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Faith Leaders ‘Uniquely Positioned’ To Help Eliminate HIV/AIDS Stigma

“[T]here has been tremendous progress in the medical and scientific aspects of HIV and AIDS. But there has been much less progress on the social aspects of the pandemic, especially the stigma associated with the disease,” David Barstow, president of EMPACT Africa, writes in the Huffington Post’s “Religion” blog. “Leaders of local faith communities have substantial influence over the attitudes and behavior of the members of their faith communities and indirectly over the attitudes and behavior of the wider communities of which they are a part,” he writes, adding, “Local faith leaders are uniquely positioned to eliminate stigma by taking action against it.” Barstow outlines several steps faith leaders can take to help reduce stigma, including educating members about HIV/AIDS and encouraging testing (12/16).