Knowledge and practice of 'ABC' strategy of HIV prevention among Christians in the catholic and African inland churches in Thika east district, Kiambu county - Kenya
Musili, Telesia Kathini
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Despite the global decline in HIV prevalence, new HIV infections are on the rise. These new HIV infections are occurring largely in stable or long-term relationships, including marriage. This is because of heterosexual relations that defy the strict Christian teaching on sexuality, which prohibits premarital sex among the unmarried and extra marital sex among the married. The question therefore arises on the gap between what is prescribed and what is practiced especially among Christians. This study will examine the knowledge and practice of the ABC strategy of HIV prevention as informed by the Catholic and African Inland Church teachings on sexual morality, among Christians aged 15 - 49 years in Thika East District (TED). The study will employ social identity theory, Kohlberg's theory of moral development, social interactionist theory and Smith's theory of religion to understand the influence of institutional norms of sexuality on the Christians' sexual behavior. The study will comprise of at least 404 participants who will be randomly sampled from a population of 1276 church members from six purposely-selected Churches that is, three Catholic Churches and three Africa Inland Churches. Qualitative and quantitative data will be collected using descriptive design where structured questionnaires will be administered to all the sampled respondents; in-depth interview schedule will be conducted amongst priest and pastors while the young people will hold Focus Group Discussions. The findings of the study will illuminate how institutional norms influence the social identities of the self as well as his/her moral decision making regarding sexual behavior. An exploration of the contexts will reveal a major disconnect between the Christians'/institution's ideal norm; no premarital and extra marital sex and the modeled norm; where the Christians make a 'moral' choice to engage in unsafe sex. Results from the pilot study showed that the knowledge and practice of ABC strategy is inadequate and that about 30 per cent of unmarried youth are sexually active. This study will provide a new model, which will help in the internalization of the institutional norms by the Christians to enhance commendable practice of ABC strategy of HIV prevention in combination with other HIV interventions.