Impact of community residence on HIV transmission: Voices from African American women in Massachusetts
Methods: Primary data were collected in focus groups with African American women in seven communities across Massachusetts. The study was grounded and analyzed using a socio-ecological theoretical framework. The research was also framed around the concept of intersectionality to describe simultaneous intersections between aspects of social difference and identity, and forms of systematic oppression at the micro and macro levels.
Results: Participants readily identified micro and macro level factors that put women at greater risk for HIV infection. Women were particularly concerned about stigma, men on the down low, intergenerational sexual violence, gender norms, self-esteem, and community level factors as key contributors to HIV transmission. The intersection of systematic and social oppression was identified as a main contributor to HIV transmission. Further, cultural norms were indentified as a main barrier to HIV testing. HIV testing decision-making was highly influenced by interpersonal relationships.
Conclusions: This research provides a richer understanding of factors affecting HIV transmission among women. Participants identified school systems and faith-based organizations as underutilized avenues for HIV prevention in Massachusetts. Participants recommended strengthening parent-child relationships, and female empowerment programs. For policy makers, this research identifies areas that must be harnessed for the prevention of HIV/AIDS.
Learning Areas:Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health
List micro and macro level factors that put women at greater risk for HIV infection across communities Describe how the intersection of systematic and social oppression contributes to HIV transmission in these communities at the micro and macro levels Discuss how findings can be used to strengthen and improve HIV prevention approaches for this population
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: For over ten years, I have conducted research in the area of HIV/AIDS and health care disparities. I have been the principal researcher on this research project as part of my dissertation research at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University.
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.