The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

4076.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - Board 3

Abstract #61446

Exploration of the Social Context Among Low-Income African American Women: Towards a model for preventing HIV infection

Jean Breny Bontempi, PhD, MPH, Department of Public Health, Southern Connecticut State University, 144 Farnham Avenue, New Haven, CT 06515, 203-392-6953, and Eugenia Eng, DrPH, Health Behavior and Health Education, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, Rosenau Hall - Campus Box 7400, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7400.

African American women are disproportionately burdened by HIV/AIDS, which scholars attribute to prevention efforts that do not take into account factors of social context. The presence of societal conditions, such as racism, may limit the effectiveness of programs that focus on changing individual health behaviors.

The specific research aims of this study were to: 1. Explore the social context as constructed by low-income, heterosexual African American women; and 2. Identify potential points of intervention for HIV/STD prevention for women that target social factors.

Twenty-four African American women, who reside in a public housing complex of a rural town in eastern North Carolina, participated in a sequence of five focus group interviews. Secondary data sources included census data and transcripts from seven key informant interviews. Theoretical sampling interviews were completed. Data were coded and analyzed using a grounded theory method.

An intervention model was developed showing how women redefine themselves according to how they transact with members of their social network, the institutions in their communities, and public policies; such as welfare. Two causal conditions for women’s self-definition were racial desegregation and a changing economy manifested by factors found in the women’s social context. These causal conditions led to areas of transactions, which correspond to a social ecological framework. Findings suggest that social ecological interventions, incorporated at various levels, could help to reduce and prevent HIV among a similar population of African American women. Also indicated is the importance of utilizing a community-based approach to HIV prevention research and practice.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: HIV Interventions, Social Inequalities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Topics in Women's Health

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA