A Question of Power: A Christian Political Scientist Responds to AIDS in Africa

Amy S. Patterson

In this article, Amy S. Patterson investigates how political power shapes the AIDS pandemic in Africa. Because Christians in the West often lack knowledge about how political power increases vulnerability to HIV infection and affects policy responses to the disease, the work analyzes the uneven impact of HIV/AIDS on countries, communities, and population groups. It investigates how power inequalities make some individuals more vulnerable to HIV infection and enable policy makers to reframe or ignore aspects of the pandemic. Further, power imbalances allow the powerful to exclude people affected by HIV/AIDS, at the expense of Christian community, human dignity, and effective responses to the disease. The work incorporates four Christian principles—humans as created in God’s image, Christian community, humility, and a comparison of justice and charity—into its analysis. Ms. Patterson is Associate Professor of Political Science at Calvin College.

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Last Updated: January 12, 2009
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