A Comparative Study of Pupils'perceptions towards church and secular HIV and AIDS intervations strategies in Lusaka District Schools,Zambia

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Chirwa, Beatrice
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The purpose of the study was to investigate youths’ perceptions of church and secular HIV and AIDS intervention strategies in schools of Lusaka District of Lusaka Province. A survey approach was used in conducting this research. Data was collected through interviews, questionnaires, and Focus Group Discussions to a sample of 85 pupils, 4 clergymen 2 representatives of the civil society to accurately represent the population under study. The study used mainly qualitative methods in the collection of data however quantitative method was also used for numerical data to a very minimal level. The study found out that the majority of the youths were aware of how people get infected with HIV and possible ways of preventing the infection. Among the noted common possible ways of getting the HIV and AIDS infection were having unprotected sex, sharing unsterilized equipment and Mother to Child Transmission, while the most common ways of preventing the infection were by abstinence and condom use. The study also showed that the measures taken by pupils to safeguard themselves from the dangers of HIV and AIDS was by abstaining while others felt that having “good company” would reduce the chances of infection. Condom use was regarded as the last resort. In terms of information provision to the pupils by the Church and secular organisations, the study revealed that such messages mostly came from the secular organisations, very little if any, came from the Church. The findings of the study showed that the behaviour currently exhibited by the pupils towards HIV and AIDS was to a greater extent externally influenced by poverty and behaviour towards sex education and information which led to early pregnancies and unprotected sex among school going children. The most common reasons given for this situation were peer social norms. The study showed that the safest thing to do, therefore, was to ensure that education provided to these children is “safe”. Otherwise there are so many myths in the HIV and AIDS spectrum that may easily distort the true picture. It is of great importance to acknowledge that honesty, openness and confessing our complicity is a first step in the process of becoming effective change agents combating stigma and discrimination surrounding the HIV and AIDS pandemic. The study recommended that: • The Church and secular organizations should ensure that messages on HIV and AIDS related issues should be made available to the pupils at an early age so that they grow knowing what to do. • Key information coming from the various actors in the HIV and AIDS education should be consistent and accurate because any inconsistencies will result in the recipients being confused and therefore not knowing what to do. • Homes should become part of the many institutions charged with provision of information on HIV and AIDS through holding workshops for parents who will in turn disseminate this information to their children if the battle against HIV and AIDS is to be won. • Churches should work closely with the local, regional and international communities in information dissemination on issues related to HIV and AIDS in order to curb issues of stigma and discrimination. • The Church should incorporate HIV and AIDS related courses into their curriculum at their respective theological colleges so that graduates from these institutions will have the capacity to teach on the subject in their various churches
Educational Sociology--Zambia , Aids(Disease)--Prevention-church-Zambia , church and social problems(HIV/AIDS)--Zambia