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Edinburgh Centre for Medical Anthropology: Events


HIV prevention, public morality and religious leaders in Pakistan

HIV prevention, public morality and religious leaders in Pakistan
Speaker: Ayaz Qureshi # U of E
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Date and Time
21st Sep 2018 15:00 - 21st Sep 2018 17:00
Seminar Room 1, Chrystal Macmillan Building

In this paper, I explore the relationship between public morality and HIV prevention in Pakistan, with a focus on the involvement of religious leaders as an intervention strategy. This question is of specific interest in Pakistan, in light of the country's conservative religious and legal context, where non-therapeutic use of drugs is illegal and homosexuality is punishable by death under the Islamic Hudood Ordinances. It is a conundrum for the state that, for HIV prevention, it must work with these criminalized groups where the epidemic has been concentrated. How do state officials who are responsible for prevention activities navigate a public morality, backed by law, that delegitimises these groups as dirty, un-Islamic, and ‘involved in acts that are against the Quran’? What role are religious leaders expected to play in HIV prevention in this context of the illegality of the ‘most-at-risk’, vulnerable sections of population?

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