MPhil study projects

The perceptions of Christian leaders in Walsall, United Kingdom, about HIV intervention strategies

Student: Pat Ade Ayebola

Country: Nigeria

In the United Kingdom, HIV prevalence and incidence presented a significant challenge among key groups, notably black Africans (BAs) and people who inject drugs (PWID). Approximately 70% of people living with HIV (PLWH) identify as religious, with 52% calling themselves Christians. Given the influential role of Christian leaders in shaping community attitudes and beliefs, understanding their perspectives on HIV intervention strategies is crucial. This study aimed to explore the perceptions of Christian leaders in Walsall, United Kingdom, regarding such strategies.

The quantitative approach used a self-administered questionnaire. Eight churches were purposively sampled, and 38 participants comprising leadership teams completed surveys. The results indicated predominantly positive perceptions of proposed HIV intervention strategies and HIV/Aids in general. The participants favoured strategies promoting faithfulness, condom use, HIV testing, treatment as prevention (TasP), health promotion and support for PLWH. Enthusiasm was highest for educational health promotion and advocacy efforts.

The findings underscored a recurring theme of health promotion, with leaders expressing interest in expanding their knowledge and promoting awareness in their ministries. While attitudes to certain strategies like abstinence and needle exchange programmes were more neutral, the majority of Christian leaders in Walsall exhibited positive views of HIV interventions.