An exploration of sex and sexualities in the context of HIV and AIDS in the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria (LCCN): a phenomenological study of Christian love and stigmatization in Nigeria –Adamawa state : a case study of the LCCN Todi Diocese
Dading, Cletus Haniel.
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This study seeks to unpack the inextricable relationship between sex and sexuality and HIV and AIDS. It presents how sex ranks highest among the factors contributing to the spread of HIV in Adamawa state, particularly in Todi Diocese. The study acknowledges that sex and sexuality remains the most dreaded topic to most people in Todi Diocese. Being associated with the epidemic of HIV, sex and sexuality precipitates the difficulty accountable for the avoidance of the topic in public domain. Previous studies have revealed how the aforementioned subject matters were shrouded in secrecy; the diseases related to it (especially HIV) were viewed as a punishment by God to people who are sexually immoral, leading to the stigmatization and discrimination of people living with HIV (PLWHIV). The study therefore aimed at investigating why Christians who are called to love their neighbours, admonished to be their brothers’ keeper stigmatize and discriminate people living with HIV. The study was constructed along the theory of an HIV competent church as its primary tool. It is argued in this study that for the LCCN church to be an HIV competent church, it must respond compassionately and effectively to the plight of PLWHIV; LCCN should ensure that stigma and discrimination of PLWHIV is completely eradicated so people can fearlessly disclose their HIV status when tested positive and consequently start treatment as early as possible. Furthermore, the study argues that the stigma and discrimination which remains resilient in the LCCN has prompted some members of the church to turn their homes into prisons. This is done as an attempt to avoid public gatherings including church for fear of inhuman treatment by fellow members of the church and the community at large. The study challenges both the LCCN leaders and members as well, to liberate these fellow humans and give them a sense of belonging in the church and community as well. The study attempts to explore the rationale behind the silence surrounding sex and sexuality which eventually leads to silence on the HIV epidemic in the LCCN. To provide answer to this question, two theories were used namely: The theory of an HIV competent church and the theory of liberation theology. The study is arranged in eight chapters. Participants in the study are divided into four groups: the Ministers (Pastors), Executive Council Members (EC), Members of the church living with HIV and the Youth group. The question that the study seeks to answer is: why are the Christians who are expected to love their neighbour as they love themselves in Todi Diocese are stigmatizing and discriminating (PLWHIV)? The study takes the form of qualitative empirical approach.