Unification News for June 2002

AIDS Seminar in the Congo

by Olivier Buangi

For the past four years, CARP and YFWP have been educating Congolese youth against AIDS/HIV. Recently Health Minister, Dr .Mashako Mamba wrote us saying "I congratulate you for the effort you made during this last 4 years for the eradication of AIDS/HIV by teaching faithfulness and true family values to all young people, and urge you to continue."

Accordingly, we invited 70 participants from medical schools and the health ministry to a seminar at the HQ of Health Provincial Inspection. Mr. Munganga, the coordinator of medical schools of Kinshasa, gave the opening addresses and inaugurated the seminar.

Keynote speaker Dr. Roger Ngatu reviewed the seriousness of the AIDS problem in the Congo. Only 3% of the population was seropositive before the war in 1998, but this rose to 20% in 2002, a 700% increase with young people of 14 . 25 years old the most exposed. Although the Congo is much better off than many of its African neighbors, the rate of increase is especially troubling in light of the resources poured into the country to promote condom use and ‘safe’ sexual behavior.

Upon hearing that 18.4% of those who used condoms still contracted the AIDS virus, the assembly was flabbergasted. It was a revelation for them because the media and other organizations never tell them about the high rate of condom failure.

"We have to face the truth," Ngatu said, "and the truth is that AIDS/HIV is above all a behavioral disease. More than 85% of people acquire it through sexual contact. Thus, if we can resolve our sexual degradation, we can avoid it."

The Provincial Medical Inspector requested that the message to be given to all medical schools of the capital city and to all schools of the nation. An army Captain invited us to teach soldiers under his command; and several medical schools also invited us to present to their pupils. In closing all participants recited the Pure Love Pledge.

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