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Condom Use and the Spread of HIV/AIDS in Muslim-majority Countries of the Middle East and North Africa

Farabee-Siers, Robin M. (2009) Condom Use and the Spread of HIV/AIDS in Muslim-majority Countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh.

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    Abstract

    In 2005, 58,000 adults and children died in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa from AIDS-related illnesses (UNAIDS 2005). Helene Gayle, president and CEO of CARE USA and the co-chair of the Global HIV Prevention Working Group, has been quoted by UNAIDS as saying: "We have a critical window of opportunity over the next 10 years to dramatically slow the rate of new infections, and ultimately reverse the epidemic" in the MENA region (UNAIDS 2007a). The purpose of this project is to examine a relatively understudied factor of HIV/AIDS transmission in the region, low levels of condom use. This study aims to determine if there is a relationship between the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the Muslim-majority countries of the Middle East and North Africa and the low prevalence of condom usage across the region. It is this study's hypothesis that the majority of the infections in the region are being transmitted through sexual contact - either heterosexual or men having sex with men -- and therefore, the prevalence rate of condom use bears particular weight on how people are becoming infected. It is the goal of this study to serve as a stepping stone towards further investigations into other underlying aspects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. If this study is successful in linking a low frequency of condom use to the spread of HIV/AIDS, critical insight will be provided into an additional element that needs to be addressed in order to increase the effectiveness of prevention and educational measures. Several different public use data sets will be used to show the relationship between HIV/AIDS prevalence, condom use, and religiosity through the creation of linear regression models. The regression models for this study were in the expected directions to support the hypothesis; however they are not statistically significant at the p < 0.05 level of significance. Due to the limited availability of data for religiosity, religion was used for comparative purposes. There does not appear to be a significant relationship between religiosity/religion and condom use or between condom use and HIV/AIDS prevalence. While the initial hypothesis of this study stated that it is religiosity, not religion, which was the fundamental social cause of HIV/AIDS in this region, it seems that neither measure of Islam yield statistically significant results. Therefore, strong confirmation of the theoretical model is not possible at this time, but there is evidence to support that the model is correct, just not statistically significant. The results tend to be in the direction expected, and there are strong qualitative reasons that religion, especially religiosity, is important, even if it cannot be statistically demonstrated in this study. Qualitatively the model still makes a strong argument. It has been previously argued that religion in general is a protective factor against HIV/AIDS, but this does not seem to be the case for Islam. This study indicates that


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    Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
    ETD Committee:
    ETD Committee TypeCommittee MemberEmailORCID
    Committee ChairBabones, Salvatore J
    Committee MemberLotfalian, Mazyar
    Committee MemberBamyeh, Mohammed
    Committee MemberDenova, Rebecca I
    Title: Condom Use and the Spread of HIV/AIDS in Muslim-majority Countries of the Middle East and North Africa
    Status: Unpublished
    Abstract: In 2005, 58,000 adults and children died in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa from AIDS-related illnesses (UNAIDS 2005). Helene Gayle, president and CEO of CARE USA and the co-chair of the Global HIV Prevention Working Group, has been quoted by UNAIDS as saying: "We have a critical window of opportunity over the next 10 years to dramatically slow the rate of new infections, and ultimately reverse the epidemic" in the MENA region (UNAIDS 2007a). The purpose of this project is to examine a relatively understudied factor of HIV/AIDS transmission in the region, low levels of condom use. This study aims to determine if there is a relationship between the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the Muslim-majority countries of the Middle East and North Africa and the low prevalence of condom usage across the region. It is this study's hypothesis that the majority of the infections in the region are being transmitted through sexual contact - either heterosexual or men having sex with men -- and therefore, the prevalence rate of condom use bears particular weight on how people are becoming infected. It is the goal of this study to serve as a stepping stone towards further investigations into other underlying aspects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. If this study is successful in linking a low frequency of condom use to the spread of HIV/AIDS, critical insight will be provided into an additional element that needs to be addressed in order to increase the effectiveness of prevention and educational measures. Several different public use data sets will be used to show the relationship between HIV/AIDS prevalence, condom use, and religiosity through the creation of linear regression models. The regression models for this study were in the expected directions to support the hypothesis; however they are not statistically significant at the p < 0.05 level of significance. Due to the limited availability of data for religiosity, religion was used for comparative purposes. There does not appear to be a significant relationship between religiosity/religion and condom use or between condom use and HIV/AIDS prevalence. While the initial hypothesis of this study stated that it is religiosity, not religion, which was the fundamental social cause of HIV/AIDS in this region, it seems that neither measure of Islam yield statistically significant results. Therefore, strong confirmation of the theoretical model is not possible at this time, but there is evidence to support that the model is correct, just not statistically significant. The results tend to be in the direction expected, and there are strong qualitative reasons that religion, especially religiosity, is important, even if it cannot be statistically demonstrated in this study. Qualitatively the model still makes a strong argument. It has been previously argued that religion in general is a protective factor against HIV/AIDS, but this does not seem to be the case for Islam. This study indicates that
    Date: 15 April 2009
    Date Type: Completion
    Defense Date: 02 April 2008
    Approval Date: 15 April 2009
    Submission Date: 29 July 2008
    Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
    Patent pending: No
    Institution: University of Pittsburgh
    Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
    Refereed: Yes
    Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
    URN: etd-07292008-141318
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Islam; Middle East and North Africa; Religiosity; Contraceptive Use; HIV/AIDS
    Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Religious Studies
    University Honors College
    Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 14:54
    Last Modified: 15 Apr 2014 01:15
    Other ID: http://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-07292008-141318/, etd-07292008-141318

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