A Cost–Benefit Approach
Chapter 15: Islam as a Factor Lowering HIV Rates
15. Islam as a factor lowering HIV rates Although Gray (2004) reports that in six out of seven studies that he surveyed there was a significantly negative relation between HIV prevalence and being Muslim, and Brent (2006) also found this inverse relationship in 31 SSA countries, one does not really need to undertake a detailed statistical analysis to be aware of the relation between Islam and HIV in Africa. One can see the relation visually on any geographical HIV prevalence map of Africa by comparing it with a geographical map of the percentage rate for the population that are Muslim in that region. HIV prevalence rates are least (between 0 and 2 percent) in North Africa where most predominately Muslim countries exist. HIV prevalence rates are between 2 percent and 5 percent in West Africa, where there are more predominately Muslim than non-predominately Muslim nations; and between 5 percent and 15 percent in Central and Eastern Africa, where there are more non-predominately Muslim than predominately Muslim nations. HIV prevalence rates are greatest (between 15 percent and 37 percent) in Southern Africa where most African nations with Muslims as a minority can be found. The question that needs to be answered is: why is there this negative relationship between the percentage of a country’s population that is Muslim and the HIV prevalence rate? We shall see that some reasons (norms) are inherent to the faith of Islam, while others are more due to the religious environment that Islam sets up rather...
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