157909 Do church members think that the church has a role to play in promoting mutual monogamy and HIV prevention in their own congregation? Insights from the Eastern Cape, South Africa

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Waimar Tun, PhD , Population Council/Horizons, Washington, DC
Nathi Sohaba , Population Council/Horizons, Johannesburg, South Africa
Eka Williams, PhD , Population Council/Horizons, Johannesburg, South Africa
Background: Church-based HIV prevention programs in South Africa have often targeted community members rather than their own congregation. We investigated whether church members would be receptive to an intervention to promote MM and HIV prevention within their own church.

Methods: Church leaders, including pastors, were trained using a faith-based curriculum on HIV and mutual monogamy entitled Making the Promise, Keeping the Promise: A Faith-based Curriculum for Promoting Mutual Monogamy, developed by Horizons/Population Council and the Eastern Cape Provincial Council of Churches. To determine the acceptability of the church's role in HIV prevention and MM, approximately 250 randomly selected members of 5 pilot churches completed a survey after a sermon about HIV and mutual monogamy delivered by the pastor.

Results: Almost all respondents indicated they were comfortable learning about HIV from a pastor (96%) and a high proportion agreed that HIV (66%) and MM (70%) are appropriate topics for church sermons. Almost one-third thought that married people in the church have extramarital sex partners and the majority thought there should be more sermons about faithfulness in marriage. Over two-thirds of respondents indicated that the sermon increased their level of knowledge about HIV/AIDS and MM and the majority (94%) indicated that it increased their willingness to get tested for HIV.

Conclusions: Church members are receptive to learning about HIV and MM through their churches, therefore church leaders can play an instrumental role in promoting HIV prevention strategies, including MM, among church members.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the level of acceptance of the church’s role in promoting mutual monogamy as an HIV prevention strategy.

Keywords: Faith Community, HIV Interventions

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.