Introduction The promotion of HIV testing for African Americans is a key approach to reducing both the number of individuals that are unaware of their status as well as the transmission of HIV. African American churches can serve as alternative venues to promote HIV testing and linkage to care. However, HIV stigma serves as a barrier to the integration of HIV testing in churches. Results are mixed as to the levels of HIV stigma among African American churches.
Methods We surveyed the congregants of African American churches (n=177) and compared participants from two types of churches, those with and without an HIV testing facility.
Results The HIV stigma score was not significantly different between congregants at churches with HIV testing and those without testing. However the participants from churches that did not offer HIV testing showed significantly different views on homosexuality, sexuality and drug abuse as barriers to HIV testing compared to those who attended churches that offered HIV testing (p<0.001).
Conclusion These results have implications for the important role that African American churches could have in not only offering HIV testing but reducing associated barriers.