Faith-based organisations' response to HIV/AIDS : a pilot study of a Cesa Church.
“Despite recent advances in its public policies to address HIV and AIDS, South Africa continues to have the largest HIV epidemic of any country in the world” (Keikelame, Murphy, Ringheim,and Woldehanna, 2010). The most productive sectors in the South African population continue to be undermined by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Historically the Church has been an institution significantly involved in the lives of people in various ways especially in the caring for people. In South Africa, a number of people identify themselves as belonging to a faith-based organisation. This means that churches in South Africa are in a position to make a positive influence when it comes to addressing issues around HIV/AIDS. The aim of this study was to describe how leaders of a specific church perceive their roles in addressing social challenges within the church community and also to explore how they are responding to the HIV/AIDS crisis. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine church leaders from a CESA church located in a suburb south of the eThekwini municipality. An interview guide containing open-ended questions was used. The findings of the study revealed that there is a wide range of social concerns that congregational members face and attempt to deal with; however the topic of HIV/AIDS is one that the leaders do not appear to give much attention. It was apparent from the statements that some of the church leaders felt that HIV/AIDS was a result of ‘brokenness’ in the world and possible judgment from God. These findings highlight the need for this FBO to play a more active role in the lives of the people they serve by being knowledgeable about challenges that the congregation experience and by equipping themselves with accurate information about HIV/AIDS and the necessary skills to support their members.