Social/Psychosocial challenges and needs

July 28, 2011

Many social/psychosocial issues, including homosexuality, drug use, mental illness, racism, homelessness, and poverty, are linked inextricably to the context of HIV/AIDS by association with the communities that it has heavily impacted, in addition to the clinical challenges of the disease itself and its toll on the health and well-being of those infected. For many women with HIV/AIDS, specific challenges and needs impact their ability to protect themselves from HIV and/or access care. These are: (a) parenthood and caregiving, with approximately 62% of all HIV-positive women taking care of at least one child under age 20, with their first priority to their children; (b) lack of awareness of risk and serostatus; (c) discrimination due to HIV status, and racial discrimination for women of color; (d) poverty, with most HIV-positive women already poor before becoming infected and becoming poorer as their disease progresses; (e) psychological distress, including fear, depression, and anxiety about their serostatus, compounded by high incidences of poverty, discrimination, caregiving responsibilities, addiction, sexual abuse, and domestic violence; (f) substance abuse of both injected and noninjected substances, a prominent problem among women at risk and with HIV disease, impacting health care utilization and outcomes; (g) comorbidities, with women of color in particular having less exposure to health information, preventive health services, and primary care than men, and subsequently suffering higher rates of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity, tuberculosis, and diabetes, further complicating HIV care; (h) STDs, with women of color, particularly African American women, having higher rates of chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea than white women.

SEE ALSO: African American, Condoms, Discrimination, Heroin, Homosexuality, Latinos, Lubricants, Preventive care, Safer sex, Sexually transmitted diseases, Substance use

Tags: ,

Category: Acquired immunodeficiency Syndrome