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Religion & Diseases


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Additional information Religion and infectious diseases (I thru Z)


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12 Principles of Islamic Unity - Action Items Principles of Islamic Unity by Dr. Adel Elsaie  

A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

I understand that you have an economic system in America known as Capitalism. Through this economic system you have been able to do wonders. You have become the richest nation in the world, and you have built up the greatest system of production that history has ever known. All of this is marvelous. But Americans, there is the danger that you will misuse your Capitalism. I still contend that money can be the root of all evil. It can cause one to live a life of gross materialism. I am afraid that many among you are more concerned about making a living than making a life. You are prone to judge the success of your profession by the index of your salary and the size of the wheel base on your automobile, rather than the quality of your service to humanity.  
A Jihad Against AIDS If the best vehicle for educating a Muslim population about Aids is one that carries authority, enjoys mass reach and possesses the power to convince, who better than the person who leads prayers at a mosque? Particularly in a predominantly Muslim region such as the Kashmir Valley?  

A Matter of Faith

The nature of HIV/AIDS has posed a major challenge for communities of faith. The HIV/AIDS pandemic touches on several issues that are central to religion and faith, including sexuality; the family; death; dying, and the afterlife; caring and compassion; morality; and the meaning of life and faith itself

313 kb pff

A Pastor’s Guidebook for HIV/AIDS Ministry through the Church We are here because African Americans continue to be disproportionately infected with HIV and AIDS.  As reported in the 2001 CDC HIV/AIDS Surveillance, African American and Hispanic women together represent less than one-forth of all US women, yet they account for more than three fourths (78 percent) of AIDS cases reported to date among women in the United States 990 kb pdf
A THEOLOGY OF STIGMA IN A TIME OF HIV AND AIDS A theology of stigma is based in the context of a HIV epidemic that continues to wreak havoc uninvited in the lives of countless individuals and communities. Our context is described in the following comments.  ‘It is now common knowledge that in HIV/AIDS, it is not the condition itself that hurts most (because many other diseases and conditions lead to serious suffering and death), but the stigma and the possibility of rejection and discrimination, misunderstanding and loss of trust that HIV positive people have to deal with’  


"In my eight years here, evangelicals have now stepped up to the plate. They represent a great hope, and I think there's a great awakening on this issue," said Frist, according to meeting participants. "The ultimate cure cannot be found without the church."


Abstinence, Abstinence-Only, Faith-Based, and the Psychology of Stigma

There is common ground on abstinence; the problem is with abstinence-only. Everyone agrees that not having sex is the most certain way to prevent sexual HIV transmission -- and few if any object to teaching that. But it certainly does not follow that abstinence-only prevention programs are best -- since many clients will not remain permanently abstinent, and the issue is what happens when they do not.


Abstinence Failure Menstuff® has compiled the following information on abstinence failure. There is potential failure with all forms of prevention, which often comes from not having the knowledge of how to use the protection. That's why it is so important to know as much about "safer sex" before ever experiencing even petting. Without that knowledge, the chances of acquiring an STD or having an unplanned pregnancy, increases dramatically. Nonpartisan researchers have been unable to document measurable benefits of the abstinence-only model. Columbia University researchers found that although teenagers who take "virginity pledges" may wait longer to initiate sexual activity, 88 percent eventually have premarital sex  

African Church Leaders Admit, 'We Have Been Reluctant to Speak Openly about HIV/AIDS

We have been reluctant to speak openly about HIV/AIDS and have thus at times contributed to the silence and stigma that surround the disease. We have allowed fear and denial to prevent us from getting good information and education about HIV/AIDS and, in turn, sharing that information with the members of our conference.


AIDS.. Hidden Crisis In Arab, Islamic Countries

"The gap is wider between reported numbers and estimated ones of those plagued by HIV/AIDS in regional countries, due to a plethora of reasons including governments' blackout of the true numbers," Ibrahim al-Kirdani of the World Health Organization's Eastern Mediterranean Region office.  

AIDS: Stigmatize or Show Mercy?


40,000,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS today, of which 3,000,000 are children under the age of 15. A particularly troubling consequence of the deadly disease is the number of orphaned children that has resulted. Today, more than 13 million children, most of who live in sub-Saharan Africa, have lost one or both parents to AIDS. By the year 2010, it is estimated that this number will jump to more than 25 million. In a world that harvests more than 40,000 refugees as a result of wars, civil strife, floods, earthquakes and destitution, AIDS also forms a formidable enemy.  

AIDS: An Evangelical Perspective

How should our response to the AIDS epidemic be influenced by the fact that in many places the primary transmitters of the disease are promiscuous male homosexuals and intravenous drug users? Answering this secondary question is more complex. It is a prejudical untruth to call AIDS a homosexual disease. AIDS is a viral disease that affects heterosexuals and homosexuals. There is no evidence whatsoever to indicate that this new virus was originally produced by homosexual practice.  

