Advertisement
The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
  
  • Email Email
  • Comments Comments
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

Commentary & Opinion

Religion, Religious Leaders Have Been Central to Health, Development Improvements in Africa

March 28, 2013

"After decades of doom-and-gloom news about AIDS in Africa, optimism is finally in the air," Jenny Trinitapoli, an assistant professor of sociology, demography, and religious studies at Penn State University, and Alexander Weinreb, an associate professor in the department of sociology and a research associate at the Population Research Center of the University of Texas, Austin, write in a Slate opinion piece. They provide statistics of improvements in the health sector on the continent and note, "The standard narrative attributes these recent improvements to Western engagement. The heroes are the best-known acronyms in the world of AIDS (PEPFAR, UNAIDS, WHO), the Global Fund, and a host of NGOs." They continue, "This narrative contains some important elements of truth," but "most of the measured improvements in AIDS in Africa are actually the result of cumulative, widespread behavior change that has led to a reduction in new HIV infections. In other words, the standard narrative is wrong."

"The narrative is wrong because it ignores local African responses to AIDS and characterizes religion and religious leaders as part of the problem," Trinitapoli and Weinreb continue, noting, "This statement may surprise or even irritate people imagining fire-and-brimstone preachers who condemn the use of condoms, push conservative messages about sex and morality, and interpret AIDS as God's wrath. That's not what African religious leaders have been doing -- quite the contrary. Yet their story remains untold." They provide examples, writing, "In addition to pushing ideas about sexual morality that have roots (even if shallow ones) in religious texts, religious leaders have been promoting innovations to prevent the spread of HIV. These stories, too, have gone untold -- unacknowledged by the scientific literature and Western press." They state, "There is a more empirically accurate narrative about religion and AIDS in Africa, and we've described it at length in our recent book 'Religion and AIDS in Africa.' There is no ambiguity in the data: Religion has been central to curbing the spread of HIV in local communities across sub-Saharan Africa" (3/27).

Back to other news for March 2013


This information was reprinted from kff.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.



  
  • Email Email
  • Comments Comments
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 
See Also
More on Interfaith Responses to HIV/AIDS

No comments have been made.
 

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read TheBody.com's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:


Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:

Tools
 

Advertisement