United Press International - January 24, 2012
CLEVELAND, N.Y., Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Middle-age women with HIV/AIDS
find support and pleasure from their pets, U.S. researchers say.
Allison R. Webel and Patricia Higgins of the Frances Payne Bolton
School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland
and colleagues found having pets was helpful for women living
with HIV/AIDS and managing their chronic illness.
Webel tracked how women with an average age of 42 with HIV/AIDS
stay on track to take their medications, follow doctors' orders
and live healthy lifestyles. Ninety percent had children and more
than half were single.
During the focus groups, six social roles of the women with HIV
emerged that helped and hindered these women in managing their
illness: pet owner, mother/grandmother, faith believer, advocate,
stigmatized patient and employee.
All roles had a positive impact except stigmatized patient, which
prevented women from revealing their illness and seeking out
appropriate support, Webel said.
Being a pet owner was an important surprise, Webel said.
"Pets -- primarily dogs -- gave these women a sense of support
and pleasure," Webel said in a statement.
A cat owner said her kitty will be right there for her when she
"Dogs know when you're in a bad mood ... she knows that I'm sick,
and everywhere I go, she goes," a dog owner said.
The findings were published online in the journal Women's Health