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:
"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.