Channels of Hope (CoH) is a key intervention addressing HIV-AIDS in Honduras. Training religious leaders and youth leaders throughout the community has proven to be an effective method to impact the greater community. The trainings provided leaders with a base knowledge addressing acceptance of condom use as a prevention method, knowledge about STDs, and also training the leaders to be trainers.
Religious leaders were very responsive to the training and there was a significant shift in attitudes and practices in the areas of discrimination, gender based violence, and risky sexual practices. Leaders has an increased sense of confidence in addressing these matters from their congregations, one pastor shared, “previously, I did not like to talk that much, now I can address couples, it is easier for me to talk and communicate with others and to relate with other people.” The CoH program closed a gap in the culture by sharing the importance of presenting sexuality and HIV/AIDS discussions to the community and removing them as taboo subjects.
The interventions and trainings provided through CoH made a significant impact on the greater community. By encouraging religious and youth leaders to advocate and present conversations around sexuality and HIV/AIDS it creates a healthy space for people to learn how to protect themselves, prevent transmission, and promote safe sexual activity. Continued efforts will help to continue strengthening the role of youth and religious leaders in continuing these conversations and positive attitudes.