Skip to content Skip to cookie consent
Skip to content


Awakening the church in Honduras

Church and community leader Xiomara Guzman attended training about HIV prevention and how to tackle stigma. ‘People’s mentality is changing, and self-esteem is being restored,’ she says.

2015 Available in French, English, Portuguese and Spanish

Footsteps magazine issues on a wooden desk.

From: HIV – Footsteps 98

How to break down stigma, prevent mother-to-child transmission and support people living with HIV

The Atlantic coast of Honduras is home to an ethnic group called the Garifuna. They have their own language and a rich tradition of dance and music. Sadly, HIV is five times as common among the Garifuna people as it is in the rest of Honduras.

In the Garifuna communities, most people living with HIV keep their condition a secret because of stigma and discrimination. They are afraid of being asked to leave their jobs. Families often treat people living with HIV as outcasts, and people call them rude names.

AMIGA Garifuna is an organisation working in the Garifuna communities, training pastors and community leaders about HIV prevention and how to tackle stigma. Xiomara Guzman is a leader in both her church and community who has been taking part in the training offered by AMIGA. She can already see the difference that AMIGA’s support has made in her life, the church and the wider community. ‘I have been able to develop a good set of skills and knowledge, allowing me to talk to people and support families living with HIV now,’ says Xiomara.

Xiomara explains that churches used to either ignore HIV or condemn the problem. But now things have started to change. ‘As churches we are waking up to a new approach,’ says Xiomara. ‘We are responding with compassion, patience and love. Churches are providing counselling and guidance to people living with HIV. People’s mentality is changing, and self-esteem is being restored.’

AMIGA believes that publicly acknowledging HIV will help to reduce stigma and, ultimately, will help to prevent HIV. But the challenge is far from over. There are still some risk factors that contribute to the high levels of HIV, such as poverty, abuse, gender inequality, and lack of access to education and health care. However, the church embracing its role to show Jesus’ love in both word and deed is a hopeful start.

Norman Molina is the Project Officer for Tearfund’s Central America office.

Xiomara Guzman is reaching out to people living with HIV and AIDS in her church and community. Photo: Deiby Amaya/AMIGA

Xiomara Guzman is reaching out to people living with HIV and AIDS in her church and community. Photo: Deiby Amaya/AMIGA

View or download this resource

Get this resource

Similarly Tagged Content

Share this resource

If you found this resource useful, please share it with others so they can benefit too.

Subscribe to Footsteps magazine

A free digital and print magazine for community development workers. Covering a diverse range of topics, it is published three times a year.

Sign up now - Subscribe to Footsteps magazine

Cookie preferences

Your privacy and peace of mind are important to us. We are committed to keeping your data safe. We only collect data from people for specific purposes and once that purpose has finished, we won’t hold on to the data.

For further information, including a full list of individual cookies, please see our privacy policy.

  • These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

  • These cookies allow us to measure and improve the performance of our site. All information these cookies collect is anonymous.

  • These allow for a more personalised experience. For example, they can remember the region you are in, as well as your accessibility settings.

  • These cookies help us to make our adverts personalised to you and allow us to measure the effectiveness of our campaigns.