Sex, STIs and other religions
Religion plays a major role in the life of many ethnic minorities. For example, lots of Africans are members of the Pentecostal church and many South Americans are Roman Catholics. Religions usually have clear rules and regulations about sexuality, the specific roles of men and women, and having children.
Taboo about sex
Sex is only permitted in a marriage between a man and a woman. In virtually all religions, for example, sex is not permitted before or outside of marriage and attitudes to homosexuality are conservative. Essentially, living by the rules of your religion therefore has a significant influence on how you view sex and relationships. Virtually everybody knows that there is a difference between the ideal according to the rules and the reality.
We are only human and take risks or do things that we sometimes regret. The strict rules mean that there is more of a taboo about sex and it is more difficult to take the step to get tested for STIs. Perhaps you are ashamed – what would the people around me think? - and so you’re afraid to take action. Think about the unnecessary harm you are doing to yourself and to your partner. STIs are easily treatable; so get tested! You will then be taking responsibility!
Some religions believe that God decides what happens to you in life and that everything has a meaning. This also applies to contracting HIV. People also believe that God can heal you of HIV by using so-called HIV healings. These are part of a church service, for example, in the Pentecostal church, in which God is called to cure a person of HIV. If God hears these prayers, it is believed that the person no longer has to take HIV medication.
Effect on HIV medication
Of course, we are all free to decide what we believe in. And you decide what gives you strength. Many people draw strength from their religion and this can co-exist happily with HIV medication. However, it is not possible for a virus to disappear from the body as a result of healing.
It has, however, been proved that HIV medication suppresses HIV and prevents illnesses. This is why it is dangerous to stop taking medication because the virus can strike again. This is bad for your health, and if you have unprotected sex, your partner also runs the risk of contracting HIV.
You could also believe that God has arranged for effective HIV medication to be available and that you are being responsible by taking it. So carry on taking your HIV medication! It is a way of taking care of yourself and others! Discuss this with your specialist in internal medicine or HIV specialist nurse. Watch the video of Gloria, who has great trust in God and who lives a healthy life with HIV.