207331 “Pregnant and Positive” The importance of promoting routine HIV testing in the rural Deep South

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tanisha Grimes, PhD, MPH, CHES , HIV Prevention in Communities of Color Post-doctoral Research Fellow, ORISE, Norcross, GA
Su-I. Hou, DrPH, CPH, RN , Health Promotion and Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
African American females continue to be at high risk of becoming infected with HIV, especially those who reside in the rural Deep South. Although regular HIV testing has been widely promoted as a preventive method in reducing the spread of HIV, these messages may not be reaching rural Southern communities. Using grounded theory methods 17 HIV positive African American females between 22-44 years residing in rural South Central Georgia were asked about their experiences living with HIV. Participants described how they found out they were positive, and what their life has been like since finding out their positive status. Approximately half of the participants were told of their HIV status simultaneously when they found out they were pregnant or during routine pregnancy check-ups. Some participants considered having an abortion or committing suicide when they found out their status due to the risk of transmitting HIV to their unborn child. All of the women considered themselves at low-risk of becoming infected and did not receive regular HIV testing. Furthermore, many women indicated that HIV testing was not promoted in their towns. The high proportion of women in this rural Deep South sample finding out they were “pregnant and positive” highlights the need of increased awareness of the importance of routine HIV testing in rural communities in order to reduce the transmission of HIV, and maternal HIV cases.

Learning Objectives:
Attendees will discuss the experiences of rural HIV positive African American women who found out their status during pregnancy. Attendees will identify the coping mechanisms of HIV positive African American females who found out their status during pregnancy. Attendees formulate outreach methods to promote routine HIV testing in rural Southern communities.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Rural Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the primary author on the research for this topic. I developed the methods, conducted the research, analyzed the data and presented the findings.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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