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.