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Journal of Public Management & Social Policy

Abstract

“A Conspiracy of Silence” vilifies religious institutions for their perceived silence during the HIV/AIDS pandemic (Ngoma-Simengwa 2010). There have been few studies to determine whether clergy are silent about HIV/AIDS. This article reviews the 2011 Zambian Religious Leader’s Survey, which surveyed 336 clergy from two denominations in Zambia: Christians and Muslims. Twelve questions were used to identify the frequency of preaching on HIV/AIDS related topics. A factor analysis was used to select factors that were commonly addressed by Christian and Muslim clergy in their preaching, and each factor had several variables as topics of preaching. The t-test was used to determine if preaching on variable topics differed between the two religious groups. The study has helped to create a baseline database on HIV/AIDS church leadership in major denominations and determines that the conspiracy of silence is a myth. Clergy from two dominant religious groups do preach on difficult cultural issues to encourage a healthy lifestyle and are less likely to discuss cures resulting from joining the church or mosque.

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