16 Dec 2018 • News
The Anglican Church of Burundi joined other partners to celebrate World AIDS Day. This year the Province focussed on youth by organising a week of campaigning to encourage people to be voluntarily tested for HIV.
The campaign was organised in schools in Rumonge and Nyanza-Lac in the southern part of the country and facilitated by young people trained in life skills. Around four thousand people were voluntarily tested.
The Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Burundi stressed the importance of every person knowing their status. “The first step in fighting against HIV is to know your status. You can’t pretend to protect yourself from being infected without knowing whether you are safe or not,” he said. He officially opened the ceremonies by getting screened himself to show that being aware of one’s status is everyone’s concern.
Such campaigns are part of the work undertaken by the Church to help prevent and reduce the risk of being infected by HIV. Through the wider programme of developing life skills young people get the opportunity to be trained in different areas such as sexual and reproductive health, personal responsibility, alcoholism and substance abuse.
The Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi has also initiated youth circles of savings and credit using the “Village Community Bank” approach in a move to address the underlying issue of extreme poverty that contributes to the prevalence of HIV and AIDS. Since this started youth circles have been able to work together and have begun some income generating activities.
The local authorities in Rumonge and Nyanza-Lac expressed their gratitude for the contribution of the Anglican Church of Burundi. The senior advisor to the Administrator of Nyanza-Lac Commune said that the programme of life skills has contributed to the reduction of cases of pregnancy in schools and early marriages, and children stopping attending school. Statistics from health facilities show that the HIV infection rate has decreased due to agencies like the Church engaging in the fight against HIV.