Increasing Opportunities for Spiritual and Religious Supports to Improve HIV-Related Outcomes for Black Sexual Minority Men

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Urban Health

Publication Date


Date Added



Given the importance of spirituality and religion in the lives of many Black gay, bisexual, and other Black sexual minority men (SMM) and the need for additional resources to improve HIV outcomes within this population, research on how spiritual and religious support can promote HIV prevention and treatment among Black SMM is greatly needed. We conducted nine focus groups with 52 spiritual and religious Black SMM in Baltimore, Maryland, to explore opportunities for HIV-related programming that incorporates spiritual and/or religious supports. Thematic analysis of the focus group transcripts was conducted using an iterative constant comparison coding process. Participants expressed a desire for more spiritual/religious support in non-church-based settings and identified the use of peer supports, inclusion of prayer and gospel music, and messaging related to the ideas that God is love, the Bible says to treat yourself preciously, and taking care of your health can strengthen your relationship with God as ways in which this could be incorporated into HIV-related programming. Participants living with HIV identified the message of “keeping the faith” as important for maintaining their HIV treatment plans. Participants also expressed a need for parental supports to improve HIV-related outcomes for Black SMM and potentially expand opportunities for spiritual and religious support to Black SMM within the church. Spirituality and religion can influence HIV outcomes for Black SMM, and the strategies identified by Black SMM in this study could aid in designing culturally congruent HIV prevention and treatment programs situated in the community.






Social Work

Comments/Extra Notes

Additional author: Dangerfield, Derek T.