Skip to main content

The Perception of Religious Leaders on HIV and Their Role in HIV Prevention: A Case Study of African, Caribbean, and Black (ACB) Communities in Windsor, Ontario

Abstract

This paper explores the perception of African, Caribbean, and Black (ACB) religious leaders on HIV vulnerability and their role in HIV prevention among ACB communities in Windsor, Ontario. We conducted one semi-structured focus group discussion with nine Black religious leaders, most of whose congregants are members of the ACB community. Most religious leaders in the focus group had a negative perception of the transmission of HIV, but they acknowledged their own important role in HIV prevention strategies. This role is collaborative in nature, from the stage of designing HIV prevention strategies to implementing prevention messages. The religious leaders noted, however, that some challenges, such as church doctrine and congregational culture, are likely to impede their HIV prevention efforts.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Adimora, A. A., Goldmon, M. V., Coyne-Beasley, T., Ramirez, C. B., Thompson, G. A., Ellis, D., Stevenson, J. E., Williams, J. M., Howard, D. L., & Godley, P. A. (2019). Black pastors’ views on preaching about sex: Barriers, facilitators, and opportunities for HIV prevention messaging. Ethnicity and Health, 24(5), 560–574. https://doi.org/10.1080/13557858.2017.1346180

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. African and Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario (ACCHO). (2006). HIV/AIDS stigma, denial, fear and discrimination: Experiences and responses of people from African and Caribbean communities in Toronto. https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bitstream/1807/10304/2/HIV_Stigma_Study_ACCHO_UT.pdf.

  3. African and Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario (ACCHO). (2013). Ontario HIV/AIDS strategy for African, Caribbean, and Black communities 2013–2018. http://acchodev.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/ACB_Strategy_Web_Oct2013_En.pdf.

  4. Barnes, S. L. (2004). Priestly and prophetic influences on Black church social services. Social Problems, 51(2), 202–221. https://doi.org/10.1525/sp.2004.51.2.202

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Barnes, S. L. (2013). To welcome or affirm: Black clergy views about homosexuality, inclusivity, and church leadership. Journal of HomosexuAlity, 60(10), 1409–1433. https://doi.org/10.1080/00918369.2013.819204

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Biernacki, P., & Waldorf, D. (1981). Snowball sampling: Problems and techniques of chain referral sampling. Sociological Methods & Research, 10(2), 141–163. https://doi.org/10.1177/004912418101000205

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Boyatzis, R. E. (1998). Transforming qualitative information: Thematic analysis and code development. SAGE Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Browne, K. (2005). Snowball sampling: Using social networks to research non-heterosexual women. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 8(1), 47–60. https://doi.org/10.1080/1364557032000081663

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Bryant-Davis, T., Ellis, M. U., Edwards, N., Adams, T. P., Counts, P., Arline-Bradley, S., & Sadler, K. (2016). The role of the Black church in HIV prevention: Exploring barriers and best practices. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 26(5), 388–408. https://doi.org/10.1002/casp.2270

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Campbell, K. (2009). Prevention programs in developed countries: Lessons learned—A report on prevention initiatives to address HIV and AIDS prevention for African, Caribbean, and Black populations in developed countries. Interagency Coalition on AIDS Development (ICAD). http://www.icad-cisd.com/pdf/Publications/Prevention_Programs_in_Developed_Countries_Lessons_Learned_FINAL.pdf.

  11. Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE). (2018). CATIE factsheet: The epidemiology of HIV in Canada. https://www.catie.ca/sites/default/files/fs-epi-hiv-canada-EN-2018-09-06.pdf.

  12. Chin, J. J., Mantell, J., Weiss, L., Bhagavan, M., & Luo, X. (2005). Chinese and South Asia religious institutions and HIV prevention in New York City. AIDS Education and Prevention, 17(5), 484–502. https://doi.org/10.1521/aeap.2005.17.5.484

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  13. Creswell, J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions. SAGE Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (3rd ed.). SAGE Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Cunningham, S. D., Kerrigan, D. L., McNealy, C. A., & Ellen, J. M. (2011). The role of structure versus individual agency in churches’ responses to HIV/AIDS: A case study of Baltimore City churches. Journal of Religion and Health, 50(2), 407–421. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-009-9281-7

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Ellingson, S., Tebbe, N., Van Haitsma, M., & Laumann, E. O. (2001). Religion and the politics of sexuality. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 30(1), 3–55. https://doi.org/10.1177/089124101030001001

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Falconer, D. A. & Associates Inc (2011). Strengthening the Capacity of Service Providers to Deliver HIV Prevention Programs to the African Diaspora in Canada Project. Capacity Building Needs Assessment Report. http://www.icad-cisd.com/pdf/CHABAC/Needs-Assessment-Service-Providers-Capacity-Bldg-CHABAC-FINAL.pdf.

