Spirituality, AIDS, and Sexuality

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit


Publication Date



Some religions, such as many Buddhist schools and traditional Hinduism, believe all sexual desire, whether gay or straight, must be transcended in order to achieve salvation. Neo-Pagan religions are almost unanimous in their acceptance of same-sex relationships as equal to heterosexual ones. But many orthodox leaders in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism maintain the sinfulness of gay and lesbian lifestyles, which may complicate treatment with AIDS victims.

This paper explores ways to help gays and lesbians integrate their spiritual beliefs with their sexual orientation. A brief examination of religious texts is offered, but it is recommended that counselors and psychologists avoid theological debates. Instead, therapists can engage clients in psycho-theological discussions. Clients are asked to describe the nature of the Divine (e.g., is this an entity that focuses on punishment or forgiveness?), whether there is a design to the universe, and how the Divine shows love to those who seek him/her.

Spirituality may strengthen the immune system, provide a mechanism for positive thoughts, and, in some cases, increase the life expectancy of clients. All of these potentialities make it a vital facet of effective therapy.


This article was originally published in Journal of GLBT Family Studies. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

Due to copyright restrictions, this article is not available for free download from ScholarWorks @ CWU.


Journal of GLBT Family Studies


Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC