Online Program

“Another way to talk”: Photo-stories to promote safe disclosure among people with HIV

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Michelle Teti, MPH, DrPH, Health Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
Donaldson Conserve, PhD, University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health, Columbia, SC
Ni Zhang, MPH, PhD, Health Sciences, The University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
Mary Gerkovich, PhD, Biomedical and Health Informatics, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO
HIV status disclosure can reduce stigma and facilitate medication adherence and safer sex among people with HIV (PWH). Effective disclosure interventions are limited, however. We conducted a pilot photo-stories project with PWH and explored how the project affected participants’ disclosure practices and investigated the value of the strategy for further intervention development.

Participants photographed meaningful aspects of their lives with HIV; shared pictures in small group and individual discussion sessions, and; chose pictures and captions to display in clinic and community exhibits. To assess the relationship between the project and disclosure, we analyzed session transcripts and 300 photographs using theme analysis strategies.  

38 PWH in four cities in the Midwest and Northeast U.S took part in the project. Disclosure was a prominent topic in all group and individual sessions. Disclosure related images included sources of social support, HIV medicines, and symbols of disclosure emotions, among others. Data analysis revealed three categories of participant disclosures to others – fearful, reluctant, and open. The project supported all disclosure types – helping fearful participants manage their emotions, reluctant participants plan for more effective disclosures, and open participants share their HIV status.

Pilot findings suggest that photo-stories can be further developed as a safe and powerful disclosure intervention strategy to improve disclosure and subsequent health outcomes among PLH as well as help clinicians discuss disclosure with patients. The process is acceptable to PWH at all stages of their HIV experience. Processing their life experiences creatively helps PWH problem solve disclosure challenges and celebrate successes.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate the importance of innovative interventions to promote safe disclosure of HIV status among people living with HIV Discuss how photo-stories are a potentially efficacious disclosure intervention Explain the implications for future disclosure interventions

Keyword(s): HIV Interventions, HIV Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the study PI. I designed, implemented, and evaluated study data.
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.

Back to: 2030.0: Community-Based HIV Practice