African American sisters aging with HIV and co-morbidities by Rev. Irene Monroe
Imani (not her real name) was thirty-two when she contracted HIV. Surrounded by sister-friends who died from the virus, Imani did not expect to reach middle age. Now in her fifth decade of life, Imani has new and multiple challenges. She self-manages her HIV—along with her diabetes, hypertension—while searching for employment. The result of these stressors is depression. All of this has gravely impacted her ability to sustain medication adherence and her will to live.
But Imani’s not alone. African American women’s struggle with HIV—from the black community’s stigmatization to the dominant culture’s condemnation of them—has both unduly burdened their daily lives and compromised their quality of care.
While numerous datum have surfaced about African American women living with HIV in their younger years, very little has surfaced about how they age with the disease—until recently. The journal AIDS Patient Care and STDs this month published the qualitative study “Taking It One Day at a Time: African American Women Aging with HIV and Co-Morbidities.”
As a welcoming and needed study, its narrative gives voice, validation, and strength to Imani and other sisters’ of African descent reality.
“I’m taking it one day at a time. First, since my kids are grown, I gotta put me number one first. And, sometimes it’s still hard for me… taking my medicine, I help somebody along my way…. Long as I can help somebody, then I can help myself, you know. I know this journey that I’m going on, it’s not gon’ be in vain.., That’s what it means to me, taking it one day at a time ‘cause I don’t know what the day gone bring. Just one minute at a time, one second at a time,” Elana told the interviewer in the study who asked, “What does HIV self-management mean to you?”
In interviewing women like Elana the study examined HIV-positive and co...Read More