President Warns Religious Leaders On HIV/Aids

( [email protected] ) Dec 03, 2003 07:46 AM EST

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has criticised religious organisations for mixing up morality and safety, thus helping in the spread of AIDS.

About 40 million people are infected worldwide and 1.2 million live in Uganda.

Museveni said, "I hear people mixing morals and safety. This is very dangerous. It should stop.

11% of Ugandans are Muslims while 85% are Christians. These are God-based religions. But why did AIDS spread so fast among our people? It is because morals are confused with the safety of our people."

Museveni was speaking at the 2003 World AIDS Day at Kololo Airstrip yesterday. The occasion was graced by former Big Brother Africa Housemates led by their Ugandan colleague Gaetano Kaggwa.

Museveni said the defence against AIDS was educating the youth with coherent massages based on "our" culture with modifications.

He said cultural practices like wife inheritance and sharing and circumcision with unsterilised equipment must be condemned.

He called for faithfulness. He also called for stable families and use of contraceptives like condoms.

He said the Domestic Relations Bill should resolve these issues like African culture used to.

"We don't want frustration in homes. These Western and Middle Eastern behaviours that are imported into Africa are not helping us fight AIDS. Who said that God is European or Arabic? I can't accept these imported cultures to paralyse our people.

"We must save the world. We must tell the people the truth. We must give them the right equipment to protect themselves," he said. He said prostitutes do not enjoy selling themselves but lacked employment.

"Let us help them protect themselves so that when churches and mosques come to preach, they will find healthy people to convert. Only a multi-pronged approach can save us," he said.

He advised the youth not to rush into sex, saying life was more important. He also warned against peer pressure because of the wrong messages from overseas. "Be cowards when it comes to sex," he said.

He said boys should not imagine that they would become men by the number of girls they slept with.

"You hear boys saying 'You see that ki-girl there, I slept with her.' That is false heroism.

"You girls are too anxious to please the boys. He says, 'I love you very much naye njagala ondozeeko' (but I want to taste) and you willingly accept it. That is very wrong," he said.