The Catholic Church and Secular Discourses on the Use of Condoms in HIV prevention: Assessing the popular discourse among Catholic students of kasama school of Nursing

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Mwansa, Martin Edward
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This study is an investigation into the discourses of the Catholic Church and the Secular Institutions on the use of condoms in the prevention of HIV transmission. The central objective of the study is to assess the preferred discourse among Catholic students in a nursing school. The focus on examining the social cultural context of the school, as one area where characters and identities are formed and reformed, yielded explicit suggestions for understanding what shapes students’ perceptions of HIV preventive strategies. To achieve the central objective of the study, a qualitative approach was employed, and only one nursing school was picked as a unit of analysis. Therefore, a case study design was adopted, and the collection of data was done using multiple data collection techniques, as one feature of a case study. The use of questionnaires to students was one strategy employed. Others were interviews, focus group discussions, observations, and document analysis. The sample of the study comprised students, matron and chaplain, and these were purposively selected. The findings revealed that there was no conclusive evidence to prove that students had a preferred choice between the two discourses. In principle, students supported the Church’s message of abstinence while in practice they favoured the secular’s message of condom use. Failure by both the Catholic Church and the school authority to implement their HIV/AIDS policies in school, coupled with the social cultural factors, was found to be sources inhibiting students’ perceptions and response to HIV preventive strategies. Message of “safe sex” from secular institutions, and students’ distorted perception of the Church’s teaching on human sexuality, interacted with the school and Church authorities to undermine students’ ability to make an informed decision when dealing with issues of abstinence, fidelity and condom use. Recommendations are that first and foremost, the HIV/AIDS Work Policy be fully implemented and be availed to the students. Further, students and non-teaching staff should be co-opted into the school HIV Committee. The School Chaplain should also ensure that the Church’s HIV/AIDS policy is implemented, and create more time to be with the students. With the inclusion of cultural practices and teachings that promote good morals, such as abstinence and fidelity, into the school curriculum, there is need for total cooperation between the school authority and the Church through the sharing of HIV prevention information. In the same vein, dialogue and development of partnership between the secular authority and religious sector should be promoted by creating fora where information on HIV and AIDS can be exchanged. While encouraging female students to open up and participate in discussions of issues related to sex, the Church should strengthen its teaching on Human Sexuality through holding seminars with students. The study has made a distinct scholarly contribution to the body of knowledge on HIV and AIDS in Zambia, especially on the Christian-Secular discourse on condom use. This information will help scholars, students, government, Church and other planners in the country to understand the HIV/AIDS phenomenon better.
Catholic Church--Apologetic Works(HIV/AIDS)--Zambia , Catholic church--doctrines(condoms)--Kasama--Zambia , Aids(disease)--Prevention--kasama--Zambia