Evangelical Christians are taking a bad rap from the mass media and the general public because of misperceptions on how conservative Christians view AIDS.

In fact, said Jeffrey Hadden of the University of Virginia, the perceptions that many people have of the fundamentalist and evangelical response to AIDS "are sufficiently wide of the mark as to constitute myths.""Furthermore, even when the perceptions are generally correct, they tend to be taken out of context and, hence, distort the evangelical response to AIDS."

Hadden made his observations in a paper for the World Congress of Political Science.

Topping the list is the belief that evangelicals view AIDS as God's judgment on homosexuals. Hadden disputes that notion.