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Open Access Research article

Faith and HIV prevention: the conceptual framing of HIV prevention among Pentecostal Batswana teenagers

Elias Mpofu14*, Fidelis Nkomazana2, Jabulani A Muchado2, Lovemore Togarasei2 and Jeffrey Bart Bingenheimer3

Author Affiliations

1 University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

2 University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana

3 George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA

4 Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney-Cumberland Campus, Room T-428, 75 East Street, Lidcombe, NSW 2141, Australia

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:225  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-225

Published: 5 March 2014

Abstract

Background

There is a huge interest by faith-based organizations (FBOs) in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere in HIV prevention interventions that build on the religious aspects of being. Successful partnerships between the public health services and FBOs will require a better understanding of the conceptual framing of HIV prevention by FBOS to access for prevention intervention, those concepts the churches of various denominations and their members would support or endorse. This study investigated the conceptual framing of HIV prevention among church youths in Botswana; - a country with one of the highest HIV prevalence in the world.

Method

Participants were 213 Pentecostal church members (67% female; age range 12 to 23 years; median age = 19 years). We engaged the participants in a mixed-method inductive process to collect data on their implicit framing of HIV prevention concepts, taking into account the centrality of religion concepts to them and the moderating influences of age, gender and sexual experience. After, we analysed the data using multi-dimensional scaling (MDS) and hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) to map the ways the church youths framed HIV prevention.

Results

The findings suggest the church youth to conceptually frame their HIV prevention from both faith-oriented and secular-oriented perspectives, while prioritizing the faith-oriented concepts based on biblical teachings and future focus. In their secular-oriented framing of HIV prevention, the church youths endorsed the importance to learn the facts about HIV and AIDS, understanding of community norms that increased risk for HIV and prevention education. However, components of secular-oriented framing of HIV prevention concepts were comparatively less was well differentiated among the youths than with faith-oriented framing, suggesting latent influences of the church knowledge environment to undervalue secular oriented concepts. Older and sexually experienced church youths in their framing of HIV prevention valued future focus and prevention education less than contrasting peer cohorts, suggesting their greater relative risk for HIV infection.

Conclusion

A prospective HIV prevention intervention with the Pentecostal church youths would combine both faith and secular informed concepts. It also would need to take into account the ways in which these youth interpret secular-oriented health concepts in the context of their religious beliefs.

Keywords:
Faith concepts; HIV prevention; Pentecostal; Church; Religion