The personal and social costs of HIV are well documented. What remains unknown is the effect of public disclosure of HIV status on the individual who is doing the disclosing. This study describes the experience of four African American women living with HIV who participated in the development of an intergenerational education intervention for African American adolescent girls. These women suggested that they be filmed discussing the "dark side" of HIV in an effort to create an intergenerational education intervention that would alter the risk-taking behavior that they observed in young women in their community. After a rough cut of the film was completed, these women viewed the film and participated in a focus group during which they discussed what it was like to reveal and revisit their own painful experiences associated with becoming infected and then living with HIV. Findings from content analysis of transcribed dialogue included the following positive themes: (a) self-acceptance by telling one's own story and hearing the stories of the other women, (b) a sense of liberation by disclosing publicly one's image and message and letting go of others' judgments, (c) feeling supported by meeting other women who share the same experience, (d) value of using the film to impact or save young people from the pain one has experienced. A negative theme emerged related to personal pain in reliving the individual's history with HIV.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Advanced and Specialized Nursing