Document Type

Master's Culminating Experience

Publication Date



This study explored the social support among women impacted by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) living in the Province of San Pedro de Macorís, República Dominicana. Social support is one way that social networks can influence health status. Social networks impact health behaviors and overall health outcomes which include infectious diseases, morbidity rates, and mortality rates. Social networks can promote health and minimize risky behavior: “cohesive, supportive networks may themselves blunt stressful experiences and enable people to resist risky behavior and maintain healthier choices” (Berkman, Kawachi, & Krishna, 2014, p. 248). Qualitative methods were used to explore how social support systems impacted the personal experience of women living with HIV. Each Dominican woman described her own moral trajectory ranging from non-acceptance of HIV as an incurable disease to acceptance of living with HIV as a health condition in everyday life. The thematic analysis indicates that social support was instrumental for each woman throughout her journey and process of coming to terms with her HIV diagnosis and taking control of her life. Family, God, the Clínica Esperanza y Caridad (Clinic) and the support group were forms of social support frequently expressed in their narratives and represented their social networks.

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mph_poster_surico_emily.pdf (250 kB)

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