evangelical Protestant denominations have widened throughout the AIDS epidemic.
Various Protestant church AIDS networks often attempt to disassociate themselves from any gay/lesbian denominational groups for two chief reasons: to separate the AIDS epidemic from a perspective that identifies it as a disease affecting only gay men and to keep the church from affirming a lifestyle that it regards as immoral. Frequently, mainline churches will state that what is important is not how one contracted HIV, but rather that Christ’s compassionate care be extended to all those affected by the virus. However, homophobic attitudes still affect the responses of the mainline churches to gay men living with AIDS. For the most part, the evangelical and fundamentalist churches were initially hesitant to make any policy statements, even on compassionate care of people living with HIV/AIDS. The National Association of Evangelicals had its first briefing on HIV/AIDS in 1988 and began to modify its initial reaction of hostility to the epidemic in subsequent years. Evangelical churches now liken their position on AIDS to the current Catholic position of providing care to people living with AIDS but not affirming lifestyles that they deem immoral.