International News

Religious Leaders in Tajikistan Join HIV/AIDS Campaign

March 9, 2009

Religious leaders in Tajikistan have joined a campaign that aims to address HIV/AIDS in the country, Radio Free Europe reports. According to Mullah Abdurahim Imam, who heads a mosque in the city of Dushanbe, the religious leaders are working with an HIV/AIDS center and international groups to improve their understanding of the disease and promote healthy lifestyles. In addition, the government, the United Nations office in Dushanbe and HIV/AIDS experts have organized seminars and roundtables for mullahs and imams. Muslim clerics during Friday services also have called on returning migrant workers to be tested for HIV and avoid risky behaviors. They also have promoted tolerance toward people living with HIV/AIDS, Radio Free Europe reports.

Manizha Haitova of an HIV/AIDS center in Dushanbe said that because mullahs are one of the most influential segments of society in Tajikistan, they should become more involved in efforts to fight the disease. Tajikistan has officially recorded 1,400 HIV/AIDS cases, but some experts say that the real number of cases is higher (Radio Free Europe, 3/5).

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