Religion, religious leaders have been central to health, development improvements in Africa

Published on March 30, 2013 at 1:50 AM · No Comments

"After decades of doom-and-gloom news about AIDS in Africa, optimism is finally in the air," Jenny Trinitapoli, an assistant professor of sociology, demography, and religious studies at Penn State University, and Alexander Weinreb, an associate professor in the department of sociology and a research associate at the Population Research Center of the University of Texas, Austin, write in a Slate opinion piece. They provide statistics of improvements in the health sector on the continent and note, "The standard narrative attributes these recent improvements to Western engagement. The heroes are the best-known acronyms in the world of AIDS (PEPFAR, UNAIDS, WHO), the Global Fund, and a host of NGOs." They continue, "This narrative contains some important elements of truth," but "most of the measured improvements in AIDS in Africa are actually the result of cumulative, widespread behavior change that has led to a reduction in new HIV infections. In other words, the standard narrative is wrong."

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