, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 248-267
Date: 12 Feb 2011

Black Churches Creating Safe Spaces to Combat Silence and Stigma Related to AIDS

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AIDS has been one of the most severe contemporary crises to affect Black American communities. With epidemic rates surpassing several African nations, health professionals and AIDS activists have called on black churches to help lead the fight to end AIDS. This study examines the response efforts of eight black churches (three of which are megachurches) to this illness. Interviews reveal three specific approaches used to address HIV- and AIDS-related stigma and silence—quilting, prayer, and practices in liberation theology. Overall, these approaches illuminate the progressive and conservative forces that make some churches more effective than others in ending multiple silences and stigmas surrounding AIDS.