Faith and Global Health Practice in Ebola and HIV Emergencies

American Journal of Public Health
March 2019  109(3)

Faith and Global Health Practice in Ebola and HIV Emergencies
Global Health, HIV/AIDS, Social Science, Public Health Practice
John B. Blevins, Mohamed F. Jalloh and David A. Robinson
We examined the relationship between religion and health by highlighting the influences of religion on the response to the 2014 to 2016 Ebola outbreak and the global HIV epidemic.
We recounted the influences of religion on burial practices developed as an infection control measure during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. We also explored the influence of religion on community outreach and health education. We examined faith-based responses to the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, noting that religion conflicted with public health responses to HIV (e.g., justification for HIV-related stigma) or aligned with public health as a force for improved HIV responses (e.g., providing HIV services or providing social capital and cohesion to support advocacy efforts). We further discussed the similarities and differences between the influence of religion during the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the 2014 to 2016 Ebola outbreak.
We then described lessons learned from Ebola and HIV/AIDS to better inform collaboration with religious actors.