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Religion's Role In Combating HIV/AIDS - 2002-06-10

A three-day conference on religion’s role in the fight against HIV / AIDS is underway in Nairobi, Kenya. More than 100 African religious leaders are attending the event, which is sponsored by the “World Conference on Religion and Peace.” One of the organizers is Doctor Pat Youri, head of the “Hope for African Children Initiative.”

He says the conference will concentrate on the impact of the pandemic on children and how the moral authority of religious leaders can help slow the spread of the virus. He says the religious community has been working hard to raise awareness, but it lacks a common plan.

While religious leaders promote abstinence and faithfulness, there’s often disagreement over the use of condoms. The conference will issue a Nairobi Declaration on the impact of HIV / AIDS on children from a theological viewpoint, as well as an Africa-wide action plan on how religion can take a leadership role in raising awareness about the disease.

Dr. Youri spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua.