African American Clergy Recommendations to Enhance the Federal Plan to End the HIV Epidemic: A Qualitative Study


African Americans in the southern United States continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV. Although faith-based organizations (FBOs) play important roles in the social fabric of African American communities, few HIV screening, care, and PrEP promotion efforts harness the power of FBOs. We conducted 11 focus groups among 57 prominent African American clergy from Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama. We explored clergy knowledge about the Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America (EHE); normative recommendations for how clergy can contribute to EHE; and how clergy can enhance the HIV care continua and PrEP. We explored how clergy have responded to the COVID-19 crisis, and lessons learned from pandemic experiences that are relevant for HIV programs. Clergy reported a moral obligation to participate in the response to the HIV epidemic and were willing to support efforts to expand HIV screening, treatment, PrEP and HIV care. Few clergy were familiar with EHE, U = U and TasP. Many suggested developing culturally tailored messages and were willing to lend their voices to social marketing efforts to destigmatize HIV and promote uptake of biomedical interventions. Nearly all clergy believed technical assistance with biomedical HIV prevention and care interventions would enhance their ability to create partnerships with local community health centers. Partnering with FBOs presents important and unique opportunities to reduce HIV disparities. Clergy want to participate in the EHE movement and need federal resources and technical assistance to support their efforts to bridge community activities with biomedical prevention and care programs related to HIV. The COVID-19 pandemic presents opportunities to build important infrastructure related to these goals.

HIV prevention, African American, Clergy, Church, South, BLACK CHURCH, PREEXPOSURE PROPHYLAXIS, YOUNG MEN, HEALTH, PREVENTION, FAITH, CARE, SEX, RACE/ETHNICITY, IMPLEMENTATION, Public, Environmental & Occupational Health, Social Sciences, Biomedical
Arnold, T., Haynes, T., Foster, P., Parker, S., Monger, M., Malyuta, Y., Cain, O., Coats, C. S., Murphy, M., Thomas, G., Sockwell, L., Klasko-Foster, L., Galipeau, D., Dobbs, T. E., Smith, M., Mena, L., & Nunn, A. (2021). African American Clergy Recommendations to Enhance the Federal Plan to End the HIV Epidemic: A Qualitative Study. In AIDS and Behavior (Vol. 26, Issue S1, pp. 100–111). Springer Science and Business Media LLC.