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The church and paediatric HIV care in rural South Africa

By W.A.J. (Wilma) Norder, R.P.H. (Remco) Peters, M.O. (Maarten) Kok, S.L. (Sabine) van Elsland, H.E. (Helen) Struthers, M.A. (Mpho) Tutu and A.M. (Marceline) van Furth


Religion has substantial – positive and negative – influence on South Africa’s HIV context. This qualitative study explored possibilities for positive church engagement in paediatric HIV care in a rural district in Limpopo Province, South Africa. \ud Opinions, attitudes and experiences of various stakeholders including religious leaders, healthcare workers and people infected/affected with/by HIV were investigated through participant observation, semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions. During the research the original focus on paediatric HIV care shifted to HIV care in general in reaction to participant responses. Participants identified three main barriers to positive church engagement in HIV care: \ud (a) stigma and disclosure; \ud (b) sexual associations with HIV and \ud (c) religious beliefs and practices. \ud \ud All participant groups appreciated the opportunity and relevance of strengthening church involvement in HIV care. Opportunities for positive church engagement in HIV care that participants identified included: \ud (a) comprehensive and holistic HIV care when churches and clinics collaborate; \ud (b) the wide social reach of churches and \ud (c) the safety and acceptance in churches. \ud Findings indicate that despite barriers great potential exists for increased positive church engagement in HIV care in rural South Africa. Recommendations include increased medical knowledge and dialogue on HIV/AIDS within church settings, and increased collaboration between churches and the medical sector

Topics: HIV, religion, church, stigma, sexuality, South Africa
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.1080/09540121.2015.1114987
OAI identifier:

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