AIDS and the Church


This silence may imply assent to the view that certain at-risk populations (gay and bisexual men, drug addicts, prostitutes) deserve the disease and the horrible death it portends. Or the silence may indicate a lack of knowledge of the disease and of the opportunities for ministry it generates. Whatever the reason for the shortcoming, AIDS raises basic issues of pastoral and prophetic ministry that involve the church’s role in the community as well as its responsibility for society’s dispossessed. Whether or not the federal government or other agencies provide resources to meet this crisis and some of the needs of people touched by it, the church itself must respond if it is to reflect in its life the spirit of its Lord who commanded his fellow servants to do for one another what he had done for them.  
AIDS BOASTING Poem submitted to this site by a college professional concerning the concept that AIDS is for those people who do not listen to the Words of God.  
AIDS Challenges Religious Leaders Roman Catholicism has been a crucial player in virtually all aspects of the global response to AIDS since the disease was identified 20 years ago. Through its hospices and hospitals, orphanages and parish outreach, the Catholic Church provides more direct care for people with AIDS and their families and communities, particularly in Africa and Latin America, than any other institution.  

AIDS - Christian Views on HIV / AIDS

In the early days of the AIDS epidemic medical advice was that AIDS was spread only by anal sex. The public impression was that unless you were gay you could not get AIDS. A number of clergymen and church leaders then grabbed their Bibles and began a series of private and public pronouncements denouncing homosexuality, listing plagues described in the Old and New Testaments, and declaring that this was obviously God's plague on homosexuals---obviously as it only appeared to affect them.


AIDS: A Jewish Perspective At the outset, one possible misconception must be dispelled. The argument is sometimes made that since AIDS is spread by conduct that both Judaism and Christianity regard as immoral, society should not be overly concerned. Let the sinners suffer the consequences of their sin. This is an utterly fallacious argument  

AIDS & Circumcision-Islamic view point

Circumcised men come from communities that place a deep religio-cultural significance on this particular hygiene practice; which doesn't necessarily apply to those who do not (Shillinger, p.1). The majority of Muslims believe that male circumcision is obligatory and it is one of the five acts of cleanliness recorded in Sahih Muslim, Sahih Bukhari, Musnad Ahmed and Sunnah at-Tirmidhi


AIDS and American Religion


Some people of faith, however, not only believe for themselves, but force on others the notion that there is only "one way" on the spiritual journey to meaning. For those of us involved in the day to day life of AIDS ministry it is clear that much harm has been done to persons with AIDS by segments of American religion. Homophobic campaigns of hate, bigotry and discrimination have caused serious damage to the hearts and souls of people already stigmatized by a fatal disease. It is completely understandable why some individuals want to distance themselves from "the church" because of the acute amount of pain inflected on them by church leaders who condemn them to hell or consider them "intrinsically evil" because their God-given sexual orientation happens to be homosexual



My first contact with the reality of HIV/AIDS was very peculiar. It happened many years ago. It was at the beginning of the pandemic in a small city, Bani, in the Dominican Republic. I was delivering a lecture in the Cathedral Hall on the realities of this new illness called AIDS--in Spanish, SIDA. There was a question and answer period at the end of the talk and three men, one after another denied vehemently the existence of the virus causing the illness: One said all of it had been invented by the priests and the Church to try to prevent men from having fun, having sex. The other two said it was all political and had been invented by the F.B.I. In other words, AIDS was an invention; it did not exist.


AIDS…Hidden Crisis In Arab, Islamic Countries As the number of AIDS patients has risen to a surprising - yet alarming - levels in Arab and Islamic countries over the last few years, many take the blame for the shortcomings to deep-rooted reticence about discussing the epidemic and reluctance of unscrupulous governments and apparently conservative societies to admit it.  

AIDS in South Africa: Why the Churches Matter

South Africa has the world’s second largest AIDS epidemic (in gross numbers). Its neighbor, Zimbabwe, ranks first. During the past ten years, while AIDS has come under control in central African countries with far fewer resources, the disease has gone out of control in South Africa, in the richest, most cosmopolitan nation in the whole sub-Saharan region. An estimated 10 million South Africans, out of a population of approximately 40 million, will die of AIDS during the next ten years.  

AIDS is not a Punishment: Overcoming Guilt and Shame

If you sometimes feel that HIV has stolen the meaning and purpose of your life, you are not alone.  Having HIV has forced many people to examine themselves and life in general.  Unfortunately, some religions and elements of our culture have spread the idea that AIDS is a punishment of sin.

109 kb pdf

AIDS RELATED STIGMA Thinking Outside the Box: The Theological Challenge For the churches, the most powerful contribution we can make to combating HIV transmission is the eradication of stigma and discrimination…Given the extreme urgency of the situation, and the conviction that the churches do have a distinctive role to play in the response to the epidemic, what is needed is a rethinking of our mission, and the transformation of our structures and ways of working. Pdf 521 kb
AIDS-proof your marriage - use a condom

Thirty-four year-old Joan Gray has never led a dissolute life so she felt she had little need to worry about using a condom or being at risk for HIV/AIDS.

She was wrapped up in the security of a Christian marriage anchored on trust. Her husband Paul was also firmly rooted in the faith. "I trusted him because he was a child of God. And I know that if you are a child of God, you wouldn't do nothing to at all to hurt your wife or your husband," she said ruefully as she reflected on her ten-year marriage.

