HIV/AIDS policy for employers in religious communities

Paul Hershel Sanders, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Surveys of national religious denominational offices and of churches in Texas were conducted to evaluate the prevalence of HIV/AIDS policies for members and employees, and to get feedback on a proposed HIV/AIDS policy. Most religious organizations in Texas do not have a HIV/AIDS policy for their employees. Analysis of the data from 77 church questionnaire surveys revealed only 17 (22.1%) policies in existence. From the current data, policies for employees were most prevalent among Catholic churches with 8 (47.1%) and Baptist churches with 7 (41.2%). Nine of the churches (52.9%) who had HIV/AIDS policies for their employees were categorized as having 2501-5000 members. In 1994 and 1995 the largest number of policies developed by churches totaled 8 (47.1%). The findings of this exploratory study in Texas were consistent with the survey of 7 national denominational offices which demonstrated that only the Lutheran church had a policy (14.3%). The literature is consistent with the finding that some churches have decided no separate HIV/AIDS policy is needed for employees. More than half of the employers reporting a HIV/AIDS related experience still feel they do not need a specific policy (CDC, 1992). The range of number of employees in churches varied widely from a high of 54.5% of churches with 15-50 employees to a low of 7.8% of churches with more than 100 employees. Seventy-one of the churches (92.2%) reported that they had no employees infected with HIV/AIDS, while 1 church (1.3%) reported having more than 1 employee infected with HIV/AIDS. This indicates that churches are reacting to incidence of the HIV/AIDS infection rather than preparing ahead. The results of this study clearly indicate the need to develop a comprehensive HIV/AIDS policy for employees in religious communities. Church employees must carefully consider all the issues in the workplace when adopting and implementing a HIV/AIDS policy. A comprehensive policy was developed and guidelines are suggested.

Subject Area

Occupational safety|Religion|Law|Management|Labor relations

Recommended Citation

Sanders, Paul Hershel, "HIV/AIDS policy for employers in religious communities" (1996). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9700051.