EOC stages anti-HIV/AIDS rally

ADDIS ABABA (ENA)- The Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC) yesterday staged a public rally as part of campaign launched against HIV/AIDS.

Senior government officials, religious leaders, diplomats and thousands of Orthodox Christians have taken part in the rally held at the Addis Ababa Stadium under the theme " Save Yourself Before Getting Caught."

Religious leaders gave orientations on the occasion on preventive methods of the lethal disease.

Sunday school students were carrying  placards that read "We want to Live in Peace and Happiness". "Parents and Elders, Protect Yourselves from AIDS" and "Don't Make Us Orphans"

Speaking on the occasion. EOC Inter-Church Development Aid Commissioner, Dr. Mekonnen Meshesha, said the Church would moblize its 500,000 clergy and three million Sunday school students in the country to fight against HIV/AIDS.

The clergy and Sunday school students will actively involve in educating the public at 35,000 churches found across the country in the next five years.

He said EOC would also provide counseling services through its health professionals and religious leaders to people living with HIV/AIDS.

Speaking on his part, House Speaker, Dawit Yohannes expressed appreciation to the Church's brisk involvement in the combat against the pandemic.

He also lauded the Church for the support it extends to the people displaced by Eritrea's war of aggression and drought-affected people.

Speaking on his part, EOC Partriach, His Holiness Abune Paulos said the Church strongly advocates one to one sexual relations and urges the people to stick to this law, which he said is instrumental in curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

He also called up on the public to show sympathy and appropriate care to care  those living with the virus rather than alienating them.

The rally was part of the First International conference on AIDS to be opened here today.