A KITWE pastor who has been living with HV for 20 years has been stigmatised and this has made it difficult for him to work effectively. Pastor Forward Katikula, of Kings Glory Church, who is also district coordinator for Network of Zambian People Living with AIDS, said he faces stigma and discrimination from people who know his status.
Pastor Katikula said in an interview that the stigma has also made it difficult for him to get a job. He urged people to stop discriminating against those living with HIV because it is a disease like other ailments. Pastor Katikula thanked Government for the efforts it is making to fight HIV and AIDS. And pastor Katikula has advised the clergy in the country against discouraging people living with HIV from taking antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). Pastor Katikula said it is wrong for the clergy to discourage people from taking ARVs because it is the only medication that can suppress the HIV viral load in a person.
He said ARVs are an important medication for those living with HIV and that people should not be deceived by some pastors who believe that they can be healed without taking medicines. “I am a pastor and I support the intake of antiretroviral drugs by people living with HIV, unlike some pastors who wrongly advise people to stop taking medicines,” pastor Katikula said. He said the Bible also supports taking medicine when one is unwell hence the need for people living with HIV to ensure that they take the medication. And pastor Katikula urged people to go for voluntary counselling and testing for them to know their HIV status.