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Munich-San Francisco: differences in support groups of heterosexual HIV infected women.


Int Conf AIDS. 1992 Jul 19-24;8(3):139 (abstract no. PuB 7543). Unique

OBJECTIVES: The experience of a support group for HIV infected women that has been existing for several years in San Francisco was to be made the basis for clarifying whether this concept could be transferred to Munich by the same facilitator. The idea was to stop isolation, to reflect upon role expectation and to work out active coping strategies. METHODS: The group comprising 7 heterosexual HIV infected women (Walter Reed 1-4) who were between 23 and 58 years old, met weekly over a period of 10 months for 2 hours. The facilitator improved each woman's individual reflection process and promoted the group dynamics by virtue of self-empowerment techniques. Data on this process was collected by means of the standardized questionnaire POMS and semi-structured interviews. The SF group comprised 15 female drug addicts who were between 20 and 60 years old and met once a week for 2 hours. The meetings of the group were opened with the general question of each individual woman's present well-being. RESULTS: At the beginning of the group process some women said that they had felt ambivalent towards their participating in the group. Both groups gradually became aware of their problems, learnt to cope with them and respect their own individual needs; in this way they gained ego-strength (see POMS and interview results). The study shows that the drug-addicted women identified themselves as PWAs and were therefore more interested in political action whereas most of the Munich women were preoccupied with the following topics: their own sexuality, pregnancy and bisexuality of the partner. CONCLUSIONS: The positive development in both groups shows a great need for support groups within existing counseling centers taking seropositive women's specific and complex needs more into account, i.e. with respect to their different cultural and social backgrounds, family ties, ways of infection and the various phases of the disease.

*Adaptation, Psychological Adult Comparative Study *Cross-Cultural Comparison Female Germany Human HIV Infections/*PSYCHOLOGY/TRANSMISSION Middle Age San Francisco *Self-Help Groups *Sick Role Social Support Substance Abuse, Intravenous/COMPLICATIONS/PSYCHOLOGY ABSTRACT


Information in this article was accurate in December 30, 1992. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.