Did you know that an estimated one million people are living with HIV in the United States? Did you know that HIV/AIDS is often referred to as the “disease of young people” with half of the 5 million new infections each year occurring among people ages 15 to 24? Did you know that woman and people of color account for more than 50% of the existing 40 million HIV/AIDS cases to date?

If we were to take polls in the African American churches around the world about HIV/AIDS, my belief is that we would fail miserably regarding the facts and statistics. The belief is that only people who use drugs, are homosexual, or have premarital sex can contract this disease. However, we know that this is far from the truth. Most churches avoid speaking in depth about premarital sex, sexually transmitted diseases, homosexual relationships and drug use. These issues are mentioned from time to time but not in detail. The church states you shouldn’t take part in these activities because the Bible states that you shouldn’t. However, the reasons why we shouldn’t are almost never stated. This is also the case in Black Christian homes around the world. Parents are afraid to talk to their children about these issues. Young people are just told don’t do it! Then they attend church and the same is said don’t do it! My concern is that we will die because we are not educated about HIV/AIDS. Someone needs to take responsibility.

I believe the church should take part in the responsibility of educating the people regarding HIV/AIDS. If the church can tell you don’t have premarital sex, don’t take part in drugs and homosexuality, why wouldn’t we take part in educating people about this disease? According to the statistics half of all new infections in the United States occur in people 25 years of age or younger. Currently my church has more members that are 25 years of age and under than 25 years of age or older. Anyone of them could potentially be a statistic. However, the chances they would contract this disease could be potentially be smaller if they were educated about the disease. Roughly 70 percent of all new infections in the United States occur in men. We also have men in our congregation; it would be safe to say that at least half of them are not educated about the disease. Approxiamtely 30 percent of all new infections occur in women. The women in our church out number the men by 3 to 1. The entire church is African American and African American people account for 54 percent of new infections.

We must take responsibility in educating the church. As a leader of the church I would be one of the first to take part in educating young people about this growing disease. Yes, we are to teach don’t have pre marital sex, homosexual relationships or use drugs. However, the truth of the matter is that some of us are taking part in these activities, and someone may be infected with the disease in the church. Frankly, even if you’re married, not taking drugs or having extra marital affairs you could still become infected. Most importantly we all need to be educated about this vicious disease. If we love like Christ loves, we would educate the people about this disease. The disease that doesn’t care about where you come from, how much money you have, what color you are, whether you’re male or female, or whether you’re 2 or 42. This disease does not discriminate. If we get educated we can educate and equip our children and they can educate their children.

Here are some alarming facts:

An estimated one million people are currently living with HIV in the United States, with approximately 40,000 new infections occurring each year. 70 percent of these new infections occur in men and 30 percent occur in women. By race, 54 percent of the new infections in the United States occur among African Americans, and 64 percent of the new infections in women occur in African American women. 75 percent of the new infections in women are heterosexually transmitted. Half of all new infections in the United States occur in people 25 years of age or younger. Woman and people of color account for more than 50 % of the existing 40 million HIV/AIDS cases to date. Currently there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, the only certain way to prevent it is abstinence, which means to abstain from sexual intercourse. African American women are infected with HIV/Aids 25 times more than white women and 4 times more than Hispanics women making HIV/Aids the leading cause of death for black women ages 25-34.

The African Diaspora have experienced decades of destruction and oppression , which continue to impact the lives of people of color. The primary mode for women for the transmission of HIV is through heterosexual contact.

The black church is one of the most stable institutions in the African community. It is the place where most black persons celebrate their faith and seek direction.

Religion remains an integral part of African American culture and tends to permeate every aspect of black life. Furthermore, women are more likely than men to deem religion as important and to demonstrate their commitments by attending religious services on a weekly basis. Weekly religious attendance rates for black women are higher than white and Latina women and men, regardless of race.

Studies have indicated religiosity has been consistently found to be a predictor of sexual behavior among adolescents, college students and adult women. Persons who frequently attend religious services or report consistent devotional time have fewer high-risk sexual behavior and delays in first sexual intercourse experience.

It is implicit that HIV prevention be conducted in a religious setting, such as the Black church, it would be effective in reducing HIV among communities of color.

Elaine Broaster-White is the mother of two wonderful, intelligent children and the wife of the most perfect husband, whose absolutely perfect for her. She’s currently in school earning her degree in Social Work. She’s hoping to sue her degree to help others. But most importantly she is a child of the King, the most High God, Jesus Christ.

