Catholic Medical Quarterly

The Journal of the Catholic Medical Association (UK)

Building knowledge. Building faith. Protecting the vulnerable.

Book Review

Religion & AIDS in Africa

Jenny Trinitapoli and Alexander Weintrab
Oxford University Press
ISBN 978-0-19-533594-1

Book CoverAccording to the research found in this book, one really important factor in determining the rate at which HIV spreads in Africa is the degree of religiosity: the more religious the person, the less likely he or she would be to become infected with HIV. Religiosity is more important than the denomination. So a fully believing Protestant or Muslim is less likely to become infected than a Catholic who ignores the teachings of his Church.

Although the authors do not endorse the teachings of the Catholic Church on this issue, they accept that the research evidence shows that abstinence is the most effective means of HIV infection avoidance. A religious perspective of abstinence is more effective than a purely secular perspective because Africans are a religious people. It is also noted that extra-marital sex is less likely to occur in people who take their religion seriously.

The authors note that practicing Christians in Africa are far more likely to help people with HIV than any other group.

The authors conclude that without religious belief, the rate of HIV would be far higher in Africa. This information needs to be passed to the various secular bodies that exploit the AIDS issue to further their own agenda.