May. 28, 2021

Religious leaders in Uganda renew commitment to eliminating stigma, ending HIV

Religious leaders in Uganda pledged to renew their commitment to the national struggle to end HIV and AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, end all forms of stigma, promote justice, model transformative masculinities and transformative femininities, and ensure that respect for human rights is at the center of responses to HIV and AIDS.
Photo: Yonah Ahabwe
28 May 2021

The pledge was the fruit of a consultation on Faith, Stigma and Human Rights convened by the World Council of Churches Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy programme under the PEPFAR-UNAIDS Faith Initiative.

The consultation was opened by Dr Nelson Musoba, director general of the Uganda AIDS Commission. He acknowledged the diversity and expertise of participants and thanked all partners and the government of Uganda for supporting the national response to HIV and AIDS.

“The pivotal role and participation of the faith sector does not only raise hope but increases resilience among their communities and provides a better coordinated and sustainable approach to address both HIV and now COVID-19,” he said.

He assured participants that Uganda is committed to eliminating all forms of stigma on all fronts and that the national consultation was building on the existing foundation.

He informed his audience that the Uganda AIDS Commission was looking forward to the outcome of the consultation and also to coordinating the process of developing an action plan for implementation of all initiatives led by the faith-based organizations.

Emotions were high when a South Sudanese refugee, young people and women living with HIV shared their heartbreaking experiences of stigma to demonstrate the barriers to HIV prevention and treatment.

After hearing these firsthand stories, participants developed action plans, and every participant was commissioned as a champion to fight stigma and promote human rights.