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      Religious beliefs, practices and treatment adherence among individuals with HIV in the southern United States.

      AIDS Patient Care and STDs
      Adult, Aged, Anti-HIV Agents, therapeutic use, Female, HIV Infections, drug therapy, psychology, Health Care Surveys, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Humans, Louisiana, Male, Middle Aged, Patient Compliance, Religion and Medicine, Southeastern United States

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          Nonadherence with medical treatment is a critical threat to the health of those living with HIV disease. Unfortunately the search for explanatory factors for nonadherence is still not fully developed, particularly in the area of religion and spirituality. Extant literature suggests that church attendance, religious practices and spiritual beliefs may improve health and generally benefit patients. However, religious beliefs may also play a negative role in treatment adherence due to the stigma attached to HIV disease, particularly in geographical areas and in population subgroups where religious practices are strong. In this exploratory study, HIV-positive individuals (n = 306) in a southern state were surveyed as to their attitudes and beliefs surrounding HIV disease and adherence with medical treatment for the disease. The results indicate that multiple factors influence adherence with treatment and that certain religious practices are positively associated with adherence, but certain religious beliefs are negatively related to adherence. The findings of this study reinforce the importance of remembering and addressing a patient's religious beliefs as a part of medical care.

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