Faith and healthcare providers’ perspectives about enhancing HIV biomedical interventions in Western Kenya

Adult HIV prevalence in Kenya was 5.9% in 2017. However, in the counties of Kisumu, Siaya, and Homa Bay, HIV prevalence was over 15%. Biomedical
interventions, including home-based testing and counselling (HBTC), HIV treatment and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) provide opportunities to reduce HIV transmission, particularly in rural communities with limited access to health services. Faith-based institutions play an important role in the Kenyan social fabric, providing over 40% of all health care services
in Kenya, but have played limited roles in promoting HIV prevention interventions. We conducted qualitative interviews with 45 medical professionals and focus groups with 93 faith leaders in Kisumu and Busia Counties, Kenya. We explored their knowledge, opinions, and experiences in promoting biomedical HIV prevention modalities, including HBTC and PrEP. Knowledge about and engagement in efforts to promote HIV prevention modalities varied; few health providers had partnered with faith leaders on HIV prevention programmes. Faith leaders and health providers agreed about the importance of increasing faith leaders’ participation in HIV prevention and were positive about
increasing their HIV prevention partnerships. Most faith leaders requested capacity building to better understand biomedical HIV prevention modalities and expressed interest in collaborating with clinical partners to spread awareness about HIV prevention modalities.

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