Reproductive System & Sexual Disorders: Current Research

Reproductive System & Sexual Disorders: Current Research
Open Access

ISSN: 2161-038X


Emphasizing Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention to Youths from the Religious Perspective

Enwereji Ezinna Ezinne and Eke Reginald Ahuizi

Background: Religion shapes everyday beliefs and activities of youths, but few studies have associated HIV prevention with religion. This study explored how religious beliefs were used to enhance prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections among youths. Study examines role of religion in discouraging HIV-related issues like stigma, discrimination and others. It enlightens youth on how to integrate religious beliefs with HIV prevention to boost compliance to HIV/AIDS medical interventions.

Methods: An interactive seminar was held with convenience sample of 530 youth and 8 youth leaders of Seventhday Adventist church. Therefore, a sample of 538 individuals between 18-51 years was studied. During the seminar, researchers used pictures of various STIs to explain mode of transmission and showed how youth could be at risk of infections. Twenty three self administered questions were used for the study. Simple percentages on frequency tables were used for analysis.

Results: A good number of the respondents 404 (75%) had poor knowledge of sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS. HIV and other STIs were seen as punishment from God for committing adultery and fornication. A total of 377 (70%) respondents were of the opinion that People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) committed ominous sin and should be isolated. Most participants 280 (52%) said if infected, they would not disclose their HIV. Although a good number of respondents 119 (22%) believed that prayer could cure HIV, as high as 102 (19%) of respondents are of the view that HIV has no cure and that youth should avoid being infected.

Conclusion: The fact that youth in the church regard members who are HIV positive as adulterers and/or fornicators shows poor knowledge of mode of HIV infection. There is therefore, the need to organize regular HIV education outreach for religious groups to reduce beliefs that discourage HIV prevention.