‘Religious’ Stigma Kills Faster Than HIV – Rev. John Azumah Cautions Pastors, Imams, Others

Rev. John Azumah

‘Religious’ Stigma Kills Faster Than HIV – Rev. John Azumah Cautions Pastors, Imams, Others

You would think that the house of God or Allah is where one should feel safe; however, reports have indicated that that is where discrimination and stigmatization especially towards persons living with HIV exist more.

The question most often asked is why one would comfortably seat beside a person with diabetes, or malaria in church or a mosque yet refuse to seat or interact with persons living with HIV.

Many still have the notion that if they seat or touch an HIV-infected person, they will also get infected.

In view of this, Christian and Muslim leaders have been sensitized on how to educate their members to avoid stigmatizing or discriminating against persons living with HIV.

Speaking at the workshop which was organized by Inerela Ghana, Rev John Azumah who has been living with the virus for 22 years said stigmatization in the various religious organizations kills faster than HIV itself and that the Pastors and Imams need to help in educating their members.

He recounted how he disclosed his status to his head Pastor and he ended up leaving the church because the Man of God said he couldn’t work with him any longer.

“Stigmatization in our religious bodies is high and kills faster than the virus itself. If the Pastor said this how much more members? The religious leaders are doing their best but they can do better. The religious setting should be a place of love, acceptance” he intimated.

He further urged the religious leaders to encourage members who get infected with the virus to take their antiretroviral drugs and not pollute their minds that they will be healed by faith or anointing oil or other concoction.

Source: peacefmonline