Online Program

Defining HIV/AIDS-related Stigma through PhotoVoice: A Qualitative Approach

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Mariam Davtyan, MPH, Department of Population Health and Disease Prevention, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA
Brandon Brown, PhD, MPH, UC Irvine Program in Public Health, Department of Population Health & Disease Prevention, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA
LaShonda Spencer, MD, Pediatrics, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Toni Frederick, PhD, Pediatrics, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Andrea Kovacs, MD, Pediatrics, University of Southern California, Alhambra, CA
Objectives: Stigma is a powerful stressor for people living with HIV/AIDS.  The existing scholarship has largely focused on the impact of stigma. Few studies have defined stigma from the vantage point of highly affected groups.  In the current qualitative study, women of color living with HIV/AIDS were asked to describe their personal experiences with stigma through the process of PhotoVoice.    

Methods: Ten women were recruited from LAC+USC Medical Center and asked to describe their experiences with HIV-stigma through autobiographical photography. Photographs were then discussed during audio-recorded focus groups and semi-structured interviews. Analysis of participant narratives was embedded in phenomenological research and included inductive and deductive reasoning.

Results: Perceived and anticipated stigma led to unwillingness to disclose sero-status, fear of relationships, and depression.  As one participant explained, “I feel like this disease is holding me back from what I can actually do, from I can actually have sex or I can actually touch anybody because at a point in time I have to then turn and have to have this conversation with them about HIV that I don’t think I’m ready to have.” Another added, “…it’s like that love that I’m looking for I can no longer have so I’m kind of being cut off so I’m being like hurt, I’m now going through a depression stage…”

Conclusions: The women in this study identified HIV stigma as a potent impediment. Additional studies that describe stigma from the perspectives of highly impacted groups may be necessary to develop tailored reduction programs. 

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Define and describe HIV/AIDS-related Stigma from the perspectives of women of color Discuss the impact of stigma on health and quality of life Formulate stigma reduction strategies Evaluate PhotoVoice as an educational tool to reduce HIV-stigma

Keyword(s): Women's Health, Women and HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a third year PhD student at University of California Irvine. My research interest is social stigma related to HIV/AIDS and I have received several grants to pursue work in this area. Currently, I'm assessing the role of PhotoVoice as an educational tool for stigma reduction.
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.