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Preaching Prevention

Born-Again Christianity and the Moral Politics of AIDS in Uganda (Perspectives on Global Health)

Lydia Boyd


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Hardcover (10/29/2015)


Preaching Prevention examines the controversial U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) initiative to “abstain and be faithful” as a primary prevention strategy in Africa. This ethnography of the born-again Christians who led the new anti-AIDS push in Uganda provides insight into both what it means for foreign governments to “export” approaches to care and treatment and the ways communities respond to and repurpose such projects. By examining born-again Christians’ support of Uganda’s controversial 2009 Anti-Homosexuality Bill, the book’s final chapter explores the enduring tensions surrounding the message of personal accountability heralded by U.S. policy makers.

Preaching Prevention is the first to examine the cultural reception of PEPFAR in Africa. Lydia Boyd asks, What are the consequences when individual responsibility and autonomy are valorized in public health initiatives and those values are at odds with the existing cultural context? Her book investigates the cultures of the U.S. and Ugandan evangelical communities and how the flow of U.S.-directed monies influenced Ugandan discourses about sexuality and personal agency. It is a pioneering examination of a global health policy whose legacies are still unfolding.

Praise For Preaching Prevention: Born-Again Christianity and the Moral Politics of AIDS in Uganda (Perspectives on Global Health)

“A fascinating, fresh, original ethnography of born-again Christians in Kampala, Uganda.”—Holly Hanson, author of Landed Obligation: The Practice of Power in Buganda

“Boyd examines in particular the experiences of Ugandan born-again Christians promoting abstinence and faithfulness programs … PEPFAR spent $278 million [there] in 2014, which was equal to about three-fourths of what the Ugandan government spent on health overall that same year. In other words, Boyd is studying the critical player in public health provision in Uganda. Boyd’s book seems particularly relevant for the newly created LGBT Rapid Response Fund, as it includes a chapter about Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill.”—Washington Post online

“[A] robust contribution to AIDS discourse in Africa.” —African Studies Quarterly

“This book, in general, is a very fine analysis of Ugandan attitudes to sexual practice, in the light of the AIDS prevention campaign. It is thorough and illuminating. … The book is superb as a sociological/anthropological account of born-again Christianity. … I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and highly recommend it for its penetrating analysis and insight.”—Journal of Church and State

“Boyd places Christian concerns about HIV/AIDS transmission and same-sex unions in Uganda in an ethnographic and historical perspective that will richly enhance discussions of rights and accountability.”—Frederick Klaits, author of Death in a Church of Life: Moral Passion during Botswana's Time of AIDS

Ohio University Press, 9780821421703, 252pp.

Publication Date: October 29, 2015

About the Author

Lydia Boyd is an assistant professor of African, African American, and Diaspora studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.