Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2005


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Graduate Center for Social and Public Policy


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Mary F. Antolini

Committee Member

Charles F. Hanna


behavior change, HIV/AIDS, permissiveness, Premarital intimacy, Religiosity, sub-sahara


The purpose of this study has been to carry out an exploratory survey study of how religion can be instrumentalized in the fight against HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. After years of research, different drugs have been produced; and different methods of combating HIV/AIDS have been used. The pandemic, however, is still on the rise in most of the world. By 2010 for instance, South Africa will have more than two million orphans (of 57 million projected population), and Uganda today has more than 2.5 million orphans (13% of the population). Significant behavior changes across the population can, however, stop and even reverse this trend. It is clear that lifestyle plays a dominant role in individuals' chance of infection, and it seems probable that the level of the disease over the coming decades is more likely to be decided by changing lifestyles. My study focused on the relation between religiosity and attitudes towards premarital sexual intimacy. With a sample of 52, I found a negative relationship between the two variables. Other important variables included age, and type of religion.

My recommendation is for policy makers to use religion in the effort to change behavior, especially sexual behavior by way of changing our attitudes to premarital sexual intimacy. This religiosity should, however, go beyond denominations. It should be measure not in how often one goes to his place of worship but rather in how rounded one is in being a good person. For Ugandans where the survey took place, it is a call to return to the true African who was also religious not only on the weekend but in his every day moment. It is call to return to the roots; to the search for relevant new paradigms of human development and participatory democracy. A holistic development of the individual as a unity-identity-whole who looks, understands, formulates, judges, decides responsibly, falls in love with the truth and finally believes.