Degree Year

2007

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Sociology

Advisor(s)

Veljko Vujacic

Keywords

HIV, AIDS, Senegal, Public health policy, Health

Abstract

This thesis explores how traditional beliefs and institutions have been used in a nationwide campaign against the spread of HIV / AIDS in the case· of Senegal. Relying on the works of Max Weber, Edward Shils, and Erving Goffinan, the theoretical chapter of the thesis develops the concepts of traditionalism, modernization, rationalization, and social stigma. This theoretical framework is applied to the case of Senegal in order to support the idea that the tradition of Sufi Islam played an important role in the nationwide campaigns against AIDS. However, I argue that a successful national policy against HIV / AIDS must rely on a combination of central government initiatives, NGO participation, local community efforts, and religious institutions. More specifically, the main goal of such a comprehensive program should be to target the social stigma surrounding infected individuals, and focus on lowering rates of infection through the dissemination of information. The case of Senegal demonstrates that traditional religious institutions can playa key role in lowering levels of HIV / AIDS infection in developing countries.

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Sociology Commons

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