After 2 decades of mostly individual-behavior based research on HIV/AIDS, a new understanding has begun to emerge of the social and cultural factors that structure vulnerability to HIV infection and shape the possibilities for prevention and treatment. In spite of the fact that they have received relatively little research attention, religious organizations have been central to the response of HIV/AIDS since the very beginning of the epidemic. In few countries has the complex impact of religion and religious organizations in relation to HIV/AIDS been more powerful than Brazil. The proposed study seeks to: 1) Develop a comparative analysis of the multiple ways in which Catholic, Evangelical Protestant, and Afro-Brazilian religions have responded (at the policy, institutional and population levels) to HIV/AIDS in Brazil; 2) Empirically document the importance that each of these 3 major religious traditions has given to HIV/AIDS, and the reasons that have led them to do so; 3) Assess, through a series of case studies, the ways in which the responses of each religious traditions has interacted with local communities, the wider social universe of civil society, and the nation- state, in impacting upon the broader response to AIDS; and, 4) Through comparative analysis, to more fully understand the ways in which both importance and impact have been influenced by the religious belief system or religious doctrine of each tradition, the organizational and institutional structures that each exhibits, and the ways in which each interacts with and articulates itself with communities, civil society, and the state, in order to shape the broader social and political response to AIDS. The project will employ a combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies over a 5 year period, including archival research, surveys, participant observation, oral histories, in-depth interviews, life history interviews and case-studies in the 5 study sites, in order to capture and chronicle the dynamic trajectory of an extremely multifaceted role of religious organizations in the Brazilian response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The extensive and in depth fieldwork is necessary given the scope of the project and its goal of assessing the role of religious organizations in the country's mobilization in response to AIDS.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-AARR-F (02))
Program Officer
Newcomer, Susan
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Columbia University (N.Y.)
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
New York
United States
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Wilson, Patrick A; Valera, Pamela; Martos, Alexander J et al. (2016) Contributions of Qualitative Research in Informing HIV/AIDS Interventions Targeting Black MSM in the United States. J Sex Res 53:642-54
Seffner, Fernando; Garcia, Jonathan; Muñoz-Laboy, Miguel et al. (2011) A time for dogma, a time for the Bible, a time for condoms: building a Catholic theology of prevention in the face of public health policies at Casa Fonte Colombo in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Glob Public Health 6 Suppl 2:S271-83
Garcia, Jonathan; Munoz-Laboy, Miguel; Parker, Richard (2011) Vulnerable salvation: evangelical Protestant leaders and institutions, drug use and HIV and AIDS in the urban periphery of Rio de Janeiro. Glob Public Health 6 Suppl 2:S243-56
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Munoz-Laboy, Miguel; Murray, Laura R; Wittlin, Natalie et al. (2011) Divine targets: youth at the centre of Catholic and Pentecostal responses to HIV and AIDS in Brazil. Cult Health Sex 13:657-68

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