218347 Sharing stories: Using photo-journal to explore the life experiences, health, and prevention needs of women with HIV/AIDS

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 12:30 PM - 12:45 PM

Michelle Teti, MPH, DrPh , Public Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Jenne Massie, MS , Public Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
Linda Lloyd, PhD , School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX
Introduction: Many women living with HIV/AIDS (WLH/A) have rich personal stories of myriad tragedies and triumphs. Their life experiences reveal the context of their health and sexual decisions. Thus, Sharing Stories uses photography and critical group dialogue to explore WLH/A's stories and health images, to inform meaningful and effective prevention strategies for WLH/A.

Methods: We instructed the participants (N=10) to photograph their lives, challenges, strengths, and health and prevention needs. The participants attended an orientation/training and two photo discussion sessions. We digitally recorded and transcribed the sessions; entered the data into Nvivo, a qualitative analysis software package; and analyzed the data for key themes.

Results: Photo discussions included 4 key themes: (1) social support, including support from family, partners, friends, pets, medical providers, and the church; (2) “HIV does not have me”: living healthily and beautifully as a “diva” with HIV/AIDS; (3) Structural health challenges/stressors including housing and transportation; (4) Growth: “coming a long way” to overcome HIV/AIDS-related challenges and celebrate life.

Conclusions: Photojournal is a powerful strategy to motivate meaningful discussions among WLH/A. Documenting their lives with cameras generated a sense of pride, helping women to identify specific supports and view themselves as healthy, despite their diagnosis. Discussions also motivated action; one participant improved her housing situation through sharing the photos with a church leader. The findings suggest that health and prevention services for WLH/A need to focus holistically on enhancing social support; recognize WLH/A as healthy and capable; and help create healthy environments for WLH/A, like appropriate housing.

Learning Areas:
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the key themes in participants’ photos and stories. 2. Identify two challenges the participants faced in the project. 3. Discuss two lessons learned from working on the project.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Community-Based Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI for the project.
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.