The formation of ANERELA + was inspired by, amongst others, The Rev. Canon Gideon Byamugisha, who was one of the first practicing religious leaders in Africa to break the silence, negative attitudes, fear, stigma/discrimination and denial associated with HIV and AIDS by declaring publicly that he was living with HIV in 1992. Whilst celebrating Canon Gideon Byamugisha’s 10 years of living openly with HIV, a group of religious leaders met in 2002 at Mukono, Uganda for a working retreat.
Members of the retreat decided to form a network specifically aimed at helping religious leaders in Africa who are living with or personally affected by HIV and AIDS. The main aim was to help these leaders to live openly so that they can become agents of change by breaking the six evils: Stigma, Shame, Discrimination, Denial, Inaction and Misaction (SSDDIM). The network was formed and formally named African Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV or AIDS (ANERELA+).
Who We Are
INERELA+ is an international, interfaith network of religious leaders – both lay and ordained, women and men – who are living with or personally affected by HIV.
It is universally recognized that religious leaders have a unique authority that plays a central role in providing moral and ethical guidance within their communities; indeed their public opinions can influence entire nations. INERELA+ looks to empower its members to use their positions within their faith communities in a way that breaks silence, challenges stigma and provides delivery of evidenced-based prevention, care, and treatment services.
Sixty per cent of people living with HIV are located in sub-Saharan Africa, thus ANERELA+ was merged into INERELA+.
Based on the realities of the HIV pandemic in the rest of the world, it was decided to create regional networks based on shared elements of history, language, culture and religion.
INERELA+ has 16 active, country networks in the African Region. We also have a presence in Asia/Pacific, Canada, Americas, Europe and Central Asia.
Since the start in 2006, the networks have grown to encompass over 10,000 members across five continents. These members will mobilize their respective faith communities to provide accurate information and other services to an estimated 2.5 million people around the world, helping to reduce HIV-related silence, stigma, shame, discrimination, thereby reducing the number of new infections.
The formation of ANERELA + was inspired to break the silence, negative attitudes, fear, stigma/discrimination and denial associated with HIV and AIDS
Our Strategic Objectives
To strengthen capacity of Religious leaders to be agents of change for HIV and TB prevention, care and treatment at individual, congregational and community levels.
To enhance capacity of Religious leaders as agents of change for human dignity and gender justice at individual, congregational and community levels
Capacitate Religious Leaders to advocate and promote sexual reproductive, health and rights for adolescents and young people at congregational and community levels.