© 2015, Shalena D.I.V.A.- Author| Speaker| Life And Business Coach. All rights reserved.

34 comments on “HIV/AIDS and The Church by Elaine Broaster-White”

  1. Elaine, thank you for writing this article. It’s funny that you bring up these points because I remember attending Youth Bible Study and constantly being told not to have sex. Of course abstinence is the best way to stay on the atraight and narrow path, but I think the church should’ve educated us about more of the outcomes of sex other than pregnancy.

    I guess it’s a thin line the church must walk. What should they do? Sheryl Lee Ralph-Hughes, former costar of Moesha, performs her one woman play about HIV/AIDS at churches and it’s well received. Maybe that is a start.

    What do you think? In what manner should the church educate its congregants about HIV/AIDS.

    • Shalena,

      I beleive the church is progressing in the right direction. There was a time when you were taught in the home as well as your church “don’t do it”. There were no reasons given, you were just told don’t do it. The most obvious reason was pregnancy and that was it. No questions asked!
      My belief as of today is that the church should educate its congregants about HIV/AIDS. I do not believe the church should hand out condoms. I think the church should allow the parents and adults to make that decision. Yes, It’s a very thin line the church must walk.

      We will see..

  2. Why can’t the church hand out condoms? I don’t see that as condoning sex, but rather trying to help you. You have to answer to God for your sins
    and you alone. I don’t see why churches don’t have teen centers where they eductae kids about sex, even if it means providing them with condoms. Kids go to people they trust in these kind of situations, shouldn’t the church be that place where they feel safe telling Sister So and So that they need help? I think that’s why a lot of girls get pregnant in church because they can’t go to people with what they’re going through.

  3. Ciara, Thanks for reading the article. In my opinion if the church supplied condoms to its young people it would condone pre-marital sex. I believe the church should educate but leave it up to the parents to take it a step or two further. There are many people that fin…d themselves in risky behaviors such as unprotected sex, drugs and alcohol because of lack of knowledge and education. I would compare the church handing out condoms to parents allowing their children to smoke weed but at the same time telling them they shouldn’t do it.. Contradiction, if you ask me.

  4. Elaine,
    Well written and factual peace of knowledge and truth. I agree with most of you points, and share the same sentiments, however how would you move to have this subject/topic incorporated in the churches?
    If I could play devils advocate for momment. Today’s youth are being educated on/ about sex in schools and in their everyday surroundings, therefore the churches may feel like their vague contribution to the topic and matter is sufficient. I feel personally that it’s the parents responsibility more so than society’s responsibility to educate their children on sex and All( operative word) the consequences that are attached to it.
    Remember AIDS/HIV is a relatively new desease; moreover, do you truly believe that because something is said in church one lives by it? If that were the case many of us would die virgins and our prisons wouldn’t be over crowded.
    I applaud you for your intrepid personality and your deep desires to educate people of color, but the sad truth is this, the word and resources are openly and readily available, but some choose to ignore it,or feel like it could never happen to them.
    There are so many problems in the world with too few solutions.

    Hodafez
    Peitra Broaster

    • I proof read and still managed to mispell.
      Elaine,
      Well written and factual piece of knowledge and truth. I agree with most of your points, and share the same sentiments, however how would you move to have this subject/topic incorporated in the churches?
      If I could play devils advocate for momment. Today’s youth are being educated on/ about sex in schools and in their everyday surroundings, therefore the churches may feel like their vague contribution to the topic and matter is sufficient. I feel personally that it’s the parents responsibility more so than society’s responsibility to educate their children on sex and All( operative word) the consequences that are attached to it.
      Remember AIDS/HIV is a relatively new desease; moreover, do you truly believe that because something is said in church one lives by it? If that were the case many of us would die virgins and our prisons wouldn’t be over crowded.
      I applaud you for your intrepid personality and your deep desires to educate people of color, but the sad truth is this, the word and resources are openly and readily available, but some choose to ignore it,or feel like it could never happen to them.
      There are so many problems in the world with too few solutions.

      Hodafez
      Peitra Broaster

    • Peitra,

      Thanks so much for reading the article and leaving a comment. Your comment is very valuble to me as it diversifies the comments.

