Sermons at Black Churches Condemning Men Who Have Sex With Men Contribute to Spread of HIV, Editorial Says
"[H]ell-and-brimstone" sermons "condemning" sexual relations with a partner of the same gender "remain the norm in many black churches" and are pushing men who have sex with men "underground" and contributing to the spread of HIV, a Los Angeles Times editorial says. HIV predominately has been spread by MSM in the United States, and many black MSM do not identify themselves as gay and often transmit the disease to women, according to the Times. Sermons condemning MSM do not "dete[r] gay relationships" and can create "an atmosphere of secrecy and shame" that "discourages men from getting tested for HIV," the editorial says. Blacks account for 51% of new HIV cases -- including 69% of new cases among women -- but black churches have been "slo[w]" to "join in the fight against AIDS," the editorial says. Although black church leaders can "play a positive role" in lobbying the Bush administration for the provision of antiretroviral drugs and condoms to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa, "they could and should play a greater role" in fighting the "enormous" needs of their local communities, the editorial says (Los Angeles Times, 6/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.