World AIDS Day 2017, red ribbons

The consultation, part of a series that the WCC in implementing in partnership with the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and UNAIDS, will take place simultaneously in Chipata and Lusaka.

It will bring together participants from WCC member churches and other faith communities, people living with HIV, adolescents and youth, people with disabilities and others. They will reflect on the impact of exclusive claims to faith healing on HIV treatment adherence.

The consultation will examine how the faith community can address the challenges brought by some faith leaders who discourage people living with HIV from utilizing antiretroviral therapy, thereby compromising their adherence. Approaching the theme from a human dignity and human rights framework, the consultation will come up with concrete proposals on how to embrace more holistic and life-giving theologies in the context of HIV.

According to Fr Emmanuel Chikoya, general secretary of the Council of Churches in Zambia, “the WCC Treatment Adherence Manual provides valuable insights into the role of the faith community in promoting treatment adherence and reducing stigma, and it provides the framework for our engagement.”

The piloting of the WCC Treatment Adherence Manual was undertaken in Zambia in 2018. Representatives of organisations such as UNAIDS, National AIDS Council Zambia, ZANERELA, ZINGO and others will be sharing their insights with the participants. It is envisaged that the consultation will contribute towards promoting HIV treatment and reducing stigma in Zambia.