Patriarchy, Christianity, and the African HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Rethinking Christian Marriage in Light of the Experiences of HIV Positive Women in Tanzania
Author(s)Browning, Melissa Danielle
Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion
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AbstractGiven that women and girls carry the heaviest burdens of the African HIV/AIDS epidemic, their lived experiences should be the starting point for any pedagogy of prevention. In light of this claim, this dissertation project uses qualitative fieldwork with HIV positive women living in Mwanza, Tanzania to ask why marriage is an HIV/AIDS risk factor. By beginning with women's experience as a hermeneutical lens, this dissertation seeks to establish a creative space where African women can imagine new alternatives to HIV/AIDS prevention that would promote human flourishing and abundant life in African communities. The aim of this dissertation is to listen faithfully to the lived experiences of HIV positive women and ask how their experiences can help us re-imagine Christian conceptions of marriage, sexual ethics, and health in an HIV positive world. By drawing on the unwritten texts of women's lives, this study proposes alternative pedagogies for faith-based prevention methods and contributes to the wider interdisciplinary and theo-ethical discourse on HIV/AIDS prevention and women's health. At the same time, it also makes a local impact of equal importance as women in East African communities are invited to think creatively about ways to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.