Pictures that speak: Photovoice as a therapeutic tool for men living with HIV/AIDS
Due to stigma, many men living with the HIV/AIDS (MLH/A) face challenges when accessing adequate mental health services and therapy, forcing them to deal with related psychological stressors on their own. We conducted a photovoice (PV) project called Pictures That Speak (PTS) to allow men to share their stories of living with HIV/AIDS through photos – and specifically, to explore how they experienced and managed HIV stigma and homophobia in a small Midwestern town. We conducted PTS with eight gay-identified MLH/A. Participants took pictures, attended group discussion sessions, participated in follow-up interviews, and attended a community photo exhibit. We used strategies of Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to understand in-depth how one man made meaning of his circumstances. This case study reflects how PV helped him cope with stigma through increased awareness of his thoughts and feelings, and by challenging him to better understand the illness. Through PV he was able to identify and problem solve his challenges with social isolation and withdrawal, as well as discover new meaning for life, framed around HIV/AIDS advocacy and awareness. This PV project used root cause questioning as a way to stimulate critical dialogue that identifies issues, weaknesses, or strengths among participants, and has the potential to be utilized in mental health and therapy settings. PV can help practitioners better understand the world from the viewpoint of the participant as well as help participants cope with HIV/AIDS stigma by assisting them with processing their thoughts and emotions about the illness.
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Social and behavioral sciences
Define: Address gaps in mental health/health services for men living with HIV/AIDS in smaller communities.
Name: Increase knowledge of issues surrounding HIV/AIDS stigma from a participant perspective.
Identify: Identify potential innovative intervention/research tools designed to serve this marginalized population.
Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Access to Care
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal or co-principal of multiple photovoice studies and other research projects focusing on HIV/AIDS, sexual violence, LGBTQ issues, and women's health. Among my research interests, I have been developing an innovative therapeutic intervention for my dissertation research. I've worked for the University as a research assistant for two years, and have help other appointments doing advocacy work regarding these issues.
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.