      You asked, how would I move to have this subject incorporated in the churches? I would bring in a third party organization that specializes in breaking the mold by discussing topics such as HIV/AIDS in a religous setting. One, this organization would be competent and knowledgable in this specific topic. And two, I believe a third party organization would have a bias attitude towards the subject and the congregants. That’s where a person like myself would come into play. Yes, todays youth are being educated about sex in school, outside of school and in their everyday environment. Truth be told they’re being educated about many different things such as sex, drugs, alcohol, relationships, etc. It is suffice to say that all this education they’re getting about these things are not always the correct information. Yes, some schools do offer sex education classes but there are many schools that don’t. While sex education in schools are very imporatnt, these very programs are being cut in schools. I received a call a couple days ago and the person said that gym was being cut in NYC schools. That’s proposterous seeing that our children like never before are being diagnosed with diabetes at an alarming rate. Our children are more obese than they’ve ever been. With that being said programs that are viable to our children are being cut or not available at all. My high school did not offer sex education classes. My parents and grandparents did not educate me about sex and STD’s, I was told don’t do it! Don’t bring any babies here! And to top it off I went to church said the same was said, DON’T DO IT! It was never stated why. Teens today are not going for that, they want to know why and if you don’t tell them they’ll find out the easy way or the hard way. Ironically, as a child and teenager I spent alot of time in church. I would attend on Sundays as well as weekends and weekdays. Often times we would take trips together as a church family. Some of the trips were for leisure and others to attend national meetings. I say that to say I spent most of my time in church. Many things happened on those trips and thats all I will say. Studies have indicated religiosity has been consistently found to be a predictor of sexual behavior among adolescents, college students and adult women. Persons who frequently attend religious services or report consistent devotional time have fewer high-risk sexual behavior and delays in first sexual intercourse experience.Personally, I beleive that if I were educated properly about sex and STD’s I would not have made some of the choices I made. Even if I made them I could have made a better choice. The truth is teens are having sex whether be heterosexual or homosexual. Teens are doing all kinds of drugs and drinking. Teens are making bad choices in general. I wonder how many teens are properly educated about these topics. Ignorance is not bliss. A person can literally die because of not knowing or not knowing enough. Yes, it is the parents responsibility however some parents are afraid, uneducated themselves, or worse just allow their children to find there own way which all of the stated is not the right way to handle it. Some parents want to discuss topics like sex but don’t know how. Many parents don’t know themselves.

      I disagree with churches feeling “their vague contribution to the topic and matter is sufficient”. My belief is just as parents don’t know where or how to start the same applies to churches. I also beleive churches are afraid to step out of the box per say. Sex is a taboo subject in the church for married couples (which is beautiful in the eyes of God) as well as singles. We need to take a stand and it starts with people like you and me, everyday people who beleive in a cause. I absolutely beleive with my whole heart that “something said in the church one lives by it”. I’m a living testimony of that. I strive everyday to please my GOD. I take his word and apply it to my life. At the same time I make mistakes everyday of my life and some are life changing. I constantly come in contact with people that are living their lives the same way. Before I married my husband I was celebant for over a year. And not so much because I wanted to do it. I am a Christian and this is what the word instructs me to do. It’s by faith that we follow GODS commandments everyday and if we mess up his grace with keep us.

      Your question took my mind to the awesome Martin Luther King Jr. The Civil Rights Movement of 1964 began in a church where African Americans spent most of their time. Through his and others perseverance, dedication, diligence the Civil Rights Movement was made an act thus “Civil Rights Act of 1964”. I read an article a couple weeks ago and in that article MLK stated that he didn’t sign up for this . He just wanted to support the movement. He did not plan to lead the movement. He also stated that he wasn’t the man for the job. He was not confident that he could do the job effectively and efficiently but at the end of the day he saw the big picture. Racism was a national issue.

      Just call me MLK because I’m going to get the word out in the churches about this deadly disease called AIDS. The disease that doesn’t discriminate. Did you know that there are seniors in nursing homes testing positive for HIV/AIDS?

      Be Blessed,

      EB White

      • Elaine, you got down on that your last response. I can see that you are very passionate about this topic. What struck me most about this reponse is your reference to MLK and the Civil Rights Movement. The church of that day was more more powerful than the church of today and that is why I believe the movement was so successful. Put simply, I don’t think the church of today is strong enough to bring about a strong, lasting change in the black community. However, I think every bit helps and it should help out with sex education and HIV/AIDS prevention along with parents.

        • Shalena, thank you. I am very passionate about this topic. I guess its the social worker in me. The church would be doing their congregants a social injustice by ignoring the real issues.

