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By Jenny Trinitapoli, Alexander Weinreb

The African AIDS epidemic has sparked fierce debate over the function of faith. a few students and activists argue that faith is contributing to the unfold of HIV and to the stigmatization of individuals residing with AIDS. Others declare that faith reduces the unfold of HIV and promotes care and help for the ill and their survivors.

Religion and AIDS in Africa deals the 1st complete empirical account of the influence of faith at the AIDS epidemic. Jenny Trinitapoli and Alexander Weinreb draw upon broad fieldwork in Malawi, together with 1000's of interviews with spiritual leaders and lay humans, and survey facts from greater than 30 different sub-Saharan African nations. Their examine confirms the significance of non secular narratives and associations in every thing with regards to AIDS in Africa. between different key findings, Trinitapoli and Weinreb exhibit mixture of spiritual and biomedical techniques to prevention reduces possibility so much successfully; major minority of spiritual leaders motivate condom use; that Christian congregations particularly play a vital function in easing anguish one of the in poor health and their dependents; and that non secular areas as a rule are very important for disseminating details and constructing new techniques for HIV prevention and AIDS mitigation.

For a person wishing to maneuver past the rhetoric and beliefs that plague debates approximately probably the most difficult crises of our time, Religion and AIDS in Africa is the authoritative account. it is going to switch the way in which readers take into consideration non secular existence and approximately AIDS within the quarter.

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For example, HIV prevalence is six times higher in Zimbabwe than in the Democratic Republic of Congo, even though the latter is thought to be the area in which HIV first emerged. Prevalence is also lower in much of West Africa than it is in Haiti or areas of Thailand and India. Together, these two examples show that the conditions and pace at which HIV spreads vary within SSA. There is something about societies in the south and east of Africa that has made it much easier for HIV to spread than in the west and north; these societies are different in fundamental ways.

Second, just because there is an association between group averages of two different variables does not mean that one can generalize from that association to the individual. This type of inference is a classic scientific pitfall known as an ecological fallacy. In this case, noting that HIV prevalence tends to be lower in countries where a large proportion of the population is Muslim does not mean that individual Muslims are at lower risk. Indeed, though unlikely, it could be the case that Muslims are disproportionately affected in these very settings.

In predominantly Muslim countries, Protestantism and Catholicism sometimes remain undifferentiated within a single “Christian” category. In predominantly Christian countries like Kenya and Ghana, “Pentecostal” was added as an option to recent survey rounds. In all cases, however, this limited number of response categories reduces DHS data’s utility for our purposes. Although they contain rich data on sexual behavior and a host of AIDS-related outcomes, we cannot use these data to identify differences between more and less conservative Protestant denominations, much less congregational differences within a given denomination.

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