In a recent survey of women with HIV, prayer was mentioned as a very important source in decision making about HIV antiretroviral therapy. As a follow-up to this finding, we conducted in-depth interviews with 51 women attending a comprehensive HIV care center to better understand the role of prayer in their decisions about taking antiretroviral therapy. The sample consisted predominately of African American (80%) women with a median age of 31 years from St. Louis and surrounding areas. Forty-seven (92%) reported that prayer was an important source for HIV medication decision making, with 30 (59%) considering prayer more important than the physician. Twenty-nine (57%) perceived a qualitative difference between prayer and the physician, which created a sense of conflict for some. Thirty (59%) wished that the physician knew more about the role of prayer in their lives. Our findings reveal compelling issues: (a) the willingness of the women to talk about prayer as a resource and its importance in HIV disease management, (b) the roles that prayer and the physician play in HIV medication decision-making, and (c) ways prayer can be addressed in a medical setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)532-543
Number of pages12
JournalAIDS Education and Prevention
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000


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