Assessment of HIV/AIDs behavior change messages used by the seventh-day Adventist (SDA) church among its young people in Homa-bay county
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) continues to spread in most countries of the world including Kenya and the rate at which young people are being infected remain disturbingly high. Since HIV/AIDS has no cure yet, behavior change has been fronted as the most likely scientific basis for the reduction in HIV prevalence. There is need for concerted effort by all sectors including religious organizations to be able to curb this menace especially among the vulnerable young people. This study was an assessment of HIV/AIDS behavior change communication used by the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) church among its young people in Homa Bay County. It was a descriptive survey. The researcher targeted young people in Homa Bay County who are members of the Seventhday Adventist church. Out of the 648 SDA churches in Homa Bay County, 20 were randomly selected out of which 100 young people were randomly selected to be included in the sample. Key informants were purposively selected. Data was collected using a questionnaire and interview of key informants. SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) and basic descriptive statistics were used for analysis and presentation of data respectively. The messages given by the SDA church regarding HIV/AIDS behavior change to its young people were mainly on how to take caution to causes of HIV/AIDS at 55%.These messages weremostly passed through young people group discussions at 34%.The reception of the HIV/AIDS behavior change communication by young people in the SDA church is moderate at 51%.But in spite of this level of awareness, young people in the SDA church still continue to be infected because of acting carelessly at 58%. This study concluded that the message of transmission of HIV/AIDS and preventive measures has been widely received by the young people in the SDA church. Yet they continue to be infected because they lack negotiation skills for safe sex, decision-making skills to choose on the right thing even under peer pressure and the right attitude to avoid infection. The study recommends that HIV/AIDS communication should target to develop such skills as negotiation, decision-making, critical and creative thinking as well as coping with stress and emotions among young people. The packaging should be more attractive and should involve young people in design and dissemination.