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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

MALAWI: Can Interfaith Research Partnerships Develop New Paradigms for Condom Use and HIV Prevention? The Implementation of Conceptual Events in Malawi Results in a 'Spiritualized Condom'


Sexually Transmitted Infections Vol. 87: P. 611-615 (12..11) -

"The aim of this intervention research study was to engage senior leaders of faith-based organizations (FBOs) in Malawi in a participatory process to construct an interfaith theology of HIV/AIDS," the authors wrote. The process was created to enhance faith community leaders' capacity to respond more effectively to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

An evidence-driven combination of ethnographic and participatory action research methodologies was employed. During the four-year project, conceptual events - "innovative participatory action research processes" - were held, bringing together health service providers, policy makers, and a non- governmental organization in partnership with FBOs and grassroots faith-based communities.

An interfaith theology of HIV/AIDS emerged from the facilitated dialogue. This resulted in "the proposition that a 'spiritualized condom' endorses a 'theology of protecting life,'" the authors wrote. The following convictions supported this proposition: *Life is sacred and should be protected.

*Killing or murder is a "greater sin" compared to the "lesser sin of infidelity." *Protecting the innocent is a moral and religious requirement.

*Condoms potentially can prevent the death of an innocent person.

*Condom use should be encouraged, even in the context of marriage.

"Clinicians, non-governmental organizations, health service providers, and policy makers, assisted by health social scientists, can successfully partner with FBOs and their leaders to 1) modify and transform faith-based understandings of HIV risk and 2) bring about attitudinal behavior changes that help to address the challenges association with HIV/AIDS," the researchers concluded.


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Information in this article was accurate in February 7, 2012. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.