From the marriage bed to the graveyard : towards a bold community praxis in reducing HIV infection amongst married women in sub-Saharan Africa.
Recent studies reflect increasing levels of HIV infection amongst married women in sub-Saharan Africa. The institution of marriage, which is highly revered within the church and society, is thus now regarded as a 'potential death trap' for many married women. This study examines the drivers of these increasing levels of HIV infection amongst married women in sub-Saharan Africa. It offers a critical reflection of the socio-cultural factors and gender-insensitive theological traditions that expose married women to the vulnerability of HIV infection. In order to observe the sacrosanctity of the marriage institution as well as preserving the dignity of life for many married women in sub-Saharan Africa, the study presents the imago Dei theological motif as a gender-sensitive theological response to the increasing levels of HIV infection among married women. The imago Dei theological motif argues that both men and women equally reflect the divine image of God. This theological motif also brings to the fore the realization that HIV and AIDS is fuelled by conditions of inequality, socio-economic and socio-cultural discrimination, hence the need to promote human dignity for both men and women within our communities in sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, emanating from the imago Dei theological motif, the study offers a bold community praxis through the transformation of gender-insensitive theological traditions; the transformation of hegemonic masculinities; and the transformation of gender-insensitive HIV prevention models as practical ways aimed at redressing the vulnerability of married women to the increasing levels of HIV infection.
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