Behavioral Aspects of HIV Management (RJ DiClemente and JL Brown, Section Editors)

Current HIV/AIDS Reports

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 324-332

First online:

Spirituality and Religion among HIV-Infected Individuals

  • Magdalena SzaflarskiAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, University of Alabama at BirminghamDepartment Health Behavior, University of Alabama at Birmingham Email author 

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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.


Spirituality Religion Religiosity Faith Religious organizations Faith-based organizations HIV AIDS People living with HIV Outcomes Well-being Quality of life Stress Coping Social support Spiritual support Spiritual health Spiritual well-being Stigma