Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences

Degree Program

Public Health Sciences with a specialization in Health Promotion, PhD

Committee Chair

Kerr, Jelani

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Harris, Muriel

Committee Member

Harris, Muriel

Committee Member

Harris, Lesley

Committee Member

Husbands, Winston

Author's Keywords

HIV; African American church; HIV stigma


African Americans are disproportionately impacted by HIV compared to other racial groups. Stigma surrounding HIV has created challenges for effective HIV prevention and stigma reduction programs. The African American church has been criticized for its slow and stigmatizing response to the HIV epidemic. Despite this, African American faith leaders play significant roles in guiding the perspective of the community. Numerous studies examine African American pastors’, faith leaders’, and ministers’ perspective about HIV and other HIV-related topics. However, there is no research that specifically examines young African American pastors’ perspectives of addressing HIV, stigma, and prevention. The purpose of this dissertation study is to explore the perspectives of HIV/AIDS and stigma among African American millennial faith leaders. This study consists of: 1) a systematic literature review to identify perspectives of HIV/AIDS and stigma among African American faith leaders; and 2) descriptive qualitative interviews with African American millennial faith leaders to explore their perspectives about HIV, stigma, and vii how they believe they should be addressed in the African American community. Grounded theory techniques informed the data collection and analysis of qualitative data. The results of the study show faith leaders have struggled to address HIV because of lack of knowledge and awareness and because of stigmatizing views. Faith doctrines and theological perspectives have created challenges for addressing HIV. Some faith leaders possess nontraditional views about sex and sexuality, which impact their approach to addressing HIV. Partnering with experts and AIDS service organizations (ASOs) have improved HIV knowledge and reduced stigma, although faith leaders suggest more assistance is needed. Faith leaders also recommend experts and ASOs provide HIV resources and material that are tailored to the doctrinal perspective of the congregation.

Included in

Public Health Commons