She is now HIV-positive - not as a result of her husband cheating on her but because he had had unprotected sex in a previous relationship. "Five years after we got married he learned that his ex-girlfriend had died of AIDS. He never went to get tested and he never told me," she said.


Given the epidemic proportions of the HIV/AIDS crisis, the fact that at the present time HIV/AIDS is a fatal disease, and that HIV/AIDS presents us with that which is unknown, menacing and incurable, there is a specter of fear and paranoia for multitudes. Due to the fear of and ignorance about the disease, rejection of those who have HIV/AIDS is common. Such rejection causes additional emotional pain for these persons, their families, and their friends. American Baptist individuals, families and congregations have not been immune to the tragedy brought on by this disease. Many within our denomination suffer in silence, not knowing what response they may receive from their congregations if they make known their own struggle or that of a loved one.


An Islamic Perspective on Sexuality
In Islam, sexuality is considered part of our identity 
as human beings. In His creation of humankind, 
God distinguished us from other animals by giving 
us reason and will such that we can control behavior 
that, in other species, is governed solely by 
instinct. So, although sexual relations ultimately can
 result in the reproduction and survival of the human 
race, an instinctual concept, our capacity for 
self-control allows us to regulate this behavior.
Anti-HIV/AIDS Efforts Follow Men to the Mosques
"HIV prevention therefore cannot gain without promoting
 safe sex, of which condom promotion is an essential 
factor. To be meaningful, any such programme got to 
overcome the argument that promoting condom is 
promoting immoral activity,"

Beyond the Homophobic God

Not only has AIDS generated a social crisis of multiple public and private meanings in the United States and throughout the world; it is also underscoring a spiritual and moral crisis for many religious traditions. For many religious persons, the AIDS crisis has provoked fear-based reactions - rejection and isolation, condemnation and judgment, shame and guilt. From some traditions and groups, AIDS increasingly is evoking genuinely compassionate (as opposed to patronizing) pastoral responses. In the most liberating currents of religion, in the U.S. and elsewhere, the crisis is inviting creative theological and ethical responses.



These HIV thea/ologies challenge the complacency of "theology" in the face of HIV disease and also force us to look at the role that "theology" has played in fostering the kinds of conditions that allow HIV to be where it is today in this country and elsewhere, especially amongst those people whom the dominating culture considers to be "disposable people".


Buddhism and the Discourse on AIDS in America

The discourse on religion and AIDS in America has tended to construct itself in a way that makes the key terms into images of the ideals or anti-ideals of the hegemonic culture. Not terribly surprising. Hence, AIDS becomes, monolithically, a (perhaps the)"gay disease," religion is equated with Christianity, and America is portrayed as the culture of white, straight, married, middle-class men and women. The logic that manipulates the now monolithic terms would make the conclusion seem inevitable: real Americans who have the right religion have nothing to fear. AIDS is the disease of the other. It "happens" to those who are not white (whether there in "darkest Africa" or here in the false, penumbral, America of the shooting gallery, the ghetto, or the barrio).(1) When forced to admit that being white is no guarantor of immunity, it is the "Americanness" or the true religiosity of the victim which is challenged.


Buddhism, Transplants and Marathons If I have to use one word to describe this issue of Transplant Chronicles.  It would be ‘controversy.’  Transplantation exudes controversy, especially within the areas of donation and allocation. 182 kb pdf

Can you drink the cup that I must drink...

Since the beginning of the AIDS pandemic, "concerns" have periodically surfaced regarding the possible spread of HIV/AIDS through the practice of sharing the cup at the administration of the Eucharist. Unfortunately, this concern is sometimes manifested as blatant discrimination. In several instances, HIV-positive Episcopalians have been asked not to drink from the cup out of misguided fear they might infect their fellow parishioners.


Christianity and Islam in Africa's Political Experience: Piety, Passion and Power


Relations between Islam and Christianity can be conflictual as they currently seem to be in parts of the Nile Valley, or competitive as they seem to be in East Africa, or ecumenical as they have often been in countries like Tanzania. Christianity and Islam are in conflictual relations when hostilities are aroused, and the two great religions re-enact in Africa a shadow of the Crusades. Christianity and Islam are in competition when they are rivals in the free market of values and ideals, scrambling for converts without edging towards hostility  

