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A New Age crystal-healing ceremony being performed for Bobby Reynolds in San Francisco General Hospital’s AIDS Ward #81 A. In 1983, Reynolds was the first person to testify before the U.S. Congress as a publically identified person with AIDS. Alienated from mainstream religions and searching for possible miracle cures, many people with AIDS have turned to nontraditional sources of spirituality.

Religion then becomes for PWAs a way to a peace that eliminates much stress and negativity. The various religious ceremonies or rites as well as practices of both vocal and meditative prayer become helpful tools in their life journey with AIDS. Others who have come from a deeply fundamentalist or rigid religious practice may return to such a faith and accept the negative judgment of that particular community as being deserved. This may or may not be helpful to the PWA. However, a belief in a benevolent, compassionate transcendent power can and often does enhance the life of a PWA.