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Counseling ideologies and practices of providers of HIV/AIDS care for women: Influences of workplace culture, and clients and providers’ personal characteristics

Donna B. Barnes, PhD, Women's Studies, California State University Hayward, 128 HIGHLAND BLVD, Kensington, CA 94708, 510-527-8856, dbarnes@csuhayward.edu and Timothy Smith, BS, Sociology, California State University Hayward, 25800 San Carlos Blvd, Hayward, CA 94542.

With the use of protease inhibitors the need for continued contact with providers for people with HIV/AIDS has increased. Providers’ counseling of women may optimize continued HIV/AIDS care. This study investigated the influences of workplace culture, policies and women clients on providers’ counseling practices and ideologies within different service models. A panel design was used for 2 face-to-face, 90-minute interviews of providers (n=71) at 12-month intervals from Oakland, California (n=33), and Rochester, New York (n=38). Women with HIV (n=60) as well as providers working in HIV/AIDS medical and social services referred potential participants. Data were collected between 2001 and 2004 and analyzed using qualitative grounded theory methods. Providers were primarily women (81%) with almost equal numbers of people of color (53%) and Caucasians (47%). Providers’ income and education were higher than the women they counseled. These analyses demonstrate tensions between providers’ ideology and practice as they struggled with personal views that were different from the women they counseled on issues of race, social class and beliefs about substance abuse, abortion, and religion. Providers had limited workplace support to have an extended dialogue about these differences. Often the workplace policies, written, spoken, and assumed interfered with providers’ counseling, and ignored the complexities of these social issues. Providers reported they were “called” to HIV/AIDS work and often had a defining life experience that influenced them to “want to give back to others.” Providers’ perspectives provide the conceptualization of the counseling process, direction for counseling protocol and policy implications for agencies’ resource allocations.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Health Care Workers, Women and HIV/AIDS

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.

HIV/AIDS Health Care Delivery, Services, and Providers

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA