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Health Promot Pract. 2011 Sep;12(5):769-78. doi: 10.1177/1524839910362313. Epub 2011 Jun 28.

Opening up their doors: perspectives on the involvement of the African American faith community in HIV prevention in four communities.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


In 1998, the U.S. government launched the Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) to address growing ethnic and racial disparities in HIV/AIDS cases. The CDC performed an evaluation of its MAI-funded programs, including an assessment of community stakeholders' perspective on the involvement of the faith community in HIV prevention. Individual interviews (N = 113) were conducted annually over 3 years in four communities. The majority of participants described a change in faith community's attitudes toward HIV and a rise in HIV-related activities conducted by faith-based organizations. Participants attributed changes to faith-based funding, acknowledgment by African American community leadership that HIV is a serious health issue, and faith leaders' desire to become more educated on HIV/AIDS. Participants reported conservative faith doctrine and stigma as barriers to faith community involvement. The findings suggest that although barriers remain, there is an increased willingness to address HIV/AIDS, and the faith community serves as a vital resource in HIV prevention.

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