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Creating social spaces to tackle AIDS-related stigma: reviewing the role of church groups in Sub-Saharan Africa

Campbell, Catherine, Skovdal, Morten and Gibbs, Andy (2011) Creating social spaces to tackle AIDS-related stigma: reviewing the role of church groups in Sub-Saharan Africa. AIDS and Behavior, 15 (6). pp. 1204-1219. ISSN 1090-7165

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s10461-010-9766-0


An expanding body of literature explores the role of African church groups in facilitating or hindering the support of people living with AIDS and challenging or contributing to HIV/AIDS-related stigma. Treating church groups as social spaces in which HIV/AIDS-related stigma may potentially be challenged, we systematically review this literature, identifying five themes that highlight the complex and contradictory role of the church as a potential agent of health-enhancing social change. In many ways the church perpetuates HIV/AIDS-related stigma through (i) moralistic attitudes and (ii) its reinforcement of conservative gender ideologies. However some churches have managed move towards action that makes a more positive contribution to HIV/AIDS management through (iii) promoting various forms of social control for HIV prevention, (iv) contributing to the care and support of the AIDS-affected and (v) providing social spaces for challenging stigmatising ideas and practices. We conclude that church groups, including church leadership, can play a key role in facilitating or hindering the creation of supportive social spaces to challenge stigma. Much work remains to be done in developing deeper understandings of the multi-layered factors that enable some churches, but not others, to respond effectively to HIV/AIDS.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media
Divisions: LSE Health
Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
D History General and Old World > DT Africa
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2011 13:16
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2021 01:46

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