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:

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This chapter discusses the role of religion in either promoting or inhibiting the stigmatization of HIV+ individuals. Drawing on a small number of instances, many scholars and commentators have speculated that religion is an impediment to open and honest conversations about HIV and AIDS. The evidence presented in this chapter suggests that, in general, the opposite is true. Many HIV+ individuals disclose their HIV status to religious leaders, the most trusted community members, before anyone else. Furthermore, religious leaders and institutions do more to dampen stigma and discrimination than they do to perpetuate it. Among the chapter’s empirical results: more religious people report less stigmatizing views than their non-religious counterparts; Christians tend to stigmatize HIV less than Muslims, and Muslims less than those with no religion.

Keywords: stigma; discrimination; religious leaders; Christianity; Islam

Chapter.  4658 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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