Pastor and lay leader perceptions of barriers and supports to HIV ministry maintenance in an African American church

J Relig Health. 2014 Apr;53(2):317-25. doi: 10.1007/s10943-012-9627-4.


Clergy and lay leaders have a pivotal role in the development and maintenance of HIV Ministries within the African American church. However, little is known about the actual roles these men and women have, the barriers they face and the supports they have found in the development and maintenance of an HIV Ministry. The purpose of this study is to examine the role, barriers and supports clergy and lay leaders experienced in the development of a long-standing HIV ministry in an African American church. These data were gathered from a larger ethnographic study, which examined the role of religious culture in the development, implementation and maintenance of an HIV ministry. Data for this study were collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews. Results revealed that the primary role of clergy and lay leaders involved dispelling myths surrounding HIV and ensuring congregational support. The primary barrier to the development and maintenance was views regarding sexuality. The primary support was their relationships with congregants that lived with HIV and AIDS. This information can assist in developing interventions to enhance the African American church movement toward HIV ministries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Christianity / psychology
  • Clergy / psychology*
  • Culture
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Homophobia / psychology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Interviews as Topic / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwestern United States
  • Professional Role
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult