Religious beliefs can help in the HIV crisis in India, but most Hindu groups and leaders have not yet taken up this work, according to a Yale University medical researcher.
In an interview with Science & Theology News (July/August), Nalini Tarakeshwar says that research of those with HIV-AIDS in India finds that most infected individuals are religious, “and their religious beliefs provide them with the motivation to persevere in the face of numerous calamities…for most individuals with HIV, the fact that they are alive is due to God‘s desire to keep them alive.” Tarakeshwar is convinced that issues of religion and culture have to be integrated within India’s patient care system.
Yet unlike churches, “Hindu temples or priests do not offer health services or discuss `personal’ problems. Most prefer to think of Hinduism as something more personal and that has nothing to do with HIV,“ Tarakeshwar says. She concludes that “Several Christian missionaries–World Vision, Catholic Relief Services–are currently active in providing care and prevention services. Hindu organizations have yet to show initiative.”
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