Institutionalized Religious Strategies

Jenny Trinitapoli and Alexander Weinreb

in Religion and AIDS in Africa

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780195335941
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199979080 | DOI:
Institutionalized Religious Strategies

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Using a unique dataset that includes interviews with more than 200 religious leaders and more than 100 of their congregants in Malawi, this chapter addresses four main questions: how much variation is there in religious leaders’ and religious institutions’ AIDS prevention strategies? To what extent are these strategies consistent with central doctrines of their tradition? What types of strategies are associated with the lowest—and highest—levels of HIV prevalence? And what role, if any, does traditional medicine play among members of different denominations? The data reveal four general prevention strategies, some combination of which is employed by almost all religious leaders: moral, biomedical, faith healing, and pragmatic. These four vary greatly within denominations, and are often inconsistent with denominational doctrines. The central empirical result of the chapter is that HIV prevalence is lowest in congregations that include a moral approach in their AIDS-prevention strategy.

Keywords: religion; congregations; prevention; prevalence; strategies

Chapter.  6577 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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