The Russian Orthodox Church, HIV, and Injecting Drug Use

Jarrett Zigon

in “HIV Is God's Blessing”

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780520267626
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948327 | DOI:
The Russian Orthodox Church, HIV, and Injecting Drug Use

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This chapter considers the correlation between injecting drug use and HIV in Russia and advocates that the Church's drug rehabilitation programs be considered a part of the state's HIV prevention and treatment measures. The Church has various programs that address the HIV epidemic. These programs include preventive programs aimed at educating children and youth about morality and the harms of drug use, as well as programs for counseling HIV-infected persons and their loved ones. The Church also runs a telephone hotline for people to receive information about HIV/AIDS and has been holding educational seminars for priests and seminarians on how to offer spiritual support to the affected. However, there is almost no communication or working relationship between the Church programs and the secular non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that work in this field. This is so primarily because of the difference in how each views the epidemic, its cause, and its prevention and treatment. The Church's primary strategy for fighting the epidemic is the reinforcement of spiritual and moral norms in society, accomplished through religious education. Ultimately their goal is the moral resurrection of the Russian nation.

Keywords: injecting drug use; HIV epidemic; preventive programs; moral norms; religious education; rehabilitation programs

Chapter.  3014 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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