  18. Francis, S. A., & Liverpool, J. (2009). A review of faith-based HIV prevention programs. Journal of Religion and Health, 48(1), 6–15. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-008-9171-4

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Fulton, B. R. (2011). Black churches and HIV/AIDS: Factors influencing congregations’ responsiveness to social issues. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 50(3), 617–630. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5906.2011.01579.x

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Genrich, G. L., & Brathwaite, B. A. (2005). Response of religious groups to HIV/AIDS as a sexually transmitted infection in Trinidad. BMC Public Health, 5(1), 121. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-5-121

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  21. Government of Canada. (2016). Canada’s 2016 global AIDS response progress report. https://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/country/documents/CAN_narrative_report_2016.pdf.

  22. Haddad, N., Li, J. S., Totten, S., & McGuire, M. (2018). HIV in Canada: Surveillance report, 2017. Canadian Communicable Disease Report, 44(12), 324–332.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Harris, A. C. (2010). Sex, stigma, and the Holy Ghost: The Black church and the construction of AIDS in New York City. Journal of African American Studies, 14(1), 21–43. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12111-009-9105-6

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Hasnain, O. (2005). Cultural approach to HIV/AIDS harms reduction in Muslim countries. Harm Reduction Journal, 2(1), 23. https://doi.org/10.1186/1477-7517-2-23

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  25. Heward-Mills, N. L., Atuhaire, C., Spoors, C., Pemunta, N. V., Priebe, G., & Cumber, S. N. (2018). The role of faith leaders in influencing health behaviors: A qualitative exploration of Black African Christians in Leeds, United Kingdom. Pan African Medical Journal. https://doi.org/10.11604/pamj.2018.30.199.15656

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Isler, R. M., Eng, E., Maman, S., Adimora, A., & Weiner, B. (2014). Public health and church-based constructions of HIV prevention: Black Baptist perspective. Health Education Research, 29(3), 470–484. https://doi.org/10.1093/her/cyu006

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Keikelame, M. J., Murphy, C. K., Ringheim, K. E., & Woldehanna, S. (2010). Perceptions of HIV/AIDS leaders about faith-based organizations’ influence on HIV/AIDS stigma in South Africa. African Journal of AIDS Research, 9(1), 63–70. https://doi.org/10.2989/16085906.2010.484571

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. Krueger, R. A., & Casey, M. A. (2014). Focus groups: A practical guide for applied research (5th ed.). SAGE Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Leong, P. (2006). Religion, flesh, and blood: Re-creating religious culture in the context of HIV/AIDS. Sociology of Religion, 67(3), 295–311. https://doi.org/10.1093/socrel/67.3.295

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Lewis, T. O. (2015). LGBT-affirming Black churches’ responses to the HIV/AIDS crisis. Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought, 34(2), 140–157. https://doi.org/10.1080/15426432.2014.960760

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. SAGE Publications.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  32. MacQueen, K. L., McLellan, E., Kay, K., & Milstein, B. (1998). Codebook development for team-based qualitative analysis. Cultural Anthropology Methods, 10(2), 31–36. https://doi.org/10.1177/1525822X980100020301

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Markens, S., Fox, S. A., Taub, B., & Gilbert, M. L. (2002). Role of Black churches in health promotion programs: Lessons from the Los Angeles mammography promotion in churches program. American Journal of Public Health, 92(5), 805–810. https://doi.org/10.2105/ajph.92.5.805

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  34. Mertz, J. P. (1997). The role of churches in helping adolescents prevent HIV/AIDS. Journal of HIV/AIDS Prevention & Education for Adolescents & Children, 1(2), 45–55. https://doi.org/10.1300/J129v01n02_05

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. (2019). Michigan state-wide HIV surveillance report: New diagnoses and prevalence Tables. https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdhhs/Michigan_Statewide_HIV_Surveillance_Report-July_2019_660527_7.pdf.

  36. Nunn, A., Cornwall, A., Chute, N., Sanders, J., Thomas, G., James, G., Lally, M., Trooskin, S., & Flanigan, T. (2012). Keeping the faith: African American faith leaders’ perspectives and recommendations for reducing racial disparities in HIV/AIDS infection. PLoS One, 7(5), e36172. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0036172

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  37. Omorodion, F. I., Gbadebo, K., & Ishak, P. (2007). HIV vulnerability and sexual risk among African youth in Windsor, Canada. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 9(4), 429–437. https://doi.org/10.1080/13691050701256721

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Otolok-Tanga, E., Atuyambe, L., Murphy, C. K., Ringheim, K. E., & Woldehanna, S. (2007). Examining the actions of faith-based organizations and their influence on HIV/AIDS-related stigma: A case study of Uganda. African Health Science, 7(1), 55–60.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). (2012). HIV/AIDS Epi updates: HIV/AIDS in Canada among people from countries where HIV is endemic. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada. https://www.catie.ca/sites/default/files/HIV-Aids_EpiUpdates_Chapter13_EN.pdf.

