“Gettin’ God?” Examining The State of Urban HIV/AIDS Ministries: Building Holistic Responses
Kandree E. Hicks
Thesis DT 3.5 2003 H53
xi, 166 leaves: ill.; 29 cm.
In October 1998, President Clinton declared HIV/AIDS to be a severe and ongoing health crisis in communities of color, particularly within African-American communities. Since that time, increasing numbers of regions, especially cities, are recognizing the scourge of HIV/AIDS pandemic within their boarders, and a growing number of community stakeholders are responding to the calls to action. Among African-American communities, faith leaders are also responding to HIV/AIDS, particularly in the areas of prevention. This thesis focuses on HIV/AIDS faith mobilization efforts among African Americans in Washington, D.C., region of the U.S. that is currently experiencing one of the severest effects of HIV/AIDS.
Because the past national and local responses to HIV/AIDS have been insufficient in curtailing the rising rates of infection among African Americans, the premise of this thesis is that current and future mobilization efforts must build holistic, revolutionary responses to HIV/AIDS. These responses would seek to meet the majority of needs identified as enabling individuals and communities to decrease their vulnerabilities to HIV infection. Thus, the overall thesis objective is to examine the current state of HIV/AIDS ministries or programs in Washington, D.C. in hopes of better understanding if appropriate responses to the pandemic are being developed.
The thesis' research strategy depends upon a "snowball sampling" technique and triangulation methodologies in order to develop nine case-examples that represent churches or faith-based organizations (FBOs) that are developing HIV/AIDS prevention programs in the District. The research intent is to (1) identify the leading factors that enhance and/or inhibit HIV prevention programming and (2) construct recommendations for enhancing current prevention efforts.
Data revealed eight factor shaping HIV/AIDS prevention among this study's cohort. They are the following: (1) the pastor's understanding and support, (2) the ministry leader's church and public health experience, (3) community identification of persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWAs), (4) adoption of Black liberation/womanist theology, (5) existence of public health and faith partnerships, (6) informed congregation and community, (7) identification of significant barriers in HIV prevention programming, and (8) the development of a strategic plan.
Based on the case-example data, the thesis offers recommendations that address ameliorating both social and structural barriers and challenges facing current and future HIV/AIDS prevention program development. They include the following: Social Issues (developing broader church/faith theology, breaking the silence about HIV/AIDS, and community ownership of HIV/AIDS issues) and Structural Issues (building holistic services, increasing church/faith participation in local prevention efforts, and intensifying domestic HIV/AIDS prevention mobilization).
This study is described as an "action-research" or "service-learning" project as it (1) addresses a sociohealth issue identified by the community, (2) offers recommendations that work to enhance community efforts in HIV/AIDS prevention programming in Washington, D.C., and (3) will participate in building opportunities for potential collaboration among faith-health communities, government agencies, and the researcher.