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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
3111.0: Monday, December 12, 2005 - Table 8

Abstract #109444

HIV/AIDS attitudes and beliefs among clergy serving Utah minority populations and their assessment of the role of their religious organization in HIV/AIDS prevention efforts

Stephen Alder, PhD, Sara M. Ellis Simonsen, BSN, MSPH, M. Jann DeWitt, PhD, Laurie Johnson, MPH, HSA, Sherrie Kimball, Michael Rigdon, PhD, John R. Shavers, PhD, and George W. White, MSPH, PhD. Department of Family and Preventative Medicine, University of Utah, 375 Chipeta Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, 801-585-7067, salder@dfpm.utah.edu

Background: African Americans and Hispanics have been disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Reaching these communities with HIV/AIDS prevention messages requires novel methods such as the incorporation of HIV/AIDS prevention programs in churches serving minority populations. Working with religious organizations requires an understanding of the barriers and facilitators to implementing such prevention programs from the perspective of religious leaders. Methods: Focus group interviews with Utah clergy, including Catholic clergy serving Hispanics, Latter-day Saint clergy serving Hispanics, and African American Christian clergy provide insight into the acceptability of implementing church-based HIV/AIDS prevention activities. Four focus groups with 6-10 participants (one group per participating denomination and one combined) provide such insight. In addition, a short pen-and-paper questionnaire provides socio-demographic data and acceptability ratings for specific HIV/AIDS intervention strategies. Results: There are meaningful denominational differences regarding HIV/AIDS prevention views and activities. These differences range from very proactive to more conservative approaches. However, each denomination demonstrates both formal and informal concern and compassion for those impacted by HIV/AIDS, and is committed to addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic within their congregations. Regardless of the theological constraints within a given denomination, substantial opportunities exist for expanding church-sponsored HIV/AIDS prevention activities. Conclusions: Understanding and addressing the barriers and facilitators to implementation of church-based HIV/AIDS prevention programs may allow for much greater participation by churches in HIV/AIDS prevention. In addition, understanding the theological differences that impact the acceptability of HIV/AIDS prevention activities is a first step in the development of practical church-based HIV/AIDS prevention programs.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant will be able to

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Religion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

Emerging HIV/AIDS Issues for Discussion and Debate

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA