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African Anglicans commit to 'generation without AIDS'

[Episcopal News Service]  Recommitting themselves to the vision 'of a generation without AIDS,' the AIDS Board of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa (CAPA) met August 19-22 to follow up on last year's first All Africa Anglican Conference on HIV/AIDS in Boksburg, South Africa.

'Our Church is a community of compassion and love,' the board said in a statement issued a the conclusion of the meeting. 'At a time when the African continent is being devastated by the HIV/AIDS Pandemic, where some 30 million have already been infected, our Anglican Communion has stated: 'AIDS is not a punishment from God.''

Board members called upon the developed world to 'free us from the life-threatening burden of international debt,' which in sub-Saharan Africa alone could release more than $10 billion toward alleviating the pain and suffering of HIV/AIDS. They asked the governments of Africa to collaborate in making the eradication of HIV/AIDS a top priority.

They also affirmed a 'six-fold call to responsibility' for all African Anglican churches, including leadership, care, prevention, counseling, pastoral care, and death and dying. The board also committed to teaching children and their parents 'life-preserving skills to inhibit the virus that causes AIDS,' beginning well before the onset of sexual activity. The skills include abstinence before marriage, fidelity and faithfulness within marriage, delaying sexual activity, and the correct use of condoms. 'The morality of condoms is about preserving life. To sentence a person to death because of an error of judgment about sexual activity is not the way to save lives,' tey said in a statement.