PhD ’20, American Culture
In the fourth decade of the global HIV pandemic, the U.S. faces a striking phenomenon: growing HIV rates among Black women in inner-city communities. In Detroit, a city with the highest concentrated poverty rates of 25 largest metropolitan areas, they accounted for 91% of all female HIV cases in 2012, which is over 4 times the national average (CDC 2013). HIV has important gender, sexual, and cultural dimensions that must be understood, as both the risk of contracting HIV and the consequences of being infected are different among women. To conduct this project, I will partner with Gospel Against AIDS (GAA) – the only faith-based HIV prevention educational and HIV testing organization in Michigan which provides HIV testing and treatment, spiritual care and counseling for people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. GAA’s incorporation of a groundbreaking spiritual component provides another scientifically acknowledged asset in supporting immune and mental health. This multi-sited investigation will study the socioeconomic and sexual experiences of Black women in three high-risk HIV communities in Detroit: Eastside, Highland Park, and Brightmoor. I will unearth the deeper intra-gender and intra-racial differences in: a) understandings of intimacy, risk, and vulnerability b) perceptions of and access to support and health services, and c) beliefs about health and wellness. This mixed-method study will employ ethnography (participant observation and semi-structured interviews), sexual health surveys, and PLACE – a rapid-assessment methodology that uses a systematic venue-based sampling approach to improve HIV/AIDS prevention programming in places transmission is likely to occur (Gomez et al 2009).
Library Mentor: Judy Smith