243493 Am I My Mother's Keeper? Unexpected Sources of Social Support for Women Living with HIV/AIDS

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lorece Edwards, DrPH , School of Community Health and Policy, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD
Shalon Irving, PhD, MPH, CHES , School of Community Health and Policy, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD
Ndidi Amutah, MPH, CHES , Department of Family Science,School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park School of Public Health, College Park, MD
HIV and AIDS remains a health threat for women of color, especially African American women. The statistics among African American women are alarming. African American women represent a disproportionate number 65% of the total number of women currently living with HIV/AIDS. The social needs of HIV positive individuals were recognized early in the epidemic. Social support has been known to reduce the effects of stressful life events on health. And, the relationship between social support and health has been strongly established. Twenty women ages 20 - 49 were recruited from an outpatient clinic at an urban teaching hospital. Participants were instructed to keep a reflective journal to document facilitators and barriers to HIV medication adherence for a two-week period with a minimum of ten entries. Journals entries included: medication adherence challenges, life with a chronic disease, and sources of social support. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted. Social support played an important role in helping women adhere to complicated medication schedules. The reflective journals and interviews revealed that young children were the primary source of social support compared to adult family members or friends. Although, we typically think of children as needing care and not care providers, the care-giving role assumed by young children in this exploration encompassed tangible efforts and emotional support. It has become increasingly necessary to fully assess support systems of people living with HIV/AIDS, particularly those newly diagnosed. The dynamics of HIV are far reaching and include the psycho-social factors of young children as support systems.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Particpants will be able to identify and name primary types of support provided by young children. 2. Particpants will be able to discuss the role of social support and HIV medication adherence among women.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Family Involvement

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in the areas of public health for the past eleven years. I currently sit on the HIV/AIDS Commission for the city of Baltimore.
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.

See more of: HIV/AIDS & Social Justice
See more of: HIV/AIDS