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Representatives of Churches Elaborate Recommendations on HIV
Leaders and representatives of the Christian churches of Belarus are tackling the issues of HIV/AIDS at an international conference “Christian Response to HIV: Theory and Practice” held on 22–24 October in Minsk. The forum arranged under the UNDP project “Contributing to the HIV and AIDS Activities of Christian Churches in Belarus” has gathered guests and speakers from the CIS countries, Poland, Sweden, and South Africa.
The objective of the conference is to work out recommendations to work on AIDS issues in Belarus and to outline the scope of involvement of the Christian churches in this process. Practical issues related to the necessity of development of spiritual unification and partnership are raised at the forum, which also opens opportunities for a dialog between representatives of churches, people living with HIV, state bodies, international and public organizations.
UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative in Belarus Antonius Broek reminded in his opening statement that last year UNDP and UNAIDS had supported the elaboration of the Strategy of Christian Churches Response to HIV/AIDS in Belarus. The Declaration on Social Partnership of the Christian churches against HIV/AIDS was signed too. “It is just a starting point for our future expanded cooperation”, stressed Mr. Broek. “The results of our continued joint work raise the role of the Church in the national HIV response”.
According Plenipotentiary representative for religions and nationalities of Belarus Leonid Guliako, the fact that the leading Christian churches of Belarusare fighting AIDS hand in hand inspires hope for a better future for this country. Deputy Minister of Health Valentina Kachan noted that only spiritual relationships between people could stop the pandemic, and the Church is called for to help the state in this process.
October 22, plenary meetings and group work were arranged. Today, an open discussion on the theme “The Church and HIV” will be held followed by visiting the Orthodox Parish in honor of the Icon of the Mother of God “Consolation of All Who Sorrow”, the AIDS prevention office of the Republican Center of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Public Health, and the Belarusian public association “Positive Movement”. The conference will officially end up on 24 October.
Protecting the health of the younger generation, HIV prevention, overcoming social alienation of HIV–infected people, development of a comprehensive (spiritual and medical) system of assistance to HIV–positive in the regions is the main idea of the social unification of the churches.
For additional information please refer to Anastasiya Krivitskaya, manager of the project “Contributing to the HIV and AIDS Activities of Christian Churches in Belarus”, ph. (+375 17) 251 22 65.
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