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Strings AttachedAIDS and the Rise of Transnational Connections in Africa$
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Nadine Beckmann, Alessandro Gusman, and Catrine Shroff

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265680

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265680.001.0001

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‘If You Cannot Control Yourself’

‘If You Cannot Control Yourself’

Christian Leaders as HIV Preventers in Malawi

(p.197) 10 ‘If You Cannot Control Yourself’
Strings Attached

Anaïs Bertrand-Dansereau

British Academy

In Malawi, as elsewhere in southern Africa, faith-based organisations (FBOs) have been integrated in the official response to HIV/AIDS. This new role, and the funding that accompanies it, has professionalised their traditional care activities around AIDS patients, widows and orphans, and it has also put them in charge of HIV prevention. As HIV preventers, they are asked to bridge epistemic differences between conflicting notions of sexuality and morality by reconciling public health messages, Christian teachings and local cosmologies. This becomes challenging when it comes to the question of sexuality education, specifically the promotion of abstinence, and condom use. Many FBO leaders’ response to this challenge is nuanced and defies stereotypes, as they try to balance their concern for young people, the demands of donors and the moral imperatives of their faith.

Keywords:   HIV prevention, Malawi, faith-based organisations, Christianity, condoms, youth, sexuality education, abstinence

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