Religion and Health in HIV/AIDS Communities Essay

Crystal Carroll Abstract In 1981, the beginning of the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) polemic was marked with the increase of lymphocyte’s, pneumatics coring pneumonia (PC), and Kapok’s sarcoma. These were rare diseases that showed up in patients who had severe mispronunciation that could not be explained (Centers for Disease Control [CDC], 1981; Oppenheim, 1992). Towards the end of 2000 about 21. Million Individuals, composed of men, women, and children, died as a result of the AIDS Illness (Unmonitored Health organization [WHO], 2001). Since 1 996, incidence cases and mortality due to AIDS has decreased. Although scientist recognize that Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIVE) begins to attack the immune system immediately, HIVE has a dormant period of about 7 to 10 years or longer (Ramee, Koenig, 2011). Within the first 10 years of the AIDS crisis, gay and bisexual men were affected the most in the United States.

In 1991, 55% of all the AIDS cases that were reported were of men who had sex with other men (CDC, Bibb). Individuals who injected themselves with drugs came In as the second largest group with reported AIDS cases. Previous to 1992, women only represented 10% of all stated cases (CDC AAA). However, there has been a steady increase of women of all ages who have reported having AIDS. So the question stands: what role does religion have in adjusting to the WAITS illness?

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This article focuses on five aspects to help answer that question: (1) the use of religion or spirituality as a source of comfort, (2) the potential mental health and social benefits of religion/spiritually, (3) the possible physical health benefits of religion,’spirituality, (4) the negative effects that religion/ partiality can have on persons with WAITS, and (5) the types of interventions health and religious professionals can use to enhance the quality of life of people with HIVE/AIDS.

Religion/Spirituality as a Source of Comfort A study was measured by the Likens Spiritual Orientation Inventory. 48 HIVE-positive and 47 HIVE-negative men were compared and eight out of nine dimensions of the Inventory showed great differences between the two groups. Men who tested positive with HIVE had higher scores on transcendence, fruits of spirituality, altruism, mission n life, sacredness of life, meaning in life, awareness, and idealism. The materialism showed no deference (Perpetual and Perpetual, 1996).

Many people use religion or spirituality as a source of comfort, specifically those who have illnesses such as HIVE AIDS. Religion gives people something to hope for or sense of peace. It helps individuals come to a closing point with their disease. Negative Perceptions or Experiences of Religion/Spiritually Not everyone believes that religion or spiritually is a source of comfort for WAITS. Some believe that a higher power caused the issues of HIVE and AIDS because homosexuals and those who inject drugs are the highest group of people who have HIVE or AIDS.

People also have a negative view of religion because of the hurt individuals endured from religious or spiritual groups. Negative experiences from such groups have caused higher levels of anxiety, depression, or Isolation. People who have dealt with such emotions also respond of guilt and punishment. Some people choose to alienate themselves because of fear that others will do it anyway. While others guilt themselves into feeling miserable cause they are told they should feel that way.

As humans dealing with humans, whether atheist or a Bible believing Baptist, no one should ever make another person view themselves in a negative way. No matter what an individual believes is it not their place to place Judgment on another person. Psychological and Social Benefits of Religion/Spirituality Coleman and Holder (1999) conducted a study that examined spiritual well-being among 117 lower income African-Americans with HIVE/AIDS. Psychological well-being was measured be depression, anxiety, and hope.

The study concluded that religious ell-being was not greatly related to psychological well-being. Even though 84% of the participants stated that religion was important to them before they were infected with HIVE, only 61% stated that religion was important to them after they were infected. Conclusion HIVE/AIDS has become an epidemic in the United States over the last few decades. Individuals with the disease have searched ways to cope, some have turned to religion or spirituality and others have turned away. According to the research religion does have many benefits in helping people with the disease cope.