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Journal of Pastoral Theology


This article briefly reflects on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the African American community. The article suggests an alternative paradigm that views the high-risk behaviors that contribute to the spread of the virus as a reaction to ‘trauma of the heart’ as opposed to viewing the epidemic solely in terms of a lack of HIV and sexually transmitted disease awareness. It further suggests a pastoral intervention of expanding the paradigm of family beyond the classical nuclear construct to family as a system of individuals committed to embracing and ‘adopting’ individuals who have experienced trauma of the heart. This augmented understanding of family might provide an alternative to the high-risk behaviors that individuals may engage in during the search for affirmation, which all too often may contribute to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

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