209442 An Examination of the Influence of Religious Institutions in HIV/AIDS

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 3:07 PM

Joyce Moon Howard, DrPH , Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY
Angela A. Aidala, PhD , Mailman School of Pubic Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Gunjeong Lee, PhD , Sociomedical Science, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Destiny Ramjohn, MPhil , Sociomedical Sciences Department, Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY
BACKGROUND: Religion and religious organizations are fundamental components of social life, central features of cultural and structural contexts. The role of religion and churches as religious organizations (ROs) is particularly salient for African Americans since churches are often the strongest and well-established institutions in African American communities. The goal of the study is to advance our understanding of the role of the Black Church in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and to refine methodological techniques for studying relationships between religion and HIV in black communities. Key questions are: 1) What distinguishes churches that become involved in HIV/AIDS activities from those who are not involved? and 2) What types of HIV/AIDS programs have been implemented by activist churches and what determines the specific roles played? METHODS: A multi-level, multi-method research strategy was used to understand congregations in community contexts. A telephone survey of church leaders in the Harlem Community, NYC was conducted and resulting data used to empirically derive a typology of church AIDS activism. A systematic sampling procedure was used to select 10 churches for intensive comparative case study. Interviews with key informants, surveys of congregants as well ethnographic observations, were undertaken. FINDINGS: The phone survey yielded 126 participants for a cooperation rate of 81.5% and a completion rate of 58.3%. Data from the survey illuminated factors associated with HIV/AIDs activism including religious institutional structure and governance as well as senior leadership characteristics. Proximity to someone infected with the virus e.g.: congregation worshipper increased the likelihood that institutions conducted HIV/AIDS programs.

Learning Objectives:
1) discuss the historic role of religious organizations in African American communities. 2) describe the factors associated with AIDS activism and non-activism among faith institutions. 3) describe the applicability of the diffusion theory to community mobilization in HIV/AIDS prevention and intervention.

Keywords: Faith Community, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: PI for NIH grant on the topic to be presented
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.