256571 “I created something new with something that had died”: Photovoice as a means of re-presentation among poor and racial/ethnic minority women living with HIV/AIDS

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 2:30 PM - 2:50 PM

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: Many women with HIV/AIDS (WLH/A) in the U.S. are living longer, but HIV/AIDS is still a stigmatized, lifelong illness. Accordingly, an HIV/AIDS diagnosis can diminish a woman's sense of identity and purpose. WLH/A may benefit from opportunities to redefine themselves and confront their own and other's uncertainties. We conducted a photovoice project with WLH/A that provided them an opportunity to explore themselves and their life experiences.

Methods: Photovoice is a community-based participatory process that utilizes photography to engage marginalized groups in research and change. We conducted five photovoice projects with 30 WLH/A from three U. S. cities. Participants photographed their life experiences; and attended three group discussions followed by a community exhibit of their photos. We explored the impact of the project through one-on-one follow-up interviews. We analyzed transcripts of group discussions and interviews for key themes using strategies of thematic and narrative analysis.

Results: Evidence of positive transformations were abundant in women's photos and narratives. Six key themes of change were most prominent, including visually expressed transitions from: sickness to health; denial to acceptance of life with HIV/AIDS; despondence to “full of life”; shame to pride in oneself; aimlessness to purposeful; and victim to survivor.

Conclusions: Photovoice can be an important way for disenfranchised WLH/A to make meaning out of their life experiences. The camera provided the tool for women to visually express and redefine themselves. The opportunity to re-present themselves through photos and share their transformations may have important implications for women's quality of life and well-being.

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

Learning Objectives:
Describe the Picturing New Possibilities photovoice project for women living with HIV/AIDS; Discuss the way photovoice provided opportunities for women to re-present and reidentify themselves amid AIDS stigma and other challenges and inequalities. Identify the implications of re-presentation for women's health and quality of life.

Keywords: Women and HIV/AIDS, Vulnerable Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Principal Investigator of the research study from which data is being presented. I developed, implemented, and analyzed the data for the project being discussed.
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.