NAIROBI (RNS/ENInews) — African Christian and Muslim leaders are warning of increased vulnerability to HIV infections during the soccer World Cup in South Africa, which begins on June 11.
The world soccer extravaganza is coming to Africa for the first time, and religious leaders want governments to help commercial sex workers and their clients protect themselves against HIV during the event.
“When you add a whole group of men, plus lots of free time and lots of liquor together it makes an explosive combination,” said Rev. Jape Heath, an HIV-positive South African Anglican priest. He is a co-founder of a network of African religious leaders living with or personally affected by HIV and AIDS.
“We know from past experiences under these circumstances that people get engaged in sex work and look for sex workers,” Namibian-born Heath told ENInews in Nairobi. The faith leaders have called for intensified services to stop the possible spread of infection.
“We need to make sure that there are counseling centers, a supportive environment, and (that) condoms are made available,” said Heath.
The religious leaders also want governments to intervene against child trafficking, which they warned would increase with the World Cup.
— Fredrick Nzwili
© 2010 Religion News Service. Used with permission.
Posted June 11, 2010