Christians Caught Between the Sheets -- How ‘abstinence only’ Ideology Hurts Us

There are few subjects as explosive inside the Christian church as sexuality. The level of reactivity with which people discuss sexuality, parent around sexuality, silence sexuality, and judge and shame sexuality has no equal. For centuries we have fostered this reactivity through the silence and shame that fills most adult’s sexual story and later as parents, assuming a mostly “off limits” silencing stance in our homes with our children. When sexuality is brought up there is usually a swift, reactive and authoritarian response that sounds something like, “Don’t do that!” That is “wrong” or “bad” or “only for people who are married.” And then perpetuating the cycle, we assist our children in going underground with their sexuality, filling with a shame, guilt and self-loathing that finds no place to be comforted. The cycle of shame, silence, and separation of sexuality from faith, grace, and God’s relentless and embodied love is continued. Why have we allowed this? Why have we not examined this with less reactivity and more earnestness? Where is Christ’s love and grace in our sexual stories, our parenting, or the stories of our children?  
Christianity's Contribution to Women American women were baptized into the workforce decades ago. Today they're running their own businesses, launching their own product lines, are managers, directors, VPs and CEOs. That's why the Southern Baptists' spat over women in the workplace is laughable. What's next – debate over whether the earth is round?  
Churches challenged to keep promises for action on HIV and AIDS "If our generation does not 'step up to the plate' and recognize and act on the fact that we are sisters and brothers to all who suffer," Talone said, "then we risk the loss of more than fortune, culture and a way of life.  We risk having our very human identity slip between our fingers."  She concluded, "Our faith demands more of us.  Our God demands more of us.  Our sisters and brothers who have gone before us demand more of us.  Our future demands more of us."  

Churches gather to coordinate action plan against HIV/AIDS-TANZANIA

"When we learned about HIV/AIDS, it is true that churches were shocked into silence and confusion," Dr Rev Veikko Munyika, CUAH vice-chairman and
General Secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN), said. "But we came to realise that we cannot stand aloof while our people
were dying, so we decided to get involved and unite versus a common enemy."


Clerics from all faiths establish project to tackle AIDS in the Arab world


Silence about the nature and prevalence of HIV/AIDS tends to be the norm in the Arab world, where conservative traditions discourage any public discussion of sex. People who have tested positive for the HIV virus are often shunned and suffer discrimination.  "AIDS is an evil that is devouring Arab societies," said Rania Abdel Rahman, an activist from Sudan, which has by far the highest infection rate in the Arab world. The United Nations AIDS program and the WHO estimate that Sudan has 350,000 people infected with HIV — more than 10 times the estimate for any other Arab country.  
Condoms Vs. Christianity - When The Church Tries To Play God The subject here is how the church dictates to its people. If condoms were made available to people then the spread of disease would be less. People are going to have sex regardless of what the church says. That’s something that you can’t deny or argue with. However it’s pretty funny that they will play Russian roulette with their lives by having sex without a condom. The church says that its wrong to have sex unless you are married but in the eyes of most that’s something that is overlooked but hey, you better not wear a condom while you are having marriage outside of sex. Understand the irony of that?  

Cultural Approach to HIV/AIDS Harm Reduction in Muslim Countries

Muslim countries, previously considered protected from HIV/AIDS due to religious and cultural norms, are facing a rapidly rising threat. Despite the evidence of an advancing epidemic, the usual response from the policy makers in Muslim countries, for protection against HIV infection, is a major focus on propagating abstention from illicit drug and sexual practices. Sexuality, considered a private matter, is a taboo topic for discussion. Harm reduction, a pragmatic approach for HIV prevention, is underutilized. The social stigma attached to HIV/AIDS, that exists in all societies is much more pronounced in Muslim cultures. This stigma prevents those at risk from coming forward for appropriate counseling, testing, and treatment, as it involves disclosure of risky practices. The purpose of this paper is to define the extent of the HIV/AIDS problem in Muslim countries, outline the major challenges to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and discuss the concept of harm reduction, with a cultural approach, as a strategy to prevent further spread of the disease  

Deathly Doctrine: Christian Churches and AIDS


AIDS, as it has developed these last 12 years, is not so much a disease as it is an ideology. AIDS has been an epidemic, but it has been an epidemic of grants, funds, monies spent on research, prevention, education and care, and theological definition and redefinition, even more than it has been an epidemic of deaths of a certain sort Every disease has always been a social and cultural phenomenon a phenonemon of meaning at the same moment that it has been a phenomenon of health and dying. But the meaning given AIDS has become mythic almost heroic; this quality is witnessed by the spectacular scale on which AIDS is visibly made to appear. As we will discuss below, the funding of AIDS is quite disproportionate with its epidemiological significance; but more than just the money spent on AIDS, there exists a social and religious imperative to give visibility to AIDS.  
Definition of the freak Sadly, those of our species who are found to be outside the borders of normality in appearance and action have been often stared at, studied, exploited, exhibited, and most often, feared. In the middle ages, they were seen as "prodigies", signs of God's displeasure and/or dominion over the earth, and were thus exploited by religious zealots.  
Developing Strategic Plans: A Tool for Community- and Faith-Based Organizations Organizational and technical capacity building is a cornerstone of the CORE Initiative and helps ensure that grantees and southern partners have the skills and strategies they need to implement effective community-based HIV and AIDS programs. The CORE Initiative's capacity building efforts focus on technical skills and issues of organizational effectiveness. Focus areas include planning and management, behavior change communication, monitoring and evaluation, microcredit/ finance, gender issues, networking, and advocacy. Pdf 221 kb
Disease Traced to the Early Ages and Its Causes-Religion
My object in laying my ideas before the people in 
regard to the causes of disease is to separate 
myself from all others who pretend to cure disease. 
The world or the people in it are superstitious from 
ignorance, but their superstition shows itself 
in a variety of ways. Some who think they are free
 from it are in reality most affected by it. Superstition 
is not applied to wisdom but to some idea that has 
never been understood, and the explanation of the 
phenomena is the superstition if it is not 
explained on some scientific principle that puts an 
end to all investigation. My object in this communication
 is to confine myself to the prevailing superstition in 
regard to diseases, their causes and cures, and to 
show where I stand independent of all others.
Dying to learn: Young people, HIV and the churches More than half of those newly infected are young people, aged between 15 and 24 (UNAIDS, 2002b). Young people are particularly vulnerable to HIV. Many young people do not know how to protect themselves from HIV. Half of teenage girls in sub-Saharan Africa do not know that a healthy-looking person can be living with HIV (UNAIDS, 2001). The churches responded quickly to the crisis, using extensive and well-established networks, providing care to the sick on a vast scale. However they have become less involved in prevention work. In addition to the discomfort experienced by many in talking about sex, the churches have been concerned that sexual health and HIV education1 may lead to promiscuity2 amongst young people. Pdf 681 kb


