Knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes of older women in HIV/AIDS prevention

ABSTRACT Objective: To analyze the knowledge, religious beliefs and the adoption of preventive measures against HIV/AIDS of non-Catholic elderly women. Method: A qualitative study, carried out in religious institutions of a municipality in the state of Ceará, Northeast Brazil, with 78 elderly women. Of these, 64 were evangelicals, seven spiritualists and seven Jehovah's Witnesses. A semi-structured interview script was used followed by thematic content analysis of participants' responses. Results: After analyzing the empirical data, three categories were elaborated: the first presented the knowledge they had about AIDS; the second, highlighted the beliefs attributed to people with HIV/AIDS; and the third, presented the preventive measures to HIV/AIDS adopted by them. Final considerations: There were participants with knowledge gaps and failure to use preventive measures against HIV/AIDS. They suggested that religious institutions can be venues for lectures on HIV/AIDS prevention.