Niger urges religious leaders to join HIV/AIDS campaign

Niamey- Niger (PANA) -- Niger's religious leaders have been enjoined to add their voices to the campaign against HIV-AIDS and sexually transmissible diseases (STDs).
At a workshop participants recommended that the authorities access Muslim teachers to public media and encourage them to deliver sermons on AIDS and STDs.
While considering Islam as a religion of purity, uprightness and moderation and in view of the alarming progression of HIV- prevalence, the religious leaders recommended that pre-marital HIV-AIDS tests should be encouraged.
The first AIDS cases were reported in Niger in 1987.
Studies show an HIV prevalence of between 1 and 15 per cent depending on the population group.
The authorities have set up an institutional framework and structures for developing and implementing a national policy to eradicate the disease.
In 1987 a national AIDS surveillance committee was set up to formulate a short-term eradication plan, prepare and implement a medium-term plan covering the period 1989-1992, create a national AIDS management programme, as well as prepare and implement a second medium-term plan for 1994-1998.
A 3rd generation medium-term plan was adopted focusing on wide social mobilisation towards curbing the propagation of the pandemic, supplying test papers and essential generic drugs and treating sexually transmissible diseases.
To implement the plan, a national HIV/AIDS committee was set up and placed under the authority of the President of the Republic.

14 may 2001 21:13:00

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