Each religion usually defines itself as the "true people," often to the exclusion of those who do not match the norms defined and defended by those elected to do so in the tradition. Here special and narrow and true are claimed to be synonymous. In this understanding of community, different is usually a pejorative term. Someone differs from truth. This is cognitively heresy and actively immorality. The true believer is the one who acts according to the norm that defines the interests of the dominant group in the religion.


Ecumenical HIV/AIDS Initiative in Africa After two decades, HIV/AIDS has become a global emergency with far-reaching effects. Today, there is no country that has been left unscathed by the Epidemic. It affects all countries including Cameroon socially, economically, spiritually and culturally. HIV/AIDS threatens development and human security.  

Evangelical Christians Respond to Global AIDS Crisis

The abstinence vs. condoms clash rages on, but the two sides say they can agree on one thing: When it comes to AIDS, Christian mercy needs to replace moral judgment about how the disease is transmitted. Echoing the sentiments of many evangelical leaders, McCollum described the global AIDS crisis as a "divine test" for Christians. It is a test that many pastors admit they have flunked so far


Faith based approaches
Faith-based organizations exist in almost every 
community and play an important role in the 
emotional, social and spiritual aspects of 
many people's lives. In many communities, 
faith-based workers have become active in HIV
 care and prevention projects
Faith in Action-Examining the Role of Faith-Based Organizations in Addressing HIV/AIDS
This manual is designed to be flexible.  It contains 
basic information about HIV/AIDS and different 
ways in which the faith community can respond 
including teaching, counseling, IEC, and advocacy.
545 kb pdf
Faith Community responses to HIV/AIDS
There has been significant interest on the part of both
 multilateral and governmental agencies to increase 
the role of faith-based/religious organizations in 
mobilizing HIV prevention efforts, as well as in providing 
care and support services
336 kb pdf

Faith-based and Community Response to HIV/AIDS

Faith-based and community organizations must use scientifically evaluated methods in their delivery of HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and support services and must exercise non-discriminatory hiring practices

204 kb pdf

Faith-based HIV work doing more harm than good, says African church leader There was recognition among the religious leaders that one of their biggest challenges comes from those who use the language of faith or the doctrine of the church to preach that HIV is a punishment from God and that the use of condoms is a sin.  The head of the Lutheran World Federation, Bishop Mark Warner, said the church had to understand that the prohibition on the use of condoms was exacerbating the disease rather than preventing it. Abstinence as the only form of prevention was not viable when discussing HIV prevention, he said. Churches must realise that the use of condoms in fighting HIV is not contrary to our moral teaching, said Bishop Warner.  

Faith-Based Organizations & HIV/AIDS Housing

At the outset of the AIDS epidemic, some communities of faith struggled with how to respond…”Most people get AIDS by doing things that other people don’t approve of their doing.  And if you get into AIDS at all, you’ve got to start talking about things that people in churches don’t usually talk about.”

147 kb pdf

Faith-Based Organizations early position on HIV/AIDS

Around ten years or so ago, in the early years of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, FBO’s remained aloof in spite of the severe challenges posed by the pandemic on the human community.  FBO’s adopted a position that HIV/AIDS was the disease of homosexuals and lesbians.  They were referred to as “these people” who needed to seek counseling to change their unnatural behaviour. Many religious leaders’ perception of the HIV/AIDS pandemic revealed the following thinking about the pandemic and went something like this.  The HIV/AIDS pandemic was caused by immoral persons, who, had they followed the ethical and moral teachings of their respective religious communities would not be in this position.  Consequently, the pandemic would have been arrested and ultimately eliminated from societies.  Many others were of the opinion that the advent of the disease was God’s judgement on deviant behaviour patterns of those infected with Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s).  Members of many congregations refused to socialize with those members who tested positive and were living with AIDS.  In the religious communities, discrimination and stigmatization of persons were evident in many a congregation and by extension the communities.  Many felt that some religious communities were not disciplined in their moral and ethical teachings and churches and religious communities even began to judge each other. 

