Online Program

“I captured what brought me from a tight ball to a flower:” photovoice as an artistic strategy to improve mental health among women with HIV/AIDS

Monday, November 4, 2013

Michelle Teti, MPH, DrPH, Health Sciences, 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 living with HIV/AIDS (WLH/A) face significant psychological stressors. Novel strategies are needed to help women process these experiences and improve mental health outcomes. We conducted a pilot photovoice intervention called Picturing New Possibilities (PNP) that provided WLH/A an opportunity to identify, discuss and address their mental health challenges and strengths through photography.

Methods: We conducted PNP with 30 WLH/A from three U. S. cities. Participants photographed their experiences, participated in three group discussions, and led a community exhibit of their photos. We explored the impact of the project through group and follow-up interviews. We analyzed transcripts of group and individual interviews for key themes using strategies of thematic and narrative analysis.

Results: Women reported that PNP helped them to: 1. Identify their feelings about living with HIV; 2. Manage anxiety and depression; and 3 Process traumatic experiences. For example, participants said that the project helped them to “express feelings and hurts behind this disease;” “brought me out of my depression;” and “taught me how to grieve [traumas].” Pictures captured strength, support, and hope; and included powerful self-portraits and images of spirituality, friends, pets, and the beauty of nature.

Conclusions: Our preliminary findings support the use of photovoice to enhance mental health among WLH/A. The process offers women a creative way to tell their story, explore their emotions, share their feelings, and learn from others. The images give women a way to create, identify, and document supportive and positive aspects of their lives. The camera fosters both pleasure and skillfulness, which builds women's confidence.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the Picturing New Possibilities project. Discuss the ways in which the project enhanced women's mental health. Identify the implications of our findings for future art-based health programs with women with HIV/AIDS.

Keyword(s): Photovoice, Women and HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI for the study described in this presentation. I developed and implemented the project and analyzed all data for this presentation.
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.