Religion and Spirituality



Religion and spirituality have been found to be important resources for individuals living and coping with HIV/AIDS. These coping methods include spiritual transformation, a belief in a higher power and/or miracles, prayer, and collaboration between the individual and God or a higher power. Studies have found that individuals’ reliance on such methods is associated with greater levels of optimism, hope, self-esteem, social support, and helping others; less emotional distress; lower cortisol levels, which indicate lower stress levels; and longer survival. Individuals may also derive a sense of purpose and of peace from their religious or spiritual beliefs. Increased frequency of church attendance has been found to be associated with keeping current with medical appointments. Among injection drug users, more church attendance has been found to be associated with HIV testing, HIV-positive status, and receiving medical care for HIV, suggesting that the church may be both an important source of support and friendship for injection drug users.


Depression Cortisol 

Suggested Readings

  1. Latkin, C. A., Tobin, K. E., & Gilbert, S. H. (2002). Sun or support: The role of religious behaviors and HIV-related health care among drug users in Baltimore, Maryland. AIDS and Behavior, 6(4), 321–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Loue, S., & Sajatovic, M. (2006). Spirituality, coping, and HIV risk and prevention in a sample of severely mentally ill Puerto Rican women. Journal of Urban Health, 83(6), 1168–1182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Pargament, K. I., McCarthy, S., Shah, P., Ano, G., Tarakeshwar, N., Wachholtz, A., et al. (2004). Religion and HIV: A review of the literature and clinical implications. Southern Medical Journal, 97(12), 1201–1209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Parsons, S. K., Cruise, P. L., Davenport, W. M., & Jones, V. (2006). Religious beliefs, practices and treatment adherence among individuals with HIV in the southern United States. AIDS Patient Care, 20(2), 97–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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