MPhil study projects

An HIV-related knowledge, attitudes and beliefs survey among officials in the Old Apostolic Church in Ida’s Valley, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Student: Luceille Blanche Esau

Country: South Africa

Church leaders have significant influence on the HIV/Aids discourse in congregations, given the trust and respect accorded to their views. This study aimed to ascertain the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of OAC officials in Ida’s Valley, Stellenbosch.

Twenty-eight officials, mostly men aged 40 and above, reflecting the OAC’s hierarchical structure, participated in a questionnaire-based survey. While participants demonstrated high general HIV-related knowledge, gaps persisted, notably regarding mother-to-child transmission. The findings revealed nuanced attitudes. While participants exhibited positive stances on addressing HIV/Aids in the church, personal discomfort with interacting with HIV-positive individuals emerged. Many lacked awareness of transmission routes beyond sexual contact.

The recommendations included targeted HIV-related training for officials to enhance their capacity to support congregants, and leveraging the church as a platform for communal health education, including HIV/Aids awareness.

The study also suggested involving the church’s apostleship in facilitating such initiatives and highlighted the importance of OAC officials’ perspectives for fostering informed support networks in congregations and advancing HIV/Aids awareness in religious contexts.