Many Bremer Africans believe Religion protects against HIV

Africans living in Bremen, know too little about HIV and AIDS – and therefore have outlandish ideas about dealing with the infection.



BREMEN. The research results of a preliminary study on knowledge, attitudes and behavior of Africans in Germany show that over half of respondents (63 percent) in Bremen want more information on HIV, especially through the media and the public health departments.

So misconceptions about modes of HIV transmission are prevalent, reported by the Institute of Public Health: 8.1 percent believe in witchcraft, 7.1 percent of the airborne transmission, and 9.3 percent by the presence in the same room.

In order to protect themselves from HIV, 95.3 percent mentioned condoms, 87.4 percent and 75.3 percent loyalty abstinence. Nearly a quarter of respondents believe but also to protection by religious belief (24.8 percent), sex with a virgin (21.8 percent) or the selection of a partner for healthy appearance (15.8 percent).

HIV is often kept secret

„It is also the fear of stigma and discrimination, a major issue for African migrants,“ Silke Gräser from the Institute of Public Health says to the „Medical Journal„.

For example, more than half of African women (58 percent) would hold the HIV infection of a family member a secret.

„The group of Africans should not be stigmatized as such,“ warns Gräser, „many Africans fear that Africa and AIDS are called too quickly in one breath.“

In this context, HIV prevention services are run specifically for African migrants at risk of being perceived as stigmatizing. HIV prevention must therefore be made more culturally sensitive, it said.

translated by: Kiumars Seraj Elahy