Sex, Stigma, and the Holy Ghost: The Black Church and the Construction of AIDS in New York City
Journal of African American Studies
This article examines the difficulties that a group of Black churches in New York City have had in addressing HIV/AIDS and how these challenges were overcome. This article argues that the way the Black Church responded to AIDS is a result of its unique social history and its inability to address sexuality. This study uses in-depth interviews with 28 New York City Black Church leaders, AIDS activists, and employees at an AIDS service non-profit that work exclusively with Black churches. The data show that this sample of Black churches initially had trouble confronting AIDS in Black communities because they were unable to confront homosexuality and sexuality. The data also reveal that when AIDS awareness organizations become aware of how Black churches perceive sexuality as it relates to AIDS, then they will be able to create effective AIDS awareness material for the Black Church.