African Americans, faith communities, HIV/AIDS, HIV prevention, New York State



  1. Tyrell, Carol O. BS, CHES
  2. Klein, Susan J. MS
  3. Gieryic, Susan M. MSW
  4. Devore, Barbara S. MS
  5. Cooper, Jay G. BA
  6. Tesoriero, James M. PhD


In the United States, racial/ethnic health disparities persist across all leading health indicators. In 2005, African Americans accounted for half of all HIV/AIDS cases, but only 12 percent of the US population was African American. Since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the New York State Department of Health, AIDS Institute recognized the importance of faith communities' involvement in HIV prevention. A survey assessed faith community involvement in HIV prevention, identified barriers to involvement, and determined willingness to partner with HIV prevention programs. Although less than 25 percent of respondents reported involvement in HIV prevention, 50 percent were willing to meet with service providers. Those willing to meet included 74 percent of faith leaders with primarily African American congregants. On the basis of the survey and subsequent forums, a statewide initiative was created to involve faith communities in HIV prevention. An assessment of the statewide initiative showed that it has been highly effective in engaging faith community involvement, including a large number of African American faith communities. These findings have implications for future programming and can aid to further strengthen the statewide initiative.