Around the world, HIV prevalence rates for commercial sex workers (CSW), people who inject drugs (PWID), and men who have sex with men (MSM) outpace prevalence rates for the population as a whole. Religion has a complex effect for people in key populations in relation to HIV risk or HIV services. On the one hand, it contributes to stigma and judgment that contribute to risky behaviors and create barriers to care; on the other, it has been a strong motivating factor for compassionate programs and courageous advocacy. Religions can offer theological perspectives that support effective HIV prevention, treatment, and support services. These perspectives may be developed not only by religious leaders but by people of faith working at the grassroots level. There are a number of effective faith-based programs that provide essential services to members of key populations. These programs offer a set of best practices for faith-based work with key populations.
In order to address the complex influences of religion and support effective faith-based responses, this report contains eight key issues to guide collaboration between faith-based organizations and HIV programs.