across Africa living with and affected by HIV/AIDS was launched today, 29th October 2003, in Kampala, Uganda. The launch was timed to coincide with the 11th International Conference of People Living with HIV/AIDS, held at the Speke Resort, Kampala.
Mr Stu Flavell, International Coordinator of the Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GNP+) and guest of honour at the launch, said he was pleased to have been able to be present at the inauguration of the network, named ANERELA+.
GNP+ paid for 15 members of ANERELA+ to attend.
"ANERELA+ is there to support, without judgment, all Religious Leaders living with or personally affected by HIV and AIDS," said the Revd Japé Heath [South Africa], the Coordinator. "We hope that our presence in Africa will serve to eliminate Stigma, Discrimination, indifference and silence around HIV and AIDS."
The network already has more than 20 members from seven countries - Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Malawi, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania. Ambitious plans will see the network grow next year to 12 countries, said the Revd Japé Heath, who was invited to make a presentation to the 11th International Conference on the subject of religion, culture, stigma and discrimination.
"We are hugely excited at being able to be part of the dawn of new positive leadership in Africa," he said. "We believe that our active involvement in this area will force the faith community to pull their heads out of the sand and become the loving response we know they need to be."
The Revd Canon Gideon Byamugisha [Uganda], chair of ANERELA+, also spoke on the role of HIV+ clergy in the community HIV response.