Striving Towards Empowerment and Medication Adherence (STEP-AD): A Tailored Cognitive Behavioral Treatment Approach for Black Women Living With HIV

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5 Scopus citations


In the U.S. Black women with HIV face numerous psychosocial challenges, particularly trauma, racism, HIV-related discrimination, and gender role expectations, that are associated with negative HIV health outcomes and low medical treatment adherence. Yet many of these factors are unaddressed in traditional cognitive behavioral approaches. This study presents a case series of a tailored cognitive behavioral treatment approach for Black women living with HIV. Striving Towards EmPowerment and Medication Adherence (STEP-AD) is a 10-session treatment aimed at improving medication adherence for Black women with HIV by combining established cognitive behavioral strategies for trauma symptom reduction, strategies for coping with race- and HIV-related discrimination, gender empowerment, problem-solving techniques for medication adherence, and resilient coping. A case series study of five Black women with HIV was conducted to evaluate the preliminary acceptability and feasibility of the treatment and illustrate the approach. Findings support the potential promise of this treatment in helping to improve HIV medication adherence and decrease trauma symptoms. Areas for refinement in the treatment as well as structural barriers (e.g., housing) in the lives of the women that impacted their ability to fully benefit from the treatment are also noted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Practice
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2017



  • Black women
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • HIV
  • Medication adherence
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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