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Religion and AIDS in Africa$
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Jenny Trinitapoli and Alexander Weinreb

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195335941

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335941.001.0001

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Effects of AIDS on Religion

Effects of AIDS on Religion

(p.187) 10 Effects of AIDS on Religion
Religion and AIDS in Africa

Jenny Trinitapoli

Alexander Weinreb

Oxford University Press

Chapters 1 through 9 focus on how religion in Africa shapes the popular understanding of the AIDS epidemic, modes of prevention, and mitigation of effects. This chapter flips the direction of the relationship and asks how, if at all, AIDS is changing religious belief and practice in sub-Saharan Africa over and above broader determinants of religious change. Historical precedents of epidemics effecting religious change are reviewed. Contrasts between those cases and AIDS are clarified. Using data from sermons and from religious life histories collected in Malawi, the chapter then points to signs of AIDS’s role in increasing religiosity, encouraging denominational shifts to congregations with stricter moral codes and more extensive social support, and more generally affecting patterns of religious expression—in particular through the infusion of more and sharper messages about sexual morality and caregiving in religious teachings.

Keywords:   religious change, epidemics, caregiving, Malawi, religious life histories, moral codes, social support

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