Socialization, Sexuality, Susceptibility, Separation: Older African American Women In The District Of Columbia's Hiv/Aids Epidemic: Is There An Imagined Exclusion?
MetadataShow full item record
Type of WorkText
ProgramDoctor of Philosophy
RightsThis item is made available by Morgan State University for personal, educational, and research purposes in accordance with Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Other uses may require permission from the copyright owner.
African American women represent the majority of new HIV infections and AIDS among women, making them an essential source of improved understanding for prevention more than simply another risk group. They now account for 65% of the AIDS diagnoses among women 13 years and older with a diagnosis rate of 35.1/100,000 (CDC, 2011). Three decades of the epidemic, significantly improved therapies producing greater longevity among the infected, medicalized sexuality and an increase in divorce and dating among Baby Boomers drive the CDC prediction that 50% of people with HIV/AIDS will be over 50 by 2015 (2010). Thus, this qualitative study's purpose was to better understand how older black women managed their sexual relationships and constructed sexual safety as residents of an urban disease epicenter. Social Phenomenology and Participatory Action Research (PAR) structured the overall design which used in-depth interviews of five HIV positive, five HIV negative black women, 51-69 years. The goal was to better understand the women's perceptions of separation from HIV/AIDS to prevent susceptibility translated through their lived experience as sexually active older women. The findings were analyzed through Critical Black Feminist Standpoint Theory and Social Gerontology Theory which illuminated common themes of safety nets for exemption from susceptibility among all the women whether held prior to diagnosis or currently by the HIV negative. Interpretive phenomenological analysis revealed how imagination mediates between potential and real, reflecting how what was present in each women's consciousness created the reality of separation, situating it as essential truth. Themes were: 1) religion/spirituality buffering HIV/AIDS threat and reality, 2) conscious/unconsciousness use of knowledge to negotiate relationships, 3) role of sex/sexuality for social exchange, and 4) use of proxy measures for HIV/AIDS detection/prevention in lieu of HIV testing. The implications are that there exists a critical need to significantly normalize prevention by restructuring screening/testing for older black women using the perspectives of their lived experience to improve public health, social work and behavioral research to augment the psychological literature and significantly refine practice.