Religiosity, Denominational Affiliation, and Sexual Behaviors Among People with HIV in the United States

Published in: Journal of Sex Research, v. 44, no. 1, 2007, p. 49-58

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2006

by Frank H. Galvan, Rebecca L. Collins, David E. Kanouse, Philip Pantoja, Daniela Golinelli

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This study sought to describe religiosity and denominational affiliation among the U.S. population living with HIV and to test whether either is associated with HIV-related sexual risk behaviors. A Nationally representative sample of 1,421 people in care for HIV, 932 of whom reported recent sexual activity, was used. Religiosity was associated with fewer sexual partners and a lower likelihood of engaging in unprotected sex and in high-risk sex. Catholics were less likely to report unprotected sex than were other Christians, adherents of non-Christian religions, and those reporting no religious affiliation. Catholics were also less likely than other Christians to report high-risk sex and reported fewer sexual partners compared to those of non-Christian religions. The authors did not observe a difference between Catholics and Evangelicals in the three sexual behaviors investigated Results suggest that religiosity and some religious teachings may promote safer sex among people with HIV.

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