GATHERINGS such as overnight prayers, crusades, and church camp meetings have been banned in Macha chiefdom in Choma as they have been identified among drivers of HIV/AIDS in the area.
Night gatherings, which have been deemed as a platform for HIV-risk behaviour, will only be held under special circumstances with the permission from Chief Macha.
This is according to a policy declaration and leadership commitment on HIV/AIDS for Macha chiefdom which was launched on Friday through Support to the HIV/AIDS Response (SHAReII) in Zambia, a USAID-funded project.
The royal establishment and the community identified drivers of HIV/AIDS in the chiefdom and how to counter them.
“As Macha chiefdom, we recognise that gatherings such as overnight prayers, crusades, church camps and other big gatherings that attract people from different areas eventually lead them to engage in unprotected sex which predisposes them to HIV infections and other STIs.
We, therefore, discourage all forms of night gatherings unless under special circumstances with special permission from his royal highness Chief Macha,” the declaration reads in part.
The chiefdom has also banned “wrong doctrinal teachings” by which prophets encourage HIV patients to only pray for healing at the expense of seeking and taking anti-retroviral therapy (ART), a practice the chiefdom says promotes HIV-drug resistance and subsequently promotes high mortality among those infected with HIV in the chiefdom.
Sexual cleansing rituals have also been banned.
And the chiefdom has also decreed to ensure that any person caught in adultery is encouraged to undergo voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) while those who refuse to undergo VCT will have their adultery penalty increased.
Credit-CHOMBA MUSIKA, ZambiaDailyMail