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Global: UNAIDS partners with religious groups to achieve

December 8, 2009
NAIROBI, 8 December 2009 (PlusNews) - UNAIDS has launched a new framework for strategic partnerships with faith-based organizations (FBOs), acknowledging the impact they can have in delivering HIV programmes.

According to the UN World Health Organization, faith-based groups provide between 30 and 70 percent of all healthcare in Africa. UNAIDS new strategy aims to strengthen the capacity of FBOs to implement HIV prevention, treatment and care, and to help them raise funds.

Religious groups have often found themselves in conflict with prevention campaigns that promote the use of condoms, but the framework notes that "with education and dialogue, attitudes are changing, and there is a new openness among other actors to engage with FBOs".

According to Jane Machira, senior programme officer for HIV/AIDS in East Africa for the NGO, Christian Aid, FBOs have a particularly strong role to play in prevention among married couples, who are responsible for most new infections in many countries in the region.

"The new categories of people mostly affected by AIDS nowadays, young married couples, are not yet part of any outreach programmes; we have to let them be aware of HIV/AIDS," she said.