Raechel DeSena // Secondary Research



Thesis: While AIDS is very easily passed throughout prisons and correctional facilities, people also find out they are HIV positive through prison tests.


  • Among state and federal jurisdictions reporting in 2010 there were 3,913 inmates living with an AIDS diagnosis.
  • Rates of AIDS-related deaths among state and federal prisoners declined an average of 16% per year between 2001 and 2010, from 24 deaths/100,000 in 2001 to 5/100,000 in 2010.
  • Among jail populations, African American men are 5 times as likely as white men, and twice as likely as Hispanic/Latino men, to be diagnosed with HIV.
  • Among jail populations, African American women are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with HIV as white or Hispanic/Latino women.
  • Inmate concerns about privacy and fear of stigma. Many inmates do not disclose their high-risk behaviors, such as anal sex or injection drug use, because they fear being stigmatized.
  • Nine out of ten jail inmates are released in under 72 hours, which makes it hard to test them for HIV and help them find treatment.
  • HIV testing at a correctional facility may be the first time incarcerated people are tested and diagnosed with HIV.




Thesis: The promiscuity and rape within prisons and correctional facilities leads to the easy spread of HIV across inmates.


  • Prevalence of HIV and other infectious diseases is much higher among inmates than among those in the general community, and the burden of disease among inmates and releasees is disproportionately heavy
  • Because of the general lack of condoms and sterile needles/syringes, such behavior may involve greater risk within correctional facilities than on the outside




Substance abuse


Thesis: Mass media and television are bringing attention to addition through following celebrities and encouraging rehab.


  • More than 23 million Americans are believed to have an addiction disorder, yet only 10 percent of those receive treatment
  • Modern behaviors towards addiction and rehabilitation have considerably changed during the last decade thanks to the multitude of images depicting substance abuse and behavioral disorders that are infiltrating this technological generation
  • Addiction and unstable behavior portrayed in such television shows exploit celebrities’ erratic and unhealthy behaviors, leaving nothing private while boosting television ratings and simultaneously encouraging these celebrities’ popularity



Thesis: Sometimes a step on the road to recovery is just having support


  • The Stonewall Project is a family of programs dedicated to providing harm reduction-based counseling, treatment, and support services to gay men, transmen who have sex with men, and other men who have sex with men who are having issues with drugs and/or alcohol. We welcome you wherever you’re at, and do not require abstinence for you to receive services.
  • Our goal is to create a safe space where gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) who use crystal meth, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, alcohol and/or other drugs can come to deal with issues of concern to them without stipulations, conditions or judgments.
  • A program rooted in harm reduction

Dana Sodd / Secondary Research

HIV as means of Liberation

Article: If I didn’t Have HIV I’d Be Dead Right Now: Illness Narratives of Drug Users Living with HIV/AIDS

Overview: The purpose of this study was to illuminate the experiences of poor, urban HIV-positive drug users. Sixty participants were asked about HIV risk behaviors, the impact of HIV on their lives, religious beliefs, life plans, relationships, and work-related issues both prior to and since diagnosis. Goal of this research was to better understand the illness experiences among HIV-positive drug users so that healthcare providers can help people living with the disease to embrace understandings that contribute to better health and emotional outcomes.

  • Illness Experience- Not only how the illness has physically impacted a person, but the environmental factors that the person is living in and the effect on their mental health. How HIV-positive drug users experience their illness.

Statistics: Injection drug users have constituted 36% of people with AIDS and they confront special challenges in accessing and maintaining effective treatment and meaningful care.

The people providing the narratives in this article are illicit drug users living in poverty in Hartford, Connecticut

Quote: Deep illness is “perceived as lasting, as affecting virtually all life choices and decisions, and as altering identity”

Restitution Narrative-Becomes ill, but through medical intervention, regains health.

Chaos Narrative-filled with uncertainty, confusion and forces person to recognize their own vulnerability.

Quest Narrative- Failure to return to one’s previous state (can’t regain health) is replaced by and optimal state (gains emotional clarity and a deeper sense of meaning).

