African indigenous churches and polygamy in the context of HIV and AIDS : the case of the Mutima church in Zambia.
Women in the Mutima Church in Zambia have for some years had the highest HIV rate in the church, but because this is one of the African Indigenous Churches (AICs), not much is known about the behavioural and other risk factors that predispose these women to the virus. One of the reasons is that some members of the Mutima Church cannot make their own decisions when getting married. The church founder makes marital decisions for some of the church members. This problem raises serious questions for HIV health practitioners, activists and some of the church members. Informed by some of the Mutima Church members that HIV testing in their church is not considered a norm, this dissertation demonstrates theological teachings on polygamy and HIV and Aids employed by the church founder. In this dissertation, some church members from the Mutima Church were asked to describe and explain what polygamy and HIV and Aids meant to them and how they theologically perceived and understood them. While the major results indicate that polygamy in the Mutima Church contributes to the spread of HIV and Aids, the other new research findings are that the Mutima Church members' theological understanding on polygamy is that it is a blessing from God; and that HIV and Aids is a punishment from God. These responses are analysed and discussed in this dissertation.
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