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Apostolic sects unite to fight HIV and AIDS
Chinowaita, Women and AIDS Support Network (WASN)
from WASN Newsletter - March 2005
issues of condom use and other preventative measures of transmitting
HIV, which used to be taboo in the Apostolic sect are now being
talked about openly leading to positive behavioural change especially
among the men.
was unheard of for Apostolic men to use condoms or have only one
wife but with the advent of HIV and AIDS, which does not, discriminate
on who gets it, the men are changing through an organisation called
Union for the Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe Africa,
was happy to have one of the UDACIZA members, Nyuwere Mangwiro participating
at its workshop on the replication of the model on HIV and AIDS
prevention from a gender specific perspective held in Mutare last
an interview with Mangwiro the Union’s coordinator in Manicaland
based in Murambinda, WASN learnt that the organisation was formed
in 1993 after the realisation that members of the Apostolic sect
were also being affected and infected with HIV and AIDS.
saw that in us Apostolic people we were not addressing our health
and gender issues hence we were falling prey to HIV and AIDS. That’s
when we decided to form this union,” said Mangwiro.
union comprises of Apostolic churches of those who wear white gowns.
It is spread in all provinces of the country.
union conducts HIV and AIDS awareness campaigns to its members.
It imparts communication skills, gender and women empowerment, counselling
and Home Based Care.
the beginning we were not going to clinics but now we are visiting
them to get treatment. This has come with understanding that there
are diseases that need medication from clinics,” said Mangwiro.
men are now using condoms in polygamous relationships. Some are
no longer marrying young girls as used to be the case. This has
lessened the spread of HIV and AIDS among people in these churches.
from the Apostolic churches are now agreeing to voluntary counselling
and testing of HIV allowing them to seek early treatment if they
are found to be positive. This has lessened deaths among the sect.
is 55 and married to two wives said personally he is engaging in
non-risk behaviour and he does not plan to have another wife as
used to be the tradition in his church. He belongs to Zvapupu ZvaJesu
Apostolic Faith in Murambinda.
organisation is getting support from the National AIDS Council so
it can broaden its coverage and bring awareness to more people from
to a report published by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare
and the National AIDS Council in May 2004, the death toll from AIDS
has been high and it continues to rise.
1988, about 12, 000 persons died from AIDS. Fifteen years later
in 2003, about 177, 000 Zimbabweans died as a result of the disease.
Already in 2003, more than 485 Zimbabweans of all ages were dying
every single day of the year because HIV has destroyed the ability
of their immune systems to resist opportunistic infections.
of the apostolic sect are obviously part of the above statistics
but with their interventions some might not succumb to AIDS but
be free from it and live longer.
was among ten organisations that signed memoranda of understanding
with WASN to replicate the model on HIV and AIDS prevention from
gender specific interventions.
hope the organisation will replicate the model and help fight HIV
and AIDS from a gender specific perspective thus creating an atmosphere
where women and girls enjoy their full sexual and reproductive health
and rights in this era of HIV and AIDS.
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