Emerging Themes in results:

  • Strong sense of faith, either through religion or believing in finding a cure.
  • Personal growth through changing psychological, interpersonal, or spiritual lives in some way (i.e. journey towards becoming better person).
  • Majority of those interviewed were in rehabilitation and/or drug free.

Thesis: No drug user experiences HIV exactly the same, but ultimately the disease will end up having a lasting impact that will change their lives forever, often times allowing for a better quality of living.


Article: Handing Over the Camera to People With HIV

 Overview: Photographer Gideon Mendel co-founded an Organization called Through Positive Eyes with David Gere from the Art & Global Health center at UCLA and began teaching basic digital camera skills to people who were HIV positive, then encouraged them to capture images from their own lives. These people are choosing ways to represent themselves, and vast majority represent themselves in a positive light. Finally an art piece about HIV that does not paint its subjects solely as victims.

  • Since 2008, the project has hosted workshops in 10 cities around the world: Mexico City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, Mumbai, Bangkok, Port-au-Prince, London and, most recently, Durban, South Africa.
  • The new exhibit will feature 145 photos from all workshops and start at Durban Art Gallery. Exhibit will go on to tour South Africa and then make stops in Europe and the United States.

Thesis: The stigma of HIV-positive people being portrayed as victims is not true.

“I decided to fight to remain in the best physical, emotional and psychological condition I could during the time I had left on this planet. I promised myself that the virus would never defeat me. I decided to be tough. I love doing exercise, not only because it is good for my health, but also because I always wanted to have the body of a wrestler.” Alejandro, Mexico City

Synthesis of two articles: Being diagnosed with HIV often times leads to a better quality of life that is left to live. For drug users, it forces many to realize their medical needs and adhere to a plan to get clean that leads to greater strength both physically and mentally. HIV forces a person to re-evaluate their life and both consciously and subconsciously choose to be better. Whether it is building stronger relationships with others, themselves, physically strengthening their bodies, or realizing their self-worth, HIV is a life changing diagnosis. Many people who felt like they were living empty lives before the disease start living out their days with purpose and to the fullest extent possible. It makes people appreciate life.



Article: Self-Reliance Project for HIV-AIDs Patients

Overview: The Pacific Islands Aids Foundation lead by HIV/AIDS campaigner and founder, Maire Bopp Dupont, has launched a new project aimed to help HIV-AIDS patients in the Pacific become self reliant. The Foundation has put together a three year strategic plan to assist people with HIV/AIDS find means of employment as well as deal with issues of social concern such as discrimination.

Taking on 104 cases for this project in the hopes that the efforts done here will end up benefiting the entire Pacific.

  • Intend to do this by establishing a small loans guarantee scheme. Should help to overcome some of the hesitancy of the banking sector to loan money to HIV positive people.
  • Looking at the health situation to provide those with HIV are provided with care and counseling, possibly provide them with minimum medical drugs.

Thesis: To become self-reliant/independent it can sometimes require an initial support system to help a person with HIV gain the basic necessities of life needed to gain confidence.


Article: Active Client Participation: An Examination of Self-Empowerment in HIV/AIDs Case Management With Women

Overview: Often times, people with HIV/AIDs have to bear the burden of multiple stigmas. Case Management holds the empowerment of the client as its core ideal. Active Client Participation is key in a client becoming in control of his or her own service and habilitation.

  • The Participants were recruited from the full-time case manager employed by the Pediatric AIDS Program (PAP) in New Orleans, Louisiana, a community-based agency serving HIV/AIDs infected women and their families.
  • Ten case managers agreed to participate in the study. Case management experience ranged from 1 to ten years. HIV experience ranged from 7 months to 5 years.
  • Six different hypothetical vignettes were developed by three supervisors considered experts in the HIV/AIDs case management field. Each vignette was formulated as a composite client scenario that demonstrated a variety of client needs, family compositions, resources, histories, and other relevant information.
  • Started by individually analyzing the responses and identifying units of behavior. Each unit of behavior was then grouped into larger behavioral categories and further analyzed to create even broader means of grouping.

Findings of Research: Three total behavioral categories emerged which employed three different service plan deliveries: Case manager-led (case manager often times acts on behalf of the client, 27% of cases), collaborative (case manager and client have shared responsibility to achieve a particular objective, 35% of cases) and client-led (behaviors performed by the client on her own behalf, 9% of cases). The rest was unclear/ambiguous assignment of behaviors.

