• Dr Masha was speaking during a meeting of 1,000 religious leaders in Tharaka Nithi where he urged the clergy to join in the fight against the spread of HIV.
• Pastor Dorcas Rigathi made a rallying call to the clergy urging them to open their places of worship to help the youth who were lost in addictions.
Engaged couples have been asked to be truthful when undergoing premarital counselling to help reduce new HIV/AIDS infections.
National Syndemic Diseases Control Council (NSDCC) Executive Director Dr Ruth Masha said that engaged couples speaking openly during counselling would make their HIV/AIDS status known thus protecting the other partner.
This, she said, was the only way to curb new infections, especially among children.
"And we need the clergy to give counselling to the public and reduce stigma against HIV/AIDS so people can speak openly during marital counselling and avoid siring children who are HIV positive," she said.
Dr Masha was speaking during a meeting of 1,000 religious leaders in Tharaka Nithi where he urged the clergy to join in the fight against the spread of HIV.
She said men had the highest number of infections as compared to women because of having multiple sexual partners.
The medic also decried that infected men often inconsistently take prescribed antiretroviral drugs resulting in the emergence of opportunistic diseases like tuberculosis.
Speaking during the meeting, Reverend Mulinge Mutua asked the clergy and the faith community to stand strong against HIV/AIDS stigma warning that when those infected are stigmatised, they may be pushed into drug and alcohol abuse.
"Let us speak openly about HIV/AIDS, sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) and drug addictions even in the church. Those with HIV, should not be stopped from serving because this is a disease, not a punishment or a curse," he said.
The spouse of the Deputy President Pastor Dorcas Rigathi who was also present made a rallying call to the clergy urging them to open their places of worship to help the youth who were lost in addictions.
Throughout her two-day working tour in Tharaka Nithi County, Pastor Dorcas led in the planting and distribution of 10,300 tree seedlings.
There were 8,000 tree seedlings planted by the Chuka University students and members of the community after Pastor Dorcas ended a talk with the students.
The other 1,000 tree seedlings were planted at the Chuka University in Kathwana where she visited and shared a meal with the inmates.
Pastor Dorcas also distributed 1,300 tree seedlings to the clergy during the sensitisation forum against HIV/AIDS, alcohol, drug, and substance abuse to plant in their home or locality to commemorate the day.