The potential of organized religion to obstruct the struggle against hiv/aids. Associations of hiv/aids with homosexuality, sexual promiscuity and injecting drug use has led to a number of harmful misconceptions: The disease is god"s punishment on a world or an individual who has gone astray. The person has sinned and is deserving of the disease. A key message that the religious bodies need to disseminate vigorously is that aids is a sickness and not a sin. Equating hiv positive individuals with immoral behaviour has contributed to the stigma that often accompanies hiv/aids status. Religious affiliations that blame the individual, enhance the infected person"s perception that others have adopted a stigmatizing attitude and this leads to self-stigma, guilt and internalization which causes the individual"s health to deteriorate even rapidly. Religious bodies must adamantly reject every utterance, pronouncement or practice that carries any connotation of stigma or discrimination.