Thesis: Case management may be considered effective only to the extent that clients become more capable, competent, and empowered as a result of the help-giving acts of case managers.

Synthesis of two articles: To become self-empowered and independent, one must want to make a change and be willing to actively engage in bettering his or her life. This independence spawns from a place of self worth and confidence that is gained often times through the help of others along with the efforts of oneself. Often times HIV-positive patients need an additional, supportive push to start on the road to independence but will only achieve it if they find confidence and self-empowerment to keep pushing themselves along the way.



Katie Hughes // Secondary Research

Theme 01: Incarceration

Article 01: Women, AIDS, and Incarceration (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXsqhIQfWhs)

Thesis: Support and education among inmates can greatly reduce the unique stigma faced by inmates with HIV and help them pursue care and better outcomes.

Article 02: Prisoners and HIV/AIDS (http://www.avert.org/professionals/hiv-social-issues/key-affected-populations/prisoners)

Thesis: The key demographics affected by AIDS often are disproportionately incarcerated as well, and fear/lack of education and access to care/unsafe practices while incarcerated leads to higher transmission rates, more negative health outcomes.

Synthesis: Incarceration exacerbates the many challenges already faced by those with HIV, but building community and promoting safe practices/education can help ease these challenges.

Other Sources:



Theme 02: Otherness, Isolation, Stigma

Article 01: Living with the Stigma of HIV (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdhEun0I-nM)

Thesis: The worst part of their experience of HIV is the fear and stigma they face.

Article 02: Barro: HIV stigma ‘literally killing people’ (http://www.msnbc.com/the-cycle/watch/barro-hiv-stigma-literally-killing-people-256029251882)

Thesis: Many people today remain uneducated about HIV and their misconceptions/stigma can prevent people from seeking diagnosis/treatment.

Synthesis: Stigma, misconceptions, and fear surrounding HIV prevent people from seeking diagnosis and proper medical care, effectively killing them and perpetuating the spread of the disease. If we can’t counteract this stigma, it will become even more deadly than the disease itself.


Other sources:




Amanda Jackson / Secondary Research


Physical violence, sexual abuse and other forms of childhood and adult trauma are major factors fueling the epidemic of HIV/AIDS among American women. Scientists have known for years that traumatized women are at greater risk of becoming infected.

Thesis: Trauma contributes to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Events including starting treatment, HIV-related illness, and witnessing an HIV-related death were all linked to the development of symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. Emotional responses to such events – rather than actual physical threat – were associated with the development of symptoms of posttraumatic stress.

Thesis: HIV is associated with the development of posttraumatic stress disorder.

Synthesis: There is definite relationship between trauma and the HIV community. Whether trauma contributed to the circumstances of an individual contracting HIV or if an individual’s condition resulted in the development of PTSD, there is a correlating relationship that his hindering individuals from daily life.

Positive Outlook/Support

Prompted by artistic self-expression, I Design encourages people living with HIV to have open and meaningful discussions with their doctors about their daily lives.

Thesis: Living an empowered healthy life with HIV is possible.

World AIDS Day 2015, NAT challenged people to rethink outdated stereotypes, challenge myths and be positive about HIV, with our ‘Think Positive: Rethink HIV’ campaign.

Thesis: Being properly educated about HIV helps raise positive support.

Synthesis: Erasing the stigma surrounding HIV and displaying positive support is crucial towards reshaping the culture surrounding HIV. When individuals dealing with this issue feel comfortable with societies outlook around them, they are more likely to live an empowered positive lifestyle and get the necessary care needed.

Secondary Research / Sydney Yockey

Overarching thesis: Stigma leftover from the early HIV/AIDs epidemic often debilitates current patients leaving them with ineffective knowledge of prevention and treatment.

Poverty: Poverty and HIV are strongly linked, CDC survey finds

While HIV/AIDs is more prevalent in “high risk” communities, prevention often ignores the larger demographic of impoverished people.

