Sunday, May 1, 2016

Labor Day: I'm thinking of all workers who died because of AIDS

Is there a connect between faith, HIV and the working class? This becomes a problem if the church does not know the answer.

Jesus is an advocate for the working class. If the church is the body of Christ, the church must stand as the advocate for the working class in our present time. The church is ministering to the needs of the working class by specifically looking at their health condition. But the current state of our health system puts the working class at a disadvantage. Lack of services, lack of health human resource, no equipments, inaccessibility, high prices, and many more makes health unavailable to the working class, especially the most vulnerable. One of the vulnerable groups are the people living with HIV and AIDS. But what does the church know about HIV and AIDS?

For two years now, the Visayas Health Ministry on HIV and AIDS have been conducting HIV Awareness in local churches as a starting point of the health ministry of the body of Christ. One of the goals is to increase the knowledge of the church about HIV and AIDS towards SSDDIM reduction and holistic salvation. 

Our yearly evaluation showed, around 79.40% of all participants from the 9 activities surveyed had an increased in knowledge about HIV after undergoing the HIV Awareness Workshop through the SAVE approach. Divided into the different sub-groups: 92.56% of youth had increased knowledge, 68.68% of women also had increased knowledge while only 62.96% of clergy had increase in knowledge about HIV after the SAVE Workshops. It is noted that the HIV Awareness workshops were successful in increasing the knowledge on HIV of its participants.

The evaluation of the HIV Awareness Workshop activities of VisHMHA in 2015 through the SAVE Approach showed success of the program. A sample population of all the participants was tested to assess the program. The program used the validated HIV-KQ-18 questionnaire by Carey and Schroder (2002).

Forty correspondents before the workshops were surveyed:
  • -        The correct knowledge of the participants about HIV is only 53.78%.
  • -        82.50% of the participants think that "All pregnant women infected with HIV will have babies born with AIDS."
  • -        80% of the participants wrongly believe that "Pulling out the penis before a man climaxes keeps a woman from getting HIV during sex."
  • -        90% of the participants know that it is not true that "A person can get HIV by sharing a glass of water with someone with HIV."

The HIV Awareness Workshops has increased the knowledge of the correspondents by 11%. After the workshops:
  • -        The correct knowledge of all the participants about HIV is 64.33%.
  • -        There was an increase in the HIV knowledge of the participants of the workshops.
  • -        The HIV Awareness Workshops through SAVE approach is an effective intervention to increase the knowledge of churches towards decreasing SSDDIM.
  • -        There is a need to continue the gains on HIV Awareness.

The next thrust of the program is to build HIV-competent local churches in the Visayas region. By building these competent churches, we hope to strengthen the body of Christ as an able advocate for the working class.

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