Level of preparedness of Religious Leaders for the Prevention of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria
Keywords:AIDS, Religious leaders, HIV/AIDS education, faith-based organization, Preparedness, HIV
Objective: HIV/AIDS is a pandemic affecting over 3.2 million Nigerians. Over 90% of the African population belong to religious congregation and are often inuenced by the religious leaders. Since health education is a very effective tool in the control of HIV/AIDS, it is expedient to assess the level of preparedness of religious leaders for the prevention of HIV/AIDS so as to maximize opportunities of controlling this menace. This study aims to assess the preparedness of religious leaders to promote and support HIV/AIDS prevention.
Methodology: This is a cross sectional study involving 252 religious leaders (Christians and Islamic) from Oyo and Kaduna State Nigeria randomly selected across the senatorial districts of the state. Questionnaire was used to collect information about demographic characteristics, knowledge about HIV/AIDS education/promotion, history of HIV/AIDS training and the level of preparedness of the respondents for prevention of HIV/AIDS.
Results: Of the 252 respondents, from Oyo State (122) and Kaduna State (130), majority were male (96%), over 30 years of age (96.6%), willing to be screened for HIV(64.7%) and educated their congregation about HIV/AIDS (51.2%), had minimum of secondary education (89.6%) while 22.6% ever tested for HIV. Though 96.4% acknowledge the need for basic knowledge on HIV/AIDS, only 23.8% wanted to know its presentation while 5.6% wanted to know how to care
for persons affected with HIV.
Conclusion: Religious leaders had demonstrated high preparedness for the prevention of HIV-AIDS in this study. However, appropriate and consistent education and promotion is required for the clergy to identify challenges early and be capable of proffering appropriate solution.
Key words: HIV, AIDS, Religious leaders, HIV/AIDS education, faith-based organization, preparedness.