Author(s): A Gomez
This exploratory study conducted in 2008 aimed at gathering the views and opinions of leaders of the faith-based community (FBC) in Grenada about the increased incidence of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean region including their beliefs and attitudes towards persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV/AIDS). DESIGN AND
The study followed a cross-sectional design and used a qualitative approach. Telephone surveys were conducted with all faith-based organizations and semi-structured interviews done with key leaders representing the faith-based community in Grenada.
Findings showed that perceptions of HIV/AIDS are embedded in a socio-political-cultural context where many risk behaviours and factors intertwine in complex ways. Religious beliefs are based on love, compassion and acceptance. The most prominent risk behaviours associated with the spread of HIV/AIDS identified by leaders are homosexuality, prostitution, promiscuity and substance abuse which are in direct contradiction to their beliefs and teachings. Leaders felt that these risk behaviours were exacerbated by changes in family structure and the absence of a common moral discourse shared by all sectors of society.
The faith-based community has a significant presence across Grenada and it can be an effective partner in helping communities understand and prevent HIV/AIDS and overcome the stigma and discrimination associated with this disease. Training and effective strategies are needed to engage them in the national response to HIV/AIDS without threatening their ideologies and practices.