Resources, stigma, and patterns of disclosure in rural women with HIV infection

Public Health Nurs. 1997 Oct;14(5):302-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1446.1997.tb00379.x.


A growing number of cases of HIV infection are being diagnosed in rural communities especially among women. Although HIV-specific education and care delivery programs have been focused on rural areas in recent years, limited data are available on the impact of such initiatives on the lives of women with HIV infection. The purpose of this study was to examine characteristics of women with HIV disease living in rural communities. The study used a cross-sectional sample of rural women in Georgia. Data analysis indicated that although a majority of the women reported adequate resources, there was a group of women for whom resources for basic needs were not always adequate. Additionally, women with HIV who had not progressed to AIDS had greater difficulty in obtaining a number of resources. Almost half of the women felt stigmatized due to having HIV. Yet, a high percentage of these women had disclosed their HIV status to health care workers, sexual partners, and family. Study results provide insight into the needs of HIV-infected rural women from their perspective. This information can be important to nurses working in public health and community settings as they face the challenge of developing effective health care services for this population.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Georgia
  • HIV Infections*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prejudice
  • Rural Health*
  • Truth Disclosure