The evolving role of the black church in HIV/AIDS outreach and education
Gibson, Olivia Michelle
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Nearly thirty years into the HIV/AIDS epidemic, African-Americans continue to be disproportionately affected by the disease. While many strides have been made in combating the virus, deficits for combating the disease in the black community persist. The church has traditionally been a symbol of hope, spirituality, and knowledge in the African-American population. However, the church has been fractured in its response to the epidemic. The aim of this study is to determine the role the African-American church has played in HIV education and outreach, and predict steps that the church will take in the future. This study also investigates social, political, and religious influences on determining the extent to which the black church as a single entity has addressed HIV and AIDS, and how its response compares to other efforts in the fight against the virus. Numerous articles regarding the HIV epidemic and efforts made by the black church were reviewed. Information spanning the duration of the discovery of the virus was studied, incorporating relevant scientific and social details. It was concluded that the full role of the black church in addressing the spread of HIV has not been realized. The black community and church were slow to act at the discovery of the virus, and have progressed to beginning to incorporate in-house HIV programs, or programs via community partnership, into the church. While most institutions continue to struggle with ideas of homosexuality, black congregations are slowly becoming more progressive, and more receptive to addressing more controversial facets of the epidemic.
Thesis (M.A.)--Boston University