, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 324-332
Date: 01 Sep 2013

Spirituality and Religion among HIV-Infected Individuals

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Abstract

Spirituality and religion are important to many people living with HIV (PLWH). Recent research has focused on special populations (ethnic-minorities, women, and youth), spirituality/religion measurement, mediating/moderating mechanisms, and individual and community-level interventions. Spirituality/religion in PLWH has been refined as a multidimensional phenomenon, which improves health/quality of life directly and through mediating factors (healthy behaviors, optimism, social support). Spirituality/religion helps people to cope with stressors, especially stigma/discrimination. Spiritual interventions utilizing the power of prayer and meditation and addressing spiritual struggle are under way. Faith-based community interventions have focused on stigma and could improve individual outcomes through access to spiritual/social support and care/treatment for PLWA. Community engagement is necessary to design/implement effective and sustainable programs. Future efforts should focus on vulnerable populations; utilize state-of-the-art methods (randomized clinical trials, community-based participatory research); and, address population-specific interventions at individual and community levels. Clinical and policy implications across geographic settings also need attention.