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Organized Religion and the Fight Against HIV/AIDS in the Black Community: The Role of the Black Church

  • Agatha N. Eke
  • Aisha L. Wilkes
  • Juarlyn Gaiter
Chapter

Abstract

Religious faith and practices have long been an important consideration in health and well-being. Historically, religious institutions including the Black Church (i.e., any predominately African American religious congregation) have had important influences on public health and the practice of medicine (Chatters, Levin, & Ellison, 1998; Giger, Appel, Davidhizar, & Davis, 2008; Koenig, 2000). Over the last two decades there has been a resurgence of interest in the relationship between religion and health (Chatters, 2000; Ellison & Levin, 1998), because research has documented a correlation between religion and morbidity and mortality (Levin, 2003). There are over 1,200 published empirical studies of which 75–90% shows a positive association between aspects of religious faith and indicators of health ­status and emotional well-being at the population level (Koenig, McCullough, & Larson, 2001). Some of the most methodologically sophisticated, rigorously evaluated studies with the largest scope of health outcomes have been epidemiological studies of African Americans (Levin, Chatters, & Taylor, 2005). Levin et al. note that this body of work termed the “epidemiology of religion” contains findings showing associations between expressions of religiousness and mental health, psychological well-being, healthy lifestyles, health care utilization and health related outcomes. This is critical literature, given the growing disparities in HIV/AIDS particularly among disadvantaged (economically deprived/medically underserved individuals) African Americans and other racial/ethnic groups. Consequently, ­public health professionals are paying close attention to the unique and important role that religious and faith-based organizations such as the Black Church can play in addressing these disparities.

Keywords

Religious Leader Homeless Youth Religious Organization African American Community Religious Faith 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Agatha N. Eke
    • 1
  • Aisha L. Wilkes
  • Juarlyn Gaiter
  1. 1.Division of HIV/AIDS PreventionCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA

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