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CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Journalists trained as HIV/AIDS educators

Fifty radio and television reporters are receiving training on HIV/AIDS and the techniques of educating the population in the Central African Republic (CAR).

They are members of a journalists' network - Reseau des Communicateurs de Lutte contre le Sida - which campaigns against the disease.

The seminar, which began on Tuesday and will end on Saturday, is financially supported by the UN Development Programme. "As a network of journalists, we feel it is our duty to take action against HIV/AIDS both in urban and rural areas," Rene Madeka, a reporter for Radio Notre Dame and secretary general of the journalists' network, told PlusNews.

Madeka said the seminar aims at informing the journalists about HIV/AIDS so that they can better educate the population using their media. "The CNLS (Comite National de Lutte contre le Sida) has provided HIV/AIDS experts to train us," he added.

Apart from the state-owned Radio Centrafrique and Television Centrafrique, CAR has three private radios - Radio Notre Dame owned by the Catholic Church, Radio Nehemie of the Protestant Churches and Radio Ndeke Luka of Fondation Hirondelle.

According to a UNAIDS report produced in June 2002, 12 percent of the CAR population are HIV positive, making it the most affected nation in the sub-region and the 10th most affected in the world.

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