Religious organizations play a key role globally in providing front-line access to primary and terminal care, advocating for health and social welfare resources and influencing national public health and social policies in response to a range of key public health challenges. Yet research examining religious responses to population health needs has thus far largely focused on identifying the effects of religious beliefs on individual health behavior and outcomes, without looking critically at the role of religion in shaping social, cultural, and institutional responses to illness. Religious responses to HIV and AIDS provide an ideal scenario from which to examine institutional religious involvement in health precisely because of the controversies that the AIDS epidemic has brought to the forefront of social, scientific and policy debates. This conference, """"""""Religious Responses to HIV and AIDS: Understanding the Role of Religious Cultures and Institutions in Confronting the Epidemic,"""""""" seeks to bring together leading scholars in the social sciences and public health in a small conference format to explore how religious cultures and institutions have responded to the HIV and AIDS epidemic and in a variety of global contexts. The two-day conference will tentatively be held on July 8th - 9th, 2010, at The Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York City (dates are subject to change depending on final approved start date for the project). The conference format will be organized around a series of six panel discussions and paper presentations. Specifically, conference participants will examine intersections between religious cultures and institutions and the following contemporary topics in HIV, AIDS and reproductive health: migration;politics of international aid and development;globalization;health systems;reproductive health and prevention technologies;""""""""traditional"""""""" healing practices;social inequality;and human rights.

Public Health Relevance

Understanding how religious cultures and institutions have affected the design and implementation of HIV treatment, care, prevention and reproductive health policies is critical for informing future public health strategies and research. This conference will be one of the first cross-regional, cross-disciplinary conferences to examine how such policies are interpreted and enacted on a local level in a global context of increasing social inequality and health disparities. An interdisciplinary perspective in this context is critical due to the ongoing role that religion plays in supporting, and at times inhibiting, the implementation of effective public health strategies for HIV prevention and AIDS treatment and care.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Conference (R13)
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Pediatrics Subcommittee (CHHD)
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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Munoz-Laboy, Miguel; Garcia, Jonathan; Moon-Howard, Joyce et al. (2011) Religious responses to HIV and AIDS: understanding the role of religious cultures and institutions in confronting the epidemic. Glob Public Health 6 Suppl 2:S127-31
Rios, Luis Felipe; Oliveira, Cinthia; Garcia, Jonathan et al. (2011) Blood, sweat and semen: the economy of axé and the response of Afro-Brazilian religions to HIV and AIDS in Recife. Glob Public Health 6 Suppl 2:S257-70
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