The Role of Faith-Based Organizations in HIV Prevention and Care in Central America

The Role of Faith-Based Organizations in HIV Prevention and Care in Central America

The Role of Faith-Based Organizations in HIV Prevention and Care in Central America

The Role of Faith-Based Organizations in HIV Prevention and Care in Central America

Synopsis

Faith-based organizations (FBOs) have historically played an important role in delivering health and social services in developing countries; however, little research has been done on their role in HIV prevention and care, particularly in Latin America. This study describes FBO involvement in HIV/AIDS in three Central American countries hard hit by this epidemic: Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. Summarizing the results of key informant and stakeholder interviews with health and FBO leaders and site visits to FBO-sponsored HIV/AIDS clinics, hospices, programs, and other activities, the authors describe the range of FBO activities and assess the advantages of FBO involvement in addressing HIV/AIDS, such as churches' diverse presence and extensive reach, and the challenges to such involvement, such as the unwillingness of some FBOs to discuss condom use and their lack of experience in evaluating the impact of programs. The authors conclude with a discussion of possible ways that FBOs can address the HIV epidemic, both independently and in collaboration with other organizations, such as government ministries of health.

Excerpt

Faith-based organizations (FBOs) have historically played an important role in delivering health and social services in developing countries; however, little research has been done on their role in hiv prevention and care, particularly in Latin America. the hiv Outreach in Latin America (HOLA) project aimed to address this gap by conducting an exploratory, qualitative study of fbo involvement in HIV/ aids in three Central American countries hard hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic: Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. the study involved key informant and stakeholder interviews with health and fbo leaders and site visits to FBO-sponsored HIV/AIDS clinics, hospices, programs, and other activities.

This report summarizes the findings of this exploratory study. It provides an overview of the epidemics in each country studied and the range of hiv prevention and care activities conducted by FBOs. Further, it discusses the facilitators of these activities, as well as the challenges to fbo involvement in hiv prevention and care. Finally, it provides recommendations for promising ways that FBOs can address the hiv epidemic, both independently and in collaboration with other entities, such as ministries of health. the findings should be of interest to funders, policymakers, and health and fbo leaders who want to understand the role that FBOs can play in the fight against HIV/ aids.

This work was sponsored by several entities. the fieldwork activities (interviews, site visits, and preliminary analyses) that served as the basis for the report were supported by RAND’s continuing program of self-initiated research; support for such research is provided . . .

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