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Qual Health Res. 2006 May;16(5):679-91.

Perceived social support and HIV/AIDS medication adherence among African American women.

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Department of Health, Behavior, & Society, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


HIV/AIDS incidence is increasing more quickly among women than any other segment of the population. The typical woman with HIV/AIDS is young, in her late 20s, economically challenged, and of childbearing age. Adherence to HIV therapies is critical if patients are to achieve and maintain virologic suppression. The author recruited HIV/AIDS-infected African American women from an outpatient clinic to investigate the women's perceptions of social support and how it affected their medication adherence. She collected data through tape-recorded interviews using a semistructured guide and journaling over a 2-week period. Facilitators of adherence included supportive family members and having young children. Barriers to adherence included perceived stigma, feeling unloved or uncared for, relationship turbulence, and having a husband who was also HIV positive. Although participants reported being "fairly" satisfied with the quality of support they received, emotional support and often instrumental support were most desired and wanted.

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