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Religion & Sexuality

IHP works to understand the complex relationships between religion and public health. In that work, we recognize that religion and public health may sometimes be in alignment and sometimes in tension. This dynamic between alignment and tension can clearly be seen in regard to human sexuality, sexual health, and reproductive health. IHP offers unique perspectives for exploring this dynamic in contexts both in the United States and abroad, particularly in the area of HIV prevention.

IHP has worked with colleagues at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa to implement a method of community engagement with adolescents. This project, Participant Inquiry into Adolescent Sexual Health (PIRASH), provides data on the complex interactions between religious belief and expression, cultural norms, popular culture, media sources, and individuals’ decision-making. IHP has been involved in PIRASH initiatives in the US and abroad, including work in South Africa, Atlanta, and North Carolina. This work has brought together faith-based, academic, and community based partners, including: