Religion as a Protective Mechanism for Families Affected by HIV/AIDS
The aim of the study was to investigate the role of the church in helping HIV and AIDS affected families cope with HIV and AIDS related challenges. A qualitative study was conducted using one-on-one semi structured interviews to gather information from HIV and AIDS affected families and church members, including church leaders. The findings revealed adequate knowledge of HIV and AIDS; prevention, transmission and treatment, however these families’ perception about HIV and AIDS still has elements of stigma and discrimination. Not all churches take an active role in the struggle against HIV and AIDS. 50% of the affected families reported that their churches were not fully participating, 20% not participating at all and 30% actively involved. The study revealed that amongst the churches which are not fully participating but aware of the existence of HIV and AIDS are Charismatic churches, such as, the Assemblies of God and the City of Light. HIV/AIDS affected families do not disclose at church because of fear of being stigmatised and discriminated against as HIV/AIDS is attributed to God’s punishment for promiscuity. Furthermore, much as most church leaders and congregants are doing their best in helping the affected families, only three churches out of ten have got programmes put in place for helping the infected and affected families. These include workshops and home and hospital visits for both the affected families and infected church members.
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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)
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