Why Life-Saving Drugs Haven’t Ended AIDS in America

Developing advanced disease fighting drugs alone is not the key to solving the HIV/AIDs crisis, but rather making treatment and prevention accessible to all.

Relationships/Trust: The Effects of an Abusive Primary Partner on the Condom Use and Sexual Negotiation Practicesof African-AmericanWomen

Women suffering or who have suffered relationship abuse develop psychological effects that damage their ability to negotiate safe sex putting them at higher risk of HIV/AIDs

Love in the Time of HIV/AIDS

With the right treatment, people with HIV/AIDs can have happy healthy relationships even though many suffer from stigma and believe they can never find love and intimacy.

Lilly Stein / Secondary Research

THEMES: HIV & Education / Disease as Salvation/Redemption


01. Education and HIV/AIDS: A Window of Hope, The World Bank

Priority should be placed on educating children and youth, particularly in a world affected by HIV/AIDS. Basic education is one of the most effective (and cost-effective) means of prevention.

02. Education plays a crucial role in fight against HIV and AIDS, World Education Blog

Education is crucial in efforts to prevent and informatively care for HIV/AIDS, especially during youth. Education, particularly focused on young women, can save lives and allow for more informed decisions through various stages of life.

03. Graphic Intervention: Poster Series, Massachusetts’s College of Art & Design

In order for education to be an effective means of reaching a variety of people on personal levels, it must  draw upon, and cater to, messages rooted in the popular culture of diverse groups and highlight a variety of lifestyles and people.

SYNTHESIS: Education plays a crucial role in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The epidemic has the potential to impact education, and in contrast, education has the potential to positively affect AIDS/HIV and how it is prevented and cared for. Arming people with knowledge will aid the prevention and improve life quality.


01. Being Diagnosed with HIV as a Trigger for Spiritual Transformation, Religions 2011

Within those diagnosed, HIV may act as a “trigger” for positive spiritual transformations. Across all participants, a ST developed in four stages: antecedents (risky behavior), diagnosis, adaption, spiritual transformation. Most described their life style prior to diagnosis as risky and empty, in contrast, following diagnosis and PT, people described a re-examination of beliefs, views, and lifestyle.

02. Perspective Transformation Over Time, University of Georgia

Transformational learning, which involves a fundamental change in the way we see ourselves and the world, can occur in adulthood. Specifically, this transformation can be “triggered” by the diagnosis of HIV or in the face of a potentially life-threatening illness. This transformation/new perspective proved irreversible. Additionally, this perspective change includes changes in meaning schemes, which include the adoption of a future-oriented perspective, a greater care for ones-self, and integration of diagnosis into self definition.

SYNTHESIS: The diagnosis of HIV or of a potentially life-threatening illness can bring about a spiritual transformation or positive perspective change allowing a re-examination of beliefs, views, priorities, and lifestyle.

Becca Nachtrab / Secondary Research


AIDS: Who’s at Risk

  • education plan
  • asking what they know
  • addressing misconceptions
  • discussions

Thesis: AIDS education is not just “sex ed” or “abstinence only.” There must be discussions that eliminate misconceptions.

Combatting HIV Stigma in Health Care Settings: What Works?

  • HIV-related stigma and discrimination are now recognized as key barriers both to the delivery of quality services by health providers and to their utilization by community members and health providers themselves.
  • limited recognition of the important link between HIV-related stigma and public health outcomes
  • insufficient capacity among health care managers regarding how to effectively address stigma and discrimination through programmes and policies. Third, there is a persistent misconception that stigma is too pervasive a social problem to effectively change

Thesis: AIDS education in the health care setting specifically focuses on eliminating stigma that prevents patients from getting the proper treatment.

Global Campaign for Education

  • Education is so strongly predictive of better knowledge, safer behaviour and reduced infection rates that it has been described as the “social vaccine”, and UN and World Bank experts say it may be ‘the single most effective preventive weapon against HIV/AIDS’.
  •   “Education Vaccine”


Fear and denial, action inaction, decision making

Patients Living with HIV are Dying in Denial

  • “She said, ‘I can’t tell anyone. I can’t tell my son because I’m afraid he won’t let me see my grandchildren. I can’t tell people at work because I’m afraid I’ll lose my job and I’m close to getting my pension.’ ”
  • HIV advocates and physicians say they still encounter people with the disease who don’t seek treatment, increasing their risk of death and spread of the disease. By the time they go to hospital, they have deeply compromised immune systems, and sometimes full-blown AIDS.