          Yes the church was very strong in the past. Today we also have strong churches who are led by strong leaders however the leaders are not equipped to tackle the subject. They may not ven know where to begin. I’m sure I’m not the first to have thought about this. It takes one church to step out of the box and lead by example.

          I am going to begin to put my resources together and lead by example.

          Stay tuned I’ll be coming to a church near you….

          Be Blessed,

          EB White

  5. I believe that the church should educate the members and especially the youth about sex, and the risk that are involved with unprotected sex. However, I believe the bigger issue is convincing some of our leaders that it’s the right thing to do in church. How will they do it, and who is going to be responsible for developing and implementing a plan that is straight forward, yet Christ centered? The issue of sex has been taboo for years in the church, and there has always been a challenge with sexual immorality since the beginning of time. The apostle Paul addressed churches in the bible about this issue. We (The Church) have to take a stand as Paul did, and approach the issue with boldness. We have to accept that fact that this disease is killing people, even those in the church. Yes we have to focus on saving souls, but we should also work on preserving life. Let us be mindful that the Lord works in preventative care. A good parent would not sit back and allow their child to walk into a dangerous situation, without trying to protect them. So lets Step Up, Stand Up, and do our part in educating and preventing any disease that will hurt, harm, or shorten our lives!

    • Hi Charlotte,

      Thank you for reading the article and giving your comment. You asked how will we convince the the church that this is the right thing to do. A person like yourself who is a member of a well known church can speak with your Youth Pastor and/or place the suggestion in the suggestion box. It could start out as small as that. Remember little becomes much when you place it in the Masters hands. Sometime ago I wrote a letter to the Black Clergy of Philadelphia about HIV/AIDS education in church. The letter came back. And guess what I sent the letter again this time it didn’t come but I did not receive a response either. So guess what? I’m going to write the letter again and again until I get a response from someone. That’s the way we have to be a Christians as well as members of society. Nothing ever gets done when you just have a vision to do something. One must actively and consciously work at it.

      Yes, sexual immorality was often spoken about by the Apostle Paul. It was an issue then and still is a issue. I beleive its still an issue because we have not tackled it full speed ahead. We dance around the subject time ad time again as we did in the past. Christ is concerned about the whole person. Many times throughout the Bible you would find Christ teaching.

      There is a well known church in Philadelphia who invites Sheryl Lee Ralph into their church to speak on this very topic. I’m pretty sure this was a battle for the Pastor as well as the members. People don’t accept change very well. We must remember that “Methods change,but principles stay the same”. I’m not telling churches to hand out condoms or go aside from what the bible teaches I am simply saying, open your eyes to whats really going on and do something about it.

      Be Blessed,

      EB White

  6. Mrs White,

    I think that this is an interesting take and concept. I also think that it brings about an element of contraversy because many are not willing to shake up and challenge the “tradition.”
    I think before the church begins to give out condoms, they would do well to share with their congregate about the disease, which issomething that people appear to be afraid to do.

    I would be extremely interested in hearing about a church that espoused some of your ideas because I truly believe that one of the reasons that church or the institution of religion isn’t as much of a staple in the lives of people today is because the message doesn’t evolve with the changing times and the changing culture.

    Ultimately, if my memory serves me correctly, Jesus was an individual that challenged the “established order/tradition” of his time and I believe you’re on the right track!

    I would love to hear your views on the following:
    Would Jesus discriminate? Homosexuality in the church….

  7. The church should educate on what the Bible or God says about sex no that should not b giving out condoms. The Church should b preaching Christ with loving kindness

  8. In my opinion they should, however you have pastors, bishops and ministers sleeping with the congregation but they are preaching in the pulpit they are already living a double life so it should be NO problem with them sharing the SAFE sex message to the youth and even to themselves, but most will prob say that’s not what the bible says, but they are already living a life of Hypocrisy so what should it matter!

  9. I think it’s a crying shame that so many ppl are still dying from AIDS/HIV, Cancer, et cetera when one man proved in a court of law in NYC that he cures all of those diseases. Not only did he prove his case with several patients from around… the world w/ b4 n after medical records, the court allowed him to continue using his all natural remedies n use the word “cure”! But, of course don’t take my word for it check him out: http://www.drsebi.com
    and http://www.drsebiproducts.com

  10. I know the bible teaches abstinence but in reality people are having sex, yes the church should educate people about everything that comes with sex, obviously parents aren’t doing it, and women and african americans are hit the hardest.