FAITH MATTERS: TEENAGERS, SEXUALITY, AND RELIGION The teen participants in the Faith Matters survey gave their congregations poor grades in providing them with information about sexuality and with guidance to prepare for marriage and parenting. Clergy and adult youth workers, in contrast, gave themselves grades of fair or good for their work in those areas. Thus adult leaders in congregations see themselves doing a better job at providing information and guidance than their youth think they are doing. Teens were virtually unanimous in wanting their faith-based institutions to do more to help them relate their faith to dating, sexual decision-making, marriage, and parenting. They are very open to more help from their congregations, and they are frustrated with the overall failure of adult society to give them the help that they need  
Family Values Versus Safe Sex The Catholic Church has repeatedly criticized programs promoting condoms as a totally effective and sufficient means of AIDS prevention. The different Bishops’ Conferences all over the world have expressed their concern regarding this problem. The Catholic Bishops of South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland categorically “regard the widespread and indiscriminate promotion of condoms as an immoral and misguided weapon in our battle against HIV/AIDS for the following reasons. * The use of condoms goes against human dignity. * Condoms change the beautiful act of love into a selfish search for pleasure — while rejecting responsibility. * Condoms do not guarantee protection against HIV/AIDS. * Condoms may even be one of the main reasons for the spread of HIV/AIDS. Apart from the possibility of condoms being faulty or wrongly used they contribute to the breaking down of self-control and mutual respect.”  
Fear-based appeals in HIV prevention
Fear appeals that are designed to change behaviors 
in ‘unconverted’ populations result in a process of 
motivated reasoning that discounts the source 
information, message information and message 
relevance, making them ineffective and potentially
428 kb pdf

Foundations for a Holistic Christian Response to AIDS

What could you possibly have been thinking when you replied to ... the reader who was critical of the sensitive personal information contained in newspaper obituaries .... You said that you didn't mind reading about someone's multiple marriages because that was 'part of the person's personal history' but that you would prefer to see an AIDS-related death referred to as an 'extended illness' to spare the family members any embarrassment. I can't understand how you failed to see the hypocrisy in your statement. An AIDS-related death is indeed a profound part of someone's personal history. To have it whitewashed implies that AIDS is a source of shame. It most empathically is not. The public needs to know how many lives are being lost to this terrible illness so that the search for a cure will not wane.



Until very recently, the world Jewish community has been slow to respond to the AIDS epidemic. This slowness of response is due to a confluence of factors, not insignificant among them Judaism's adherence to the idea of moral etiology. Along with the ancient belief that physical illness is a consequence of immorality, the Jewish community has indulged in intense denial that AIDS is a "Jewish" issue. Popular Jewish belief has been that are few Jewish homosexuals, even fewer promiscuous Jews, even fewer Jewish substance abusers, and virtually no Jewish women whose behavior would put them at risk for AIDS.


Gender and Theology in Africa today Gender in current parlance signifies the power relation between masculine and feminine. The gender ideology presupposes that the masculine encompasses the female, or takes priority in relation to the female and is entitled to expect subordination and submissiveness and self-abasement of the female. The gender ideology is not limited to biology. It is also social and appears in relations among men as among women and among nations. It functions, as a pecking order colonies were females in relations to the colonizing nations.  

God’s children are dying of AIDS

Nowhere is this truer than in the attempts of religions to deal with human sexuality.  Nowhere has this become so obvious as in the responses of religious people, hierarchies and authorities to the global HIV pandemic.  The response of religious communities to this problem, present in all cultures, has in many cases led to the rejection and stigmatization of those affected by HIV/AIDS.  In many religions, leaders and others are uncomfortable sitting at the side of a person or family with HIV or AIDS because this means facing issues of sexuality around which there is much insecurity, defensiveness and aversion

460 kb pdf

Grappling With Africa's AIDS Epidemic

Cultural and religious influences are two of the major contributing factors to southern Africa's AIDS and HIV crisis, a Michigan State University expert concludes. ''There are religious groups that oppose the use of condoms and believe in abstinence only. There are folks who believe that talking about prevention methods like safe sex or the use of latex condoms and other barriers - the mere talk . . . encourages sexual activity,'' says Lacey, who is director of the university's AIDS Education and Training Center.


Hate Speech in Religious Disguise on the Internet The trouble with hate speech is generally that its performers use the right of free speech, stated in the first amendment, to justify their acts.  Estimates reveal that there are some 800 so-called “Hate Speech” sites on the Internet.  In this article the focus will be on hate speech as performed by the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Their web pages “God Hates Fags” ( and “God Hates America” ( provide a perfect demonstration of the unlimited freedom that is allowed on the Internet. The article will present a review of the abovementioned amendments, the activities of the Westboro Baptist church as applied to these amendments, and recent court decisions regarding hate speech on the Internet.  


"The Bible teaches that fear does not come from God, but man wants to scare other men into accepting God, so they make up a whole lot of bullshit that's not even in the Bible. The Bible teaches that God is love, and spirit, and the Father of Light. Man, well even in Jesus' day, man couldn't seem to focus on spiritual things, but only physical things -- Bible says that God sent His Son to save the whole world, but the guys back then were more interested in having a physical king, like right now, you know, to kick Rome's buttocks."


