HIV & Religion: How The Church Can Help You Heal

woman holding a cross in her hand Receiving an HIV-positive diagnosis is very difficult. For some people, the emotional aspects of HIV are as overwhelming as the physical aspects. HIV affects the whole body; physical, emotional, and spiritual. Particularly in the Black community, where church is such an important aspect of life, HIV, religion, and spirituality are often entwined.

Research shows that people seek out religion and spirituality after an HIV diagnosis. In fact, newly diagnosed people report being both more religious, and also feeling alienated from the church. According to one study, people with HIV avoided church services because of prejudices against homosexual men and women, especially in regard to their sexual practices.

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This discomfort results in some people seeking out alternative ways to express their beliefs and spirituality, sometimes by exploring non-Christian religions. Ultimately, if that doesn’t work, people turn to spirituality on a personal level in the form of private prayer or meditation.