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Medical News

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"

February 7, 2012

"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.

Back to other news for February 2012

Adapted from:
Sexually Transmitted Infections
12.2011; Vol. 87: P. 611-615; Dennis G Willms, Maria-Ines Arratia, Patrick Makondesa


  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
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