Analyzing the Role of Religion and Religious Institutions in Policymaking on AIDS in Iran

  • Rahim Khodayari-Zarnaq Tabriz health services management research center, Iranian Center of Excellence in Health Management, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.
  • Hamid Ravaghi Department of health services management, School of Health Management and Information Sciences, Iran university of medical sciences, Tehran, Iran.
  • Ali¬ Mohammad Mosaddeghrad Department of Health Management and Economics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
  • Khorshid Mobasseri Mobasseri Nursing Education Department, Nursing and Midwifery School, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.
Keywords: AIDS, HIV, Policymaking, Policy analysis, Religion, Religious institutions


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Background and Objective: HIV is a social phenomenon whose investigating needs to take culture, traditions, and religious beliefs of the society into account. Given that, the aim of this study is examining the role of religion in policies made to control AIDS in Iran.

Method: This qualitative study adopted the content analysis technique with inductive approach in which 30 policymakers, key informants, stakeholders and AIDS patients were given semi-structured interviews and also 21 documents on related policies were analyzed considering factors influencing AIDS policymaking. Then, the data were analyzed using framework method and MAXQDA. In this study, the ethical issues were all considered and the authors declared no conflict of interest.

Results: After coding, approximately 300 primary codes were extracted. These codes were checked again and then categorized into three areas: the functions of religion and its preventive and encouraging factors in the related policies; different roles of the clergy as religious authorities, politicians and advisors; and the way religious institutes and organizations play their roles in AIDS policymaking process.

Conclusion: Religion and its corresponding ideology have critical encouraging and preventive functions in implementing plans for control and prevention of AIDS. Neglecting religious aspects of the Iranian society in policymaking has led to less effectiveness of policies and failure in controlling AIDS.

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Original Article