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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Trauma and HIV infection among Black South African women

Lisa Armistead, PhD1, Gretchen Lindner, MA1, Frances Palin, MA1, Bethany Ketchen, MA1, Penny Kokot-Louw, MS2, and Annalie Pauw, PhD3. (1) Georgia State University, 140 Decatur Street, Department of Psychology, Atlanta, GA 30303, 404-651-3270, psylxa@langate.gsu.edu, (2) Psychology, Univeristy of Pretoria, Psychology Department, Pretoria, 0002, South Africa, (3) Psychology, University of Pretoria, Lynnwood Road, Pretoria, 0002, South Africa

Background U.S.-based research has demonstrated links between history of trauma and various negative outcomes, including HIV and poor physical health. Emotion and/or problem focused coping may mitigate these negative effects. The aims of the current study are 1) to explore the relationships between HIV infection, severe trauma, and physical symptoms in a sample Black South African women and 2) investigate whether emotion and/or problem-focused coping moderates the trauma-physical symptoms relationships.

Method Participants were 104 Black South African women living with HIV or AIDS (WLWH) and 152 demographically similar non-infected women. Women were interviewed in their preferred language about their trauma history, health status, and coping strategies.

Results WLWH reported significantly more traumatic experiences (M = 2.38, SD = 1.69) than non-infected women (M = 1.94, SD= 1.64). WLWH reported high rates of interpersonal violence (35%), being attacked by a stranger (24%), and rape (27%). With physical symptoms serving as the dependent variable, a 2 (HIV status) x 3 (no trauma, history of rape and/or attack) way analysis of variance indicated main effects, but no interaction effect. WLWH and those with a trauma history evidenced greater severity of physical symptoms. However, emotion focused coping served to buffer HIV-infected women from the trauma-physical symptoms relationship.

Conclusions As in the U.S., a history of severe trauma appears to be linked to negative outcomes for Black South African women. These results illuminate the importance of considering the experience of victimization in interventions designed for WLWH.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Black South African Women Living With HIV: The Roles of Trauma, Power, And Disclosure In Their Lives

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA