Leaders of Zimbabwean Religious Sects Call for End to Polygamy to Fight AIDS, Issue Policy Document on Epidemic
September 21, 2005
Leaders of two of Zimbabwe's indigenous Christian sects have called on their followers to abandon the practice of polygamy to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS, Zimbabwe's Sunday Mail reports (Tikiwa, Sunday Mail, 9/18). The leaders of the affiliated sects issued a 23-page policy document on HIV/AIDS after a meeting last week (Associated Press, 9/18). The document was drafted by members of the Union for the Development of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe, which is an umbrella group of Apostolic and Zionist churches made up of more than 70 bishops from each of the country's 10 provinces (Sunday Mail, 9/18). The document calls for the abolition of polygamy, child marriage and inheritance of brothers' widows, which the sects previously approved. "There is a danger that if the husband cannot satisfy the wives, they will be tempted to look for sex outside the marriage, or one of the partners may be infected and this will increase the risk of contracting and spreading HIV," according to the document (Associated Press, 9/18). The Zimbabwean government called the move historic in the fight against the epidemic (Sunday Mail, 9/18). Sect members wishing to marry within their churches will be urged to obtain HIV tests and counseling and reveal their status to their partner (Xinhua People's Daily Online, 9/19).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.