  11. YES THEY SHOULD ITS A SHAME IT HAS COME TO THIS BUT CHILDREN NEED TO PROTECT THEMSELVES ITS SO MANY YOUNG WOMEN N MEN WHO HAVE HIV AN DONT EVEN KNOW IT THESE R THE ONES THAT WILL KEEP THE DISEASE ALIVE AND HAVIN UNPROTECTED SEX NOWADAYS IS LIKE REACHING IN A BAG FULL OF RATTLESNAKES IT WILL KILL U YES GIVE OUT CONDOMS TO EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. @All–this is a tough one because the church preaches abstinence and rightfully so; however, this is a huge problem and the church is a great platform to educate. I think the youth especially should have a special group where they can conf…ide and share their thoughts about growing up without being judged. I also think they should be eductaed baout and told of every precaution they should take if THEY CHOOSE to have sex anyway. This way, no one can claim that they didn’t know, weren’t aware, or didn’t have anyone to talk to. I don’t think it’s condonign it, I think it’s making sure the kids know that they have options and are educated. I’m still iffy on the whole thing though..

  13. THE CHURCH MAY TEACH ABSTINENCE BUT THAT ISN’T WHAT ALL MEMBERS ARE DOING. THE CHURCH SHOULD TEACH ALL MEMBERS ABOUT THE LIFE SAVING ADVANTAGE OF USING CONDOMS

  14. You know I feel like at the end of the day it has to always start at home! There shouldn’t be anything that the schools or the church are handing out that we haven’t already discussed with our children at home!! Unfortunately, our kids are …being exposed to so much in this world today via internet; so it has to start with parents talking about condoms and Hiv early!! I think 11 is an early age for kids to even have to deal with these things, but as a parent I want to try and be more open minded!!? 🙂

  15. Yes the church needs to understand the times we live in and keep up accordingly! But still encourage Gods will without the guilt factor ! It is what is

  16. @ Karen God bless you real good.@Katrina who are you to judge the Church or Ministers,allow God to do that..the Church doesn’t need to understand nothing cox the Lord will not understand since a teaching from the word has been made in that… area(the church owe’s people the teaching of the Word and not giving out of Condoms)..so i advice those of us that are yet to know what the bible say’s about sex to study and get wisdom as while as understanding..The knowledge of the system of things of this world are nothing to be compared to God’s knowledge nor his wisdom..God’s rules n regulation period!!!God bless you

  17. I do not think the church should pass out condoms this should be a choice between the parent and the child…

  18. Education is key to all things… Handing out condoms? yes but do these persons know how to use them properly to curb the spread of disease… children @ 11yrs should hv no dealings with this kind of thing BUT at the same time children r more exposed to these kinds of thgs what with abuse and the like… so educate, & empower our youth then MAYBE we can see a change…

  19. No mam… education yes!!!!!! but passing out condoms….no, because it gives young ppl the option to commit sin!!!!I personally knew a parent that put her daughters on birth control…and they began having sex and birth control did not pre…vent them from being teenage mother’s…..the wages of sin is death…..When we began to continously pratice sin it will catch up with us…..The education itself..and prayer is the best protection young ppl can ever have…

  20. WOW! I am totally shocked. 11yrz old?? My goodness. I didnt know boys even had sperm at tht age. Sheesh! Shalena wouldnt it be better to go to schools n teach kids to abstain rather than give em condoms to enable the sin. After all its nt t…he hiv tht causes hiv/aids..its the sin of fornication tht does. This is so sad! The thing is nt js to have abstinence seminars but to have smthing like a christian buddy system. Telling them once wont make a difference. Bcoz obviously these kids arent gettn the proper guidance at home n need sm1 to walk with n care abt them. Thts the starting place im guessing. And then to make this system compulsory frm a certain age up would benefit the country evn more. Its just a thought.

  21. @All– this is such a sad topic because kids as young as 8 and 9 are having sex, some of them being caught in the school bathrooms. I know we say that it should start at home and I AGREE, but some of these parents were merely babes when th…ey had their children so how can they teach their kids? I’m not saying that all young mothers are liek that– my oldest sister was a young mother who did a fine job on her kids, but there are sooo many young parents that don’t have a clue. I think the school and other resources should step in to help. Alot of times kids don’t feel comfortable talking to their parents about sex and they need to talk to other people. It’s definitely a problem we need to tackle from all sides. Thanks for the discussion!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Subscribe without commenting