243961 An exploration of the impact of being HIV+ on the lives of single mothers in Kenya

Monday, October 31, 2011

Kelly Sykes, (MMS, MPH, PA-S Candidate) , Department of Medical Science and Community Health, Arcadia University, Glenside, PA
Considerable research has been devoted to fighting and better understanding the spread of HIV/AIDS; however, this research fails to understand the well-being of HIV+ individuals in a broader context. A substantial number of individuals in Kenya are infected with HIV, and women are disproportionately affected. Women are particularly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS due to cultural practices including polygamous marriages, wife inheritance, and male dictation on sexual practices, leaving women voiceless. The purpose of this study is to explore, through the use of qualitative diaries, how being HIV+ has impacted the lives of single mothers in Kenya. This study used solicited text and drawings from five Kenyan HIV+ single mothers over 30 days. These diaries allow researchers to understand the person and their experiences, rather than the patient and disease. Key results indicate that women viewed themselves as dying from HIV/AIDS rather living with HIV/AIDS. When asked to draw themselves 5 years from now the women drew coffins. The women had low self-worth and lived in communities where they were viewed as shameful. HIV status impacted their daily lives. While overall themes of dejection emerged, the women also expressed feelings of hope, such as better lives for their children, a cure, and escaping prostitution. This research holds the potential to inform the health care community about more appropriate ways to approach and improve the lives of single mothers living HIV+. This research is useful to health care providers, social workers, program planners, and others attempting to improve the lives of these individuals.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Compare the lives of single HIV+ Kenyan mothers before and after knowledge of their HIV status Discuss and identify the needs and struggles of HIV+ single mothers in Kenya Identify modifiable conditions to improve the lives of HIV+ women in poverty Describe the lives of HIV+ single mothers in Kenya Identify methods for improving the lives of HIV+ single mothers in Kenya Identify how solicited texts can empower voiceless women

Keywords: International Health, Women and HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have studied HIV/AIDS in Kenya with particular focus on women
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.