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Glob Public Health. 2011;6 Suppl 2:S163-73. doi: 10.1080/17441692.2011.605067.

Pentecostalism and AIDS treatment in Mozambique: creating new approaches to HIV prevention through anti-retroviral therapy.

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  • 1Department of Global Health/Department of Health Services, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.


Pentecostal fervor has rapidly spread throughout central and southern Mozambique since the end of its protracted civil war in the early 1990s. In the peri-urban bairros and septic fringes of Mozambican cities African Independent Churches (AICs) with Pentecostal roots and mainstream Pentecostals can now claim over half the population as adherents. Over this same period another important phenomenon has coincided with this church expansion: the AIDS epidemic. Pentecostalism and HIV have travelled along similar vectors and been propelled by deepening inequality. Recognising this relationship has important implications for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment strategies. The striking overlap between high HIV prevalence in peri-urban populations and high Pentecostal participation suggests that creative strategies, to include these movements in HIV/AIDS programming, may influence the long-term success of HIV care and the scale-up of anti-retroviral treatment (ART) across the region. The provision of ART has opened up new possibilities for engaging with local communities, especially Pentecostals and AICS, who are witnessing the immediate benefits of ARV therapy. Expanded treatment may be the key to successful prevention as advocates of a comprehensive approach to the epidemic have long argued.

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