AIDS Education pp 239-249 | Cite as

AIDS: Religion and Medicine in Rural Kenya

  • Bev Smith


This paper, based on a year of fieldwork, will explore some of the intricate yet crucial linkages between morality and healing, as made evident in the AIDS epidemic in Kenya. Mission health care is vital to Kenya’s ability to provide health services in the biomedical sector,1 and many mission facilities in Kenya are now caring for people with AIDS. However, because AIDS is generally a sexually transmitted disease, most mission personnel (and many others) view AIDS as a moral issue as well. In addition, because AIDS prevention discourse is an attempt at behavioral change and social control, AIDS enters the political sphere. This can have important implications on the efficacy of AIDS education and prevention campaigns. AIDS educational programs thus involve far more than biology, but encompass sexuality, cultural traditions, and cultural nationalism,2 as well. Indeed, with a background of the historical context of the relationship between morality, healing, and politics in Kenya, the continuities in the ongoing dispute with the hegemony3 of biomedicine and Christianity can be understood.4


Herpes Zoster Cultural Tradition Female Genital Mutilation Audience Member Hospital Personnel 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bev Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Southern Methodist UniversityUSA

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