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Guide to humanitarian & development efforts of InterAction member agencies in DR-Congo - Angola | ReliefWeb

We must speak out, speak very loud, raise our voice to break the silence, this taboo that prevents an honest discussion on AIDS. Silence prevents us from seeing, from looking squarely at this
tragedy that is destroying our societies.

December 1st, World AIDS Day, was for the agencies that are working to stop the pandemic an occasion to raise awareness of the damage that AIDS
continues to inflict. In Kisangani, the commemoration began in the evening of November 30 with a conference organized by the Fondation Femmes Plus and sponsored by UNICEF, OMS and other
international agencies. It was to be followed the next day by a motorcade. In fact, the conference was limited to city officials and the UN Mission in the Congo. We of the Christ-Roi (Christ the King)
Parish had not received an invitation. Although we had registered to participate in the celebration, we were left waiting for an invitation that never arrived.

On Thursday, November 28, we met with the
youth leaders to see how we would celebrate the event.

What to do? We figured it out. We would organize visits to our HIV+ brothers and sisters at the university clinics and at the General Hospital. We
contacted the management of these medical centers. We faced a serious problem: what would we say to them? Why the visit, given that no medical center communicates to their patients their HIV status? This
is still taboo. What gives us the right to tell them their status?

Fortunately, December 1, Churches in the Congo celebrate the life of Marie Clémentine Anuarite Nengapeta, virgin and martyr. This is
what we gave as an explanation for our visit: “We wish to share with you the little that we have.” A 2-liter plastic bucket, a 5-liter plastic jug and two bars of soap were given to 100 patients, some of
whom were not HIV+, in the two centres. Imagine the joy of our friends!

A week later, on Sunday December 8, during Mass, we had the opportunity to listen to the testimony of two people who are HIV+.
“AIDS is here without a doubt, protect yourself and protect others too. We need you, your love and your support,” they told us. Yes indeed, we need to support our brothers and sisters who are sick! When
they finished speaking, the parish priest set the example by embracing them in full view of his parishioners, and we who were beside him could not resist his example, so we did the same.

The next day,
the youth watched a film and had a discussion.

AIDS is our common concern. Let’s join together to break the silence on AIDS wherever we are. Let’s live, and let’s make sure that others live as well.

Séverin Mukoko, S.J.
Chist-Roi
Kisangani/Mangobo

Preventing HIV Transmission through Education
Translating Theological Researches into Lived Realities:The Case of Africa

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