Liberian pastors’ communication about sexual behavior and HIV/AIDS
Graduate School of Media and Communications
In what little literature exists on local churches and HIV/AIDS, attention is rarely paid to the specific messages that churches preach, or the context within which those messages are disseminated. This article presents results of in-depth interviews with leaders of 8 churches in Yekepa, Liberia, regarding content and context of messages they disseminate to their congregations about sex and HIV./AIDS. Content of messages was nearly consistent across denominations. However, three tensions were identified within pastoral communication of these topics: the need to discuss sexual issues versus societal taboos against speaking about those issues from the pulpit; traditional versus current cultural norms; and the ideal of abstinence and fidelity versus the real sexual behavior of congregants. Pastors differed in their response to these dilemmas; Only the Lutheran church appeared to be openly addressing HIV and sexuality in public communication. Other churches addressed these issues, if at all, in private counseling forums.
Publication ( Name of Journal)
African Communication Research
Booker, N. A., Davis, K. L., & Neville, A. (2011). Liberian pastors’ communication about sexual behavior and HIV/AIDS. African Communication Research, Vol 4(2), 369-384.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.