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Women-Centered Care Talking Points

April 19, 2011

Over half of people living with HIV in the U.S. are estimated to be out of care, and studies show these statistics may be even worse for women living with HIV. Research shows women are getting sicker and dying faster of HIV; especially Black women and Latinas; and particularly if they are living in the South or rural areas.

Women's medical care and support service needs are unique. Achieving the best health outcomes for HIV-positive women requires care that is non-stigmatizing, holistic, integrated, gender-sensitive, upholds positive women's rights and dignity, is peer-based and is culturally relevant.

Wrap-around supportive services including emotional support, peer-based services, case management, transportation, housing, childcare, mental health services, substance use services, employment services, re-entry programming, legal assistance, and food vouchers. When these supportive services are absent, HIV-positive women are likely to face increased barriers to staying in medical care.


Challenges

  • Stigma
  • Supportive services not being funded or being cut
  • Not integrating all the care needs of women, such as HIV care with reproductive health care
  • Uninformed and misinformed provider's on the health needs of women
  • Inadequate research on women's health
  • Women testing for HIV late and then being diagnosed with AIDS sooner


PWN Recommends

  • Evaluate and reduce stigma in healthcare settings and in the general population
  • Train all personnel in healthcare settings on how to reduce stigma
  • Create marketing campaigns to reduce stigma and change attitudes towards people living with HIV
  • Fund supportive services to keep HIV-positive women in care, especially young women, older women, and women who are especially vulnerable to rights violations -- sex workers, transgender women and drug users.
  • Better integrate care, especially sexual and reproductive health and HIV, to fulfill women's needs
  • Train providers on how to provide non-judgmental, quality and culturally appropriate care
  • Provide comprehensive, age-appropriate, non-heterosexist sexuality education to all women
  • Increase research efforts on women and HIV
  • Use peer programs to link women into care and keep them in care


  
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This article was provided by Positive Women's Network of the United States of America. Visit PWN-USA's website to find out more about their activities and publications.
 
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