Significance: The vulnerability of African American HIV-infected mothers functions at the intersection of gender-, race-, and class-inequality;HIV-related stigma;and motherhood, requiring multidimensional and transdisciplinary approaches to address the complex social and economic conditions of their lives, collectively known as the social determinants of health. African American (AA) women suffer significantly higher HIV infection rates and tend to die earlier from their infection than their White counterparts. Poverty is a significant precipitating factor for HIV infection and AA women are disproportionately poorer than other subpopulations in the US. HIV-related stigma is linked to poorer mental and physical health outcomes across a broad range of demographic profiles. Being a mother adds an extra layer of social complexity to the lives of HIV-infected women. This descriptive study of AA HIV-infected mothers'unique social location and the intersection of the social determinants of health they experience is an essential step in understanding and addressing the disparity in their health outcomes. Purpose: This study aims to describe the intersection of gender-, race-, and class-inequality;HIV-related stigma;and motherhood specific to AA HIV-infected mothers and to describe how their unique social identity influences their health-related experiences. Methods: In this qualitative descriptive study I will identify 20-30 AA HIV-infected mothers and use participant- initiated photography in conjunction with in-depth qualitative interviewing to explore the intersection of the social determinants of health they experience. Participants will be recruited from the Infectious Diseases Clinics at Duke University Medical Center;the Durham County Health Department Early Intervention Clinic;the Wake County Health Department;the Infectious Diseases Clinic at the University of North Carolina Hospitals;and the Alliance of AIDS Services - Carolinas, Inc., using provider referral and recruitment flyers for self- referral. Summary: This study will help to generate hypotheses about how the described intersection operates to shape health behaviors and produce health outcomes for AA HIV-infected mothers and will identify what aspects of the problem might be measured, are amenable to change, and can be meaningfully addressed by intervention.

Public Health Relevance

African American mothers with HIV are sicker and die earlier than other groups with HIV. In order to improve the health of these women and their children, it is important to identify why they are not as healthy. This study will help describe the social and financial factors that shape these mother's lives and affect their health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Nursing Science Review Committee (NRRC)
Program Officer
Banks, David
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Duke University
Schools of Nursing
United States
Zip Code
Caiola, Courtney; Barroso, Julie; Docherty, Sharron L (2018) Black Mothers Living With HIV Picture the Social Determinants of Health. J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care 29:204-219
Caiola, Courtney; Barroso, Julie; Docherty, Sharron L (2017) Capturing the Social Location of African American Mothers Living With HIV: An Inquiry Into How Social Determinants of Health Are Framed. Nurs Res 66:209-221
Caiola, Courtney; McGee, Kara; Harmon, James L (2015) Reflections: A Case for Intersectional Approaches in HIV Research. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 31:669-70
Caiola, Courtney; Docherty, Sharron L; Relf, Michael et al. (2014) Using an intersectional approach to study the impact of social determinants of health for African American mothers living with HIV. ANS Adv Nurs Sci 37:287-98