Pastors Undermining HIV/Aids Treatment, Amecea Bishops Told

Namuwongo, Uganda - VOLUNTEERS caring for people with HIV/Aids have said born-again pastors are undermining their efforts.

Ms Noelina Namukisa, the executive director of Meeting Point, said some pastors discourage people living with HIV/Aids from using anti-retroviral drugs.

She was addressing bishops of the Association of Member Episcopal conferences of Eastern Africa at her offices in Namuwongo last week.

Meeting Point, an NGO established in 1992, caters for 960 students living with HIV/Aids.

Namukisa said pastors were convincing some patients that Aids could be cured through prayers. "We know that God cures and that is why he created scientists to treat patients. In this era of Aids, Christianity must support the struggle of available medicine designed to protect and extend lives of those living with HIV/Aids," she said.

Namukisa said the other challenges they face in treating HIV infected people include poverty, orphan burden and people denying their HIV/ Aids status.

During the bishops' visit, several pupils testified how their headmasters infected them with HIV. The Apostolic Pronuncio to Uganda, Arch-Bishop Christophe Pierre, who led the bishops to Meeting Point, urged religious leaders to reinforce the campaign against HIV/Aids. "This is a struggle by good Samaritans where religious leaders are in the best position to perform," Pierre said.