XVIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010)
18–23 July 2010
"Building the capacity of church leaders to promote HIV prevention through mutual monogamy"
Nathi Sohaba, Elizabeth Mbizvo, Mhlahlandlela Mabena, and Waimar Tun
Church leaders are well-positioned to promote HIV prevention messages through mutual monogamy (MM). However, the promotion of MM as an HIV prevention strategy can be challenging for church leaders as it involves discussing difficult issues around sexual relationships. The Population Council in partnership with the South African Council of Churches and the Eastern Cape Provincial Council of Churches developed a program to build the capacity of FBOs and church leaders to promote mutual monogamy as an HIV prevention strategy.
Interviewer-administered questionnaires were completed with 47 who attended a four day-training course on HIV, MM, couples communication, gender-based violence, and group-facilitation skills. These church leaders were expected to conduct group workshops on these topics with congregants within their respective churches. We examined factors associated with successfully facilitating workshops.
Approximately 98 percent of respondents reported that attending the training course had increased their level of knowledge on HIV prevention and their ability to raise awareness among their church members. Respondents reported a high level of confidence to raise awareness on how couples can work to have MM in their relationship (93.62%); domestic abuse and gender-based violence (91.49%); importance of testing for HIV (85.11%); and how one can prevent the sexual transmission of HIV (82.98%). The marital status of the respondents was significantly associated with difficulty to implement some of the workshops. Data showed a significant association between the levels of education of church leaders, their marital status, and the number of workshops completed.
It is possible to build the capacity of existing church leaders to implement HIV prevention programs through their churches, but church leaders should be selected strategically to maximize efficiency in implementation. Further, using church leaders to promote mutual monogamy is well-received by church members.
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