GUIDELINES FOR CARIBBEAN FAITH – BASED ORGANISATIONS IN DEVELOPING POLICIES AND ACTION PLANS TO DEAL WITH HIV/AIDS In the Caribbean, the main means of transmission of HIV/AIDS infection is sexual contact with infected persons. The primary mode of sexual transmission has changed from predominantly a homosexual one to a bisexual and heterosexual one. The risk of transmission is aggravated by certain sexual practices such as having multiple sexual partners, casual sex, violent sexual intercourse, and commercial sex.  
Health-Africa-AIDS-stigma: Africa's AIDS pandemic finds a friend in stigma "Religious leaders have contributed to stigma because they regard the victims as sinners and adulterers," Sheikh Al Haj Yussuf, vice chair of Kenya Muslim Supreme Council, said. "It is still a taboo of sexuality. The link is: AIDS equals sex and sin, because people are reluctant and fear to speak about it openly," said a South African priest, Reverend Jape Heath, a coordinator of African Network of Religious Leaders Living with HIV.  

HIV, AIDS and Islam

This article is for Muslims who are unsure about what HIV and AIDS is, and what it means for them and their families. This article will also be of value to those who deal with Muslims in a health advisory role. We hope that once you have read this article, you will have a better idea of how HIV is transmitted and how people can protect themselves from contracting the virus. People reading this should also get a better understanding of Islamic views on HIV and AIDS education. This article also considers why it is important that people deal compassionately and sensitively with those who are living with HIV or AIDS.


HIV, AIDS & ISLAM Positive Muslims is a South African organization started in June 2000 working to support Muslims living with HIV&AIDS and spreading awareness about the disease. The organization’s name reflects both the fact that it consists of people who are HIV-positive and that it provides support to HIV-positive Muslims as well as its ‘positive’ and progressive approach to people living with the disease. In addition to its small full-time staff complement guided by an Executive Committee, it has an active volunteer membership base. Today, this Cape Town-based organization is recognized in many parts of the world for its pioneering work among Muslims. Positive Muslims is part of two impulses. First, its South African Pdf 285 kb
HIV/Aids and Islam Our Holy Prophet Mohammed, (peace be upon him), has stressed the importance of health at many times. He once said to his one of his companion, “O’ Abbas ask Allah for health in this world and in the next” (Al-Nasa`i). “No supplication is more pleasing to Allah than a request for good health” (Tirmidhi). The Prophet Dawud (pbuh) said, “Health is a hidden kingdom”. Our bodies are trust from Allah that must be returned one day and we will be asked how looked after it. Therefore we should avoid any act which will harm our physical or spiritual health.  
HIV and AIDS Campaign-Faith base The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance is a broad international network of churches and Christian organizations cooperating in advocacy on global trade and HIV and AIDS. The Alliance is based in Geneva, Switzerland.  

HIV/AIDS and Christians in Africa

In church we are told that one of the reasons we should support Christian missionary activity in Africa is to stop the spread of Islam. In the words of Operation World: “African Christians as well as mission agencies need to make Muslims a priority for demonstrations of the love of Christ and culturally sensitive approaches must be developed for planting churches among them.”

Yet as AIDS rips at the heart of the continent - devastating families, gutting townships, wrecking national economies, creating millions of orphans - it looks to be Islamic culture that has solutions of a sort.


HIV/AIDS and its 'Willing Executioners': The Impact of Discrimination After the traumas of the Holocaust most of us would agree that its existence (Anti-Semitism) is not merely a Jewish problem, that it poses a challenge to everyone because a society that tolerates such prejudice is that much less a good and a just society. The same test, I would argue, can be applied to the way in which a society deals with a new and lethal disease even when - especially when - those it strikes come largely from unpopular and distrusted groups (Denis Altman).  

HIV/AIDS and Religion

My name is Joe, and I'm a gay man living with HIV. I also happen to be a Christian minister. Spiritual and religious influences have dramatically altered the overall course and direction of my life. It has informed who I am now and who I am becoming. I have seen firsthand the tremendous good that takes place when religion offers healing and wholeness to others. I have also witnessed the negative force that can be unleashed when prejudice and oppression in the name of religion goes unchecked.



The short answer, from many people of faith, is "No! Absolutely not!" Yet some people have answered the question "Yes". Indeed, some members of what has come to be know as the radical religious right praise God for the tragic pidemic which is claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of human beings in every part of the world. Because HIV/AIDS was associated in the first years of the epidemic with the gay male community in the western world, many from the radical religious right have used this pandemic as a weapon to further their own homophobic agendas.  

HIV/AIDS Ministry

We still think of AIDS as a ‘gay’ disease.  Or else we think of intravenous drug users and women with multiple sex partners.  We think culpability, reaping what you sow…Yet Jesus told us that caring for one another, especially the ‘little’ ones, is the essence of the law.

