A critical analysis of the HIV and AIDS policy document of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ).
Despite efforts by the government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), faith-based organizations (FBOs) and churches, the HIV epidemic remains one of the major challenges in Zimbabwe. Its impact cuts across all sectors of life and society. The context of HIV in Zimbabwe reflects that the economic and political decisions and policies have contributed to the spread of HIV. The spread of HIV is also exacerbated by some socio-cultural practices in that context. Among these socio-cultural factors are marriage practices, stigma and discrimination. This study is an investigation of the response of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ) to HIV and AIDS. This is done through analysis of the ELCZ HIV and AIDS policy document (ELCZHAP). The ELCZ HIV and AIDS policy document is analysed by using the “HIV competent framework” (Parry 2008:20) in an attempt to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the response to the HIV epidemic by the ELCZ. From this analysis the policy document shows that the ELCZ has some competence but it needs to be strengthened in order to address socio-cultural and political factors, as well as improve engagement with government policies. The study reveals that the ELCZ lacks a comprehensive theological discourse in responding to HIV. Through this investigation, recommendations are made in order to strengthen the ELCZ HIV and AIDS policy document and indicate areas needing further research.
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