Chieftainess Kawaza of the Chewa people of Katete District in Eastern Province has called on Government to address churches that are misleading people from taking Anti Retrial Viral Therapy (ART).
Chieftainess Kawaza said the trend by certain churches to tell people who are on ART to stop taking medication was on an increase and was leading to loss of lives.
The Chieftainess was speaking during the commemoration of the World AIDS Day held under the theme ‘Ending AIDS by 2030 starts with me’.
“We are asking you Government, talk to these churches especially the mushrooming churches that are telling people to stop taking ARV medication. The pastor is taking meanwhile he is telling the people not to take that I will pray for you,” she said.
She said people were dying because of these men of ‘God’ who were misleading them by telling them they will be healed after being prayed for.
The Chieftainess also cautioned the public to refrain from stigmatizing those on ART as it was not only them affected but the whole nation was.
She said it was important that the public got to a point of seeing another person’s problem as their problem as well, because the AIDS pandemic was not just a battle for the infected but a battle for all.
The Chieftainess also urged women to refrain from cultural practices that increased the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.
She said certain traditional practices that women engaged in, increased the chances of contracting the disease.
Chieftainess Kawaza said this in reference to the prevalence rate of the disease among women between the ages of 15-45 years old of which was at 1.08 percent compared to men who were at 0.33 percent.
Meanwhile, Katete District Commissioner (DC) Joseph Makukula said about 117, 958 people were tested for HIV/AIDS in Katete in 2016, and about 3, 109 tested positive.
“The cumulative figure of people in our district who are on ART stands at 9, 060. The above statistics are quiet high and worrying for a country like Zambia,” he said.