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The connection between HIV/AIDS, Gender and Religion is not an obvious one. Most of us are familiar with research findings that have revealed the particular vulnerability of women to HIV/AIDS and therefore are able to see the connections between Gender and HIV/AIDS. This vulnerability of women as a group to the pandemic has been attributed to their biology and position in society as a marginalized/oppressed group. The question that still has to be answered is how Religion and in this case the Christian faith fits into this? How is it possible to link HIV/AIDS, Gender and Religion? How can this link be used to speak about the eradication of poverty?


HIV/AIDS in India – Church’s Responsibility The first case of HIV was detected in India in 1987.  In the last 15 years, the epidemic has spread rapidly all over the country.  Today India has about 4.5 million HIV positive people.  If this trend continues, India will be the leading country with HIV infection in the world in the near future 18 kb pdf
HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care and Support across Faith-Based Communities
The purpose of this bibliography is to describe and 
review resources that have proven useful to 
faith-based organizations addressing the HIV crisis
 in Africa
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HIV/AIDS, Stigma & Religion

Every major religion - in the instance of the 2nd IMLC, Islam - teaches tolerance, respect and dignity. Condemnation and judgement should be left to a higher authority, and not to us as mere mortals. Who can say one is better than the other, especially in the instance where it is a disease that does not discriminate? Religion also edifies care and compassion. What these ethics essentially tell us as good Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus or human beings is to extend a non-judgemental, respectful concern and kindness to those who are less fortunate than us. This includes PLWHA who are more often than not left in a vulnerable position because they are marginalised and prejudiced against. Religion can be used by certain individuals for their own purposes to place themselves in a higher position and authority than others through self-appointed pious condemnation, or it can be used as a guiding principle to treat others with acceptance, respect and love.


HIV/AIDS, STIGMA AND RELIGIOUS RESPONSES Religious groups, in general, have a reputation for responding to the issue of HIV in negative terms.    Factors that influence this perception have included judgmental comment from religious leaders; debate about condoms; and an obstructive stance towards policy development, particularly regarding drug use, commercial sex, and harm reduction approaches.   The religious sector has been largely unwilling to engage in any way that could imply dilution of moral standards.  As a result, people with HIV have experienced rejection by religious people, congregations or institutions.  


There appears to be little in common between the beliefs of medieval Christianity and modern science. We learned in grade school how the open exchange of ideas was suppressed back in the dark ages, and how learning was discouraged in favor of dogmas handed down hierarchically from the religious elite to the peasants through several rigid, filtering layers.


HIV/AIDS, STIGMA AND RELIGIOUS RESPONSES Religious groups, in general, have a reputation for responding to the issue of HIV in negative terms.    Factors that influence this perception have included judgmental comment from religious leaders; debate about condoms;   and an obstructive stance towards  policy development, particularly regarding drug use, commercial sex, and harm reduction approaches.   The religious sector has been largely unwilling to engage in any way that could imply dilution of moral standards.  As a result, people with HIV have experienced rejection by religious people, congregations or institutions.  
HIV/AIDS through the lens of Christianity: Perspectives from a South African urban support group HIV is one of the most obscure viruses that humankind has had to face in recent times. Compounding this obscurity are often contesting perspectives on what it means to be HIV infected, and these perspectives are largely constituted by people’s rationalisation of complex situations or experiences. Using qualitative research methods and ethnography in particular, this paper reflects on a broad understanding of what it means to live with HIV in the context of Christianity, using research participants’ perspectives in an urban support group setting. Two fundamental patterns are evident in this paper: (1) as support group members rationalise their HIV infection, they continuously construct and reconstruct their identities; and (2) support group members rationalise their HIV infection to enhance their coping abilities, using Christianity and the Bible in particular, as a reference. Whilst rationalising HIV infection, three viewpoints emerge. The first viewpoint perceives HIV infection as an affliction by Satan; the second viewpoint sees it as originating from God; while the last viewpoint interprets HIV infection as a negotiated settlement between God and Satan. The paper is intended to trigger debate, and hopefully also to seek and provide answers from various sectors of society, and religious communities in particular, in order to help other HIV positive people in similar situations better manage their HIV condition. Pdf 98 kb
HIV and Islam: is HIV prevalence lower among Muslims? This paper examines the relationship between HIV and Islam.  That is, it tests the hypothesis that Islamic religious affiliation negatively associates with HIV seropositivity. 133 kb pdf


In the years since my uncle's death, I am heartened that more churches, across the racial ethnic spectrum, have come to see that the call of Micah to "do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God" should be part of the foundation of how we think theologically and ethically when combating HIV/AIDS in our communities. But I am only heartened, I cannot yet rejoice. For there are far too many churches that five, breath, and spew hatred and condemnation when it comes to those who have HIV or AIDS. They use phrases such as "God's judgment," "hate the sin, love the sinner," "they should all be locked up," "they should all die" as testimony to their Ae theologies of loathing. And these phrases are not just confined to talking about gay men who contract AIDS, but they mark children, substance abusers, hemophiliacs, heterosexual women, male and female prostitutes, those received tainted blood through IV transfusions with this summary judgment.