Thesis: Patients deny themselves the help they need because they are ashamed of the disease.

The Diminished Self – HIV and Self-Stigma 

  • self stigma
  • “Self-stigma reduces your expectations,” says France. “It makes you reduce your life to just living.”
  • Two of our interviewees were recently diagnosed, and one had been living with HIV for 27 years: yet there was no difference in their perceptions. You’d think self-stigma would ebb as time went on, but it’s impervious to new experience or knowledge if it’s something that’s founded in a pre-existing set of negative beliefs about yourself.”

Thesis: Self-Stigma caused by fear of rejection and “anticipated stigma” is preventing patients for getting the care they need.

Katie Them / Secondary Research


  • Discrimination: Gender and Sexuality
  • Substance Abuse and Recovery

Discrimination: Gender and Sexuality:

Homophobia and Hiv

Nearly half of those living with HIV were not on antiretroviral treatment, compared to only 17% of older MSM.

75 countries around the world maintain laws where homosexuality is illegal.

Homosexual acts are punishable by death in 13 states (or parts of) including Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Somalia.

A 2012 survey in the UK found that 53% of young LGBT people have no access to any information about LGBT issues at school.

Thesis: Recognizing and addressing homophobia on a global level and achieving equal rights for LGBT people is a vital step in stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS

Fast-tracking the End of the AIDS Epidemic for Women

What We Do: HIV/AIDS

HIV is the leading cause of death among women between the ages of 15-44 years

Adolescent girls and young women account for one in four new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa

Globally, only 3 in every 10 adolescent girls and young women aged 15-24 years have comprehensive and accurate knowledge about HIV.

Thesis: Promoting women’s empowerment, ending the toleration of violating women’s human rights, and protecting and educating younger women in parts of the world where violence against women is especially high will reduce HIV among women.

Substance Abuse and Recovery:

Our Stores: Personal Testimonies

“I used “old” and “borrowed” works all the time, its amazing that I am not HIV positive considering that I live in the City with the worst AIDS rates in the USA. (Washington DC) Safe, affordable, low barrier/no barrier access to needles, and treatment would save lives, and money.”

“I worked as a nurse practitioner clinician at Oakland’s Casa Segura needle exchange… I cannot imagine a more effective and cost effective model of both prevention and extension of health care services to this population”

Thesis:  Illicit and illegal drug use is a large factor in the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDs, and promoting safer drug use can be more beneficial in stopping the spread and aiding people in recovery than punishment

Substance Abuse and HIV / AIDS:  The Correlation, Risks and Causes

10% or more of HIV cases annually can be attributed to injection drugs… Injection drugs are the 2nd leading cause of HIV infection,preceded only by unprotected sex

Many drugs used to treat HIV, such as antiretroviral drugs, carry a risk of liver toxicity. Because treatment of HIV takes priority over many other medical issues, patients will often receive treatment even in the presence of prior liver damage.

Heavy drinkers are two to four times less likely to achieve a positive response while undergoing anti-retrovial therapies.

Thesis: The abuse of drugs and alcohol can not only lead to contracting HIV, but can make recovery efforts less effective or ineffective entirely.


Discrimination against racial and gender minority groups, LGBT communities, and lower-income societies that are more likely to turn to substance abuse leads to lack of education about contracting diseases such as HIV; therefore, prevention and education methods need to be aimed at tackling these violations of human rights on a global level in order for the spread of HIV to be reduced and eventually stopped altogether.

All information compiled here: hiv_theme_presentation

Katie Deitsch / Secondary Research

Topic: Teen Pregnancy

Synthesis: The United States needs a change in the way society as a whole educates young people about sex and healthy relationships. Many teen pregnancies occur in locations where teens are already getting a poor education, so educational regulations could ensure that all teens are educated in a way that promotes healthy relationships and the use of contraceptives/birth control.


