Unifying of social work with faith-based communities in combating HIV-related stigma: paper for social work
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Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Submission date: 2021-06-16
Final revision date: 2022-04-07
Acceptance date: 2022-04-08
Online publication date: 2024-05-13
Corresponding author
Anthony Kiwanuka   

Makerere University
HIV & AIDS Review 2024;23(2):119-123
Stigma is a widely experienced feature, and recognized as a major factor that facilitates the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic. Unifying social work skills and knowledge with faith-based organizations and communities, can contribute to combating HIV/AIDS and relating stigma. Political actions, religious influence, societal engagement, social dynamics, and openness are major modalities combating stigma and assisting prevention efforts. The issue of HIV and AIDS is both problematic and dangerous to affected individuals along with social, economic, political, and spiritual grounds. The disease is spreading rapidly among younger generations around the world. It is a societal challenge to overcome HIV and AIDS and related stigma. There is a great need for courage, commitment, and leadership at all levels, particularly among religious leaders, using social influence to make a difference in the course of the epidemic. They are in a position of authority and able to use the trust of their respective communities to significantly influence the course of the scourge. They have the authoritative means for effective fighting of HIV and AIDS-related stigma. This article presented examples and modalities of combating HIV and AIDS-related stigma in the society by church leaders. They and their respective institutions possess strengths, credibility, and are well-grounded in communities. Spiritual leaders have opportunities to make a practical and real difference in battling HIV and AIDS-related stigma The challenges of stigma experienced by individuals affected by HIV and AIDS calls for faith communities to act as a strong force for transformation that results in healing, hope, and change to all HIV/AIDS-affected individuals and associated stigma. In understanding of issues related to HIV and AIDS stigma, engaging community members and church leaders can contribute to effective program planning and development resources that will address stigma. This paper can encourage social workers to examine how religious leadership structures are positioned to take responsibilities for reducing the effects of HIV and AIDS-related stigma utilizing religious, familial, individual, and community strengths. Finally, this article would inspire social workers to focus on the formation of support groups, and faith-based peer education as well as counseling and support services to ensure that HIV/AIDS-infected people living with associated stigma, especially young people, women, orphans, and other children, receive social, emotional, and spiritual services.
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