Religion and AIDS in Africa

Overview

The African AIDS epidemic has sparked fierce debate over the role of religion. Some scholars and activists argue that religion is contributing to the spread of HIV and to the stigmatization of people living with AIDS. Others claim that religion reduces the spread of HIV and promotes care and support for the sick and their survivors.

Religion and AIDS in Africa offers the first comprehensive empirical account of the impact of religion on the AIDS epidemic. Jenny Trinitapoli and ...

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Overview

The African AIDS epidemic has sparked fierce debate over the role of religion. Some scholars and activists argue that religion is contributing to the spread of HIV and to the stigmatization of people living with AIDS. Others claim that religion reduces the spread of HIV and promotes care and support for the sick and their survivors.

Religion and AIDS in Africa offers the first comprehensive empirical account of the impact of religion on the AIDS epidemic. Jenny Trinitapoli and Alexander Weinreb draw upon extensive fieldwork in Malawi, including hundreds of interviews with religious leaders and lay people, and survey data from more than 30 other sub-Saharan African countries. Their research confirms the importance of religious narratives and institutions in everything related to AIDS in Africa. Among other key findings, Trinitapoli and Weinreb show that a combination of religious and biomedical approaches to prevention reduces risk most effectively; that a significant minority of religious leaders encourage condom use; that Christian congregations in particular play a crucial role in easing suffering among the sick and their dependents; and that religious spaces in general are vital for disseminating information and developing new strategies for HIV prevention and AIDS mitigation.

For anyone wishing to move beyond the rhetoric and ideology that plague debates about one of the most challenging crises of our time, Religion and AIDS in Africa is the authoritative account. It will change the way readers think about religious life and about AIDS in the region.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A terrifically important book. While academics and policy makers are often so ignorant about religion, Trinitapoli and Weinreb bring the best evidence and argument to a topic of massive significance, showing once again that we simply cannot understand our world without taking religion seriously-not imposing prejudices and ideologies, but understanding real religions empirically, from the inside, in all their complexity and consequence."—Christian Smith, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society, University of Notre Dame

"Religion & AIDS in Africa is superb... For religion scholars in particular, this book serves as a stellar example of the application of multiple sources of data from a variety of methods to build and test theory about religion's role in the most massive social problem of our time." —Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

"In response to AIDS in Africa, the role of religion is often framed as a nemesis and/or barrier to that promoted by the secular west. The authors brilliantly present extensive evidence of the important role that Africa's religious groups have had in shaping local responses. These responses range from providing care for the sick and dying to stimulating interpersonal and group debates on appropriate community action. As more so-called biomedical breakthroughs come to pass, it is critical that health and development organizations not forget the powerful adaptive features that characterize many religions in Africa and that they take advantage of such capital in a cooperative and constructive manner."—Rand L. Stoneburner MD, MPH, Former Senior Advisor, Strategic Intelligence and Analysis, UNAIDS, Geneva Switzerland 2009-2011

"It is a broad, deep, and respectful consideration of the subject, clearly organized and presented...the book provides much-needed insights that should shape AIDS prevention policies." —CHOICE

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195335941
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 8/9/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 944,668
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jenny Trinitapoli is Assistant Professor of Sociology, Demography and Religious Studies, Pennsylvania State University.

Alexander Weinreb is Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Texas at Austin.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction

Part One / THE BASICS
1. AIDS in Context
2. Religious Patterns

Part Two / UNDERSTANDING AIDS
3. Interpreting the Epidemic
4. Knowledge about HIV

Part Three / HIV PREVENTION ABC...Z
5. The ABCs of prevention
6. Beyond ABC: Local prevention strategies
7. Congregational Combinations

Part Four / RESPONDING
8. Stigma
9. Safety nets
10. Effects of AIDS on Religion
Conclusions

Appendices
Notes
References
Index

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