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Publication Type
Conference Proceedings
UWI Author(s)
Author, Analytic
Muturi, Nancy; Ruddock, Maxine
Author Role
Presenter
Author Affiliation
Caribbean Institute of Media Communication
Paper/Section Title
Risk perception and HIV/AIDS prevention: The role of faith based organizations in Jamaica
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Proceedings Title
UWI/HARP 3rd Annual Scientific and Business Conference
Date of Meeting
May 2005
Place of Meeting
Sherbourne Conference Centre, Barbados
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Abstract
In the case of HIV/AIDS, risk perception influences changes in behaviour or practices to avoid infection. Religious teaching for example links sexually transmitted diseases to immorality and sin while HIV infection becomes the consequence - death. Such beliefs exempt the faithful from risk perception and therefore diminish the need for taking precautious measures against HIV/AIDS. Married women, for example, the majority of whom are church members and in stable relationships, have little concerns about infection and prevention based on their sexual behaviours and practices. In the Caribbean, however, current data indicate that HIV/AIDS is now becoming a woman's issue with more older and married women becoming infected, however, this considerably low-risk group receives less focus from HIV/AIDS interventions. Reporting data from 12 focus group discussions with members and 30 in-depth interviews with FBO leaders this study examined their risk perception, concerns and steps towards HIV/AIDS prevention among members of Faith-Based Organizations in two most affected parishes in Jamaica. Overall, respondents indicated low risk perception within faith communities associating HIV/AIDS with sexual immorality therefore blaming people living with AIDS for spreading it. Stigma and discrimination prevails within FBOs to an extent of advocating violent actions against PLWAs. Main concerns about HIV/AIDS include sharing of the communion, baptism pool and physical interaction with PLWAs. Whereas older women are expected to be more religious and therefore less active sexually, men's sexual virility (often tested on younger women) is expected regardless of age. Proposed strategies for ensuring their communities was virus free included emphasis on abstinence, mandatory testing of young couples before marriage and excommunication of those suspected to have HIV/AIDS to avoid infecting others. These views however vary with age and level of education among respondents.....
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