Online Program

Stories of Challenge and Resilience: The Lived Experiences of Low Income, Urban Young Adults Living with HIV/AIDS

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Kathleen Thoma, EdD, CCRP, Department of Pediatrics/Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education and Services (UF CARES), University of Florida, Jacksonville, FL
Background: Approximately 1,100,000 people in the U.S. are infected with the HIV virus and another 50,000 become infected every year. Young adults 20-24 years of age have the highest rate of new infections followed by young adults 25-29 years of age. Transitioning to adulthood is particularly challenging for young adults who are infected with HIV and living in low income, urban areas. Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted on a purposeful sample of 16 HIV-infected young adults from a selected low income, urban area. The narrative data were analyzed for themes, patterns, and the essence of their lived experiences. Factors that presented strengths, opportunities and challenges were examined. Participants were asked for suggestions for improving services. Results: Participants expressed significant mental health, health literacy, stigma, relationship, medication adherence, job/career, physical, and coping challenges. Strengths varied by participant and included internal resilience, small support networks, and an array of available services. Many expressed the desire to help others in order to stop transmission of the virus. Suggestions included more in-depth mental health services, better health education at earlier ages, and more integrated services of all types. Conclusion: A better understanding of the lived experiences of this group can be valuable for healthcare leaders, educational leaders, policymakers, and other professionals who design and conduct programs, services and policies to help this population transition to adulthood, care for themselves, and prevent transmission of the virus to others.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe the main issues that affect the daily lives of HIV-infected low income urban young adults.

Keyword(s): HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted this research as part of my dissertation for the Educational Leadership Program (minor: Public Health) at the University of North Florida. I have worked in healthcare research for over 15 years and am currently employed as a Clinical Research Specialist for the University of Florida Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education and Services. My research interests include the social determinants of health, health disparities, health literacy and HIV/AIDS.
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: 4279.0: People Living With HIV/AIDS