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Title: Competing realities, diverse needs : an inter-disciplinary approach to religious engagement with HIV prevention and care
Author: Morris, Margaret
ISNI:       0000 0004 2750 0224
Awarding Body: University of Derby
Current Institution: University of Derby
Date of Award: 2012
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The World Health Organisation/ UNAIDS and the UK's HIV-related public health policies are premised on universal access to information, treatment and care. With a focus on wider determinants of health, such rights-based approaches and their associated commitment to consistent HIV prevention messages and effective care include also a requirement to be respectful of and sensitive to religio-cultural beliefs and practices. There is evidence that access to HIV information and care can be restricted by the moral codes, beliefs and teachings which determine some religious responses to HIV, those, for example, which address issues of sexuality and gender, identity and belonging, authority and power. With a particular interest in a UK context of religio-cultural diversity, this study asks whether existing strategic public health responses to HIV prevention and care are adequate to the multiplicity of psychosocial realities and needs of a diverse community. The study follows comparative interpretative approaches and draws on a range of theoretical perspectives, primarily those of sociology, anthropology and psychology. It identifies the potential for dialogical compatabilities between public health practice and practical theology. Gathering and analysing data and discourse this interdisciplinary, qualitative investigation examines religion-informed responses to HIV prevention and care. With a small-scale localised study positioning the content and authority of religious belief on responses to HIV prevention and care in a UK Midlands city of high religio- cultural diversity, the primary and secondary data are 'grounded' in the experience of a local community. In its tracing of the multiple realities of HIV in contexts of global and local religio - cultural diversity, the study finds that global dimensions of HIV touch the local in unavoidable and diverse ways Religion-defined identity and belonging are valued by people affected by HIV and the communities of which they are part, but the stigmatizing impact of HIV, often reinforced by religious beliefs and teachings, generates anxieties about the disclosure of a diagnosis, the initiation of open discussion and access to HIV information and care. Constraints on the access of sexual minorities, young people and women can raise particular concern. In situations of diverse need and contested reality quests for coherent meaning, identity and belonging confront a public health preference for consistent HIV health messages and for accessible and effective programmes of HIV information, support and care. The study evidences diverse and often competing perspectives on HIV and highlights the need for health and social care services and religious groups to have greater awareness of the extensive complexities which the realities of diversity bring to HIV prevention policy design and service delivery. Complexity theory and practical theology inform a new and integrative model for theological, epidemiological and public health partnering through which the inadequacies in both religion-informed responses to HIV and public health HIV prevention and care policy and service delivery can be addressed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HIV ; AIDS ; Religion ; Faith ; Beliefs ; Community ; Diversity ; Stigma ; Identity ; Inequality