Advancing

New churches damage fight against HIV in Liberia

An upsurge in ‘new generation’ churches that claim to be able to heal or perform miracles is having a damaging effect on Liberia’s progress in fighting HIV/AIDS.
Speaking in the week before World AIDS Day, Health Ministry official David Logan said there had been a dramatic increase in new generation churches that link their preaching to prevailing local beliefs in healing or miracle cures, with the result that people with HIV were not seeking proper medical treatment.
“Unlike traditional Catholic, Lutheran or Episcopalian churches, the new churches claim to be able to give spiritual deliverance, provide healing or perform miracles. This is an attractive option for many people living in an impoverished, post-conflict Liberia,” Logan told Thomson Reuters Foundation by telephone from Monrovia.
“Transport and opportunity costs as well as the stigma associated with coming out with HIV has meant that patients from outlying communities are more likely to seek help in these nearby local new churches rather than medical centres based in the capital,” Logan said.

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