Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 317–325 | Cite as

Pastor and Lay Leader Perceptions of Barriers and Supports to HIV Ministry Maintenance in an African American Church

  • Jennifer M. Stewart
Original paper


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.


African American Faith Clergy Lay leaders HIV HIV ministry 



This study was funded in part by Health Disparities in Underserved Populations Training Grant #5T32NR007964 from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Nursing Research (NIH/NINR). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIH/NINR.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Pennsylvania, School of NursingPhiladelphiaUSA

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