AIDS – Recommendations

by Hanna Steffens

September, 2003

  1. Commitment of young people to a new lifestyle on the basis of the Christian belief in Jesus Christ who is the only Path to the Father, who is the sole Truth, He gives Life, and has called them to spread life not death.

    H. St. has made use of the pledge of True Love waits which 80–90% of the youth she addressed have signed in ELCSA ED (Igwa) and ND (Devhula):

    As true love waits I make a pledge in front of God, my family, myself, and my future spouse to live sexually pure until marriage by the grace of God.

    The youth copied this text and after prayer and personal deliberation signed it and kept it for themselves; they gave a second signature on a paper which was handed to their parish pastor for further counselling.

  2. For women and men who are prepared to assist the HIV infected persons ELCSA may consider to offer them special training as Lay Counsellors in addition to courses in Home Based Care which have been started by the Government.

  3. The AIDS committees on parish and congregational level within ELCSA may see a special task initiating selfhelp groups of HIV positive persons. In such groups they can reflect their own situation under the guidance of lay counsellors and run income generating projects (sewing, vegetables, biscuits, bread etc).

    Varied goals of selfhelp groups:

    • Open exchange on their feelings, expectations, frustrations, and needs.

    • Preparations for income generating projects under the guidance of persons from outside (Women’s/Men’s League, AIDS Committee members).

    • Day Care Centre for orphans run by a selfhelp group of HIV infected persons. (Can meals be provided?)

    • Counselling of group members and spiritual assistance offered by trained lay counsellors; special emphasis on reconciliation with family members.

    • Arranging a memory box with fotos and other things helpful for the orphan to remember his/her parents, home, and wider family.

    • If no close family members are at hand, considering funeral and heritage matters: e.g. who takes responsibility for the funeral expenses? Who looks into the legal matters so that a widowed mother or an orphan after the death of both parents is protected in his/her full rights?

  4. Financial basis of the selfhelp groups from small own contributions and through grants from the Global Fund. (Clarify the proper channels of application for such groups)

  5. Invite Christian experienced groups from outside like Uganda with knowledge about successful steps in the long struggle against AIDS.

  6. Attack the traditional tabus that further the increase of the HIV infection rate (at present in South Africa 1.800 NEW HIV positive persons per day and 600 death cases from AIDS daily).

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