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Churchgoing, HIV-positive Gay Men Slow to Get Treatment

Churchgoing, HIV-positive Gay Men Slow to Get Treatment


The Center for HIV Law and Policy's study also showed that those who attended church were more likely to present with advanced HIV symptoms.

Correllation doesn't prove causation, but is it possible that church is keeping HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) away from treatment?

A new study by the Center for HIV Law and Policy found that among those surveyed, 53 percent of MSM regularly go to church. That same group, on average, was found to present for care later than their non-churchgoing counterparts.

"Possible explanations for differences among MSM included norms held by some religious organizations regarding same-sex sexual behavior, which may influence willingness of their same-sex members to participate in HIV screening and early presentation for care," the study reads. Another hypothesis in the study is that those diagnosed who regularly attend church may be more likely to turn to religion rather than medical treatment.

The sample, which included 508 HIV-positive persons reporting for care for the first time in the southeastern U.S., included non-MSM as well, but there was no noted correllation among those surveyed.

However, the study was limited by demographics: 60 percent of respondents were MSM, as opposed to much smaller numbers for men who have sex with women (MSW) and women who have sex with men (WSM). Also, the sample was predominantly African-American.

The full study can be read here.

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