SOC309Y1 Lecture Notes - Microsoft Powerpoint, Condom, Aids

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7 Nov 2011
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The Potential of Organized Religion to Obstruct the Struggle against HIV/AIDS
-Moral Condemnation:
-associations of HIV/AIDS with homosexuality, sexual promiscuity and injecting drug use has
led to a number of harmful misconceptions:
-the disease is God's punishment on a world or an individual who has gone astray
-the person has sinned and is “deserving” of the disease.
A key message that the religious bodies need to disseminate vigorously is that AIDS is a sickness
and not a sin.
-equating HIV positive individuals with immoral behaviour has contributed to the stigma that
so often accompanies HIV/AIDS status.
-religious affiliations that blame the individual, enhance the infected person's perception
that others have adopted a stigmatizing attitude and this leads to self-stigma, guilt and
internalization – which causes the individual's health to deteriorate even rapidly
Religious bodies must adamantly reject every utterance, pronouncement or practice that carries
any connotation of stigma or discrimination.
-AIDS-silence and denial:
-HIV/AIDS issues are not dealt with sufficiently often or in sufficient depth in sermons, or
religious gatherings.
-Issues that are a concern to the community such as orphan needs, or the extent to child
violence, abuse of male power, helping adolescents on the bumpy road to sexual maturity, etc
are given way more attention than the struggles of the AIDS epidemic.
-Unlike some government sectors, such as education, the faith bodies have not invested major
resources in AIDS-in-the-workplace programmes, in developing AIDS policies, or in the
formulation of strategic plans to deal with the epidemic within the framework of their own
Religious bodies need to come out loud and clear in every possible way about HIV/AIDS,
overcoming silence or denial.
-Patriarchy and the Situation of Women:
-At an organizational level, major religious faiths have a predominantly (in some cases
exclusively) male hierarchy
-they promote the role of the women in many spheres, but have not yet made them equal
to men in their own organizational structures
-this gender inequality divides the focus of issues that need to be addressed
-difficulty in listening carefully to the experiences of women has resulted in failure to
addressing the issues of HIV/AIDS vulnerability amongst young women in their
Religious bodies must pour their enormous human resources into the task of ending the
subjugation of women, recognizing the great change this will mean for their internal structures
and practices.
The Role of Religion in the HIV/AIDS Epidemic
Michael J. Kelly's paper outlines both the positive and negative potentials religion can have in
the struggle against the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Depending on how a religious body conceptualizes the
disease, it can positively affect the epidemic or negatively affect it. Kelly points out the potential of
organized religion to constructively contribute to the reduction of HIV transmission with several
critical points. One of his major points is how religion promotes a culture of life, respect for the
sacredness of life, and celebration of life, which are all radically undermined by HIV/AIDS. It also
promotes a culture of respect, care and concern for fellow human beings, but especially for those who
suffer, irrespective of what might have given rise to the suffering. Kelly also points out how major
religious bodies have extensive networks of people and institutions in urban and rural areas, that can
reach out to individuals in areas that other agencies cannot access. With strong internal bonds of trust
amongst leaders with captive audiences, committed to keeping the group together, enable individuals
with HIV to feel apart of the group rather than isolated from humanity. Religions like Christianity and
Islam have principals that relate to family life, married life, and sexuality, all which are areas closely
linked with HIV/AIDS. Kelly also points out the potential of organized religion to obstruct the
struggle with HIV/AIDS. With the validity and effectiveness of the condom debate, issues of moral
condemnation and stigmatization, problems with AIDS-silence and denial, and patriarchy and the
situation of women among religious bodies are the major negative affects Kelly addresses in his paper
“The Role of Religion in the HIV/AIDS Epidemic”.
The main points addressed in Kelly's paper were all of significant relevance to our topic of
Religion and HIV/AIDS. Kelly's paper sheds light on both sides of the topic, positive versus negative
impacts of religion on AIDS. However, for the sole purpose of our presentation, which is organized as
a debate, this source has been used to draw key points of how religion can negatively affect and impact
the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Some points are of more relevance to our presentation and to the larger
context of SOC309. Issues of moral condemnation where associations with homosexuality, sexual
promiscuity and injecting drug use leading to harmful misconceptions is something we have discussed
in class and in our presentation. Key concepts such as “stigmatization” mentioned in Kelly's paper is of
great relevance to the course and the broader topic of religion. Equating HIV positive people with
immoral and sinful behaviour contributes to the stigma already present in individuals with HIV/AIDS,
causing a more rapid deterioration of one's declining health. Issues with AIDS-silence and denial are
also things we discussed in the course where simply denying the existence of the epidemic is one of the
main approaches many people and religious bodies tend to engross. Finally, discussions of gender
inequality and how it plays a role in the epidemic are of significant relevance to the topic of “Religion
and HIV/AIDS” and the larger context of topics discussed in SOC309.
Michael J. Kelly (2003). The Role of Religion in the HIV/AIDS Epidemic. UNAIDS Scenario Setting
for HIV/AIDS in Africa, 1-7.
Power Point Bullets:
Moral Condemnation:
"The disease is God's punishment on a world or an individual who has gone astray"
"HIV/AIDS = Immoral, Sinful behaviour"
"Hush Hush, if we don't talk about it, it doesn't exist"
"Women are 'equal' to men, just not within religious structures"