256563 Taking pictures to take control: Photovoice as a tool to facilitate empowerment among poor and racial/ethnic minority women with HIV/AIDS

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Michelle Teti, MPH, DrPH , Health Sciences, The University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
Diane Binson, PhD , Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California, Department of Medicine, San Francisco, CA
Introduction: HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects poor and racial/ethnic minority women. Race, gender, class, and HIV/AIDS-based stigmas and inequities limit women's power over their health decisions and quality of life. To help facilitate empowerment of women living with HIV/AIDS (WLH/A), we conducted a photovoice project. Photovoice is a community-based participatory research method that utilizes photography to engage underrepresented groups in research and community change.

Methods: Thirty WLH/A from three U. S. cities took part in the project. Participants photographed their life experiences; and attended three group discussions followed by a community exhibit of their photos. Through one-on-one follow-up interviews we explored the impact of the project on participants. We analyzed transcripts of group discussions and interviews for key themes using strategies of thematic and narrative analysis.

Results: The majority of participants were African American (73%). Their mean age was 45 years. Participants' narratives revealed how the project facilitated their enhanced self-worth; confidence in their abilities and strengths; increased control over daily problems and HIV/AIDS; critical thinking skills to approach problems in new ways; and social action to address community-level challenges such as violence, homelessness, and AIDS-stigma.

Conclusion: Photovoice is an effective means to facilitate empowerment and change among WLH/A. Photography and critical group dialogue facilitated women's creativity as they embraced new ways to understand and gain control over their challenges. Individual empowerment experiences translated into social action. Disenfranchised women living with HIV/AIDS solved problems in their own lives and also became leaders in efforts to improve the overall well-being of their communities.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the Picturing New Possibilities photovoice project for women living with HIV/AIDS; Identify the ways that the project facilitated women's empowerment; Assess the implications of using photovoice for the health of women living with HIV/AIDS and their communities.

Keywords: Women and HIV/AIDS, Community-Based Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Principal Investigator on the study from which the data is being presented.
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.