It is well-known that the history of any given person or group is going to greatly impact their feelings and views towards any given major topic. Who we are and the way we think is our upbringing as well as through own experiences of our own. These experiences are what cause one to develop stigmas. And unfortunately stigmas seem to be long lasting regardless of whether or not they are actually true or not, simply because so many seemingly choose to be resistant to new information and aren’t willing to consider new ideaschange their feelings about a given topic. The HIV-infected community is no stranger to this experience, and many who have no correlation to the stigmas applied to HIV and AIDS are forced to live with the constant assumption by the public they fit into one of the stigmatized categories of HIV. Certain groups of HIV-infected individuals are faced with more of a challenge in the acceptance by their non HIV-infected community members because of the stigmas that are applied to the disease. One of the major groups that have been affected by their historical beliefs directly affecting their view on HIV/AIDS is organized religion, specifically Christianity. The long-standing beliefs of Christianity on homosexuality and promiscuity, along with the inaccurate depictions of HIV/AIDS have led to a lasting sense of distrust within the community, particularly for those who are HIV- infected. Beliefs of Christianity on Homosexuality and Promiscuity
The beliefs within Christianity on homosexuality and promiscuity stem far and deep into the history of the religion. And while there are many different interpretations of what the original words written in the Bible, the Holy Book of the Christian faith, mean exactly, there are general consensus about several topics including those of homosexuality and promiscuity. Leviticus 19:22 states, “[d]o not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin”. This is clearly an example of the Bible directly stating that homosexuality is not to be accepted, and is therefore generally looked down upon within the church and in many instances if a member is thought to be homosexual, as it is considered a very serious sin, will often be treated as an outcast or will no longer be welcome within the community. In Hebrew 13:4, “[l]et marriage be honorable among all, and the marriage bed be without defilement, for God will judge fornicators and adulterers," is interpreted by most to forbid any type of sexual promiscuity, which within Christianity is participating in sexual acts with one other than one’s husband or wife. By many Christian’s this is also looked down upon and members who are thought to be sexually promiscuous are not warmly welcomed and are viewed in a very negative light as being “bad Christians”. As in most religions, one’s community within their church typically serves as a family and a major support system when going through hard times. It is taught in Christianity to treat your brothers and sisters in Christ as if they were your flesh and blood, however often in Christianity as in other organized religion when a member is deemed to have committed a major grievance against God they are to be punished often by no longer being accepted. This throughout history and still today causes many members to feel as if they must keep anything secret that may lead other members of the church to believe that they are not “good Christians” to themselves, in fear of being judged and shunned by other members. For example, as discussed in the article Sex, disease and stigma in South Africa: historical perspectives, (Delius & Glaser, 2005), many Christian families in Africa, while often not as traditional as some other sects of Christianity, still try very hard to cover up indiscretions such as premarital pregnancy however were forced to come clean and face the often merciless punishments. “Adulterous and unmarried pregnant women were...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document