Complex Realities: Black South African Women, HIV/AIDS, and Pentecostalism
This study employs qualitative methods to describe black South African women’s experiences of HIV/AIDS in two Pentecostal church communities. It analyzes beliefs and practices, connecting gender roles and divine healing to the HIV/AIDS pandemic while grounding ethical claims in these communities’ shared norms of faithfulness to God and Scripture and living the abundant life. The study concludes by analyzing the global AIDS initiatives of leading U.S. evangelicals (most notably those of Rick and Kay Warren of Saddleback Church) according to their effectiveness at preventing the spread of HIV to wives who remain faithful to husbands who participate in extramarital sexual relationships. Regarding A-B-C prevention strategies, South African and U.S. Evangelicals tend to teach congregants to “abstain” and “be faithful,” but they are ambivalent towards “condoms.” This dissertation argues for an A-B-C-D approach, not only emphasizing condom use but also permitting “divorce” for women whose husbands are unfaithful.