  40. Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). (2018). Estimates of HIV incidence, prevalence and Canada’s progress on meeting the 90–90–90 HIV targets, 2018. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada. https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/hc-sc/documents/services/publications/diseases-conditions/summary-estimates-hiv-incidence-prevalence-canadas-progress-90-90-90/national-hiv-estimates-report-2018-en.pdf.

  41. Quinn, K., Dickson-Gomez, J., & Young, S. (2016). The influence of pastors’ ideologies of homosexuality on HIV prevention in the Black church. Journal of Religion and Health, 55(5), 1700–1716. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-016-0243-6

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  42. Sade-Beck, L. (2004). Internet ethnography: Online and offline. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 3(2), 45–51. https://doi.org/10.1177/160940690400300204

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Sandelowski, M. (2000). Whatever happened to qualitative description? Research in Nursing & Health, 23(4), 334–340. https://doi.org/10.1002/1098-240X(200008)23:4%3c334::AID-NUR9%3e3.0.CO;2-G

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Slifierz, M. J. (2016). Sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections in Windsor and Essex County. Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. https://www.wechu.org/sites/default/files/reports-and-statistics/STBBI_Report_2015-2016_ACCESSIBLE.pdf.

  45. Statistics Canada. (2015). Annual demographic estimates: Canada, provinces and territories (Cat. no. 91–215-X). https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/91-215-x/91-215-x2015000-eng.pdf.

  46. Streubert, H. J., & Carpenter, D. R. (1999). Qualitative research in nursing: Advancing the humanistic imperative (2nd ed.). Lippincott.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Sutton, M. Y., & Parks, C. P. (2013). HIV/AIDS prevention, faith, and spirituality among Black/African American and Latino communities in the United States: Strengthening scientific faith-based efforts to shift the course of the epidemic and reduce HIV-related health disparities. Journal of Religion and Health, 52(2), 514–530. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-011-9499-z

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  48. Wilkinson, S. (1998). Focus groups in health research: Exploring the meanings of health and illness. Journal of Health Psychology, 3(3), 329–348. https://doi.org/10.1177/135910539800300304

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  49. Willison, P. A., Wittlin, N. M., Muñoz-Laboy, M., & Parker, R. (2011). Ideologies of Black churches in New York City and the public health crisis of HIV among Black men who have sex with men. Global Public Health, 6(2 Suppl.), 227–242. https://doi.org/10.1080/17441692.2011.605068

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Wong, J., Husband, W., Etowa, J., Omorodion, F., & Luginaah, I. (2015). Reducing HIV vulnerabilities and promoting resilience among self-identified heterosexual African, Caribbean and Black men in Ontario [CIHR grant on boys and men’s health attitudes]. Canadian Institutes of Health Research. https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/49638.html.

  51. Zuo, J., Yamanaka, Y., John, M., Watt, M., Ostermann, J., & Thielman, N. (2009). Religion and HIV in Tanzania: Influence of religious beliefs on HIV stigma, disclosure, and treatment attitudes. BMC Public Health. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-9-75

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Funding

This study was funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) (Grant Number TE2-138354) and the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN) (Grant Number 1052) as part of the research project on Reducing HIV vulnerabilities and promoting resilience among self-identified heterosexual African, Caribbean, and Black (ACB) Men in Ontario.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

All authors contributed to the development of this manuscript. The focus group discussion was conducted by FIO, whereas the transcription and analysis of data was conducted by NWJ, upon completion, FIO and JK reviewed the transcriptions and analysis. Then the first author drafted this manuscript, and all authors reviewed and commented on previous versions of this manuscript. The final draft was read and approved for submission by all authors.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Neema William Jangu.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

Ethical Approval

All ethical considerations involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University of Windsor Ethics Review Board (REB number 15-088) and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Jangu, N.W., Omorodion, F.I. & Kerr, J. The Perception of Religious Leaders on HIV and Their Role in HIV Prevention: A Case Study of African, Caribbean, and Black (ACB) Communities in Windsor, Ontario. J Relig Health (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-021-01426-z

Download citation

Keywords

  • Religious leaders
  • HIV
  • ACB communities
  • HIV prevention