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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Impact of cultural beliefs and practices on HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa

Evatt Mugarura1, Pernessa C. Seele, MS1, Erline Belton, MA1, Joyce Moon Howard, DrPH2, V. AnnDenise Brown, DrPH3, Samiya A. Bashir1, and Nguru Karugu, MPH1. (1) The Balm In Gilead, Inc., 130 West 42nd Street, Suite 450, New York, NY 10036, 212-730-7381, emugarura@balmingilead.org, (2) Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health Division of Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University, 600 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, (3) Director of Evaluation, The Balm in Gilead, Inc., 130 W 42 Street, Suite 450, New York, NY 10036

In Africa there are diverse cultural beliefs and practices, which impact HIV/AIDS prevention, education, transmission across the continent. These beliefs and practices influence many aspects of life and pose significant challenges to the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS prevention interventions. During a six-week training, a component of the CDC-funded, Balm In Gilead, Africa HIV/AIDS Faith Initiative, 36 faith leaders were drawn from Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Kenya and Zimbabwe. The leaders participated in 5 Focus Group Discussions, aimed at exploring the interface between cultural beliefs and practices, religion, the role of faith leaders, and health (specifically HIV/AIDS). The discussion was one section of the capacity building process for faith leaders aimed at increasing their effectiveness in prevention of HIV/AIDS transmission within their own cultural context. As men and women who have risen to leadership from within their communities, faith leaders guard the intersection between the two powerful entities of religion and the culture in which it is practiced. From the Focus Group Discussions the following emerged: (1) different cultural beliefs and practices can exist within the same community or within a single country; (2) cultural sensitivity is an important consideration in designing interventions and strategies to curb the transmission of HIV/AIDS through these practices; (3) because religion, cultural beliefs and practices influence each other, HIV/AIDS prevention strategies should identify positive aspects of culture that promote well being and address or de-emphasize aspects of culture which may lead to increased risk of HIV/AIDS.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, participants should be able to

Keywords: Culture, HIV/AIDS

Related Web page: www.balmingilead.org

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: The Balm In Gilead, Inc.
I have a significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
Relationship: Rev. Evatt Mugarura is the Director of The Balm In Gilead's Africa HIV/AIDS Faith Initiative

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Faith and Health Collaborations That Work

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA