Title

Strengthening partnerships between Black Churches and HIV service providers in the United States

Abstract

ABSTRACT: Across the United States, Black Churches play a significant role among the Black community and are increasingly being used to deliver Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) prevention services. This study sought to investigate HIV service providers’ strategies for strengthening partnerships with churches to deliver HIV prevention services. Using a community-based participatory research approach, an HIV coalition and an academic institution formed a partnership to address the study aim. Individual interviews (n = 16) were conducted with providers from medical institutions and HIV social support agencies. A thematic analysis focusing on recommendations for addressing the challenges and benefits of partnership with churches for HIV services was conducted. Participants’ interest in and intention to work with churches, as well as their comfort level discussing sexual health-related topics with religious congregations, was high. Four themes emerged to highlight the different perspectives of service providers’ recommendations for addressing challenges and strengthening partnerships with churches to deliver HIV services including: (1) carefully selecting churches and HIV services to provide, (2) gaining “buy-in” and support of church leadership, (3) taking advantage of conflict with church doctrine, and (4) choosing appropriate delivery strategies. Study findings demonstrate that although challenges exist, heath service providers in this region of the United States may be interested in addressing HIV among faith communities. Study findings also provide concrete solutions to previously documented barriers to HIV prevention in Black Churches. Such information will benefit researchers and practitioners seeking to expand effective HIV prevention efforts with Black Churches in communities who bear a disproportionate burden of HIV infections.

Publication Title

AIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV

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