Mabachi MN, Dariotis JK, Goggin K, Anderson J and Finocchario-Kessler S
Younger, low-income, black women are disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S. Using thematic analysis of 20 semi-structured interviews with young women receiving HIV care in an urban east coast setting, this study provides insights on how living with HIV influences these women’s future aspirations including economic independence, intimate relationships, and family formation in the context of their socio-cultural and economic environment. One major emergent theme expressed by participants was the desire to be considered normal while seeking to meet the developmental benchmarks of emerging adulthood. Gaining economic independence through education and career opportunities was important, as was feeling accepted and loved by a partner. One prominent example is navigating status disclosure to others, especially potential partners. Most women hoped to establish intimate relationships, and while some had navigated the process of disclosure, the fear of stigma prevented many women from doing so. The ability to safely have and provide for a child was also important to many participants. The results highlight the need for interventions that help younger urban black women living with HIV to develop life skills and a better understanding of their reproductive options so that the additional complexities of living with HIV in an already challenging social and economic environment do not compromise positive disease management throughout adulthood.