Re-membering HIV in the Black Church: women’s religious and social identity in relation to perceived risk and men on the down low

Tyler J. Fuller, Nichole R. Phillips, Danielle N. Lambert, Ralph J. DiClemente, Gina M. Wingood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This analysis of 84 interviews with female Black Church leaders and members from Atlanta, GA, examined how women in Black churches construct definitions of, and identities in relation to, HIV narratives about men on the down low. We analyse these narratives as collective memories, through the theoretical lens of memory and trauma studies, by identifying how women understand themselves as the victims of men on the down low transmitting HIV; describe this as a painful experience; make public claims about this experience; and draw on theological understandings to make these claims. The narratives articulate how Black communal modes of meaning making have been disrupted by the HIV epidemic and assign responsibility for HIV transmission to men on the down low, who are perceived to be engaged in risky sexual behaviour. We discuss these results in relation to HIV education and prevention and suggest health educators can engage Black church leaders by understanding these narratives as forms of countermemory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Black men
  • HIV
  • black church
  • black women
  • religious identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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