Health Disparities Research
Dr. Outlaw's Health Disparities Research (Continued)
In a series of prevention guides, we are informed that a disproportionate rate of HIV and AIDS in women of color exists. African Americans comprise thirteen percent of the US population and fifty percent of all new HIV cases. African American women constitute two thirds of all women diagnosed with HIV. In just over a decade, the proportion of all AIDS cases reported among adult and adolescent women tripled, from 7% in 1985 to 22% in 1997 (CDC). HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death among African American women in the 25-44 aged groups. Between 120,000 and 160,000 adult and adolescent females are now living with HIV infection in the United States. According to estimates, approximately half of all new HIV infections occur among African Americans. Approximately 1 in 50 African-American men and 1 in 160 African-American women are believed to be infected with HIV. By comparison, 1 to 250 white men and 1 in 3,000 white women are believed to be infected.
The unique needs of women in HIV prevention, treatment, and care are often overlooked
in discussions of the epidemic. This study will examine an alternative approach to HIV
and AIDS education and prevention specifically designed with and through the unheard
voices of African American Women in their social cultural contexts, their social construction of meaning of sex, HIV and AIDS. This project will solicit the education and intervention program inputs that are most effective among the women at greatest risks, the poor.
The rationale for this research project is to employ qualitative methods to accomplish three goals; 1) to access the knowledge, attitudes and awareness and perceived prevention/education community needs of key community stakeholders, utilizing focus groups; 2) to access mothers’ and adult daughters’ attitudes, beliefs, and perceived need of HIV/AIDS prevention services through in-depth cross-generational interviews that solicit the social construction of the meaning of sex, SDI’s, HIV and AIDS and women’s lived experiences of meaning in their everyday lives and 3) based on the socially constructed knowledge of women most at risk, a model of prevention/education informed by the knowledge and meaning of impacted communities and women at risk to co-create a model of HIV/AIDS education and prevention design for and with African American Women.
Focus groups will be conducted with five community based stakeholders. Through the voices of twenty four women comprising family units of mothers and
adult daughters, in-depth interviews will provide a rich descriptive and critical analysis of the ways in which HIV and AIDS has shaped the lives of these
women. A critical and "womanist" framework is applied to examine the lived experiences of these African-American women in the context of their
communities. With the consent of each subject, focus groups will be tape recorded and transcribed.
A critical perspective requires that we do not blindly accept commonly touted explanations for the way things are. We are compelled to examine the assumptions, values, and ideologies that are used to justify our attitudes toward African American women on welfare and the organization of the health care system, particularly HIV/AIDS education and prevention. Through cross-generational ethnographic interviews with twelve mothers and their daughters, this research will disclose how the lives of ordinary women have been impermeably altered by the threat of HIV and AIDS in African American communities.