“Wake Up! HIV is at Your Door”: African American Faith Leaders in the Rural South and HIV Perceptions: A Qualitative Analysis

Abstract

In Alabama, 70 % of new HIV cases are among African Americans. Because the Black Church plays an important role for many African Americans in the south, we conducted qualitative interviews with 10 African American pastors recruited for an HIV intervention study in rural Alabama. Two main themes emerged: (1) HIV stigma is prevalent and (2) the role of the Black Church in addressing HIV in the African American community. Our data suggest that pastors in rural Alabama are willing to be engaged in HIV prevention solutions; more formalized training is needed to decrease stigma, strengthen HIV prevention and support persons living with HIV/AIDS.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Historically, the Black Belt was known for its rich, fertile dark soils and association with the south’s antebellum plantations, cotton and slavery. Today, the Black Belt, which is largely populated by African Americans, is typically characterized by its demographics and economic downfall (Webster and Bowman 2008; Tullos 2004).

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Acknowledgments

This study was funded in part by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Program Announcement PS11-003; 5U01PS003320. We thank all of the ministerial liaisons and pastors who participated in this study.

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Correspondence to Tiffiany M. Aholou.

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The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The authors have no financial conflicts of interest relevant to this study.

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Aholou, T.M., Cooks, E., Murray, A. et al. “Wake Up! HIV is at Your Door”: African American Faith Leaders in the Rural South and HIV Perceptions: A Qualitative Analysis. J Relig Health 55, 1968–1979 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-016-0193-z

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Keywords

  • Black Church
  • African Americans
  • HIV
  • Stigma
  • Rural south