MPhil study projects

Perceptions, knowledge and responses to HIV/Aids among members of faith-based organisations (FBOs): A case study of Christ Embassy Benoni teenage girls

Student: Susanna Mutapanduwa

Country: Zimbabwe

In Sub-Saharan Africa, HIV infection rates surpass those of other global regions, with South Africa having over seven million HIV-positive individuals, constituting a third of the region’s afflicted population. Teenage girls in South Africa exhibit a prevalence rate four times higher than their male counterparts, with 37% of new infections occurring in the age group 15 to 24.

This study aimed to investigate the knowledge and perceptions of and responses to HIV/Aids of teenage girls associated with Christ Embassy Church. Objectives included assessing their understanding of HIV/Aids, gauging perceptions and evaluating responses.

Convenience sampling targeted teenage girls aged 15 to 19, ensuring voluntary participation with the option to withdraw without repercussions at any stage. Consent forms were provided to participants under 16, while those over 16 were granted a waiver of parental consent and could provide their own informed consent.

Findings included that most teenage girls had a good understanding of HIV/Aids, but had knowledge gaps about aspects such as prevalence rates. Recommendations included providing more education and awareness programmes in the church, increasing collaboration with other stakeholders and allocating more resources and training to faith-based organisations.