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Title:Perceptions of HIV/AIDS leaders about faith-based organisations' influence on HIV/AIDS stigma in South Africa
Author:Keikelame, Mpoe JohannahISNI
Periodical:African Journal of AIDS Research (ISSN 1608-5906)
Geographic term:South Africa
Abstract:The extent of the HIV pandemic - particularly in the hardest-hit countries, including South Africa - has prompted a call for greater engagement of all groups, including faith-based organizations (FBOs). A qualitative, key-informant survey was conducted in South Africa as part of a six-country international study to examine perceptions of how FBOs have contributed to reduction in HIV risk, vulnerability and related impacts. The emphasis of this paper is the influence of FBOs on stigma and discrimination. In-depth interviews were held with 34 senior-level informants who act as key decisionmakers in the response to HIV and AIDS in South Africa. Secular and faith-based respondents shared their perceptions of the faith-based response, including FBOs' actions in relation to HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination. The study reveals that while FBOs were perceived as taking some action to address stigma in South Africa, they were also thought to contribute to HIV/AIDS discrimination through conflating issues of sexuality and morality, and through associating HIV and AIDS with sin. The interviewees indicated a number of challenges faced by FBOs to deal effectively with stigma, including lack of information and skills, the difficulty of maintaining confidentiality in health services, and self-stigmatization which prevents HIV-infected persons from revealing their status. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]