Jun 1, 2010
Published May 19, 2010
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Faith-based organizations (FBOs) have historically played an important role in delivering health and social services in developing countries; however, little research has been done on their role in HIV prevention and care, particularly in Latin America. This study describes FBO involvement in HIV/AIDS in three Central American countries hard hit by this epidemic: Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. Summarizing the results of key informant and stakeholder interviews with health and FBO leaders and site visits to FBO-sponsored HIV/AIDS clinics, hospices, programs, and other activities, the authors describe the range of FBO activities and assess the advantages of FBO involvement in addressing HIV/AIDS, such as churches' diverse presence and extensive reach, and the challenges to such involvement, such as the unwillingness of some FBOs to discuss condom use and their lack of experience in evaluating the impact of programs. The authors conclude with a discussion of possible ways that FBOs can address the HIV epidemic, both independently and in collaboration with other organizations, such as government ministries of health.