A Partnership with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church to Combat HIV/AIDS

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church  should be used as a vital resource in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  Over 50% of Ethiopians identify themselves as Orthodox Christian and have a very deep respect for the church. If the church makes it a priority to get involved and encourages increase of HIV testing, compliance to treatment, prevention, management of care along with its teachings of abstinence and faithfulness, we will see a decrease in HIV prevalence and an overall country working together to stop this tragic epidemic.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church

This church is one of the few pre-colonial Christian churches in Sub-Saharan Africa with about 40-45 million members and is the largest Oriental Orthodox Church. The Oriental Orthodox Church s also include the Coptic-Orthodox Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Malankara Orthodox Church of India, and the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church.  It is documented that this religion was established in Ethiopia in about 4th Century AD. The Oriental Orthodox doctrine is very similar to Catholicism and differ in minor details.Lalibella church built in the 1200s out of 1 rock.

Condoms are discouraged by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church

ETHIOPIA: Ethiopia Church Says Condoms Unchristian Reuters (09.28.04) - Wednesday, September 29, 2004

A leaflet distributed this week by the Orthodox Church in Ethiopia said that condoms should not be used to fight HIV/AIDS because they are neither Christian nor reliable. "Our church does not condone the campaign to use condoms against HIV/AIDS because such practices are unchristian and are not permitted under the ethics of the Orthodox Church," the leaflet said. "We teach that a couple should be faithful to each other and avoid multiple partners, which is the major cause of [HIV] infection," it continued. "Furthermore, the use of artificial material such as condoms is not reliable," the religious missive purported, "and could also undermine the campaign against HIV/AIDS."

Of Ethiopia's 68 million population, about 3 million are HIV- infected and another 1,000 people become infected every day. The Orthodox Church claims about 60 percent of the population as members.

In Ethiopia, condoms are widespread and cheap, costing 0.25 Ethiopian Birr (0.03 of a US cent) for a pack of three. Analysts say the government's recent media campaigns and promotion of testing centers have not yet decreased HIV infections.
Copyright ©1980, 2004. AEGiS Ethio church is very powerful, control over lives ABC