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Religion and women's health in Ghana: insights into HIV/AIDs preventive and protective behavior


  • Takyi, Baffour K.


Since the late 1970s when the first cases of HIV/AIDS were identified in Africa, there has been an upsurge of research on the epidemic. Although religious involvement may be germane to AIDS protective and risk behavior, few of these studies deal with religion and AIDS. This article contributes to the discourse on religion and health in Africa by analysing the interrelationship between religion and AIDS behavior in Ghana, a West African country at the early stages of the AIDS epidemic, and one where religious activities are more pronounced. We explore whether a woman's knowledge of HIV/AIDS is associated with her religious affiliation, and whether religious affiliation influences AIDS preventive (protective) attitudes. Findings from our analysis of Ghanaian data indicate that religious affiliation has a significant effect on knowledge of AIDS. However, we did not find religious affiliation to be associated with changes in specific protective behavior, particularly the use of condoms. The limitations and implications of the study are discussed, promising directions for further research on religion and AIDS protective and risk behaviors are also discussed, and the design and development of culturally sensitive programs to help in the ongoing AIDS prevention efforts in the region are proposed.

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  • Takyi, Baffour K., 2003. "Religion and women's health in Ghana: insights into HIV/AIDs preventive and protective behavior," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1221-1234, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:6:p:1221-1234

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650.
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    6. Michael Grossman, 1976. "The Correlation between Health and Schooling," NBER Chapters,in: Household Production and Consumption, pages 147-224 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Jennifer M. Mellor & Jeffrey Milyo, 1999. "Re-Examining the Evidence of an Ecological Association between Income Inequality and Health," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9922, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gyimah, Stephen Obeng & Takyi, Baffour K. & Addai, Isaac, 2006. "Challenges to the reproductive-health needs of African women: On religion and maternal health utilization in Ghana," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(12), pages 2930-2944, June.
    2. Agadjanian, Victor, 2005. "Gender, religious involvement, and HIV/AIDS prevention in Mozambique," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(7), pages 1529-1539, October.
    3. Luginaah, Isaac N. & Yiridoe, Emmanuel K. & Taabazuing, Mary-Margaret, 2005. "From mandatory to voluntary testing: Balancing human rights, religious and cultural values, and HIV/AIDS prevention in Ghana," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(8), pages 1689-1700, October.
    4. Isaac Addai & Chris Opoku-Agyeman & Helen Ghartey, 2013. "An Exploratory Study of Religion and Trust in Ghana," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 110(3), pages 993-1012, February.


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