The benefits of women-only HIV support groups


Women living with HIV often feel isolated. One significant avenue for HIV-positive women to receive the support, information, and affiliation they need is through gender-specific HIV support groups, but research is lacking about how support groups for HIV-positive women can be helpful. This exploratory study examined HIV-positive women's perceptions about their experiences in women-only HIV support groups. Seventy-one women attending nine women-only HIV support groups in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina were surveyed. Benefits from attendance included: (a) increase in medication compliance, (b) decreased risk behavior for re-exposure to HIV, (c) reduced feelings of shame, and (d) a network of friends to socialize with. Results indicate that even if women-only HIV support groups do not stress behavior or lifestyle changes, these are often by-products of support group attendance. © 2008 by The Haworth Press. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Journal of HIV/AIDS and Social Services