Article 1 // Poverty Causes Teen Parenting, Not the Other Way Around

Thesis: Teen parents living in poverty are not economically disadvantaged because of their teen pregnancy; they were likely already on the path to less economic and educational success before becoming parents.

Teen parent rate for New York City (city-wide):
– 72.1 pregnancies per 1,000 women age 15-19

Morrisania neighborhood of the Bronx:
– 112.9 pregnancies per 1,000 women age 15-19
– 73% of students qualify for free lunch programs
– 20-30% of its students graduate in four years
– 1.5% of students are considered college-ready at graduation
– $17,770: median annual income
– 17% unemployment rate in 2010

Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn:
– 102.7 pregnancies per 1,000 women age 15-19
– 81% of students qualify for free lunch programs
– 20% of its students graduate in six years
– 1% of students are considered college-ready at graduation
– $27,338: median annual income
– 17% unemployment rate in 2010


Article 2 // The Way We Talk About Teen Pregnancy Needs to Change

Thesis: Our country needs to rethink both the content of sexual education programs, and the federal/state regulations surrounding these programs.



Topic: Racial Discrimination

Synthesis: Racism is much more than a political or social justice issue; racial discrimination does have a tangible effect on the health and wellness of African Americans and impacts how diseases spread disproportionately in that community.


Article 1 // Time to close HIV’s racial disparities

Thesis: HIV has disproportionately affected the black (and more specifically, black gay male) community due to the fact that this community has historically been disadvantaged in other ways, such as having less access to health insurance.

– African Americans represent 13% of the US population and nearly half of all new HIV infections each year
– Black gay men have been the only black population in which new HIV cases have been growing since 2001
– 1 in 3 black gay men in major U.S. cities is HIV positive
– HIV infection rates have declined among injection drug users, black women, and black infants born to seropositive mothers


Article 2 // Why Racism is a Public Health Issue

Thesis: Racism is an issue that affects public health, due to discrimination causing higher levels of stress, doctors having unconscious racial biases, and black scientists being underfunded to research issues affecting their own communities.

– Black teens who experience discrimination are more likely to have higher levels of blood pressure, a higher body mass index, and higher levels of stress-related hormones
– Two-thirds of primary care doctors have unconscious biases towards black patients, according to a 2012 study
– A black researcher’s chances of winning an NIH grant is 10% lower than a white researcher’s chances

Rachel Diakiw / Secondary Research


For those living with HIV, the support of loved ones can play a vital role in both physical and mental health outcomes. The campaign, “We Are Family”, was launched by Greater Than AIDS, to emphasize the significance of social support for people living with HIV. A diverse group of people, including those living with HIV and those who support them, speak up to talk about their experiences and how discussing their issue has helped them. Many fear judgement with the thought of opening up and can delay them from receiving life-saving treatment.That is why this particular campaign is meant to educate and empower those in need.

May 15th is International Day of Families. In 2005, the UN subjected that year to focus on the impact of HIV/AIDS on family and well-being. This was done to draw more attention globally to the devastating effects that HIV/AIDS creates, hopefully encouraging people to make a difference and provide support in the lives of those impacted.

  • Synthesis:

It is important for people, especially those suffering from HIV/AIDS, to receive help and be in a supportive atmosphere. This provides them with more encouragement in strength that they may be needing.



  • Overcoming Stigma and Shame: A Way Forward


    The National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc (NBLCA), launched a nationwide anti-stigma public education initiative, “Shame-Free Stops HIV: A Campaign to End Stigma”. Many suffering with AIDS feel a sense of judgement, preventing some people to even receive treatment. So, this campaign wants to break down those walls.

  • Self Esteem, Art, and the Fight Against HIV and AIDS


    Art for AIDS is a silent auction benefiting UCSF Alliance Health Project with the sole purpose of helping those dealing with AIDS. Director Hendrikus Bervoets believes that self-esteem is often overlooked in the fight against AIDS but by building it up, it can create a lifelong change. Hendrikus holds workshops with this organization where he talks about important information and personal experiences. Through this and creating art, participants “change right in front of his eyes.”


    The stigma involved with HIV/AIDS creates a negative image and makes the situation a lot more difficult for those trying to cope with it. Therefore, it can have a big impact on their confidence.